BOSTON – There’s normally at least one player in each development camp that is still in the wide-eyed stage at the very beginning of their hockey career, and the Bruins management has come to call that player “Bambi.”
It was Robbie O’Gara a couple of years ago as a 6-foot-4 “pile of clay” at defenseman that was still being molded at Milton Academy with a long road of development in front of him. This time around it was 18-year-old defenseman, Wiley Sherman, who at 6-foot-5 is a big project out of Greenwich Connecticut and played his high school hockey at the Hotchkiss School before being selected by the Bruins.
The scouts liked to call him “The Shermanator” and the sense is he’s going to turn into a solid, thick 6-foot-6 monster in the defensive zone similar to a Hal Gill that can block shots, take up space and really clamp things down around the net. But in his first pro development camp and at least a year away from starting his collegiate career at Harvard University, Sherman played the Bambi role among bigger hockey prospect names like Anthony Camara and Malcolm Subban.
“He took over Bambi this year, yeah when he first stepped on. He’s a lot bigger Bambi, though. I’ll tell you…he’s a big kid, very eager to continue to get better, even during the whole course of the week for him. You know, some of the stuff he’s being introduced too he’s never even been exposed to or heard before,” said Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney. “You know, some of the terminology and positioning and things. He’s gotten away with being athletic, and 6-foot-6 and moving well.
“Now he’s going to start to apply it in the course of the game and become real effective at it. And he will make leaps and bounds. Going forward with him we are just really excited that we get a chance to sort of point and you know, help in that direction in his development.”
Given his youthful body of work and the long road he’s chose in collegiate hockey, it’s perfectly normal that Sherman was at the novice end of the experience spectrum during development camp. This will be the first of many such camps with Sherman for the Bruins before everybody gets a look at what the finished product will be for a big, talented defenseman in the making.