The Boston Bruins' scoring depth suffered a setback this week after Matthew Poitras underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.
The 19-year-old center will need five months to recover. That timeframe was a factor in making the decision to do the procedure now, and not at the end of the Bruins' playoff run in the spring.
"There was a lot of discussion about what was best for Matty Poitras," Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters after Thursday's morning skate. "I think in the end -- Donny and I had talked with Matty, and then Donny and Matty talked with his family and the people who advise him, and everyone was on the same page, that this would be what's best for him moving forward. Next year he's going to have a full summer to get prepared for (his second season). If we had waited, then the summer gets compromised."
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One thing that Poitras needs to prioritize during the offseason is getting stronger and adding some muscle.
There's no doubt he belongs at the NHL level based on his talent and hockey intellect, but he needs more strength to be able to withstand the physical grind of an 82-game regular season. Having a full summer and training camp will definitely help him in that regard.
"It would affect his ability to get stronger if we waited," Montgomery told reporters. "If we waited until the end of the playoffs, and then it's a five-month procedure, then we're looking at him coming back with no training camp, no strength development and power development until the middle of November, and then he's playing catchup. We just didn't think that was very fair to him."
Poitras tallied 13 points in his first 27 games after surprisingly earning an Opening Night roster spot with a strong performance in training camp and the preseason. He left to join Team Canada at the 2024 World Junior Championships in late December, then returned to the B's in early January. He played in six games -- his last appearance coming Jan. 25 vs. the Ottawa Senators -- before making the decision to shut it down for the season.
Poitras is an important player in the Bruins' future. Getting the surgery done now and giving him a full offseason to train was absolutely the right decision.