BOSTON – The Bruins had a very European theme to their draft this summer, and that means a bit of a different vibe to this summer’s Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena. Linus Arnesson, Anton Blidh and Peter Cehlarik are all playing in the Swedish Leagues and came to Boston with very different strengths to their games, but all three are transitioning nicely along with fellow Swede Daniel Brodin.
Arnesson is the smooth-skating defenseman prospect that seems to do everything very well as a second round pick, Blidh is a hardnosed grinder that has noticeably brought a physical edge to camp and Cehlarik is the big-bodied wild card with skill and soft hands in an oversized 6-foot-2, 192-pound frame.
Now it’s about all three transitioning into a North American game.
“Clearly, the rinks are bigger and from a defensive standpoint you have a little bit of that extra time and space in front of you. You’re not under as much duress from a fore-checking standpoint. So that will be an adjustment for Linus [Arnesson],” said B’s assistant general manager Don Sweeney. “His type of game really sets up well for the North American game. He’s a combative kid in 1-on-1 situations. He wants to be aggressive in his gap control. He gets pucks. He moves it. He doesn’t look to do the high, high end plays. It’s the really simple, effective plays. You don’t spend a lot of time in your own end as a result. So I suspect he’ll make a good transition when that comes, Anton [Blidh] is a really good skater. He plays a really aggressive game. He gets on top of pucks. I think he understands what he brings to the table. He has skills that all of a sudden shows up as a result of it because he gets in on people quickly. I think he understands what he is as a player. He’s not going to change one of his stripes. We’re excited about him because he’s got NHL skating right now. Now, it’s a matter of getting stronger. It will take some time for him to acclimate himself.
“Peter’s [Cehlarik’s] a very, very skilled hockey player. You’re seeing right away the shot, the release, the hands that he has to make plays in traffic, in and around the net. Our goaltenders have probably realized right away when he has pucks because he’s got a great release. He’ll have similar adjustment. He’s playing against bigger, stronger players now, so that will really help him. But he’ll understand when the space goes away over here in the North American style. There’s an adjustment to be made.”
All three players are years away from actually making that jump to the North American style after just getting drafted a couple of weeks ago. But the introduction to the Bruins organization, Boston and a whole different hockey world in the US is something that awaits all three players when the time comes after a bit more development in the European Leagues.