Thoughts from Day 2 of B's development camp

Thoughts from Day 2 of B's development camp
July 11, 2014, 11:45 am
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WILMINGTON, Mass. – Here are some random thoughts from Day 2 of the Bruins development camp, where the baby B's prospects held a double practice session at Ristuccia Arena.

*It’s clear to see why Ryan Donato was grabbed at the end of the second round by the Bruins. It’s pretty apparent that Ted’s little boy still needs to finish physically maturing and has some work to do in the skating department if he wants separation from defenders, but it’s just as clear that the young man can shoot the puck. During two-on-two and three-on-three drills Donato showed an uncanny ability to get to scoring areas of the ice without the puck, and he had his stick raised and ready to blast away whenever he got into those areas. He looks like a natural born shooter, and the rest of the skills will arrive once he starts getting challenged at the higher levels of hockey.

*After watching B’s first-rounder David Pastrnak for two days, he looks like the real deal to me. His soft hands and crazy handle on the puck stand out from the rest of the group and he has the vision to put both of those skills to good use. At the end of the second session, Pastrnak cut through the middle in traffic to get to the net with the puck on his stick, and completely lost his defender with a toe drag move that was just downright filthy. Those are the kinds of puck skills and razzle dazzle that have made him the unmitigated star of the first two days of camp, and get you wondering whether he might just find himself in the mix for an NHL spot given the team’s need for a right-handed shot with high-end offensive ability. It’s an outside shot, to be sure, but he’s looked that good at development, and appears to be a hit for the B’s at the end of the first round.

*Once again Ryan Fitzgerald stood out with his finishing ability and has clearly taken a big step forward after a year with the Boston College Eagles under his belt.

*Malcolm Subban was on the ice a few minutes early and made it through the entire second day without incident after a rocky first day. That was a good rebound day for the 2012 first-round pick and he once again mixed it up with Pastrnak in the crease in tip drills in a match of personalities that’s become one of the highlights of the prospect sessions. Subban and Zane Gothberg have both looked strong and big between the pipes and have given the Bruins prospects a challenge to shoot at in the first few days. It’s clear to these eyes that Subban has refined his technique in the AHL, and the glove hand is much better than it was in his early days as a prospect camp attendee.

*Impressive watching the work and development of defensemen prospects Robbie O’Gara and Matt Benning. O’Gara has the size and the work ethic to go with one of the best attitudes among the prospect group. He’s showing the kind of defenseman abilities on the ice that might just allow him to turn into something like his role model Marc Staal. Benning was a player that had a rocky first camp experience three years ago, but has made steady, marked improvement over the years and is showing the offensive skill that got him noticed by Bruins scouts in the first place. Keep an eye on O’Gara (Yale) and Benning (Northeastern) at their respective NCAA gigs because they’re on the rise for the Black and Gold.

*Smooth-skating ability for Emil Johansson, the B’s seventh-round pick last month. It’s easy to see why the Bruins focus much of their scouting zeal on the Swedish Leagues because of the way seemingly all of those players both skate and play a responsible two-way game. Linus Arnesson is the same thing. Nothing flashy or fancy, but he skates well and makes consistently good decisions with the puck.

*Anton Blidh gets knocked off the puck a lot, but he also seems to have a little sandpaper in his game. In one-on-one drills, Blidh and Mitchell Dempsey were getting into it pretty good with the cross-checks and two-handed slashes, and it seemed there was a little more going on than just a good-natured tussle.

*Under the radar stars of development camp thus far: the mustache for Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and a deep tan for coach Claude Julien. The B’s offseason is in full effect right now.