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Counting Down the Top-Ten Bruins Prospects: #3 Matthew Poitras

(Photo Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe)

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

Training camp is finished, the first round of cuts has been made, and the Boston Bruins are pushing through their preseason schedule to churn out their best possible roster for the 2023-24 campaign. There aren’t many spots for upcoming skaters, but one rookie is making his case to be the team’s center of the future. The number three prospect in the Boston Bruins system is Matthew Poitras.

Poitras was selected with the 54th overall pick in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft. The now 19-year-old had just completed his first season in the Ontario Hockey League when Boston added him to their prospect pool. In said inaugural season, Poitras put up 21 goals, 29 assists, and 50 points in 68 games for the Guelph Storm.

The Brooklin, Ontario, native put the world on notice in his second OHL season, posting 16 goals, 79 assists, and 95 points in 63 games. Those numbers were good enough for Poitras to finish sixth in the league in points and second in assists. Following his season with the Guelph Storm, he earned a PTO with the Providence Bruins but didn’t appear in a game before the team was eliminated from playoff contention.

Poitras may not be my number-one prospect on this list, but he is by far the most intriguing and exciting player in the Bruins system. What impresses me most about the slick-passing center is his ability to see plays before they develop. He has an incredible feel for the game, allowing him to drive the play on offense and create chances for his teammates. He sees passing lanes before they open and can think two to three steps ahead of his opponents, which lets him take advantage of defenders and find his open teammates.

On top of his excellent vision, Poitras is an incredibly accurate passer. He thrives in tight spaces and can feed passes through even the tightest windows to set up other skaters. Poitras always finds a way to get pucks to his teammates in a shooting position, whether between the legs of a defender, through a grouping of sticks in the slot, or across the zone through several bodies.

His playmaking abilities are enough to excite Bruins fans, but that’s not where his skillset ends. Poitras is an excellent forechecker who hunts pucks below the goal line and uses his active stick and low center of gravity to pester opponents. He made an impression on me at training camp when he could battle the likes of Derek Forbort and Brandon Carlo and still win pucks along the walls.

In addition to the skills mentioned above, Poitras has NHL-caliber hands and a lethal shot. I watched him dangle through Jackson Edward at Development Camp in a three-on-three drill, then roof a backhand off the post and crossbar in the net. He stickhandles well in traffic and uses his edges to quickly shift away from oncoming defenders and create space for himself when he has the puck. He’s definitely a pass-first player, but when he lets his shot go, it’s a thing of beauty.

Another thing I like about Poitras’ game is that he always seems to make the right play. He limits his turnovers in the offensive zone and is a responsible defender, taking care to close his gaps and assist his defensemen when they’re outnumbered. He has above-average speed and is a strong enough skater to pop in transition and keep up with faster skaters. I project him as a picture-perfect two-way center with incredible offensive upside.

Poitras has put the Bruins in quite an odd situation. Because he’s only 19 and a Canadian Hockey League (OHL) skater, he can’t be assigned to Providence. That means he must make the NHL squad out of training camp or be relegated to the OHL. He can play nine games in Boston before going back to the Guelph Storm, but however you slice it, the Bruins are in a precarious position.

No matter where Poitras ends up, it’s clear that he has a bright future ahead of him. I firmly believe he has the potential to be an elite top-six center and the heir to Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Until Boston decides on where he’ll play in the 2023-23 season, Poitras is a must-watch player this preseason and could be one for many years to come.

1 Comment

  1. John Driscoll

    You nailed this. It’s early but looks like this kid could be a star in the making.

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