COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: SETH GRIFFITH
Countdown to camp: Seth Griffith
From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Seth Griffith.
Seth Griffith is a bit of a forgotten man among the forward group for the Bruins as young prospects enter the fold and other players have been brought in that have hopped the 23-year-old on the depth chart. Still, the Bruins clearly like Griffith nd he’s coming off an extremely strong AHL season. Griffith will get an extended look early in camp, while many other Bruins participating in the World Cup of Hockey, and deserves at least one longer look in the NHL before a final determination is made on the skilled player.
What happened last year
Griffith was largely paired with Frank Vatrano and Alex Khokhlachev in Providence and had a breakthrough AHL season where his hands, hockey IQ and solid shot/release allowed him to produce 24 goals and 77 points in 57 games. Griffith was Providence’s best player from beginning to end last season and showed some very good chemistry with Vatrano in his AHL stints. Griffith made it up to Boston for four games, where he finished with an assist and a minus-4, but didn’t have much of a chance to make an impact on a Bruins team that wasn’t exactly hurting for offense. While Griffith didn’t make much of a dent in Boston after posting six goals and 10 points in 30 games two years ago, the strong AHL season guarantees he’ll be headed into this training camp with his confidence riding high.
Questions to be answered this season
The Bruins should have openings and chances on the wing for players operating at a high level this season. That means Griffith could find himself in a big spot if he can string together a strong camp. Certainly that would have to be the case since the 23-year-old how has to go through waivers in order to be sent down to the AHL if he does make it to Boston for a period of time. The questions have not really changed about Griffith from two years ago: he’s not the biggest, fastest or strongest athlete, playing at a smallish 5-foot-9, 191 pounds, and that means he’ll have to be thinking three steps ahead of his opponents. Griffith showed some promise scoring six goals – including a couple of highlight reel beauties – in 30 games as a rookie in the NHL and the time is now for a strong encore performance.
What they're saying
“I think with Seth, he came in a couple years ago and had a bit of a stint, and you know he did okay. But I think from him probably consistency is what I’m hearing. I don’t see him playing all the time in Providence. All I can rely on a little bit is what he’s done here. And you know he came up for a few games this year; we didn’t quite see enough so he ended up going back. He’s had some good spurts there in Providence is what I’m being told. Consistency is probably what you want from Griff. He’s a skilled player; he skates fairly well. But at the same time, at the NHL level here the biggest thing is you try and find players that you know what you’re going to get on most nights. So if he can improve in that area I think that’s going to be a big boost for him.”—Claude Julien talking about expectations for Seth Griffith this coming year headed into the 2015-16 NHL regular season.
Griffith was impressive skating on the right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in camp a couple of years ago and he was second in the AHL with 77 points last year, his third full season as a pro. He isn’t as heralded as Danton Heinen or Jake DeBrusk and Griffith is on a lower level, prospect-wise, than somebody like David Pastrnak. So,the natural instinct might be to leave Griffith out of the discussion for open forward spots at NHL training camp and that would be a mistake. The 23-year-old has great hands, a tremendously bright hockey mind and offense seems to follow him around on the ice. He simply needed to get stronger and more composed on the ice after getting a big chance early on in his hockey career by the B’s. Those positive qualities combined with a little bit more experience and confidence could bring out the best in Griffith when he’s given a shot at some point this season. Perhaps he’ll surprise in Boston when we see the former fifth-round pick down the line a little bit.