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Recently, the injury news for the Boston Bruins has not been good. On Dec. 7 before they played the Buffalo Sabres at the TD Garden, it was announced that defenseman Derek Forbort was going on LTIR, then that night, Charlie McAvoy left the game early in the third period with what was called an upper-body injury.

McAvoy missed the Bruins 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 9, but it was another game for coach Jim Montgomery where the Black and Gold suffered another injury to a key player. This time, center Pavel Zacha did not return after the first period with the team called an upper-body injury. Following the game, Montgomery didn’t have much to say about the injury, but since that day, the news for both McAvoy and Zacha has gone from bad to worse. Thursday (Dec. 14), the Bruins announced that they were placing both players on LTIR with Forbort and that creates a roster nightmare for the Black and Gold.

Pavel Zacha, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boston called up Mason Lohrei from the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL) when Forbort went to LTIR and Jesper Boqvist was called up ahead of the two-game road trip against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. Now after McAvoy and Zacha went on LTIR, the Bruins called up Patrick Brown and Parker Wortherspoon. Boqvist played just 4:47 in a 65-minute overtime game against the Islanders and with an already short bench with Matthew Poitras missing the game for a scheduled day off, shortening the bench like that in a game is putting a lot of pressure on an already shorthanded roster. Brown played just over five minutes in the 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Dec. 16. Here are three AHL Bruins who deserve a call-up and play more than five minutes a game for the Black and Gold.

Georgii Merkulov

If the Bruins do indeed call up a youngster, it should be Georgii Merkulov who has been very good so far this season in Providence. The undrafted free agent out of Ohio State is coming off a very strong first professional season in the AHL in 2022-23 and so far he has improved his defensive game, something that needed work.

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Merkulov has nine goals and 13 assists this season in 25 games for the P-Bruins, but his all-around game has major big strides this season. His best game was on Dec. 9 when he had two goals and three assists in a win over the Wilkes/Barre Scranton Penguins. A right-shot, he played well in training camp and some of the preseason games for Boston but was part of a numbers crunch and was sent to the AHL. Merkulov has established himself in the AHL and can translate his game to the NHL and play either up the middle or on the wing. As a bottom-six forward, the way his first year-plus of pro hockey has gone has turned some heads and he deserves a chance.

John Farinacci

Nothing against Patrick Brown, but John Farinacci has played well for Providence, and the third-round pick, and 76th overall in the 2019 Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes could be considered the second-best player on Providence this season behind Merkulov. So far this season has been a pleasant surprise for coach Ryan Mougenel.

At Harvard University under former Bruins forward and his uncle Ted Donato, Farinacci was a good player for the Crimson before signing a free-agent contract in August with Boston. The 6-foot-0, 185-pound right shot is a center who can play on the wing. He’s a crafty player and worth given an opportunity to in the NHL.

Fabian Lysell

For the last couple of seasons, Bruins fans have been waiting for top forward prospect Fabian Lysell to make his NHL debut. He showed flashes in the preseason of the player he can be at the professional level, but as has been the case in the first two seasons in the organization, he fell victim to a numbers crunch. Now might be the time to give him an opportunity.

Fabian Lysell, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The 21st overall pick in the 2021 Entry Draft has 21 goals and 34 assists in two seasons with Providence and it’s about time he gets called up to play even bottom-six minutes to see what he can do. He is a more offensively skilled player than Boqvist and this might be the move to get him going in his NHL career. It can’t hurt at this point.

The Bruins’ inability to bring up young kids to the lineup aside from Poitras, John Beecher, and Lohrei is head-scratching. Last season after they were eliminated in the first round by the Florida Panthers, general manager (GM) Don Sweeney and Montgomery both spoke about adding youth into the lineup, but they seem like they shy away from it this season when needing a player from Providence. These three forwards are more than capable of playing more than five minutes a game.

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