Bruins Development Camp, Day 3: Thoughts and observations
WILMINGTON – Here are some thoughts and observations from Day 3 of the Bruins Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena where the sessions got a little longer and more intense. Some players had strong days after struggling to start the week.
1) Wiley Sherman
Wiley Sherman absolutely shined in half-ice battle drills, using his 6-foot-7, 220-pound frame like a brick wall to push attackers away from the net time after time in the defensive zone. Sherman was matched up against high end talents like Jake DeBrusk and Trent Frederic, and those players couldn’t do anything against the big-bodied Harvard blueliner throughout the second session. Sherman isn’t a guy that’s made for the skill and skating drills in a development camp environment, but he was playing with a little attitude on Thursday morning/afternoon.
2) Matt Grzelcyk
2) Matt Grzelcyk has been solid during the week, and has shown that he’s made strides in his defensive zone work while looking fully explosive after last year’s knee issues. But it feels pretty clear the 22-year-old is also gearing up for main NHL camp rather than trying to impress anybody this week in his fifth development camp. And rightfully so. Instead “Grizz” has done a nice job of playing a leadership role with the younger guys, and is undoubtedly waiting for the intensity level of his first main camp with the Bruins organization in the fall.
3) Emil Johansson
3) Give Emil Johansson some credit: He struggled the first few days of development camp, and seemed to use that as fuel for a nice bounce-back day on Thursday. Johansson showed good battle during all the drills, and wasn’t quitting on a single play after getting overpowered a bit in the first couple of days on the ice. I’d still put him in company with guys like Cameron Hughes and Jack Becker as players I haven’t noticed much in a positive fashion at camp, but he was better on Thursday on just about every level.
4) Anders Bjork
4) Third straight solid day for Anders Bjork, who continues to show speed, toughness and a willingness to go to the net while also finishing off the plays available to him. If I had to say one forward has been consistently the best throughout camp, I might go with Bjork over bigger names like Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen. Although, Heinen has been pretty electric every time he’s had the puck on his stick as well.
5) Charlie McAvoy
Charlie McAvoy continues to impress in his first development camp with the Bruins. McAvoy does at least one thing in each session that makes clear just how talented and skilled he is, and the rest of the time he looks smooth and effortless whenever the puck is on his stick. He’s been surprisingly good away from the puck as well, which is one of the areas that scouts pointed to as a place that needed improvement after his freshman college hockey season. It’s clear he needs to get another year of development and maturity with Boston University, but it wouldn’t be outlandish to wonder if he’ll be signing a pro contract about this time next year.
6) Jakub Zboril
Jakub Zboril has been much better this week than he was last year, and that is a very good thing. But he also continues to make simple focus mistakes in the drills when fatigue starts to creep in a little bit, and that’s the kind of thing that could be a killer for him once he really begins getting physically taxed in NHL game situations. The good thing is that the Bruins staff feels that characteristic disappears in normal game action, but Zboril needs to get on the same level as everybody else from a concentration standpoint. As far as his performance on the ice, it’s been mostly good with stout defensive zone work and tape-to-tape outlet passes out of the defensive zone. This week has been a good step in the right direction for last year’s first rounder, but he needs to keep pushing that away if he wants to keep getting growing his game.
7) Something is missing. . .
It goes without saying that something is missing without Zachary Senyshyn and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who are both missing from this week’s development camp. It leaves the forward group just a little skimpy in terms of explosive offensive talent, and it’s unfortunate given that both of those players took major steps forward in their overall player development last season. With those two missing from the fold, some of the buzz and electricity really hasn’t been at the area this week. Not a lot of “oohs” and “aahs” from the Bruins fans in attendance over the last three days. Perhaps there will be a Friday scrimmage that can get everybody a little more on-the-edge-of-their seat excited about what we’re watching on the ice.