PITTSBURGH Seth Griffith doesnt blow you away with any particular skill on the ice.
But the Bruins' fifth round pick acquired with the Tampa Bay draft pick that went to Boston in the Benoit Pouliot deal simply produces, and sometimes thats good enough for a shot. Griffith potted 45 goals and put up 85 points for the London Knights on the way to the Memorial Cup Final last season, but the 5-foot-11, 185-pound prospect never showed up on the NHL Central Scouting list despite a season for the ages.
Consider that motivation for the 19-year-old, who worked diligently on his skating and first-step explosiveness prior to last season.
Ive worked really hard with my skating. I guess your skating cant be good enough, so Ill continue to work hard to get better, said Griffith. I think Im a scorer, but I also can make that good pass. I like to say Im a scorer and a playmaker.
I model my game after Claude Giroux. You know, hes not an overly big guy, but he puts up points. He just competes really hard every game.
The Bruins scouting staff checked in with London coaching stalwarts Dale and Mark Hunter before selecting Griffith, and got rave reviews from them as well as their own London Knights prospect Jared Knight.
Griffith said Knight was among the first players to contact him once he heard his name called with the 131st overall pick.
Knight actually texted me right after I got picked . . . he texted me right away, said Griffith. Were pretty good friends back in London so you know, he talked really highly of Boston and what a great organization theyve been to him in such short time. Im just really looking forward to getting started with them.
Without blow-you-away skating speed, a sizzling shot or notable size it will be a challenge for Griffith to make it at the next level of professional hockey, but hes already got a knack for improving and producing. Now he just has to keep doing it after catching the Bruins eye.
Joe Haggerty hands out his superlatives following the Bruins preseason loss to the Detroit Red Wings
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BRIGHTON, Mass – It was absolutely an “uh-oh” moment for Matt Beleskey when he was hit on the foot with a shot Monday night in the Bruins' preseason opener against the Canadiens. Beleskey, 29, was just hoping that his foot wasn’t broken in what would have been another shot of bad luck coming off a tough season for the hard-nosed winger, so his hopes have been answered given his presence in the lineup for the preseason game Saturday night vs. the Detroit Red Wings.
Beleskey missed the past two preseason games and most of the practice time as well but returned to the ice on Friday before getting ready for tonight's game. With plenty to prove while coming off a down second season in Boston, Beleskey knows he needs a strong camp that can’t get derailed by injuries or assorted bumps and bruises.
“I definitely did not want a broken foot to start the year, so I’m glad that I was fine,” said Beleskey, who finished with three goals and eight points along with a minus-10 in 49 games last season. “I took a puck in the face during warm-ups and the shot to the foot in the third, so that’s quite a good start to the year. But hopefully, I’ve got those out of the way now.
“I felt really good in the last game. It was great to see some of the work I did in the summertime paying off, so now we build on that [against Detroit] and keep things moving. There are a lot of great players here [in camp] and there’s great competition. I’m just here to play my game and prove myself, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world I can do that.”
Now that he’s been given a full bill of health again, Beleskey will get just that chance skating with Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald on Saturday night in Hockeytown amid a deeply competitive situation for Boston’s third line. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins against the Red Wings in Boston’s fourth game of the preseason: