The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

Welcome to Another Year of Boston Bruins Hockey

Hello all, and welcome to another year of Boston Bruins Hockey. There are those of you that may feel that Mr. Sweeney and company have not done much to improve our beloved hockey team here in Boston, and you may be correct. Just look at some of the moves the leadership made in last year’s off season. The Bruins drafted three youngsters in a row at 13, 14 and 15. All three managed to fail their conditioning stints prior to the beginning of the season and the best of the bunch appears to be the young man selected at 15 (Zachary Senyshyn). They sent away Dougie Hamilton (so everyone in Calgary can now share in the knowledge of how to Dougie), as well as fan favorite Milan Lucic in an effort to change the dynamic of the team. However they brought in Zac Rinaldo because they wanted to still be tough, but at a lower cost (and talent level apparently).  The one player that seemed to be worth keeping was traded away for a first round pick in this year’s draft and a prospect we’ll be seeing at this year’s development camp…Sean Kuraly.

Now at the end of the GM’s rookie campaign Don Sweeney has done a little house cleaning.  Seidenberg has been culled from the herd, Brett Connolly was not sent a qualifying offer (how can that be possible?), and neither was Landon Ferraro.  There are other moves that were and were not made, but this is about the future.  All of these moves and signings can take up a whole piece by themselves, but the future was on display today at Ristuccia arena as the Bruins settled in for another development camp.

So Development Camp 2016 edition started yesterday about half an hour later than the posted time of 11:00am.  The arena was only a third to half full and 25 young men are present to put themselves through four days of drills and scrimmages (the on-ice experience) as well as enjoying community time.  Here are just a few quick comments about what this writer saw at the rink.

Two of last year’s first round picks, Jakub Zboril and Jake DeBrusk didn’t really do anything to stand out on the first day.  Some would say this isn’t a bad thing, but I believe that if you aren’t doing anything to get yourself noticed in a positive way then you could be spending the bulk of your time in Providence.

Sean Kuraly, with his time in Ohio behind him, has shown up to earn himself a spot.  I like his size, and he does have a heavy shot, but he comes across as a big loping winger who will take up space in front of the net, and could be a help with going into the corners to fight for pucks.  Looking forward to seeing what he brings to camp going forward.

Brandon Carlo didn’t appear strong on his edges during drills, but he does look solid during the defensive spots and doesn’t shy away from the contact…even if it was with a player a foot shorter than himself.

Danton Heinen looks polished with soft hands and a ninja-like release on his shots.

Charlie McAvoy looked as a first round pick should, solid without overwhelming everyone, but I want to see more.

My favorite on day one has to be Oskar Steen.  He reminds me of Anton Blidh.  Another youngster that appears to face every drill with the mentality that if he doesn’t get it just right then the Bruins are going to send him home.  He is small in stature but not in effort.  And he can shoot.

I make this next statement with the caveat that development camp is only one day old…Most improved player from last year has to be Daniel Vladar.  The sith lord just came out and looked like he belonged.  He showed the confidence of a player that had been working on his fundamentals and it came through.  Post to post tracking and his ability to track the puck when it was in close to him were so much better.  He stopped all but a few of the pucks that he saw during multiple drills.  I look forward to seeing more of him.

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