By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
After a long and hard-fought week in the Boston Bruins’ 15th annual Development Camp, a few of Boston’s prospects made lasting impressions on the organization. The camp ran from July 11th until July 15th at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts. For many prospects, this was their first chance to show the Bruins Player Development staff and fans their skills. Here are four of the Bruins’ prospects that stood out:
The Boston Bruins selected Matthew Poitras in the second round of the 2022 draft. Poitras is an 18-year-old centerman who’s been described as a two-way centerman that uses his 5’11” frame to reach inside position on defenders and his strong hockey awareness to create plays. He came exactly as advertised and showcased all these abilities at Development Camp.
Poitras was exceptional in his first time wearing the spoked-b practice uniform. Poitras stood out, especially when it came to battle drills. Boston’s coaching staff split the development camp players into four groups in a three-on-three tournament on both sides of the arena. In the tournament, Poitras showed his strong puck possession skills and compete level. He was perhaps his team’s most valuable player as they went on to win the tournament in overtime.
While it’s probably only a matter of time for Poitras to make it to the big leagues, it won’t be this season. Like many other 18-year-old players selected in this past draft, Poitras needs to get stronger and work on his skating before he jumps to professional hockey. Poitras will return to the Guelph Storm next season and continue to refine his strength and skating in the OHL.
Most Bruins fans got a taste of what McLaughlin brought to the Bruins’ lineup last season, but at Development Camp, we saw a newer side of McLaughlin. Right off the start of the Bruins’ Development Camp, McLaughlin assumed a leadership role because of his time in the NHL last season. He was often seen leading the coaching staff’s drills and demonstrating the intensity and pace needed at every NHL practice.
At the beginning of camp, McLaughlin explained that he’s been working on his composure with the puck. By the end of the camp, it was evident that his work had paid off. McLaughlin showed poise and confidence and was another player that impressed during the three-on-three tournament. Throughout the tournament, McLaughlin used his strength and puck possession to muscle off defenders. McLaughlin scored the eventual tournament winner in the finals after he beat a defender wide and scored on a quick snapshot. With the improvement he showed at camp, McLaughlin will be a player that could earn a roster spot on the Bruins’ bottom six to start the 2022-23 NHL season.
Cole Spicer was one of the prospects at the Bruins’ Development Camp that showed promise with his offensive skill set. Spicer was selected in the fourth round of the 2022 draft (#117). Spicer played for the United States National U18 Team and Team USA in the World Junior Championships. During his time with both teams, he played alongside the Arizona Coyotes’ top draft pick in 2022, Logan Cooley (first round #3 overall). Both players seemed to feed off one another’s play style, and Spicer finished with just under a point-per-game with five points in six games before the WJCs abruptly halted due to rising COVID cases.
What stood out the most about Spicer’s game at Development Camp was his creativity in the offensive zone with his innovative passing and quick hands. He was able to find open teammates for back-door tap-ins and cross-seam passes through traffic. He also possesses solid agility and edge work but somewhat lacks high-end speed and strength. Spicer is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for next season, where he’ll train and develop the strength to play in the NHL one day. Spicer will be in good hands, considering the Bulldogs are coming off their second straight Frozen Four NCAA National Championship.
Frederic Brunet was a player that quietly made a solid impression at Development Camp. Brunet was another 2022 draft selection (5th round #132) by the Boston Bruins and played in the QMJHL with the Rimouski Oceanic. The 6’2″ defenseman was drafted as an offensive defenseman as he had 46 points in 63 games for the Oceanic last season. His awareness and transition game are the most notable characteristics of his game, as he’s known to get involved on the rush and in the offensive zone.
Brunet showed off his fluid edge work at Development Camp during skating drills. On Thursday, the final session of camp involved all the defensemen working on edge work and explosiveness. While Brunet is not the most explosive skater, he excels in lateral movement and backward crossovers. He was pulled aside a couple of times by Providence Bruins head coach, Ryan Mougenel, to critique certain parts of his explosiveness and edgework. Hopefully, the camp will provide a valuable learning experience as he’s expected to return to the QMJHL for the 2022-23 season.