NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. The word bromance has been tossed around quite a bit with Bs forward prospects Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner. They were both drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft that also produced Tyler Seguin, theyve played against each other for the last three years in the OHL and now theyre both joining the pro hockey ranks with the Providence Bruins this season.
They bonded closely at Bruins Development camps over the last few years, and were by each others side at the NHLPA-hosted Prospect Showcase last month in Toronto.
So theres plenty of common ground for a close friendship thats seen Knight, Spooner and defenseman Torey Krug all move in together in a Providence apartment for the season. All three skaters were expected to compete for a couple of spots up for grabs in Boston in NHL training camp, but will instead open as three of the more familiar faces in P-Bruins camp while the lockout rages on.
Theyre among a talented crop of players that Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli hopes infuse youth, talent and excitement into a Providence farm club that was missing all three of those things last season.
The silver lining is that there will be a lot more development time for the young players, said Chiarelli. Weve got more skill and I think were going to have some good goaltending as well. We want those guys to focus on the task at hand.
You want the skill to come out in a good and proper work environment. Its hard to put a stick in it as to where they should be playing, but Im just happy weve got somebody we can watch play.
Its not quite what Knight or Spooner hoped for while preparing over the summer, but they realize its about work rather than play in the world of pro hockey. Thats a far cry from the London Knights and the Kingston Frontenacs.
Its almost October and we havent played in any games yet, so its a little weird, said Knight. You go to an OHL camp and guys are maybe having McDonalds after practice. Now guys are having protein shakes and people are definitely taking things more seriously. Its great to watch the older guys like Trent Whitfield to see how they treat their bodies and prepare for each workout.
One thing that the stint in Providence will do for Knight and Spooner specifically: get them into midseason form in time for a potential invite to impromptu Bruins training camp in Boston once the NHL regular season begins. Spooner and Knight were expected to compete with Chris Bourque and Jordan Caron for a winger role on the third line, and all four of those players will be skating together in Providence.
The KnightSpooner bromance might have to take a time out if one or the other ends up making the NHL roster once the Bruins season does begin, but given the talent involved -- the other probably wont be too far behind.