(Photo Credit: Michael Tureski / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Lauren Spencer | Follow Me on Twitter: @laurenspenc

As the NHL season gets closer, the Bruins are beginning training camp to finalize their opening night roster. This season’s roster will be much different than in the past, as team staples Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have retired during this offseason. Despite it being difficult to find players who can compare to those two, the Bruins must look ahead to the future and begin navigating a tough season ahead.

After the Bruins shared the full roster of who will be attending training camp, some names stood out as players who will be looking for their big shot. Of course, some players out there will have no problems making the team, such as 60-goal scorer David Pastrnak, but others will have to do their best to stand out during this time. Based on who the Bruins have invited to camp this year, here are some players that Bruins fans should keep their eyes on as the on-ice action picks up.

Danton Heinen

As a player invited to training camp for a Professional Try Out, Danton Heinen is a familiar face to Bruins fans. He was a member of the Boston team from 2016 to 2019 until he was dealt at the trade deadline to the Anaheim Ducks. After his time in Anaheim, he spent two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last season, he had eight goals and fourteen assists in 65 games with Pittsburgh. He returns to Boston as a free agent looking to earn a contract with the team that drafted him. At age 28, the left-winger has the potential to perform well due to past chemistry with some former teammates. The Bruins have a solid veteran core right now, and playing with his former teammates again may help Heinen secure a contract.

Another thing that may benefit Heinen as he looks to secure a contract is his history with Head Coach Jim Montgomery. While Heinen was a University of Denver hockey team member between 2014-2016, Montgomery served as his head coach. These years surely gave Heinen a good idea of what Montgomery expects from his players. If he can play to these strengths, it can give him a leg up during his try-out period.

Johnny Beecher

After being drafted in the First Round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Johnny Beecher could a golden opportunity to make his mark in Boston this year. While it will be challenging for Beecher to crack the Bruins full-time lineup, he is a player that could potentially earn call-ups throughout the season.

As a 6-foot-3 center, Beecher plays in the position where the team needs more depth. Despite his low points output in 2022-2023, with nine goals and fourteen assists, Beecher is a quick skater who has the ability to win face-offs and set up plays. Bruins reporter Ty Anderson also mentioned that during today’s session, Beecher played on a line with Milan Lucic and Jakub Lauko, and that Montgomery stressed the need for a left-handed center. If Beecher can perform well between those two players, it can give him an advantage towards making the roster.

Having a strong training camp and start to the AHL season will be extremely important for Beecher, as he is someone who may earn his chance to make his NHL debut. Even with the uncertainties as to where the Bruins lineup will go, for right now, he is a player who has the potential to stand out during training camp and surprise everyone.

Trevor Kuntar

Another player to keep an eye on is Trevor Kuntar. The 22-year-old former Boston College player was drafted in Round Three of the 2020 NHL draft at number 89 overall. At BC last season, Kuntar totaled 13 goals and 14 assists in 34 games.  As a center, he can provide depth in a position the Bruins have been struggling for. He was a standout player throughout the Prospect’s Tournament, scoring an impressive, backhanded goal during a game against the Montreal Canadiens’ prospects.

Before his time at BC, Kuntar was also a member of the Youngstown Phantoms USHL team. While there, he was teammates with fellow prospect Georgii Merkulov. As two players looking to make an impact in Boston, channeling any past chemistry would be helpful for both players.  

Mason Lohrei

Right now, the Bruins have a solid defensive core, with Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelyck all playing important roles within the team. These players, with the exception of Lindholm, had the privilege to play with Zdeno Chara, who had an essential role in their development. Now it may be their turn to play the leadership role with Mason Lohrei, who has shown potential in his game.

Lohrei, who checks in at 6-foot 4-inches, had success at Ohio State University for two years before deciding to go pro and join Providence at the tail end of last season. Despite a so-so tournament in Buffalo, he is among the highest-rated Bruins prospects. He had 28 assists last season for OSU and can be useful in an offensive capacity, as well as his strong defense.

While some time in the AHL may benefit him, allowing him to play alongside NHL-caliber players will help to develop his defensive skills even further. As a left-handed defenseman, the Bruins could pair him with Carlo or Kevin Shattenkirk to give him the guidance of a veteran player. Throughout training camp, it will be interesting to see who Lohrei partners with on the blue line and if he can make the most of this time.

Brandon Bussi

Brandon Bussi is a player who finds himself in an interesting position heading into this season. As a rookie in 2022-2023, Bussi had a great season, finishing the season at 22-5-4 with a .924 SV% and 2.40 GAA. He looked solid all season, but unfortunately for him, goaltending is currently the strongest area for the Bruins. With the reigning Jennings Trophy winners in Boston, it leaves little room for Bussi to step up. However, if he performs well enough, it may make a difference later in the season if the Bruins are looking to make trades. Knowing that the team could potentially move a goalie and have someone ready as a backup may lead to an interesting storyline to follow during the season.