With Savard likely out at least a month, and Sturm down checked until probably December, the race for roster spots has gotten even more interesting. I went to the second rookie game against the Islanders and was treated to more hustle and grit from some players than I had expected.
Jamie Arniel was relentless about chasing the puck in his own zone and turned in a very solid two way game. I’ve seen him play before and his speed is no surprise, but his tenacity and work ethic are reminicient of P.J. Axellson.
Ryan Spooner, if there’s any of the picks from this years draft who have just jumped on the ice determined to make every GM who passed him over look silly, it’s this guy. Fast, quick release, solid shot and did better than certain other centers in the faceoff circle tonight against Montreal. He even picked up a point against the defense that shut down Semin and Green last spring.
Jordan “I’m a first round pick too” Caron had a hat trick in the first game against the Islanders rookies, and delivered three in the Bell Centre tonight. On a team starved for size (Bergeron at 194 lbs was their largest center last year.) his now two hundred plus pound frame might leverage out the slighter men. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a versatile player comfortable at both wing and center. Of note was his penalty kill time against Montreal. He was the only rookie forward to get any PK time, and was just behind Seguin in powerplay time for rookies.
Maxime Suave. It’s hard to believe this guy had a pin removed from his ankle just a few weeks back. His speed is top shelf, and like Arniel his two way play came as a pleasant surprise. This is of course in addition to his release which will remind Bruins fans of a young Glen Murray. Add in his passing ability and you’ve got a lethal combination. During the second rookie game he peeled around the back if the Islanders net, zoomed towards the blueline and made a tape to tape backhand saucer pass to a waiting Spooner who fed it into the goal mouth.
Joe Colborne despite the nose they feared was broken he’s somehow flown under the radar, despite having a solid camp. I suspect he’ll get more of a look this year than he might have if Savard were healthy. He’s packed on a lot of muscle since he was drafted, but still has yet to play an 82 game schedule and was we saw with Blake Wheeler, and other college players this can add some hiccups the already rough transition from other levels of hockey to the NHL.
Michael Hutchinson. While this is probably the least interesting position for the Bruins this year, I got to see this young goalie do some impressive things. He’s very sound positionally, and uses both glove and stick effectively.
Ryan Button. My level of whelm has climbed greatly since prospect camp. I’m not prepared to rewrite the Bruins top 7 depth chart to include him, but I don’t wince when I hear his name.
Matt Bartowski is another of the new boys with his aims set on a top six defense spot. I’m liking what I’m seeing so far, but with defensemen it is so hard to tell.
Yury Alexandrov. I liked his game a lot against the Islanders, his speed and positioning are more than just sound, and he clearly has a “game speed” that is a step or more above his “practice” and “scrimmage” levels. I wonder if he’s doing enough in practice to snatch a roster spot, but I don’t think it matter Julien is pretty conservative overall and he at least knows what he’s gonna get from the seven guys who played defense last year for the Bruins.
These guys will almost certainly be the last half dozen cut with one or two making the squad. Others with an outside shot include Jeremy Reich, Zach Hamill, Jared Knight, and Brad Marchand.