By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
When the Boston Bruins Training Camp comes around, it always gets me even more amped up for the upcoming regular season because it is one of the final team events before the opening faceoff. This year, however, is a bit different for the Bruins. The training camp roster will be split into two, as some players will be headed off to China for the pair of preseason games against the Calgary Flames.
Expected Roster For O.R.G China Games (Camp Opens Sept. 11*)
Forwards: David Backes, Martin Bakos, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Trent Frederic, Colby Cave, Brad Marchand, Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak, Jack Studnicka, Jordan Szwarz, Chris Wagner
Defense: Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Tuukka Rask
Expected Roster For Domestic Preseason (Camp Opens Sept. 13*)
Forwards: Noel Acciari, Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, David Krejci**, Ryan Fitzgerald, Austin Fyten, Danton Heinen, Cameron Hughes, Joona Koppanen, Karson Kuhlman, Sean Kuraly, Jakub Lauko, Brett McKenzie, Mark McNeill, Marcel Noebels, Cedric Pare, Tanner Pond, Zach Senyshyn, Daniel Winnik, Lee Stempniak
Defense: Axel Andersson, Chris Breen, Daniel Bukac, Zdeno Chara, Connor Clifton, Mark Fayne, Olivier Galipeau, Cody Goloubef, Emil Johansson, Torey Krug, Jeremy Lauzon, Joel Messner, Wiley Sherman
Goaltenders: Kyle Keyser, Zane McIntyre, Dan Vladar
You may recognize all of the players that will be headed to the most populated country in the world this September, but there are a few names in the domestic preseason roster that are not quite familiar to the Bruins organization. Joel Messner, Brett McKenzie, Tanner Pond, Marcel Noebels, Mark Fayne, Daniel Winnik, and Lee Stempniak are invited to the camp, but who exactly are they?
Joel Messner (D)
After four seasons in the NCAA with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the 24-year-old Messner recently signed a professional tryout contract with the Boston Bruins and he will be included in Boston’s training camp.
Messner started his junior career with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), playing with the Selkirk Steelers for three full consecutive seasons. His best season with the Steelers came back in the 2013-14 campaign when he produced 9-44-53 totals in 54 games as a defenseman. That season earned him the honors of Top Defenseman in the league as well as making the MJHL First All-Star Team.
The season earned him the chance to play with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, starting in the 2014-15 season. While he wouldn’t come close to the 52 points he scored in junior, Messner would become the captain of the team for this past 2017-18 season. In his first season, (and only to date), as captain, he scored five goals and 23 points for the club.
Joel also won the Don Leahy Senior Career Achievement Award in the 2017-18 year, which recognized the male athlete that had a stellar career at the University.
The 6-foot-2 defender could be someone to watch when he participates in the camp on the Sept. 13.
Brett McKenzie (F)
Brett McKenzie is one of two players on this short list of Bruins training camp invites that has an AHL contract with the Providence Bruins.
Even though he has an AHL deal with the P-Bruins, McKenzie is not quite considered a Boston Bruin. According to Habs Eyes on the Prize, when a player signs an AHL deal, he is not eligible to be called up to the National Hockey League and play for that NHL team, even if it is the affiliate team of the AHL team.
Therefore, it can be considered that McKenzie and other AHL contracted players are invites to the Boston training camp because they do not have the opportunity to play with the team during the course of the regular season.
McKenzie was a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, but the Canucks failed to offer the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada native to an Entry-Level deal, leaving him a free agent. In the season of his draft year, McKenzie finished his third year with the North Bay Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), scoring 26-27-53 totals in 66 games that year. He would also help with five-points in 11 playoff games that same year.
Due to the fact that he would not sign with the Canucks right after the draft, he would play another season with the Battalion, this time as the alternate captain. In the 2016-17 season, he would set a career-high in points, finishing the year with 67 points (29 goals, 38 assists) in 67 games.
This past hockey season, McKenzie started the year with the Battalion as he had for the three seasons prior. Following a time where he scored 23 points in 31 games, he was involved in a trade that sent him to the Owen Sound Attack. In the 33 games with Owen Sound, McKenzie scored 26 points. Below is a scouting report from Elite Prospects’ Tyler Parchem back in 2015.
“McKenzie can be described as a smart defensive forward who skates well and is excellent on the draw. He is not overly physical, but is overall awareness in all 3 zones is coveted.” (Tyler Parchem, EP 2015)
Tanner Pond (F)
Tanner Pond brings another American Hockey League contract to the Bruins training camp and the 2016 NCAA Hockey East Champion is looking to make a name for himself.
Even though he plays at the center position, the Walled Lake, Michigan, USA native is still a decent player and could bring an interesting style of play to Boston’s camp. Pond has played in the USHL, NCAA, ECHL, and now more recently, the AHL. Following 137 games played over three seasons in the USHL, Pond played four seasons with the Northeastern Huskies in the NCAA.
The 6-foot, 194-pound forward only scored a combined 12 points in 109 NCAA contests, accumulating more than 70 penalty minutes. He played a pivotal role on the 2016 NCAA Hockey East Championship-winning team that defeated the UMass-Lowell River Hawks by a score of 3-2.
After a lackluster 2016-17 campaign, he signed a deal with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL, starting in ’17/’18. Once the deal went through, Gladiators Head Coach Andy Brandt said the following about Tanner Pond.
“Tanner is a player who is a full out competitor,” said Gladiators Head Coach Andy Brandt. “Our research indicates that he excels on the forecheck and is defensibly responsible.”
Tanner would play 61 games with Atlanta, producing 14-23-37 totals and 163 penalty minutes. On March 9 of this year, Pond would sign a PTO with the Providence Bruins, going scoreless in the four games he played.
This past off-season, Pond agreed to a contract with the Providence Bruins and is expected to play with them for the 2018-19 season.
Marcel Noebels (F)
Marcel Noebels has been in the Bruins media for numerous months now, as a possible signing between him and either the Providence Bruins or the Boston Bruins was suggested earlier in the off-season. However, nothing came about and it seemed like the signing would not happen. With that said, the Bruins and Noebels would recently agree on a PTO contract, allowing Noebels to play in the upcoming Boston training camp.
The 26-year-old center is coming off of a 30-point season with the Eisbären Berlin in the DEL. Noebels also added 14 points in 18 playoff games for the club. The 6-foot-2 German also played in the 2018 World Championships, scoring one point in seven games.
Noebels has previously had experience in the American Hockey League, playing 95 games over the course of four seasons bouncing back-and-forth between the AHL and Germany. In the 95 games played with the Adirondack Phantoms, Marcel scored 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points.
Noebels also took home a silver medal in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games with Team Germany, as they lost to the Olympic Athletes from Russia. The former fourth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft signed a PTO with the Bruins back on the Sept. 5.
Daniel Winnik (F)
The Boston Bruins have also handed out three PTOs to veteran NHL players and Daniel Winnik is one of them. Selected in ninth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, Winnik has since played 798 career NHL contests, scoring 82 goals and 169 assists for 251 points, along with a career plus/minus rating of +52.
Winnik’s near-800 games played is an impressive stat considering he was the 265th player drafted in the ’04 Draft. However, the time he has spent in the National Hockey League has not been with one team, but rather eight teams. Winnik has not spent more than three whole seasons with a single franchise, hitting the three-year mark back in Phoenix from 2007-08 to 2009-10.
Daniel’s most productive year was back in the 2014-15 regular season, which was split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In his most recent campaign as an NHLer, Winnik played 81 games with the Minnesota Wild, scoring a total of 23 points. He has also been involved in four different trades, coming in 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2016.
Winnik signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins on Sept. 10, 2018.
Lee Stempniak (F)
This name should look a bit familiar to Bruins fans, even the new ones. Lee Stempniak was drafted in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, 148th overall by the St. Louis Blues. As of this current time in his career, he has played the majority of his 909-game NHL career with the Blues, playing for four straight seasons.
After stints with the Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Flames, Penguins, Rangers, Jets, and Devils, Stempniak would be sent to Boston on Feb. 29, 2016 via a trade deadline deal. Lee would only play 19 games with the B’s, producing 3-7-10 totals with the club. When the 2015-16 season concluded, he would not re-sign with Boston during the offseason, instead signing with the Carolina Hurricanes on a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season.
Lee would find early success with the Hurricanes, adding 40 points in a full, 82-game season. Although, in the recent 2017-18 year, Stempniak would only score nine points in 37 games. He has signed a PTO with the Boston Bruins on the same day as Daniel Winnik — September 10th, 2018.
Mark Fayne (D)
The last player on this list, Mark Fayne, has been on the Bruins roster on a PTO for a few days now and I recently wrote an article about the signing when the news was released. While I won’t go as in-depth about Fayne in this particular article, you can read more about the former Oiler in my article below.
Mark Fayne has only played in seven NHL seasons, four with the New Jersey Devils and three with the Edmonton Oilers. Although, Fayne was only with Edmonton for four games during the 2016-17 regular season and did not play a single National Hockey League game for the entirety of the ’17/’18 campaign.
Mark’s career year was his second season, in 2011-12, when he scored four goals and 17 points but was a -4 rating. Ever since he agreed to a four-year contract with the Oilers, his production has dropped off significantly, scoring a combined 17 points in 147 games. His value dropped so much that he played 39 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL, scoring only 2-3-5 totals.
Fayne will one of 14 defensemen taking part in the Boston Bruins training camp for players not headed to China.
The Boston Bruins training camp begins tomorrow for all players expected to head to China to play the two preseason games there against the Calgary Flames. For the remaining players, their training camp is currently scheduled to begin on Thursday, Sept.13.
Once again, all of the current dates for the Boston Bruins NHL training camp is courtesy of the official Boston Bruins website.