Ferlin standing out again at Bruins Development Camp

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Ferlin standing out again at Bruins Development Camp

Brian Ferlin is a lot more than a simple Florida hockey trivia question. The 20-year-old Ferlin is the first NHL prospect drafted from the hockey hotbed of Jacksonville, Florida, and he actually honed his hockey skills at camps run by Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy when he was coaching the Jacksonville Lizard Kings in the ECHL.

But Ferlin is much more than a Florida hockey footnote.

Hockey players come from all over the place, I guess, said Ferlin. My dad grew up in Chicago and then played baseball in Jacksonville University. He stayed once he graduated and he always loved hockey too. He had me playing all the sports when I was growing up, but I loved hockey the best.

The Cornell hockey player has also now put together a pair of solid development camps with the Bruins after being the final player selected in the fourth round of the 2011 Draft in Minnesota. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound power forward was routinely paired with creative playmaker Ryan Spooner during drills on the practice ice at Ristuccia Arena, and showed off the quick release and accuracy of a natural born scorer.

Just as his promising performance during last years development camp launched him into a solid freshman year at Cornell that earned him ECACHL and Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors, Ferlin hopes this years development camp launches him into another productive season.

I started off strong at Cornell, had a couple of injuries and then picked it up at the end of the year. It was a good year to build off of, said Ferlin. These development camps have really helped me. Just to see the way Im able to compete against the real high-end guys from major junior programs, and learn from them. Its been an awesome experience over the last two years.

His first year of college hockey was marred slightly by injuries in the middle of the year, but the Bruins are still more than satisfied by his progress.

Brian had a really good year. He was Rookie of the Year in both the Ivy and the ECACHL, I believe," said Bruins assistant manager Don Sweeney. "He had some injury troubles at two different times that set him back and obviously kept him out of the playoffs, which he was disappointed about. Offensively I think Brians game is pretty good. He understands how to protect pucks really well. Hes built for the cycle game. Hes got a good shot coming down the wing.

Hes continued to work on his skating and the power part of his game because hes a bigger kid. Defensively, I think hes still starting to understand how to apply the system work. Sometimes just being in the right spot is as effective as trying to outwork somebody and get into that spot.

Twenty-one points in 26 games during an injury-marred freshman year was a great start for Ferlin on his way to becoming much more than a bragging point for the Jacksonville wing in the Florida hockey hall of game.

Heinen coming up big with Bruins' roster openings on the wing

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Heinen coming up big with Bruins' roster openings on the wing

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Danton Heinen has to know he’s got a fair shot to win an NHL job out of B’s training camp if he plays with confidence and assertiveness. 

So far, that little Black and Gold carrot has served him well in the preseason. The 21-year-old winger has scored a goal in each of his first two preseason appearances for the Bruins. He will be pushed back into the lineup again vs. the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.

The difference this time around is Claude Julien will be behind the bench once again for the Bruins after his time with the World Cup of Hockey and the B’s lineup will start to take on more of a real NHL feel with David Pastrnak and David Backes entering the mix.

Julien has liked what he’s seen thus far out of the University of Denver product, and clearly he’ll keep getting looks as long as the production and good work ethic are there.

“I think he’s been a real good player. He’s a smart player that seems to be heady and sees the play well. He seems to be in the right place and understands the game,” said Julien. “The hockey sense is something that you either have or you don’t, and I think he has great hockey sense. It certainly makes a great hockey player. I’ve liked him so far and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.”

One other thing is certain: wing positions are open on the roster with Frankie Vatrano out for three months and Jimmy Vesey sharpening his skates at Madison Square Garden as a New York Ranger.

“We have to keep an open mind.  Frank Vatrano is hurt, and we kind of felt that he was going to have a really good start to this year. His confidence seemed to be at its highest, and the World Championships were good for him,” said Julien. “We have to look at what we have for a replacement. We went after Jimmy Vesey and we didn’t get him. So there are some spots that are open, and there’s no doubt about it.

“I’m going to be looking at compete level and I’ll be watching for the next three games to see who can fit in those spots. There are open spots, so it’s not cut-and-dried like a lot of years when it has been.”

Clearly, the high-end offensive skill is there after posting 36 goals and 93 points in his first two years at the University of Denver prior to going pro, and Heinen has a dollop of pro experience after getting into three AHL games with Providence at the end of last season. 

The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder showed off the playmaking ability setting up his teammates for chances in Friday night’s win over the Red Wings, and then finally scoring at crunch time in the third period when the coaching staff moved Zach Senyshyn to his opposite wing.

Both of his goals in this preseason have been tying scores in the third that factored prominently in the game’s outcome. That’s been impressive for a young prospect in his very first NHL camp.

But Heinen claims there is still more to come in his game, and that’s encouraging. He’s just starting to get comfortable as a player that uses his vision, hockey IQ and passing to generate loads of scoring chances when he’s on the ice.

“I feel pretty good. I’ve felt better as things have gone on, and I felt better [on Friday against Detroit] than I did in the first game,” said Heinen, who finished just behind a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin for the NCAA scoring title as a freshman a couple of years ago. “I just need to keep getting better. I think I have a lot more to give. I’m just trying to put my best foot forward, and we’ll see what happens.

“I think I’ve rushed a few plays where I feel like I could hang onto [the puck] and make a smarter play. So it’s little things like that. As I play a little more then I get more comfortable hanging onto it, so I hope to do a little more than that.”

It will also be interesting to see how Heinen responds to again being in the B’s lineup on Saturday for back-to-back, physical preseason games when the NCAA schedule can be a bit more spaced with weekend games. 

There are other candidates like Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn that have enjoyed solid training camps to date for the Bruins, but it feels like Heinen is starting to push ahead for one of those winger roster spots Julien has in mind as he watches these final four exhibition games leading into the regular season. 
 

Saturday, Oct. 1: Vesey's New York state of mind

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Saturday, Oct. 1: Vesey's New York state of mind

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while gearing up for Big Papi weekend.

 
*A “behind-the-scenes” look as Jimmy Vesey was sold on the New York Rangers, but there’s not too much detail about the pitches from the other teams. Feels pretty apparent at this point that Vesey wanted to live, and work, in New York City.

*Damien Cox says that the World Cup of Hockey better get it right the next time, or else…or else what, Damien? You’re going to block them on Twitter?

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban making their preseason debuts on Saturday. David Backes and David Pastrnak will play their first preseason games for the Bruins as well.  

*It’s a complicated, strange story with Vladimir Sobotka, the KHL and the contract he seemingly can’t get out of to again play for the St. Louis Blues.

*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is ready to get back to work with the Arizona Coyotes after his World Cup experience.

*San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier is out for the next month with mono, which is definitely worse timing than Zach Senyshyn getting hit with the mononucleosis bomb over the summer.

*A quick look at the Philadelphia Flyers in advance of their preseason meeting with the Black and Gold tonight, which won’t be televised.

*For something completely different: there will be some pretty funky stuff happening on The Walking Dead this season.