WILMINGTON – With another Bruins development camp in the books, it also means another wave of Bruins prospects are ready to jump into the fray and start contributing to the organization.
Both OHL products Anthony Camara and Malcolm Subban are done with their junior hockey commitments, and will be factors at both NHL training camp and likely at the AHL level with the Providence Bruins this season. Camara will turn 20 years old in September, and there’s even a chance he might flash in camp for one of the third-line jobs with Boston that will certainly be open for competition this fall.
“[Camara] has really shown that it wasn’t by fluke this year, the numbers and such that he put up. He’s ready to be a pro,” said B’s assistant general manager Don Sweeney. “I think he’s anxious to get to camp and see where he fits in with the older group.”
Either way, he was dominant in the July prospect camp while working into good areas offensively, and continuously producing good chances while winning battles around the net. The 6-foot, 194-pound winger will be a bit more of an agitator/grinder/enforcer at the NHL level, but he also showed why he popped 36 goals for the Barrie Colts last season.
“Anthony [Camara’s] more of a gritty player first and foremost so he’s going to have to find his way in — I’m not discounting him playing on our NHL team, but he will probably end up in Providence,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “He’s going to have to find his way and find the balance that way like where’s the line between being overly aggressive and being aggressive enough that you’ve earned your space, and that you can produce offensively.
“So he’s going to have to find that. The American League is different than the National Hockey League. There are a lot of guys trying to earn jobs. It’s a good training ground for a player like Anthony [Camara].”
Camara, a third round pick in the 2011 draft, weathered a couple of suspensions and qualified for the Team Canada World Junior roster last season, so there’s a good mixture of naughty and nice to his game. Envisioning a bigger, stronger and meaner Brad Marchand, who might not be quite as accomplished offensively doesn’t seem out of the realm for Camara, but he’ll start building his own reputation in September.
The 19-year-old Subban boasts a similarly impressive hockey resume, and he’s proven everything that he needs to at the OHL level. His 29-11-4 record along with a 2.14 goals against average and .934 save percentage were impressive numbers for the Belleville Bulls, and he led all OHL goalies in GAA and shutouts while pushing his team to the conference finals.
He did all that while playing in the Canada/Russia summer series and the World Junior championships last season. So while there is clearly still work to be done with Subban’s technique, and his glove hand in particular, there will be time for all of that with the athletic youngster in the Bruins organization fold this entire season. He will work with goalie coach Bob Essensa during a nice first-year apprenticeship at Providence where he’ll likely be splitting time with either Niklas Svedberg or Chad Johnson in his first pro season.
“It’s hard to judge [the goalies] this week because there’s a lot of odd-man rushes. These guys like they — I think they get exposed more than anyone when you come in having not played,” said Chiarelli. “That’s not a knock on them at all — Malcolm [Subban] of course he’s probably the highest pedigree of the three, and he works hard. [He’s a] terrific, terrific athlete, tested off the charts [with the] physical testing. So we talked with Anthony [Camara] about learning his craft, and [with] Malcolm same thing. He’s terrific athletically, and technically he’s just got to continue to progress.
“He was on a bunch of different teams and Malcolm [Subban] had a terrific year so credit to him. He had a couple of games that were prominent games where he wasn’t so good, but he had a terrific, real good year. He will benefit from the stability of one team and one coach and goalie coaches, etcetera. He’s really young for a goalie and he’s got a real good package of skills and the head for the game so he’s only going to get better. You see how athletic he is, so he’s only going to get better.”
There were other players within the mix of 24 youngsters that will be spending time in Providence. Former Dartmouth College forward Matthew Lindblad was a part of development camp after signing an entry level deal with the Bruins back in April, and looked good after finishing the season with a goal and five points in four games for the P-Bruins.
Big 22-year-old goalie Adam Morrison split time between the South Carolina Stingrays and the Utah Grizzlies while serving as a backup, but will be hard-pressed in an NHL training camp with Subban, Svedberg, Johnson and Tuukka Rask as the top four goaltenders occupying Boston’s organizational depth chart.
While both Camara and Subban must have been disappointed that they didn’t get a chance to experience NHL training camp last season due to the lockout, it should more than make up for it this season. The two youngsters will be looked upon as prospects that have ripened to the point where they’re ready to contribute to the organization.