Rob O'Gara, D
July 6, 1993
Boston's 5th choice, 151st overall (fifth round) in 2011 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned
Physical: Fine size; tall, lanky frame with long limbs and plenty of room to grow/add muscle mass. Strength and conditioning will be O'Gara's biggest priority over the next several years, as he's a beanpole right now. Strong skater with long, fluid stride and the ability to gain the blue line with speed. Crisp footwork and solid coordination for a big kid who just turned 18 the day before he reported to development camp. Fine passer and puck-mover who keeps his head up and hits the breakouts with ease. Big, powerful shot that he is still working on in terms of getting off faster and making more accurate. Generates real velocity and torque on his drive if he gets all of it. Not a thundering hitter, but understands body leverage and angling rubs guys out along the boards and pins them to the wall. Active stick and exhibits good gap control. Defensively sound and just needs more experience at higher competition levels to bring out the best in his physical attributes. Plays lacrosse in the spring to further hone his physical edge and athleticism.
Intangibles: Smart, hard working kid who came from out of nowhere this past season with Milton Academy after playing junior in his native Long Island. Rough and raw- only played one year in prep and will get one more year at that level before he moves onto the NCAA. At his best when he keeps it simple. A leader who will captain the Mustangs this season. High character kid who has a natural feel for the game and brings a good level of humility to the mix as well.
Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment
Although raw, clearly impressed with his physical tools and willingness to work. Made numerous instinctive plays with and without the puck that were visible when studying him closely. As he gains more experience and confidence, he'll likely spread his wings more and try to improve the creativity. Underrated puck-mover: defense is his strong suit, but he has the wheels and head to advance the puck and join the play. He did so at the right moments and while he wasn't flashy, kept things simple and corrected his mistakes. O'Gara is a talent who could pay nice dividends in time: where he's lacking isn't due to a dearth of ability but because he hasn't played at all that high a level.
Development Camp interview with Rob O'Gara
O'Gara's low ranking is much more reflective of the deep Bruins system and how far away he is from competing for a job with the big club than any lack of upside on his part. He has one more year at Milton, and then will take his game to Yale University in 2012. Has top-four potential but could just as well settle in as a solid No. 5 defenseman at the highest level given his size and skill package. He understands he's behind the developmental curve a little bit in terms of where he grades out against his peers and elite competition, but as a late bloomer is in a good spot to open some eyes in the next 2-4 years. Although he grew up a diehard New York Islanders fan (he was born the summer after the Isles' longest playoff run since the 1984 Stanley Cup final), he's thrilled to be a Bruin because of his time spent in the Bay State surrounded by B's fans at Milton. Comes from a real good family and will put in the work he must to put himself into the Boston mix when the time comes.
"[Rob] O’Gara who we talked about, or [Bruins Assistant GM] Donny [Sweeney] talked about him yesterday, I think he’s going to be a good player, provided he gets some strength and gets his feet under him. He’s got a good head, good stick, good sense. "- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli; July 11, 2011
"Robby O’Gara, I know that you’ve commented like he maybe looks like he’s baby faced and won a lottery ticket to be a Bruin or something but he does not look out of place in any way, shape or form. He’s a nice piece of clay right now that we all get to go to work with. And he’s a great kid and he’s really excited to be part of our group."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 11, 2011
"You obviously have to have a feel for the (prep) league and guys that have come out of there and how their trajectory has gone. It’s a harder route. I went that path. It’s definitely a harder route. You don’t play as many games. Level of competition, I mean, it’s still hockey. There’s games in any league that teams are on a rebuilding mode. You go into buildings that aren’t necessarily up to par for where that team is. So I don’t want to put down the Prep School Hockey League overall. Will I tell you they’re producing a lot of NHL players? No, they’re not. But it’s still good hockey and Rob’s at a stage where he’s coming out of an area that probably isn’t known for producing a lot of players. So things are kind of new to him and you can tell he’s a little wide-eyed and trying to get himself up to pace. But that’s a good thing from where we sit."- Sweeney; July 9, 2011
"He’s got the next four, five, whatever years, whatever he needs to develop into the player we think he can become. He’s not getting any smaller and, you know, hopefully he only continues to get bigger and he could be like Tommy Cross here, coming back for four or five of these camps and you just see him continue to grow and develop as a player before we even think about him turning pro. That’ll map itself out, as I said, there’s no course of action laid out for each and every one of them, they’ll set their own course. But him being in our backyard, I think gives us the ability now to dial in a little bit even better through the course of the season when I go see him play. I didn’t talk to him at all until we interviewed him. But now, I’ll be getting to pull him aside and say, ‘X, Y and Z,’ and be very specific about things."- Sweeney; July 9, 2011
"Robby [O’Gara]’s a piece of clay right now, albeit it’s a big piece. At 6’4” it can change. Things have come at him here a little quicker in the last, I’d say, eight months. But we got a chance, I did in particular and other people got a chance to see him a lot. He’s in our backyard. We went down and spoke to him and he’s excited. This is probably catching him a little off guard in terms of the preparation aspect of it. As I mentioned, you come from the prep school ranks and you know, there’s a lot to digest here in a short period of time."- Sweeney; July 7, 2011
"The good thing is there’s no timetable for him. He’s not going to get any smaller. He’s only going to fill out and continue to get better. And he’s going to be right in our backyard for another year then on to a real good program in Yale. So I think that he’ll learn a lot. He’ll be one of those kids that walks out of here, hopefully, and learns an awful lot and takes some of this stuff going forward."- Sweeney; July 7, 2011