Bruins

Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Another summer means another gathering of Bruins prospects at the B’s practice facility where those recently drafted merge with past prospects and undrafted hopefuls to bring a little hockey back in late June. This time around Bruins fans won’t be seeing some of the top B’s prospects as center Jack Studnicka, winger Jakub Lauko and goalie Kyle Keyser won’t be on the ice at all over the next few days. Studnicka and Keyser both worked with the Black Aces during the B’s playoff run so they just finished up a couple of weeks ago, and Lauko was injured toward the end of his junior team’s run to the Memorial Cup Final.

So they’ll be participating without getting in any on-ice sessions. But otherwise it was a great start on Wednesday for the 31 players on the ice broken up into three work groups.

Here are some thoughts and impressions from the first day of Bruins Development Camp at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday morning:

*2019 first round pick John Beecher is massive and he’s super-fast on the ice. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame looks like it’s ready to add even more size and his big, ice-chopping strides really stand out when he’s doing any kind of drills on the ice. Certainly it remains to be seen how his skill is going to translate into offense beyond what he did as basically a fourth-line center on the US NTDP behind Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte and Trevor Zegras, but the tools are there for him to be a big, fast game-changer from the center position. It sounds like he’s going to be a top-6 center for the University of Michigan right off the bat next season, so Bruins fans paying attention to college hockey will be able to see pretty quickly how his raw talent is going to translate into points and production.

 

*It’s still difficult for me to figure out 2018 second-round pick Axel Andersson. The defenseman makes some nice plays like during one drill when he showed some wiggle through the middle of the ice and snapped one under the bar during one particular line rush. But he also fumbled away picks during those very same drills and doesn’t look like the smooth offensive player he was reputed to be when the Bruins drafted him last summer. He’s planning to play in Providence this coming season and that will be a better time to evaluate exactly what the Bruins have in Andersson. In the good news department it does seem like he’s gained 5-10 pounds from last season and filled out a bit, which will be a necessity to deal with the physicality coming his way in the AHL.

*It’s really too bad that Bruins fans won’t get a chance to watch Jack Studnicka and Jakub Lauko in this week’s development camp as they’re arguably the two most exciting forward prospects in the entire system. Studnicka is expected to push for a top-6 center gig at the NHL level in the next couple of seasons and Lauko excited everybody with his performance at Bruins training camp last season when he showed a package of skill, speed and tenacity that could be really effective at the NHL level. Instead both players will rest up, heal up and get ready for NHL training camp in the fall where both could begin their long journey toward locking down NHL jobs.

*Obviously 6-foot-6 Daniel Vladar looks big and imposing in his goalie equipment between the pipes as he has during his long tenure as a Bruins prospect. But Jeremy Swayman was impressive during the opening day of development camp after putting together a strong season at the University of Maine where he’s posted save percentages of .921 and .919 in his first two seasons for the Black Bears. He showed some tremendous athleticism during the drills on the opening day of the camp, and looked like the best goalie in the bunch while sharing time with a great story in incoming Merrimack goalie and Walpole native James Corcoran.

*One player that stood out on the first day of development camp from a free agent perspective was 19-year-old Matt Brown, a New Jersey native playing for Des Moines (30 goals and 57 points in 57 games) in the USHL. Brown is only 5-foot-9, 181-pounds, but his speed and hard, heavy shot were both head-turners during the drills as he looked powerful both skating and shooting, and should be an impact player for the UMass-Lowell hockey program he’ll be headed to starting next season.  

 

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