*(Not affiliated with the Boston Bruins or the New England Hockey Journal)

Monday, August 15, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT: Off to Red Line Report

It has been great devoting two full seasons of draft coverage on the blog here to you, loyal readers and hockey draftniks.

I am excited to announce that I have taken a position with Red Line Report as a scout and writer, so I can no longer continue the draft watch.

I've had a ton of fun, but it is time to move on to the next opportunity and I am grateful to Kyle Woodlief for giving me a shot to do something I have always desired. That has opened the door for me to do some other things in scouting as well, but it also means that I cannot maintain this blog to the standard I require without a conflict of interest, so I must shut it down.

I will still maintain my position with the New England Hockey Journal, so there will be draft coverage at the Kirk's Call section there of the website- it just won't be as comprehensive as this blog or singularly dedicated to the NHL draft. However, there will still be lots of interesting insights on some of the key players, especially those playing in the New England region.

Although I won't be actively blogging the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, there are still plenty of outstanding resources out there, and we'd love for you to sign on with Red Line if you can.

Thanks to the many folks out there who linked the work here and really turned this blog into something much more than I ever envisioned. It has been a real blast interacting with you all and seeing the kind of reach

I'm keeping the naming rights to NHL Draft Watch, so who knows? Perhaps one day, the blog could make a comeback in some kind of form or fashion, but for now, the energies and effort are going to be devoted to RLR.

UPDATE: 19 August 2011

If interested in more NHL draft insights and views on all hockey prospects- not just Bruins players, please follow my Twitter feed: @kluedeke29

Thanks for all the support!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Final Bruins prospect ranking

Here is a recap of the final summer Bruins prospect rollup, plus the guys at the low-end to close out the list.

This subjective list will change again at mid-season, when New England Hockey Journal publishes the annual B's prospect roundup in the January 2012 issue.

1. Dougie Hamilton, D
2. Jared Knight, RW
3. Ryan Spooner, C
4. Alexander Khokhlachev, C
5. Max Sauve, LW
6. Jordan Caron, RW
7. Steve Kampfer, D
8. Jamie Arniel, C
9. Matt Bartkowski, D
10. Ryan Button, D
11. Tommy Cross, D
12. Anton Khudobin, G
13. David Warsofsky, D
14. Michael Hutchinson, G
15. Yury Alexandrov, D
16. Zach Hamill, C
17. Anthony Camara, LW
18. Carter Camper, C
19. Colby Cohen, D
20. Craig Cunnningham, C/W
21. Brian Ferlin, RW
22. Zach Trotman, D
23. Marc Cantin, D
24. Lane MacDermid, LW
25. Maxim Chudinov, D
26. Tyler Randell, RW
27. Justin Florek, LW
28. Zane Gothberg, G
29. Rob O'Gara, D
30. Alexander Fallstrom, RW
31. Lars Volden, G
32. Andrew Bodnarchuk, D
33. Stefan Chaput, C

34. Ben Sexton, C- Battled injuries, but had a solid freshman season at Clarkson. Not a great deal of upside, but skates well and plays an effective two-way game.
35. Nick Tremblay, C- Tremendous skater, but lacks the puck skills and offensive hockey sense to capitalize on his pure speed.
36. Zach McKelvie, D- After two years in the active duty Army, the West Point grad with outstanding wheels is very raw and behind in his development, but gets one year to show what he can do.
37. Yannick Riendeau, LW- Undrafted free agent and 2009 QMJHL MVP is small and not a great skater- has yet to make much of a pro impact.
38. Adam Courchaine, G- Helped the ECHL's Alaska Aces win the Kelly Cup championship last season, but will be hard-pressed to see much action in Providence. Should play closer to Boston for Reading Royals, at least.
39. Alain Goulet, D- 2007 5th-rounder has bounced between AHL and ECHL, but doesn't look like much beyond a minor league journeyman at this point.
40. Carl Soderberg, C- Former St. Louis 2nd-rounder acquired for Hannu Toivonen way back in 2007 is just about used up, but still makes list by virtue of being a legitimate talent and not quite 26. Appears content to stay in Sweden for the rest of his career, however.
41. Mark Goggin, C- Dartmouth player and team's last pick in 2008 does not figure to be in the picture.

That wraps up the Bruins prospect coverage and the 2011 NHL draft altogether.

It has been a fun journey going back to a year ago and I hope you found this blog to be a good companion resource out there for your hockey draft needs.

As always, thanks for the support!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bruins prospect profiles #33: Stefan Chaput

Stefan Chaput, C
6-0, 190
March 11, 1988
Shoots: Left
Acquired from Anaheim with David Laliberte for Brian McGrattan and Sean Zimmerman, February 27, 2011
Signing status: Signed through 2012

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Average-sized player. Doesn't have exceptional speed or quickness, but gets where he needs to go effectively enough. Above average puck skills. Plays with effort and energy. Will initiate contact despite not having much in the way of a physical game/disposition.

Intangibles: Smart two-way forward who doesn't bring high-end instincts to the table, but is effective at reading and anticipating the play. Opportunistic player who makes the most out of his limited skills and upside.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Did not attend.

Stefan Chaput in action

Scores a goal for Albany River Rats during game in 2009-10 season posted by TheInfestationBlog

Projection

Unless injuries decimate the Bruins, Chaput looks like strictly AHL filler and an emergency player available in a pinch. The 153rd overall selection in 2006 by Carolina after they won the Stanley Cup now finds himself in a similar situation in Boston: trying to crack the roster of the defending NHL champion. Scored seven points in 15 games with the Baby Bruins after the trade, so he does bring functionality and experience to the AHL lineup.

Bruins prospect profile #32: Andrew Bodnarchuk

Andrew Bodnarchuk, D
5-11, 200
July 11, 1988
Shoots: Left
Boston's 5th choice, 128th overall in 2006 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2012

Talent Analysis

Physical: Another member of Boston's sub-6-feet brigade on 'D', Bodnarchuk is a dedicated gym rat who has done very well at building his strength, but will always face a mismatch when going up against the biggest, strongest of the NHL's ever-growing legion of power forwards. Plus-skater who has very good acceleration, speed, quickness and lateral mobility. Solid passer and shooter, but has become more of a stay-at-home, defensive player in the pros after putting up solid offensive numbers in junior. Plays bigger than his size; likes to initiate contact and will take the hit to make the play. Low center of gravity allows him to get up under bigger, stronger players to separate them from pucks. Pound-for-pound, one of the most rugged prospects in Boston's system. Has evolved into one of Boston's better defensive/positional players in the system. At the same time, he's still overmatched against the biggest of hockey's power forwards and will always be limited in that regard.

Intangibles: Hard worker and good teammate who was qualified (offered a tender by Boston) this summer more to stabilize Providence with his tenacity and experience than anything else. Intelligent and learns from mistakes; settled in after a rocky start in Boston against Toronto and was a solid defensive performer to close out the 2009-10 season. Lacks the elite instincts needed to be a top defender at the next level, but has the desire and intensity to make something of himself.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Did not attend.

Andrew Bodnarchuk in action

Takes on a bigger Justin Johnson and handles himself well despite coming out on short end- posted by JimKorn20

Projection

Bodnarchuk looks like a bottom-pairing/extra defender at the NHL level, but he'll have a hard time cracking Boston's roster unless injuries take a toll. He's a wolverine on skates; not all that big, but plays with an edge and keeps himself in the best shape possible. Like Don Sweeney, he comes from the Maritimes and went to St. Paul's Academy in Concord, NH before opting away from the NCAA track and staying at home to play major junior. Also like Sweeney, he understands his size is a major obstacle and will likely need to make the most of any chance he gets in Boston when spots are opened up because of injuries. He's already a solid AHL defenseman, but how far he can go at the highest level is a tossup because of the organization's other undersized players at the position who have a little more upside. Bodnarchuk's lack of offense hurts him, but he still has the work ethic and desire to be more than the sum of his parts- will be interesting to see how he performs this year.

Quotable

“I talked to (Murray) quick, and he sort of gave me the, ‘Congratulations; good work, good luck.’ But, I know I put in my work this year and I’m glad it’s been noticed, so I’ll just go from here now.”- Andrew Bodnarchuk to hockeyjournal.com; April, 2010

“It’s unbelievable; it’s a dream come true. It feels like the jitters are out now that the first game’s gone. My mind was going a little quicker than I wanted to during the first game, but as the game went on, I saw it slow down. (I’m) just more comfortable around the room comfortable around the guys.”- Bodnarchuk to hockeyjournal.com; April, 2010

“(It sends) a really strong message. I saw it last year too, with the guys being called up: the Boychuks, Lashoffs and Karsums, guys getting a sniff and getting a chance. So, it’s really encouraging for the young guys in Providence to know that Boston does like to call up and work with what they’ve drafted. For the younger guys down there, take a look, put in the work and it’ll pay off.”- Bodnarchuk to hockeyjournal.com; April, 2010

Bodnarchuk, Marchand on this ride together


“You look at their roster and you pretty well know who their top six (defencemen) are, just by looking at their contracts. There are three or four players, neck-and-neck, battling for that (seventh) spot … I’m looking forward to it.”- Andrew Bodnarchuk to Metro Halifax; July, 2010

“Hopefully, this year is going to be another step toward being a full-time NHLer. It tends to take a little bit longer for defencemen, especially for a shorter guy. I’m just looking to make more and more strides as the year goes on.”- Bodnarchuk to Metro Halifax, July, 2010

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bruins prospect profile #31: Lars Volden

Lars Volden, G
6-2, 190
July 26, 1992
Catches: Left
Boston's 6th choice, 181st overall in 2011 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Tall, slim netminder with an athletic build and room to put some meat on the bones. Wide-based stance- takes up a lot of the net. Quick reflexes and effective with the butterfly and his recovery. Does a good job of squaring up to the shooter and moving laterally in his crease. Above average glove, blocker side needs more work/was beaten on several shots because his stick wasn't fully on the ice. Like most goalies his age, needs to improve rebound control and directing pucks out of danger. Has all the physical attributes you look for in the modern NHL goalie: big, agile, fast, exhibits solid fundamentals and technique.

Intangibles: Calm and poised, but at times looks too nonchalant- a little fire and fight in him like Gothberg has wouldn't hurt. Seems mechanical and forced- could benefit from letting go and doing what comes naturally instead of trying to display flawless technique on each and every save. He's shown some natural puck-stopping instincts in the past (see YouTube video save), and seems to be at his best when he reacts and blocks. When in the zone, is nearly unbeatable, but tends to allow goals in bunches if he loses focus.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Volden and Gothberg were close in terms of how well they performed at camp. Volden is more of the technician between the two and demonstrated some intriguing NHL potential with his solid fundamentals and quickness. That said, he's still very much a work in progress and it will be a big year for him in Finland, especially if he can win a spot with Espoo's senior (pro) team. He played well on the Blues' jr. squad last season after leaving his native Norway. Volden showed he belonged in development camp by making some pretty saves and displaying some impressive raw tools to work with, we just would like to see him battle a little harder in select spots as opposed to the clinical, detached approach.

Development Camp interview with Lars Volden

video

Here's Volden at his instinctive best. Great save

Click on YouTube to see this stop, posted by ezzle

Projection

Like Gothberg, Volden is a long-term project, but he has NHL starter upside given his impressive size and athleticism. He and Steffen Soberg bombed in one game we watched at the WJC, but that was just one contest- while it does raise questions about Volden's mental toughness and ability to battle through adversity, he certainly brings some skill and potential to the table. Volden is a long way from competing for an NHL job, but being a sixth-round selection not to mention the current status of goalies in Boston, he can take his time and come along gradually without any real pressure. Keep an eye on this one- for the second consecutive year, the B's have grabbed a goalie in the sixth round, and in each case, raw project types who have some legitimate talent. A strong season could vault Volden into the top-15 on the depth chart by year's end; big test coming up for him.

Quotable

"Lars [Volden] is playing, working his way up through the European teams and had a good year over there."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 10, 2011

"Our European scout Jukka [Holtari] had seen him a lot, as had some of our other scouts. We got good reports from his goalie coach on him. He's a big boy. We like if we can to draft a goalie every year to add depth in that position in the organization, and at that point in the draft it made sense to draft him."- Bruins Assistant GM Jim Benning; June 25, 2011

"He's the typical butterfly style goalie that you see come out of Finland. He's big. He covers the net, the upper part of the net and the butterfly. We'll keep monitoring him. It takes goalies a long time to develop. There's been a lot of good goalies come out of Finland, so we're excited to get him in the sixth round."- Benning; June 25, 2011

Bruins prospect profile #30: Alexander Fallstrom

Alexander Fallstrom, RW
6-2, 192
September 15, 1990
Shoots: Right
Acquired from Minnesota with a 2011 second-round selection (Alexander Khokhlachev) for Chuck Kobasew in October, 2009
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Tall and lanky build; needs to add significant mass and strength in the next few years of his development. Improving his upper body power and drive will be his biggest challenge between now and when he turns pro. Adequate skater; improved his first step quickness from where he was a year ago at 2010 development camp and is coming along in his development. Will never be a burner, but his skating flaws are easily correctable and don't stand out in competition. Very good hands and a quick stick; able to work effectively with limited time and space. Good, heavy shot that he can release quickly. Will drive hard to the net and bang in the rebounds. Able to get his stick on pucks for deflections and redirections. Shields the puck well from defenders and is serviceable down low and on the cycle. Very good defensive player who understands positioning and his responsibilities. Finishes his checks; plays more of a North American-style game given his time spent playing prep and in the NCAA. Ripped it up for 87 points in 40 games his final prep season at Shattuck, so the kid can score. It's just a matter of figuring out how much of his scoring touch at the lower levels will translate at Harvard and in the pro ranks.

Intangibles: Heady winger works hard and is diligent in his approach to on- and off-ice work. Born in Gothenburg, Sweden but raised in Stockholm and eschewed the traditional route most Swedes take by going through the pro development system via junior teams in favor of going to Shattuck St. Mary's in Faribault, Minnesota at age 16, earning the captaincy as a senior in 08-09. Has a nose for the net; seems to recognize scoring opportunities and then place himself in areas where he can impact the play. Intelligent and well spoken; understands his role and plays it well. Another character kid who took a lesser-traveled road than most of his peers but appears on track to succeed.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

As was the case a year ago, Fallstrom's game isn't flashy or dynamic, but he makes the most of what he does best and that is- he gets himself into scoring position and finishes off chances with that dangerous shot of his. Fallstrom's lack of skating is not as much of an issue as it was before- he's gotten a little quicker off the mark, but still lacks straight-ahead speed. Where he compensates is with his hockey sense and lumber. Put him out there with a playmaker and he can make things happen. There was one interesting sequence observed when Fallstrom went head-to-head in a drill with Alexander Khokhlachev, the other player acquired from Minnesota for Chuck Kobasew nearly two years ago. In the drill, something must have been lost in translation for Koko, as he zigged when he should have zagged and Fallstrom schooled him. It did serve as a reminder to Bruins fans of what could be for Boston if both players make it to the big show together. Koko has the pure offensive skill, but Fallstrom is a heady player in his own right- he stole the puck, went in alone on Lars Volden and then ripped a screamer high over his glove hand for the score.

Development Camp interview with Alexander Fallstrom

video

Projection

Solid third- or fourth-line player with the intelligence and hands to make a modest contribution on offense at the NHL level. Got off to a slow start in his sophomore season and battled nagging injuries, but started to round into form better around Beanpot time. 2011-12 is the year where he should start to put up numbers. Like some of the other prospects in Boston's system, Fallstrom is in a good situation where he can take his time to round out his game and the pressure will not be on him to contribute right away. He's an atypical Swede in that he isn't a very good skater, but unlike former B's prospect Anton Hedman, Fallstrom's mobility is not a major drawback, and by the time he's ready to progress to the next level, the skating should be improved enough to give him a shot at making it. Could be a high-end scorer in the minors before he makes a run at regular NHL employment, but at worst, should be an effective 30-point defensive forward who can play in all situations and will earn the trust of his coaches to play in big moments. If you had to compare his style to anyone, he's a little like Gregory Campbell: better hands, but not as good a skater as Campbell.

Quotable

"Real good sign for Alex he met with, we set it up for him to meet with John Whitesides at the end of his year before he went back to Sweden. And to spend some time there and identify some of the areas physically that he could work on and fine tune so it would translate on the ice, and i think it has done that. He’s moving better, shoots the puck well, he’s a concisencious player. We want to see what his high side is offensively. So you’ve got to get him in, fine tune and get him in the right shape and be able to utilize the skills that he has to be able to get there. The skating side of it is something he’s going to continue to work on, he knows that. But he’s done a lot of hard work and the fruits of that are showing up here this week."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 10, 2011

"I'm having a lot of fun for sure. This is a very good experience and my first time working with the Boston coaches, so I'm just trying to learn what I can and bring it back with me to Harvard for the upcoming season."- Alexander Fallstrom to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

"Fallstrom's not the most exciting player to come out of Shattuck (St. Mary's), but he did very well there. I remember watching him and not noticing him much, and then I'd look at the score sheet afterwards and he had three or four points. He's the kind of player who keeps it simple, but goes hard to the net and is an opportunistic scorer. Maybe not a high-end offensive player at the next level, but he plays an honest two-way game and has the skills to put up some points with the right linemates."- NHL scout to hockeyjournal.com; May, 2010.

Bruins prospect profile #29: Rob O'Gara

Rob O'Gara, D
6-3, 185
July 6, 1993
Shoots: Left
Boston's 5th choice, 151st overall (fifth round) in 2011 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

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

video


Projection

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.

Quotable

"[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

Bruins prospect profile #28: Zane Gothberg

Zane Gothberg, G
6-1, 177
August 20, 1992
Catches: Left
Boston's 6th choice, 165th overall (sixth round) in 2010 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical: Although lean, Gothberg has a sizeable frame and is long-limbed, which is ideal for NHL goalies these days. Highly athletic, with excellent quickness, reflexes and flexibility. His style is best described as a hybrid between butterfly and standup; he keeps his feet more than the average butterfly netminder, but will scramble and employ older save techniques such as the two-pad stack and the half-butterfly. Quick glove and blocker hands; could stand on working to catch the puck cleanly more, but usually gets a piece of the shot to make the stop. Very good puckhandler; makes crisp passes to start the breakout and can clear it off the glass on his own. Decent rebound control, but that is a skill he, like most young goalies, must continue to work on. Fundamentals will need some refining; he's more of an athletic and instinctive player than he is a technician at the position at this stage of his development. Battles hard, but tends to flop and flail when play gets scrambly; needs to try and remain upright and use his size/athleticism to better advantage.

Intangibles: Relaxed, even quirky Gothberg personality masks a fierce competitor and highly successful Minnesota H.S. product. Struggled to find his comfort zone in the USHL early with Fargo, but played well in the World Jr. Challenge in November and returned to the league with a new focus. Played extremely well in the second half, matching starter Ryan Massa with some top performances and carrying the confidence of a veteran. Seems to display exceptional mental toughness and an ability to shake off bad goals with subsequent big stops/tough saves. One-of-a-kind personality and extrovert who keeps everyone loose. Among his favorite music at 2011 development camp: Wiz Khalifa.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Clearly improved his fundamentals and technique, but still raw in terms of his development and progression. When playing in control, he's tough to beat but bails on the basic butterfly pretty quickly when the opposition moves the puck. More instinctive and reactive at this stage, but will be a much better goaltender when he gets more playing time/experience and is able to anticipate and read the play better. Made a highlight reel save on Brian Ferlin on a breakaway after Ferlin picked Dougie Hamilton's pocket and cruised in alone. It wasn't pretty, as Gothberg ended up on his stomach, but he was able to pluck the puck out of the air as it was headed toward the twine and deny Ferlin a glorious scoring opportunity.

Development Camp interview with Zane Gothberg

video

Projection

Gothberg is a long-term project, but he has NHL starter upside with his natural talent and intangibles. Expect him to take the long road of one more season in the USHL, followed by at least two in the NCAA before he turns pro, followed by another several years in the minors. How quickly he signs will depend on how well he plays, but he will be 20 by the time he gets to Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota. Although a character in terms of his personality and laid-back style, he's a serious guy who understands the value of hard work and realizes that he has a long way to go. Watch this kid-- he could end up being a legitimate NHL prospect and someone to track closely as he moves on to the next level.

Quotable

“I have been privileged to coach Zane for the last three years. He has been a coaches dream to have on my team. The best things about Zane do not even involve his on ice performance, without being asked he put in the time to help out our youth programs and he just plan gets it. He is a very mature and confident young man. He makes our team better because of this. He has great leadership and his work ethic is where it needs to be to get to the next level. He has size and also quickness. If he continues to progress and I am sure he will, I see good things for Zane.”- Thief River Falls H.S. head coach Tim Bergland to NHL.com, 2010

“This kid is very good. He impressed me the first time I saw him. He's very controlled. He is a lot like Michael Lee (selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in Round 3, No. 91, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft) from the previous year, only quicker. I like his quickness and net coverage. I like his strength. He's smart and reads the play well. There's not a lot that I don't like about his game. As the years go by, he's going to be a very good NHL goaltender."- NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen to NHL.com, 2010

“We were really excited about Gothberg. He’s a bankable kid for us. We have some goaltending depth right now that we’re very comfortable with. He has excellent quickness. We really like the kid’s character; we had him higher than where he went.”- Bruins amateur scouting director Wayne Smith to New England Hockey Journal, Los Angeles; July 26, 2010

“It just shows you that every ounce of energy you have left, you have to put it forward otherwise these guys are going to beat you clean. Got snipped a couple of times out there but that was just cause mentally and physically I need to get to the next level. From here, it’s a good building block towards the future. Just hanging with the guys and soaking it all in.”- Zane Gothberg to hockeyjournal.com, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

Bruins prospect profile #27: Justin Florek

Justin Florek, LW
6-4, 195
May 18, 1990
Shoots: Left
Boston's fifth choice, 135th overall (fifth round) in 2010 draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Big, lean winger has the height and long limbs to be an effective power forward and is gradually adding mass and strength to his frame. Powerful skater with a long, loping stride and the ability to cover ground quickly. Still a bit gangly, and not as proficient in his lateral movements as he is in a straight line when he's going up and down the wing. Okay hands but not high-end offensive skills; doesn't handle the puck a lot in traffic. Bullet shot that he unleashes from the wing: hard, heavy and accurate. Able to finish off chances in close and around the net. An underrated playmaker; able to find seams in defenses and set up teammates for scoring chances. A willing physical player who understands his role and responsibilities and uses his size well to gain position in front of the net. Looks to have a bit of a mean streak, but is more of an honest skater who doesn't try to intimidate but won't shy away when the hitting picks up, either. Plays a solid three-zone game and is an effective special teamer at the NCAA level.

Intangibles: Hard-working, character player who is a good teammate and has the desire to go along with an impressive set of natural gifts. He's an intelligent two-way player, but doesn't appear to have the kind of elite offensive instincts that would translate into a top-six role in the NHL. However, he understands that he's most effective when going to the net and picking up the trash. A diligent, responsible player who puts in the work without a lot of fanfare.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Helped himself at development camp. Much like Zach Trotman, showed considerable improvement over where he was a year ago at this time. Anyone who was at development camp and wondered why the B's spent a fifth-round pick on a previously passed over player like Florek may have had a lot of the doubts quelled after the way he performed. Unloaded that drive of his on several occasions, finding the back of the net high and in the corners. Worked effectively with Ryan Spooner and Brian Ferlin, scoring goals and creating time and space for his creative playmaking pivot Spooner.

Development Camp interview with Justin Florek

video


Projection

Florek could possibly make the NHL as a third-line winger, but will probably spend considerable time in the minors first. He's raw and doesn't do much at the high end of the offensive spectrum, but is the kind of guy who could exceed expectations because he has the work ethic to go with his size and skating. He's picking things up in his development and even though he scored fewer goals as a junior than he did a year ago, he's poised for a big senior season and should push for 30+ markers if it all comes together for him. Watch for Florek to be skating for Providence in late March/early Apri when his NCAA eligibility is exhausted, and with his big body and underrated offensive skill, he could bring a nice boost in what everyone in Rhode Island hopes will be a playoff spring.

Quotable

"That one line, I thought was very good, with [Justin] Florek, [Ryan] Spooner, and [Brian] Ferlin. I thought you could see the, they made plays together, they found each other, they scored. Just, it was just good to see the confidence in the players come out. You’re worried, not worried, but you watch if they improve and you know they’re going to improve, just because they’re good players, they’re going to improve from day to day, but it’s good to see when the confidence starts to come out and I saw that in a lot of these kids."- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli; July 11, 2011

"Well I mean you look at the physical size and he isn’t even done, you know, filling out that frame. So there’s a lot of room there. Look at the drills, look at the power skating, you know it’s hard for him because he’s not a kid that’s a fluid skater. But he gets there, and he’s heavy when he gets there. And he’s heavy around the front of the net and then you see the release when he gets one chance. Some guys need two, three, four, five, right. But he gets one and buries it. Thats the stuff that you kind of say, okay, if we can continue to work on the other stuff, and he’s willing to work on that stuff then you know you could find a player there for sure."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 10, 2011

"He's a big kid who moves well and has some good upside as a power forward. We think he's only scratching the surface of what he's capable of and with his character, is someone we're glad to have in the organization."- Bruins amateur scouting director Wayne Smith to B2010DW, Los Angeles; June 26, 2010

“First year, I was heartbroken like any kid would be expecting to get drafted and not being drafted. The second year I didn’t really think about it but obviously, it’s in the back of your head. And then, the third year, I just picked up the shift on Saturday, draft day, and didn’t even think about it. I was working when I got the call.”- Justin Florek to hockeyjournal.com, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

“I’m a big power forward; I pick up loose pucks around the net and maintain possession down low. I throw the body around when I need to. I’m a defensive forward; I penalty kill a lot and play the power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5– I do it all.”- Justin Florek, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

Bruins prospect profile #26: Tyler Randell

Tyler Randell, RW
6-2, 195
June 15, 1991
Shoots; Right
Boston's 4th choice, 176th overall in 2009 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2014

Talent Analysis

Physical:
A power forward prospect who has all of the abilities and skills to be an impact NHL player but has yet to put it all together. Average skater; a little sluggish, but has an efficient stride; can really motor in the open ice. Lateral agility is OK and could stand to improve overall edgework. Crashes the net and creates problems for opposing defenders and goalies with his strength and stick. Excellent shooter with quick hands and a hard, heavy wrister that he can wire topshelf with ease. Gets a lot of power on his slap shot and can do damage with it when he gets some space to work with. Underrated backhander. Not much of a passer; tends to finish off chances going up and down the wing rather than setting the table for his linemates. When on his game, plays with a nasty edge, banging bodies and dropping the gloves. Fought a lot in the OHL this past season and still found the time to score 20 goals. Can handle himself well in that department and seems willing to stick up for teammates when the situation calls for it.

Intangibles: Coming around in his consistency and effort levels. In talking to people who know him well, you get the impression that he's uneven with putting forth maximum effort and has issues with the compete level at times. When motivated and on his game, he's a force; if the light ever comes on for him and stays on, he could be something at the highest level. Hockey sense isn't exceptional; he has to play a standard up-and-down game to be effective and you don't get much creativity from him.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Randell showed off his fine shot once again: it's hard, heavy and comes with a rapid release. He doesn't have the greatest skating or agility, but when he gets up a powerful head of steam, he goes to the net and is tough to stop. Randell is at his best when initiating contact, going into the greasy/dirty areas of the ice and using that shot to force goalies to make saves. It was another solid development camp performance from a guy who is essentially a meat-and-potatoes, north-south player, but who has enough talent to challenge for an NHL job one day.

Tyler Randell in action

Randell fight highlight vid on YouTube posted by randomdude16

Projection

He's a lot like Lane MacDermid in that he'll make his bones on the fourth line as a banger who will fight more than someone who scores. Randell has a higher skill level than MacDermid but isn't as industrious a player-- it will be interesting to see how Randell fares in the pros. At one time, he was considered a top-three round prospect for the 2009 draft, so the raw talent is there, he will just have to keep his motor revving on high to get his opportunities. For a sixth-round selection, he's shaping up to be an eventual contributor, but how far Randell goes will largely be up to him and how hard he's willing to work.

Quotable

"Anthony Camara as I mentioned yesterday is a kid that has a lot of bite. You know you saw him play a physical brand of hockey but he still can make some plays. Tyler Randell is the same way. You know we want to see whether or not, where his skill set is and continue to improve. You know Shawn Thornton is the best example of that that you can possibly come up with. I mean, Shawn Thornton scored ten goals for us this year and you know, he does the other part of his job, he’s used in all situations. You know the guys that play that type of sole should be identifying with that. But Shawn worked hard on his skills. And those guys need to."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 11, 2011

"Tyler is a very big, physical, skilled player. What he's going to need to work on is his consistency. There are games when he's dominant and other nights, he's filling a sweater. At this level, he should be scoring 25-30 goals in a season, so this is a big year for him."- Kitchener Rangers coach Steve Spott to B2010DW; June, 2010

"I've told Tyler that there's going to be someone from Boston evaluating him every night. The difference in the paycheck between Boston and Providence every night is huge. Like (Dustin) Byfuglien, he's going to have to go to the net and make his hay there. Last year was tough for him because he battled through some back injuries, but with his size and skill level, he's capable of bigger things, and he knows that."- Steve Spott to B2010DW; June, 2010

“I think I’ve progressed a lot since the last time I was here. It’s been great so far this week. We did the Program, which was some crazy training. It was great to work as a team with these guys and push each other to be the best we can be.”- Tyler Randell to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

“I think the best thing I bring is strength and teamwork. I’ll battle in the corners and drag the puck to the net. I’ll always be there for my teammates if they’re in trouble. I’m more a team player and hard, gritty player.”- Randell to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

“When I have the chance, I’ll let the shot go. But other than that, I’ll drive my body to the net and use my size and weight and get in that crease.”- Randell to B2010DW; July 6-10, 2010

Bruins prospect profile #25: Maxim Chudinov

Maxim Chudinov, D
5-10, 195
March 25, 1990
Shoots: Right
Boston's 7th choice, 195th overall (seventh round) in 2010 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Short and squat, with extremely strong legs and a powerful upper body despite the lack of height-- a real specimen. Short arms and stick pose a challenge for him defensively. Very good skater with fast initial step, smooth acceleration and the ability to move well laterally and backwards. Makes a good first pass and can move the puck well on the transition. For his size, has a big shot from the point, but needs to work on getting it off faster and without so much of a windup/wasted motion. Good wrister and has the mobility to get in below the circles and let it fly. Plays with some bite: will initiate and likes to hit. Gets up under bigger players and leverages them off-balance with his strength and technique. Working on playing a more positionally sound defensive game, which is important given his lack of size and reach. Coming off his best year in the KHL with 8 goals, 23 points in 52 games, leading all Cherepovets defenders in scoring, six points ahead of former 35th overall pick in 2002 (Penguins) Ondrej Nemec.

Intangibles: Pretty good vision and instincts, but more is needed to be seen from him at the KHL level. He'll have an opportunity to pick up more minutes with Alexandrov headed to North America. Has a reputation as a fierce competitor (read: borderline dirty player) and could be seen as a nastier version of David Warsofsky. Said to have a lot of heart, character and drive-- if he continues on his upward developmental curve in Russia, could zoom up the Boston prospect depth chart.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Did not attend; watch for him to be there in 2012.

Chudinov (and Alexandrov) in action

Chudinov's infamous late hit on Claude Giroux at 2007 Super Series posted by gregC89


Projection
Chudinov is hard to peg right now because there aren't a whole lot of folks who have seen him play, but he was more productive than Alexandrov was at the same age, and his 23 points are pretty solid numbers for a Russian defenseman. The safe bet is that he's a top-four with special teams acumen, but we'll have to see how he performs in the next couple of seasons. Peter Chiarelli not only likened his playing style to that of Brian Rafalski, but said at the draft that he didn't expect Chudinov to compete for a spot in Boston for another two years, so it will be interesting to see what transpires from here. He should be higher than 25th on the depth chart, but given that it's hard to see him and get feedback, his ranking is more reflective of the situation. You could just as easily make a case for Chudinov being top-15 as 25th, but for now, the guys in North America are a little easier to project and therefore get the benefit of the doubt.

Quotable

"I really like this player. He's short, but built like a fire hydrant and he can skate and shoot the puck. He plays with an edge and in my opinion has been one of the better young Russian d-men in the international competitions he's been involved in over the past several years. This is a pretty good pick for Boston in the seventh round; there's some upside here."- Red Line Report chief scout Kyle Woodlief to B2010DW, Los Angeles; June 26, 2010

Bruins prospect profile #24: Lane MacDermid

Lane MacDermid, LW
6-2, 210
August 25, 1989
Shoots: Left
Boston's 3rd choice, 112th overall (fourth round) in 2009 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2012

Talent Analysis

Physical: Big, strong, physical winger with good bloodlines; his father, Paul, played nearly 700 NHL games for the Hartford Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, Washington Capitals and Quebec Nordiques. Average skater; worked hard on his initial burst and agility between first and second seasons and it showed during the rookie games against the Islanders a year ago in September. Has a pretty big shot that is underrated, but his overall hockey skills are limited., Physicality and fighting are strengths are what could get him to the NHL as an enforcer. He goes out and hits everything in sight. Relishes the fighting aspect of the game and is developing into a feared pugilist in the minors. Went from five points as an AHL rookie two years ago (two goals) to 19 (seven goals).

Intangibles: Hard worker who understands his role and his limitations. Earned former Providence coach Rob Murray's respect for his willingness to go the extra mile to address the shortcomings in his game while regularly fighting and taking one for the team. Character guy and leader who understands what it takes to make it in the pros and has been a model citizen on the farm.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Did not attend

Lane MacDermid in action

Click here to see fight vs. Isles Travis Hamonic in rookie game Sep. 10 posted by hockeyfights.com

Click here to see MacDermid vs. Tom Sestito on YouTube posted by JimKorn20

Projection

Fourth line enforcer; MacDermid is developing into a similar player to Shawn Thornton and could provide the same kind of impact that 'Sugar" has for the B's. He's a willing and nasty fighter and should continue to develop after putting in the work to improve his hockey skills. His chances of making the big club continue to be tough sledding because of the organizational depth and due to Thornton's established niche on the team. If there are injuries up front, MacDermid could get a look.

Quotable

"We've never had to tell him to get in the gym, to do a little extra. We got back from a Sunday afternoon game a while ago, and as I was leaving to go home I looked in the gym, and there was Dermie. We had Monday off and he understood, 'Here's a good chance for me to get a workout in.''- former Providence Bruins head coach Rob Murray to Providence Journal; March 26, 2010

“I certainly wasn’t the most skilled hockey player, but I worked hard, and coaches are the ones opening and closing the doors, whether you get out on the ice or not. If you work hard, it’s hard for the coach not to like you. Everybody’s going to make mistakes, but if you’re lazy and making mistakes, the coach isn’t going to open the door. That’s what I try to tell the kids. Wayne Gretzky made a mistake every game, but it’s what you do after you make a mistake that the coach really wants to see. I think some of that has rubbed off on Lane, and I certainly never had to tell Lane to work hard during a game.”- Paul MacDermid to NESN.com; August, 2010

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bruins prospect profile #23: Marc Cantin

Marc Cantin
6-1, 195
March 27, 1990
Shoots: Left
Signed as a free agent; March 2011
Signing status: Signed through 2014

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Decent size but plays bigger than his 6-1 frame. Thick build with a lot of natural strength. Good skater with decent acceleration and straight-line speed. Fluid in his pivots and turns with smooth footwork. Makes good passes in transition. Above average point shot with some power, but needs to work on keeping it lower to the ice and getting it on net. Superb physical presence; a big hitter who relishes contact and can make the open-ice contact effectively. Tough, snarly competitor who hits to intimidate. Superb with the hip check- slides over smoothly and effortlessly drills the oncoming forward. Makes opponents pay a price for setting up in front of his net. Works guys over along the walls and down low. Drops the gloves and is a solid middleweight fighter who can more than hold his own. Suffered a broken jaw in an off-ice altercation a year ago, but recovered well and posted a career season as an overager before being signed by Boston.

Intangibles: Keen defensive awareness and smarts. Understands the position and keeps it simple- does not play outside of his capabilities. Good, solid work ethic. Former captain at Belleville who can be a leader when focused on his team objectives. Won a Memorial Cup with Windsor and helped take Mississauga to the 2011 Memorial Cup championship game before falling to Saint John. Aggressive playing style is sure to lead to some dustups, but handles himself well and will earn the respect of teammates because he's always willing to back it up or go to bat for his guys.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Cantin made his presence known throughout the camp sessions by throwing big hits and playing his style, refusing to dial it back. He attempted one huge hip check on Justin Florek and just missed, but would have cleaned out the forward had he connected. He didn't wow anyone, but at the end of the day, he looked sharp and solid like he did a year ago. He made few mistakes if any, and when a defenseman is doing his job best, you don't notice him all that much. That adage holds true for Cantin.

Marc Cantin in action

Click here to see YouTube fight video between Cantin and Mark Cundari posted by JimKorn20


Projection

Cantin brings little in the way of offensive upside, but is one of those solid, safe defenders that you win with. The Mark Stuart comparison is used with him a lot, and Sean O'Donnell is another similar style of player, though Cantin is a better skater than the former Bruin. If Cantin makes it to the NHL it will be as a 5/6/7, but a valuable one because he plays a rugged defensive game and handles any situation well because of his smarts. Cantin is one of those "old time hockey" guys, but there is value and utility with him. It will take some time of riding buses in the minors for him to make it to the big show, but his time could come sooner rather than later because of his maturity and experience. No player in Boston's system has seen more action in both regular season and playoffs over the last four seasons than Cantin has. There is no substitute for seeing a lot of games at a high level like the OHL, so Cantin should be a little more polished going into the Providence than the average AHL rookie.

Quotable

"Cantin I thought played well and he’s one of those guys that’s may be a little bit older than the rest of the crew but as the days progressed, I thought he was strong out there today."- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli; July 11, 2011

"Marc Cantin reminds me a lot of Mark Stuart. You know real, real competitive kid, has leadership qualities and loves to play hockey."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 11, 2011

"Marc Cantin has won everywhere he’s been. He’s got kind of the build that Mark Stuart had. I haven’t been inside the locker room with him but all indications are that he has the intangibles of the player that we lost in Mark [Stuart]. So we’ll see what continues. I mean, he’s got some areas that we’re going to continue to work. But we’re really excited to have him. He was a player that went through the draft. We acquired him through free agency. He was an unsigned, undrafted player. Coaches speak highly of what he brings to the table and he’s just a kid that kind of, you know, puts the boots on and goes to work. "- Sweeney; July 7, 2011

Bruins prospect profile #22 Zach Trotman

Zach Trotman, D
6-4, 200
August 26, 1990
Shoots: Right
Boston's 8th choice, 210 overall (seventh round) in 2010 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Big frame but lean with much more room to add muscle mass and strength (he'll probably play in the 220 range at his peak). Good mobility; above average straight line speed and lateral agility and crossovers. Moves well in all directions and has pretty good footwork for a big man but is still growing into his body and could stand to improve balance and strength on his skates. Solid passer who kicked his game up a notch this past season, posting a career-high 20 points as a sophomore. Above average shot; the point slapper is not overpowering but he does a good job of mixing up the shot variety and can get the puck on net effectively from the blue line. Defense and positional play is a work in progess. Shows a willingness to play a physical game and uses his size effectively along the boards and in front of the net. A good solid shutdown 'D' prospect based on his progress with Lake Superior State, but could spend the next two years in school before he's ready for the pro ranks.

Intangibles: Confident player who has a good grasp of his strengths and shortcomings. Has the vision and offensive hockey sense to be a two-way defender at the next level. Already has the physical tools to provide more of an offensive contribution, and after leading the Lakers in scoring among defensemen, is on his way. Is a long-term project who appears to have the physical and mental chops to develop into a pro prospect eventually.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Trotman was one of the most pleasant surprises of any player at development camp on defense. Showed marked improvement in his confidence, poise and decision making from where he was a year ago. Demonstrated an ability to get the puck in on net from the point with a quick wrist/snap shot. Advanced the puck well in scrimmage action and was a standout for his skating and passing acumen during the various drills.

Development Camp interview with Zach Trotman

video

Projection

With his offensive upside, could force his way into the middle pairing one day. At the very least, Trotman will be a solid AHL defender who has enough skill to warrant NHL action even if he fails to establish himself as a regular at the highest level. With his blend of size, mobility, offense and smarts, Trotman is one of the more intriguing complete packages on D in Boston's system. He's probably too low on this list, and should he continue with the production at LSSU as a junior, will move his way up the B's prospect depth chart. Appears to have all the tools to be an NHL option one day, and may just have the toolbox, too. For a guy who was picked last in the 2010 draft, Trotman is progressing nicely and justifying Boston's decision to trade their 2011 seventh-rounder to take him.

Quotable

"I haven’t had a chance to see a lot of Zach [Trotman] play outside of video. I thought that physically he’s a really developed kid. But he’s moving better. His puck decision stuff in the course of this was really good. "- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 11, 2011

"I'm looking to improve on my overall game. I've got to get faster at making decisions on the ice and I'm working on doing more offensively. I'm looking forward to this season and trying to become more of a two-way player and hopefully getting more points."- Zach Trotman to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

"It's been a good time; I've enjoyed getting to know all of the players here and the coaches and learning about the Bruins' system and how they do things. I'm just trying to learn what I can and take it back to school with me."- Zach Trotman, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

Bruins prospect profile #21 Brian Ferlin

Brian Ferlin, RW
6-1, 196
June 4, 1992
Shoots: Right
Boston's fourth choice, 121st overall, in 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical: Good size and progressing well in his maturation and conditioning process. Quick burst of initial speed and separation gear- much better skater than his scouting reports indicate. Not the perfect skating technique, but he's sudden, fast and effective at getting through openings and going to the net. Quick hands and stick. Nice finishing touch in close and has a nifty knack for scoring goals. Fast release on a hard, accurate wrist shot and not afraid to unload. Soft hands for passing, but gets a lot of his assists by getting the puck to the net for rebound chances. Tore it up with Blake Coleman and Danill Tarasov on Indiana's top line, going 1-2-3 in scoring in the USHL last season as the trio accounted for 96 goals and 240 points. Not a thundering hitter or particularly snarly player, but does use his body effectively along the walls and out in front of the net. Shows a consistent effort at both ends of the ice.

Intangibles: Demonstrates impressive instincts and offensive sense and vision. Surprising flair for creativity given that he is Florida-born and trained, not going up to the USHL until age 17. Intelligent, industrious kid- will play for Cornell University in the fall. Still figuring out situational hockey given his non-traditional route and a lack of exposure to elite competition at an early age, but has the look of a natural whose development curve has taken off in the last three years.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment
Like Anthony Camara, Ferlin made himself some real money at development camp as a player who showed off some impressive offensive skill and finish. One memorable play, Ferlin beat top pick Dougie Hamilton in a footrace to a loose puck near center ice, then blew by the talented defenseman with a nice burst of separation. A Zane Gothberg glove save was the only thing that prevented the crowd being brought out of their seats at Ristuccia on the highlight reel-type sequence. Skating on a line with Ryan Spooner and Justin Florek, Ferlin gave the white squad fits in the scrimmages, scoring several times and presenting himself as someone needing to be accounted for on each shift.

Development Camp interview with Brian Ferlin

video

Projection

Ferlin was an interesting pick for Boston in that it marked the third consecutive year that the B's took an overage player (previously passed over) in the fourth round (Lane MacDermid in '09, Craig Cunningham in '10). Ferlin has top-six forward potential if he continues to develop his offensive skills to go with what appears to be an instinctive grasp of the game and creativity. He's a long-term project who will take several years in Cornell to hone his talents before turning pro. Success won't likely happen overnight for Ferlin, but he proved he belonged at development camp and has the look of a sleeper pick to keep a close eye on.

Quotable

“Four was [Brian] Ferlin, I thought Ferlin was good, good stick, protects the puck, you put him on that line, that line was good with [Justin] Florek, [Ryan] Spooner and Ferlin. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli; July 11, 2011

“That one line, I thought was very good, with [Justin] Florek, [Ryan] Spooner, and [Brian] Ferlin. I thought you could see the, they made plays together, they found each other, they scored. Just, it was just good to see the confidence in the players come out. “- Chiarelli; July 11, 2011

“Well, I think there’s a lot of room for growth on Brian [Ferlin]. He’s got tremendous upside athletically. I think he’ll continue to get more and more comfortable on the ice as he plays more and more hockey. It’s like taking the one thing until they converge, so to speak. I think that’s, as he plays more that athleticism will start to show up. He’s got good speed, he’s got good size, he’s got good skills, he’ll understand now in terms of how to utilize those even better as he plays with better players and moves forward. We’re excited. I think he’s a nice project and a nice piece to have to continue to go to work with and then see where he takes it. “- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 9, 2011

Bruins prospect profile #20 Craig Cunningham

Craig Cunningham, LW
5-10, 185
September 3, 1990
Shoots: Left
Boston's 4th choice, 97th overall, in 2010 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2014

Talent Analysis

Physical:
Short but stocky forward is naturally strong and better suited to transition from major junior to the pro grind than one would think simply by looking at his vitals on paper. Strong upper- and lower-body drive for his size. Above average skater who doesn't have explosive speed, but is quick and powerful- gets up a good head of steam and drives hard to the net, using his bowling ball-type build to fight through checks. Soft hands for passing and scoring goals. Can feather feeds through traffic and find open teammates for quality scoring opportunities. Has a quick stick and is exceptionally good at getting it on loose pucks and putting them home in close. Chippy player who gives as good as he gets; not afraid to get his nose dirty. Doesn't have the size to be a physical force, but willingly initiates contact and finishes his checks-- plays with a lot of energy. Another dedicated gym rat who became a close friend and workout partner of Milan Lucic's when the two were teammates on the Memorial Cup-winning Vancouver Giants in 2006-07. The two still workout together in the off-season with Giants strength and conditioning coach Ian Gallagher.

Intangibles: Character guy with passion and determination in spades. More creative offensively than he gets credit for- Portland teammate Sven Bartschi raved about Cunningham's playmaking and passing ability. Highly coachable player who will play any role required of him. Has the kind of heart and desire that may transcend his size deficit at the next level, but has a ways to go before he'll be ready to seriously compete for an NHL job. An affable yet serious type who learned the value of hard work watching his mother, Heather, work two jobs to support him and his two brothers after his father passed away. Captained Vancouver last season until a December trade to Portland. Helped lead the Winterhawks to the WHL championship series.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Cunningham isn't flashy and doesn't grab your attention, but at the end of the week, he did a lot of the little things right and showed off his trademark hustle. He had some chemistry skating with Jared Knight and Anthony Camara and is one of the more underrated prospects in Boston's system. Don Sweeney alluded to the fact that Cunningham struggled at times with some of the complex skating drills put on by skating coach Besa Tsintsadze, but that he kept a good sense of humor about it. Sweeney's comments indicated that Cunningham is well-liked and respected for his effort and dedication even if he may not have the natural ability of others in the system.

Development Camp interview with Craig Cunningham

video

Projection

The Bruins hope Cunningham will develop into a versatile utility forward on the bottom two lines in time. Although he's been a productive WHL scorer over the past two seasons (97 and 87 points), he's a long shot to ever crack Boston's lineup as a top-six forward. A responsible defensive player who will likely have to work his way into the AHL mix by doing the grunt work before he'll be ready for a regular scoring role. However, has enough versatility and maturity to earn a recall before some of the more highly skilled players ahead of him on the depth chart because he can fill any need even with limited ice time. One of those classic "more than the sum of his parts" type players you hear about.

Quotable

"I had a chance to go out and see Craig [Cunningham] later on in the season. He actually toyed with playing in Providence last year and decided to go back. Albeit it was in Vancouver at the time, he was captain and felt that he was going to be in a real leadership role, which kind of dovetails with the character of the kid. To be honest with you, he’s a kid who feels like he’s a leader and wants to be a leader. He went to Portland and was spoken very highly of by the coaching staff there in that capacity. So you know, the playing field kind of gets leveled out now, in terms of, he’s a younger kid and coming, but even in this type of camp with kids, he’s kind of taken a leadership role."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 9, 2011

“He’s just such a coachable young man. Right from the time he was 16, he really understood everything that was being taught to him. He tried to do everything that was being taught to him, and he continually got better and better. The evolution is that he’s a 19-year-old player now; he knows what the expectations are and he’s grown with different leaders. He’s a real Giant-type player—he’s a really hard-working young man.”- Vancouver Giants Don Hay to Straight.com; December, 2009

“When he was 16 we saw some skill in him, but he didn’t score a goal the whole year. But in that training camp with his own age group, he was one of the top players. We knew he had the skill, but he wasn’t having the success as far as putting up numbers. But killing penalties and doing all the things—playing five-on-five, finishing checks—he did all those things. Now, as a 19-year-old, his skill level has caught up and he’s been a real, real good player for us.”- Don Hay to Straight.com; December, 2009

"We really like this kid. He led Vancouver in scoring andwas one of the top scorers in the entire WHL this past season, but beyond that, you have to look at what he's gone through in his life and how he's had to overcome a lot. He brings a lot of energy and passion to everything he does, and he's just one of those players that we looked at a lot this year and felt he brought both that scoring and character to the table."- Bruins director of amateur scouting Wayne Smith
to B2010DW; Los Angeles; June 26, 2010

"Craig Cunningham / LW ('90): Has become shifty and dangerous enough that he's turned into a real pro prospect. Seems to me like he's grown a little bit (maybe an inch or so) in the last two years, so that also helps. And he was one of the youngest players in the 2008 draft, so he's closer to being a part of last year's group. I'll be shocked if someone doesn't grab him at least late in the draft - could even go in the middle rounds. If somehow he doesn't go, he'll have a lot of calls from teams for a camp invite."- Red Line Report scout Mike Remmerde, NHL Draft Notes Blog, June 22, 2010

Bruins prospect profile #19: Colby Cohen

Colby Cohen, D
6-2, 205
April 25, 1989
Shoots: Right
Acquired from Colorado for Matt Hunwick; November, 2010
Signing status: Signed through 2013

Talent Analysis

Physical: Excellent size with a big frame and long reach. Has a long, fluid stride and the ability to cover a lot of ground when he gets up to speed. Footwork and change of direction average. Big, booming shot- has real power and he keeps it low and on net. Needs to work on getting it off a little faster and mixing up the options a bit. The opposition seems to anticipate the big drive at times and gets into the shooting lanes. Good passer/puck-mover- has a soft touch and is able to make the crisp outlets and long lead passes with ease. Also capable of looking one way and making the back door pass in the other direction. Still working on his positional play. Not a devastating or punishing hitter, but keeps opponents honest by initiating contact and pinning guys against the boards. A willing fighter going back to his USHL days in Lincoln, but not a major staple of his game, as he lacks experience and technique.

Intangibles: Sees the ice well to advance the puck effectively in transition. Smoked the winning goal at the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four, so he has some major clutch ability and poise in him. Scouts question his defensive awareness; gets to running around in his own end and doesn't demonstrate the same kind of instinctive feel in his own end that he does when the puck is on his stick. Work ethic and consistency has been an issue going back to his draft season (06-07), when Central Scouting made note of it in their final ranking (25th) scouting report. Has big game ability, but doesn't always do the little things coaches demand.

Boston Bruins 2011 Development Camp assessment

Did not attend.

Projection

From a purely physical attributes standpoint, Cohen is a lock for the NHL. He has the size, skating, passing and shot to be an effective 4/5/6 at the highest level. However, the effort and overall feel for the game is what could hold him back, especially on a deep championship team like Boston. The former second-round pick got into three NHL games with Colorado last season before his trade, but the fact that he was dealt at such a young age in just his first full season with the team makes you wonder what prompted it. There is no denying that Cohen has a swagger about him and the supreme confidence of a player who won the 2009 NCAA national championship with a screamer of a shot in sudden death overtime. The Philadelphia-area native has all the tools to be an effective NHL defenseman, but he has to prove it to the coaching staff that his intensity and drive can match his myriad natural gifts.

Colby Cohen in action

Click here to see YouTube Cohen '09 FF overtime goal posted by beatladurham20

Quotable

“He’s a big, strong kid; right-handed shot. We’ve tracked him for a while. He’s been on our interest list.”- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli; November 29, 2010

"When the Colorado GM called me and he’s like ‘We just traded you,’I was praying. I had a few cities in mind, but I was praying it wasn’t Edmonton and when he said Boston, I was like, ‘Wow, this couldn’t be any better!’”- Colby Cohen; November 29, 2010

“Coach (Jack) Parker and Coach (David) Quinn, the way they taught me over the last few years just made it pretty easy for me to transition in (to the AHL). Obviously I was fortunate enough to get to play a couple NHL games this season already. And I felt like what they did for me really helped me in those games.”- Cohen; November, 2010