( Photo Credit: Steve Babineau / Getty Images )

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis and Linktree

Coming in at number nine on our countdown of the top-ten Bruins prospects is Massachusett’s own Marc McLaughlin. McLaughlin is a born and raised Massachusetts man, spending his childhood in North Billerica, MA, attending Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, MA, and playing his collegiate hockey at Boston College. His affiliation with the Bruins organization began on March 15, 2022, when the team signed him to a two-year entry-level contract with an average annual value of $883,750.

McLaughlin’s professional prospects got off to an unheralded start as he went undrafted in his draft-eligible season and posted only 20 points throughout his freshmen and sophomore seasons. He was named captain of the Eagles in his junior season and took off from there.

McLaughlin registered ten goals, 14 assists, and 24 points in 24 games during his junior year. Again he dawned the captain’s ‘C’ in his senior season and exploded for 21 goals, 11 assists, and 32 points in 33 games. He was able to put up points and register a plus-10 in his senior season despite the team finishing 15-18-5.

After signing with the Bruins, McLaughlin burst onto the scene, scoring in his first NHL game merely 16 days after signing his contract. McLaughlin finished the 2021-22 season with three goals in 11 games for the Bruins. Following his impressive first season, the versatile forward was a casualty of the numbers crunch on the Bruins roster. He spent the lion’s share of the 2022-23 season in Providence, scoring 13 goals and adding 17 assists for 30 points over his 66 AHL games.

McLaughlin garnered so much attention out of college and was able to stand out due to his work ethic and attention to detail. McLaughlin is almost always in the right spot, blanketing his defensive assignments and using his overly active stick to disrupt plays in his own zone. His hockey IQ is another asset, allowing him to anticipate plays as they develop and break them up before they begin. He’s been a penalty-killer his whole life and has the potential to be a superb one at the NHL level.

McLaughlin is an excellent checker who expertly uses his body to close off opponents during board battles and protect the puck when he has possession. He positions himself so well across all three zones that he can engage larger opponents and win battles despite being a relatively average-size skater at 6’0″, 200 pounds.

The other standout in Marc McLaughlin’s game is his high motor. He’s constantly buzzing on the forecheck, hunting pucks, and making life difficult on opposing players trying to start their breakout. He slashes and hacks below the goal line, wreaking havoc and generating scoring opportunities for his teammates.

McLaughlin has the defensive skill and the tenacity/stick-to-it-iveness of an NHL-caliber bottom-six forward at this very moment. I believe McLaughlin would have been on the team last season had the Bruins not committed so much capital to Thomas Nosek, Nick Foligno, and Craig Smith. The development of his offensive game will determine McLaughlin’s success at the NHL level.

McLaughlin has some skill around the net, carving out space in front of the blue paint and either burying rebounds or consistently redirecting shots from the point. He has a decent shot and can get it off quickly, but other than that, his offensive game doesn’t have a lot of pop to it.

The Bruins signed McLaughlin after last season to a one-year, two-way deal worth $775,000. The Massachusetts native should definitely push for a roster spot out of camp and could find himself acting as a consistent bottom-six contributor by the end of the season. McLaughlin has done nothing but impresses when playing at the NHL level, and if he’s given a chance, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.