Perhaps lost in the shuffle of a losing streak ending with a rousing win over the Canadiens was the Bruins signing forward prospect Jesse Gabrielle to an entry-level contract last weekend.
The 19-year-old Gabrielle, a fourth-round pick by Boston in the 2015 draft, currently has a team-leading 19 goals and 30 points for the Prince George Cougars with 32 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating in 25 games this season. That’s coming off his third WHL season where Gabrielle posted 40 goals and 75 points for Prince George in an impressive offensive output to go along with a gritty, agitating game that reminds some team officials of a certain Bruins winger.
“He’s very energetic. He’s got a good shot. He reminds me a little bit of Brad Marchand in his early years: He’s a little bit reckless, and at times maybe he’s not controlling his emotions,” said Claude Julien of Gabrielle, who is the seventh of 10 players to sign contracts from the loaded 2015 draft class. “But from three years ago to this year, I thought he’d progressed there so hopefully he’s on that line of progression. But he’s got a lot of upside. He’s got some speed, he’s got some skill and he’s got a great shot. He’s not afraid to get involved.
“For him it’s more about cleaning up the parts of his game that are going to eventually allow him to become a good pro.”
One would expect Gabrielle will be one of a number of young B’s prospects that should get a cup of coffee in the AHL at the end of this season after a solid NHL training camp a few months ago. That would put the talented young forward on track to eventually get to Boston if his development keeps moving forward at the current rapid pace.
And if Gabrielle turns into the next Marchand, well then the Bruins are really onto something that could be a lot of fun if agitator senior and junior ever play in the same lineup together.