Wrapping up development camp: Player notes

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Wrapping up development camp: Player notes

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON The Bruins wrapped up a second day of scrimmaging and closed their annual development camp after five hard-working days on the ice.

The Baby Bruins went through strenuous double sessions of power skating, drills and scrimmaging over the five-day period, during which the players were able to flash their skills. Perhaps just as importantly, however, they also showed they were willing to work and to listen to direction from the scouts, coaches and front office personnel.

The future is bright with Boston bringing back 18 players from a Stanley Cup champion's roster, and its similarly sunny within the organizations prospect ranks. The future is so bright that Peter Chiarelli and Co. have got to wear shades.

Ive been really impressed with the camp overall. The kids have really come in and done well and I told them that on the ice today, said Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney. I thought they really bought into trying to take advantage of all the things weve thrown at them: the challenges, the power skating and stuff, the scrimmages, even the tempo.

Guys are making plays that we ask them to try things offensively to get up ice, play D, and move the puck. They all really tried things. Off the ice, the first couple days are a grind. Its a long day with the physicals and then going off to play paintball -- and the guys decided to divide up teams. Ive been really impressed with the group and the camp overall.

The Bruins held another scrimmage on the final day at Ristuccia Arena, and once again 2011 fourth round pick Brian Ferlin scored a goal while skating around with Justin Florek and Ryan Spooner. Ferlin was the biggest single unexpected player to emerge in the two days of game scrimmages, but there were many standouts. Heres a quick evaluation on a few that caught this hockey reporters eyes over the last five days:

Ryan Button
One of the most improved players from last years development camp to this year, and really showed the confidence he needs to hold in the offensive end. Wasnt afraid to show a little wiggle shaking himself free from shot blockers near the blue line, and several times displayed the ability to rush the puck toward the net. Will still have to work his way up the ranks with young defensemen like Steve Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski ahead of him on the depth chart, but definitely made an impression on the Bs front office.
Anthony Camara
Did exceptionally well for a 17-year-old fighter type. Banged bodies with fellow tough guy Zach Trotman on several occasions, took a big hit off the Ristuccia Arena stanchion after getting tangled up with Alex Fallstrom and showed more skill than advertised. A good first impression for the 2011 third rounder most often compared to Shawn Thornton.

Dougie Hamilton
Took exception to being characterized by me as being in the baby giraffe stage of development for a tall defensemen, and showed why during the development camp. He had fluid, athletic moves on his skates, showed a willingness to shoot the puck and had a good second scrimmage after getting caught running around a bit in the first camp game. Hamilton is at least a year or two away as he needs to improve his physical strength and his decision-making on the ice he got burned several times taking chances in the offensive zone and neutral zone but hes got the goods to be an excellent franchise defenseman. Also showed a little more snarl in the second scrimmage a very good sign.

Zane Gothberg and Lars Volden
Its tough to judge the goalie as teen-agers in their first and second camps respectively, but both had some good moments and bad moments during the scrimmages.

Tyler Randell
Showed some willingness to throw his body around physically and mixed well into the quick tempo of the scrimmages and drills.

Marc Cantin
One of the older players on the ice for development camp at 21 years old, but also one of the most effective players. He used his strength and physicality in a way very reminiscent of Mark Stuart, and showed the capability of making a few plays offensively as well. Looks like a good pickup as a free agent, and a player that will fit well into the Bruins Way of doing things.

Michael Hutchinson
Hutchinson was by far the best goaltender in development and somebody to watch in his second season with the Providence Bruins this upcoming year. The prospects had a difficult time scoring on him in the scrimmages, and he showed off a fancy right glove hand robbing several players from point blank range through two days of camp games. Very cool character between the pipes, who could have a future in the big league.
David Warsofsky
Has a nice package of creativity, play-making and speed in the offensive zone, and made things happen as a defensemen while moving his feet and using his mind when the puck was on his stick. Hes clearly undersized, but should be a player to watch in Providence this season. He could challenge Steve Kampfer quickly for that seventh defensemen spot in Boston if he hits the ground running in training camp both players have a very similar game.

Rob OGara
The 18-year-old Milton Academy defensemen looked like the youngest and most wide-eyed player taking part in camp, but he completely belonged when he hopped on the ice. Don Sweeney called him a big piece of clay that the Bruins can mold into whatever they want, and he displayed some of the skills playing against guys much older and more developed than him. Seemed like a great kid away from the ice as well.

Alexander Khokhlachev
Didnt come into camp in the greatest shape and that hurt his performance a bit during the camp. Hes got plenty of skill and promise as a 17-year-old, and it might be too difficult to gauge him as a player and Russian scoring force until next summers development camp.

Alexander Fallstrom
Needed to work on his skating and strength after last season at Harvard University, and has done that back home in Stockholm, Sweden. Fit right into the mix with a nice pair of hands and a big frame that still needs to fill out at 6-foot-2 and 203-pounds, but improved greatly from last years development. Might be most improved along with Ryan Button.

Brian Ferlin
Possibly the biggest surprise of development camp with so little fanfare coming into it. Showed off the big hockey body at 6-foot-1 and 200-pounds, but also showed the shooting ability and hands to finish plays right around the net. The Florida native bears watching at Cornell University next season.

Tommy Cross
Cross looks like a man among boys at 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds and taking up Zdeno Charas locker in the Wilmington arena dressing room, and had his best development camp. His mobility and speed appear to have returned fully after a series of knee surgeries set him back, and he showed the kind of balanced two-way defensive play the Bruins covet from defensemen. The leadership component is an added bonus for the Connecticut native.

Craig Cunningham
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Cunningham had a solid development camp last year after being drafted by the Bruins, but he wasnt quite as noticeable this time around with a different mix of players. Expected a bit more considering the big year he had at the junior hockey level.

Ryan Spooner
He came into development camp bigger, stronger and with a bit more swagger than he did the year before, and showed improvement in the areas asked of him by the Bruins. His playmaking ability was on display all week whether it was setting up plays for wide open teammates or fooling goaltenders with his array of shootout moves. With a bit more strength and confidence under his belt, he should be fun to watch in real training camp.

Justin Florek
Florek had a pair of goals in the first scrimmage and showed a little something more than might have been expected as a 2010 fifth round pick from Northern Michigan University. The 6-foot-4 Florek did prove that he can absolutely shoot the puck with the best of Bostons prospects.

Jared Knight
Showed off more during the practice drills than during the actual scrimmages and fanned on a nice one-time feed from Tommy Cross for a sure goal during the second day of scrimmages. I would guess that Knight has the best chance of pushing somebody during training camp for a job with the Bruins, but that might still be a tough task. The shot, the physically mature build and the conditioning are all there, however, as a 19-year-old prospect at the wing.

Josh Jooris
Had some flashes as a camp invite from Union College and showed a little offensivedashwith a healthy amount ofjam thrown in for good measure. He seemed to be involved in a lot of the plays that were happening during the scrimmages, and beat a couple of defensemen with his speed during the camp games.

Zach Trotman
A big defenseman that tossed out some big hits and got very involved in the physical side of things during scrimmage games. Didnt appear to be all that involved offensively during the scrimmages, but theres always a place for big, bruising defensemen that size with the ability to stay up to speed.

Incomplete: Ben Sexton, Steven Spinell, Brett Olson, Eric Robinson. Robinson left camp early and I didn't see enough out of the other three players to really generate any strong opinions.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.
 

 

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.