The following feature appears in the October 15th edition of the Boston Bruins Prospect Report. Download the complete report, which includes features, upcoming games and statistics on all Bruins prospects, by clicking here.
BostonBruins.com—Cody Payne is in the middle of his third season of OHL action. Along the way, he’s picked up some pointers, got- ten some great advice, and learned some tricks about developing as a hockey player.
One of those tricks, Payne said, is putting in hard work. So for the forward, who has shown an exponential rise in his offensive game this season, it just came down to putting in the time.
“I like to be the first one on and the last one off,” said Payne. “It pays off, and I’ve seen the dividends of that over the first part of this season now.
“I know it’s something that all my coaches throughout my life stressed to me, that the extra work always helps.”
And what jumps out about the start to Payne’s 2012 OHL season has been his offensive numbers. He has scored eight goals and recorded five assists in Plymouth’s first 14 games. In his first two OHL seasons, over the span of 110 games, Payne tallied only six goals.
For the Weston, FL native, that extra time has been spent working on his shot, as he has attempted to improve his offensive side of the game.
“I’ve definitely been working on my shot a lot in practice, and a lot on my hands and stuff like that,” Payne said. “Working with my linemates throwing pucks on net, especially.
“And making sure that when I do put pucks on net, I go hard to the net and try to bury them.
“It also has a lot to do with the confidence, and playing a bigger role on the team this year. All that combined, it’s creating a lot more offensive output.”
But while it has been Payne’s offense that has drawn attention toward him this year, it is his physical, team-first style of play that got him noticed by the Boston Bruins brass when they selected Payne in the fifth round (145th overall) of this past June’s 2012 draft.
His competitiveness and physicality also caught the attention of Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy during the B’s summer Development Camp, who cited Payne as playing well in his first go-round.
For Payne, maintaining that level of physicality, and, as the Bruins would have it, “hard to play against” style, is something he sees as integral to his maturation.
“That was what made me really happy when I was drafted to Boston that it’s a style of play that I can definitely relate to and that I definitely play,” he said.
“I know the fans in Boston like hardworking players who finish their checks, and they definitely love fights, so I thought it was right up my alley.
“It’s really important to me to stay true to my game and finish checks, and most importantly, standing up for teammates.”
For Payne, it’s now a matter of putting all those parts together, and doing so consistently. Still, his hot start has contributed to an increased level of confidence, something he said has gone a long way in sustaining his output.
“After the first couple, you gain a lot of confidence, and it starts going back to what you know, for me that’s scoring goals since I was younger,” Payne said. “You get a lot more opportunity on the ice, and guys start expecting more so you get a little bit more time and space.
“You definitely have to take advantage of those opportunities.”