BRIGHTON, Mass – Anders Bjork missed the first few days of development camp due to a family obligation, but he made his presence felt upon his arrival at Warrior Ice Arena for the annual Bruins prospect showcase.
Bjork met up with the rest of the Bruins prospects for drills and a spirited four-on-four scrimmage at the end the session Saturday. He immediately stood out for his speed, finishing ability and as a polished amateur product, compared to many 18- and 19-year-old neophytes in Boston’s camp.
Bjork, 20, was just happy to get on the equipment, get a skate in and get rolling on what’s going to be a big next couple of months for him with his first pro training camp looming.
“It’s definitely different. It’s weird feeling like an older guy here [at development camp], and now we’re leading the way at development camp. It’s a different experience, but it’ a good one,” said Bjork, who gave up one remaining year of eligibility at Notre Dame after a 52-point junior season to sign with the Black and Gold last month. “It was a tough decision and there a lot of factors, especially the education part and getting my degree. I wanted to make sure I could figure that out and it took a long time to think about. It was life-changing.
“I think Don Sweeney told me that there is a good opportunity here, especially for wingers. That’s exciting for me. You try to use that as inspiration this summer to get stronger and work on weaknesses, and stuff like that. It’s every hockey player’s dream to play in the NHL. The fact there’s an opportunity ahead of me is pretty exciting.”
Bjork will certainly be in the running for the open left-wing spot alongside David Krejci once rookie and NHL camp get going in a couple of months. He'll be competing for that position with the likes of Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen and newly signed Kenny Agostino, along with Frank Vatrano. It’s still difficult to gauge exactly where Bjork’s readiness is given that he’s never competed in an NHL training camp or played in a preseason game, but there are high expectations after his dominant run with the Fighting Irish the past couple of seasons. Bjork took that first step toward claiming a job on Saturday and there will be many more before the season opens for the Bruins in October with or without the talented young winger.