Tommy Cross, D
September 12, 1989
Boston's 2nd choice, 35th overall in 2007 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned
Physical: Good, solid frame to be a shutdown-style defender. Possesses the functional strength for the defense position. Has had three major surgical procedures on his right knee (meniscus) since being drafted by the Bruins (he was picked after suffering the first injury to the meniscus playing baseball) and plays with a brace on it. Very good skater with a long stride and able to generate power with each step. Solid when moving backwards and laterally; able to keep opponents to the outside and has the quickness to jump up into the play at times. First pass ability is adequate; has the physical tools to outlet rapidly and lead the rush if need be. Big, powerful shot; he takes a little bit of time to get it off, but it is hard and heavy. Needs to work on his shot's accuracy. A physical defender who effectively uses his size and strength to pin opponents against the boards. Can play the game with an edge, but doesn't always bring the kind of sheer power or snarl that he's capable of. Like most collegians, will be challenged physically (and in terms of dropping the gloves) by peers who have been honing their fighting skills in the junior ranks and who already have some pro experience. Fighting isn't what Cross brings to the table, but given his playing style, he will be expected to step up to the plate at some point.
Intangibles: Top character player and leader. Elected captain of the '11-12 Eagles squad by his teammates, and also captained the USA Under-18 select team at the 2006 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Exudes confidence and professionalism; a very mature, respectful, well-spoken player who leads by example and is a vocal presence in the dressing room. Some scouts questioned his hockey sense in his draft year; has all the tools to be a two-way defender at the next level, but may be more of a stay-at-homer in the mold of Mark Stuart if he reaches the NHL. Could stand to show more fire and aggressiveness at times on the ice-- can play a bit passively when the situation calls for more physicality and nastiness.
Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment
Cross participated in his fifth development camp (the B's began doing these right after he was drafted in 2007), but only his second in terms of full skating, drills and scrimmages because of the knee. He looked and acted like the seasoned veteran he is, leading the team through drills and looking poised and experienced in the various drills and situations. To argue that he looked strong because of his experience and familiarity with the events and expectations in development camp, not to mention the fact that he was one of the oldest players present, is to sell Cross a little short. He's a big guy who can skate and has a cannon of a shot- he showed that off, and Bruins assistant GM Don Sweeney cited that he had a calming effect on his defensive partner, Dougie Hamilton. Overall, it was another solid showing for the former second-round pick, and the injury history is really the only thing holding him back from being projected as a safe and steady long-term bet for the Bruins, even if the ultimate upside may not justify the fact that the team traded a third-round selection to move up three spots to take him.
Tommy Cross Development Camp interview
Cross has the tools to be a solid second-pairing defender in the NHL, but where the questions come in are whether he has the proverbial toolbox and durability to do it. As long as he stays healthy, Cross should be a solid 5/6 defender in the NHL: He's an intelligent, hard-working guy, but the hockey sense is going to be critical, especially if you factor in the possibility that the numerous setbacks and surgeries have affected his psyche. Nobody but Cross knows for sure, but you wonder if he's thinking about the possibility of being one skate blade caught in a rut away from oblivion and how that impacts his play and approach. His time and space will become much less at the next level, so instinct will have to trump over self-preservation. It's a big question that lingers and can only be addressed by Cross continuing to play at a high level for Boston College and then seeing how he does when he turns pro. He established a career-high for points as a junior, and should be even more productive as a senior. Watch for him to sign with Boston when his year ends and join the Providence Bruins for their final games in the spring.
"Tommy Cross I thought, he’s had his knee problems but I thought his skating and his mobility was the best that I’ve seen in a while. "- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli; July 11, 2011
"Tommy [Cross]’s health is a real positive sign for our group. You know we were concerned about where he would be. And he looks like he’s back on track."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 11, 2011
"I think our guys are doing a great job at finding some players that seem to fit what we’re trying to do with our hockey club. A lot of good players, and I guess the obvious ones are always the ones we look at when we’re talking about first round picks and so on and so forth, the [Ryan] Spooners and [Jared] Knights and [Dougie] Hamilton, [Tommy] Cross, stuff like that."- Burins head coach Claude Julien; July 11, 2011
"Obviously, you know, we use the example of Tommy Cross here, he’s been here for four years now, I’ve seen him on crutches, I’ve seen him on the ice. So there’s an example of a guy that almost feels a part of your organization, you know, for a whole year because you’ve seen him so often."- Julien; July 11, 2011
"Tommy’s been through some, was a second round draft choice, so he’s had some acclaim behind him in terms of where he was selected. But he’s been patient about staying in school, and he’s a captain which obviously speaks volumes. Boston College runs a hell of a program so that, that’s a credit to Tommy in a leadership capacity. But we knew that, you know you watched last year when the military guys and Eric Kapitulik when The Program ran. You know Tommy was a guy that wanted to organize things and put guys together. So i think that hopefully will give Dougie a sense of confidence in getting more acclimated to our organziation . "- Sweeney; July 10, 2011
"He’s been facing some challenges, injury-wise that I would think that, he’s been around more an [observational] role two years ago, and then last year was full bore, so I think he’s been through some trials and tribulations that he can share with some guys."- Sweeney; July 7, 2011
"I feel great; I'm ready to go. Both legs feel fine and I'm just skating as much as I can and enjoying being here where I can continue to develop my game and improve in all areas."- Tommy Cross to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass; July 6-10, 2010
"Just being here and able to participate this week is huge for me. I've had some setbacks and have had to work hard to get back to this point where I feel good about my game, so I'm just excited to be able to be around the coaches and players and soak it all in and learn what I can."- Tommy Cross to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10