Wagner, Bruins surge out of gates

Walpole native Chris Wagner, pictured here during his time with the New York Islanders, is a key asset for the Bruins this season. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

After signing a two-year deal with his hometown Boston Bruins in the summer of 2018, Walpole native Chris Wagner put together a career year in 2018-2019. The former Xaverian Hawk scored 12 goals and added seven assists for 19 total points in 76 regular season games played, adding a pair of goals in 12 games played during Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Late in the third period of game three of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes, Wagner blocked a shot from Carolina’s Justin Faulk that struck the outside of his right arm and broke his wrist - a tough way to go out, but the right way. Two weeks later, the Bruins fell, 4-1, in game-seven against the Blues, with Wagner watching the game from the seventh floor.

Losses like the one the Bruins suffered to St. Louis back in June can sometimes demoralize a locker room; all that work and exerted energy, just to come up short. Despite the potential for this “hangover,” the Bruins have been arguably the best team in the NHL to begin the 2019-2020 season, starting the year 15-3-5 and currently leading the Atlantic Division with 35 points. A key part of this has been the play of Wagner, who hasn’t shown any signs of rust after returning from injury. In 22 games played, Wagner has blocked 10 shots and currently leads the Bruins in hits with 63.

During the Bruins’ 5-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks on October 29, Wagner registered a goal and an assist, both coming in the second period. Throughout the season thus far, Wagner has seen time primarily on the third and fourth forward lines, and even saw top-six minutes on November 23 against Minnesota, serving as the right-wing on Boston’s second forward unit alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci. In total, Wagner has registered one goal and four assists so far this season.

Set to become an unrestricted free agent at the season’s end, Wagner is certainly playing himself into a contract with the versatility and physicality he’s displayed throughout the last year and change with the Bruins. Whether it continues in Boston or elsewhere this time in 2020-2021, Chris Wagner’s story has been an incredible one to follow.

For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.

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