Day one of the Bruins training camp saw 50 skaters and six goalies take the ice, hoping to make the team’s final NHL roster. The organization split their players into groups, conducting two sessions at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., respectively. Here’s what I saw:
Lines, Lines, Lines
A big question mark going into this season was how the lines would shake out following an offseason of significant additions and departures. Here’s what they looked like at practice:
A New Fourth Line
It was interesting to see former first-round pick John Beecher centering a line between Milan Lucic and Jakub Lauko. Lauko came on late last season and established himself as a roster lock, and Lucic was brought back to add some sandpaper to the bottom of the roster. That means the Bruins brass could project Beecher as their new fourth-line center.
Poitras and Pastrnak
Perhaps the most exciting part of the day was watching David Pastrnak and top prospect Matthew Poitras exit the tunnel wearing the same color jersey. Poitras was impressive and held his own skating with one of the best forwards in the league. He held his own against bigger and stronger defenders, and his vision and hockey IQ translated against legitimate NHL talent.
Faith in Fabian
Fabian Lysell was another skater who raised eyebrows when he rolled onto the ice beside captain Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle. Lysell’s speed is elite, and he had no problem keeping up with two of Boston’s offensive juggernauts. His strength is still a concern, but fans should be encouraged by how well his speed and skill held up at camp.
Return of Heinen
Danton Heinen looks like a lock to make this roster. During session one, he skated with Jake Debrusk and Georgii Merkulov, showing that his game has developed since his last stint in Boston. He and Debrusk had instant chemistry, pulling off the type of drop passes and communication exhibited by players with far more experience. I don’t see him in a top-six role, but he’ll be a staple at the bottom of Boston’s lineup.
- The Lucic-Beecher-Lauko line may be Don Sweeney’s plan A, but their other potential fourth line didn’t go away without a fight. Patrick Brown, Alex Chiasson, and AJ Greer were fierce on every forecheck and surprisingly effective on offense. They were easily one of the best lines of the day.
- During session two, Frederic Brunet was one of the better defensemen on the ice. He moved pucks well, made smart plays, and expertly worked the blueline.
- Brad Marchand, Jackson Edward, and Charlie Mcavoy got into a tussle during session one, resulting in Mcavoy taking a light cross-check to the back of the head. He was alright after a few seconds of gathering himself.
- Mason Lohrei bounced back well after an up-and-down prospect challenge. He took a big hit from Chiasson after making a smart play with the puck and was generally more responsible in his own end.