(Photo Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter @adbblue

Boston Bruins 2019 first-round pick John Beecher has taken more than the ideal time to develop. The young center drafted out of the University of Michigan has had to overcome some adversity, which included getting shoulder surgery in his sophomore season playing for the Wolverines and then missing the 2020 World Junior Tournament after testing positive for COVID-19.

But with under a week away from the first regular season game of the 2023-24 campaign, Beecher survived another group of roster cuts and has put himself in a good position to crack the NHL roster. He’s had a solid camp and has been noticeable during the preseason games.

A few things have stood out about Beecher’s game throughout camp. He has shown he’s capable of playing both ways. He has been solid on the back check and in the defensive zone. His positioning has also been sound, and he’s been quick to jump on loose pucks. 

The biggest thing that has stood out about the 22-year-old is his quickness and speed. Several times during preseason games, he has generated scoring chances out of nowhere just from his speed alone. Beecher was known for that when playing for the US National Development program and at Michigan. That is a big reason why the Bruins took him 30th overall. 

There are three plays Beecher has made that have stood out this preseason. The first was in game number one against the New York Rangers, where Beecher used his speed through center ice to get behind the defense and finished off a beautiful breakaway goal past Jonathan Quick. 

The second play was in the fifth game against the Washington Capitals, where, from out of nowhere, in the neutral zone, he absolutely burned a Capitals defenseman and had a breakaway chance but couldn’t finish. The third play was the same game where he again used his speed to create a two-on-one but tried forcing a pass over to Jakob Lauko, which was broken up. 

In that fifth game against Washington, Beecher centered a line with Milan Lucic and Jakub Lauko, and the chemistry faired well. They generated some good chances, especially off the rush, and were rewarded with a goal by Lucic that Beecher and Lauko both assisted on. The fourth-line center role would be perfect for Beecher, and ideally, it would be that threesome put together in the lineup. 

The Elmira, NY native has yet to see NHL action during the regular season in his career, but having him as the fourth-line center would be a perfect way for him to get acclimated to big league hockey. Standing at 6’3, Beecher also provides size, commonly seen with other teams around the league. He’s shown in camp he’s earned it, and he would likely see time on the penalty kill which he has throughout the preseason. 

The Bruins have one preseason game remaining, tonight on the road against the New York Rangers, for which Beecher is expected to be in the lineup. It will be decided after that in the next group of roster cuts whether or not he will make the NHL club.