The following feature appears in the December 17th 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 — For a player of his caliber and scoring output, Bruins prospect Seth Griffith has heard the word "no" more than most would expect.
He was told "no" to when he was passed over in all seven rounds of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and then again most recently when he was not included on Team Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp roster.
But Griffith, drafted by Boston in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (fifth round, 131st overall) has not allowed those hurdles to derail his development, and has instead turned them into ammunition.
"It just put a little bit of a fire under me," Griffith said of being passed over in the Draft. "I was on the list and everything and it was very disappointing for myself not being picked up the first time around.
"If anything, I think it helped because I used it as motivation every time I went to the gym, and stuff like that.
"It ended up that Boston picked me up, and I couldn’t be happier now."
Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney labeled it “short-term disappointment and long-term motivation,” and it’s something the former B’s defenseman told Griffith in a phone call that took place shortly after Team Canada announced its selection camp roster.
"Don Sweeney called me right after [Canada’s announcement], and that’s what he told me," Griffith said. "Obviously not being picked for Canada was disappointing for me, but you have to respect Canada's opinion.
"I'm just going to use that as motivation. There’s going to be a lot of other opportunities to play for Canada down the road."
|Griffith, London Knights (OHLImages.ca) |
Griffith’s focus has never wavered, and, as he pointed out, his play may be benefiting from these "short-term disappointments."
In his first draft-eligible season of 2010-11, Griffin tallied 22 goals and 44 assists in 68 games. The following season, Griffith played the same number of games and earned the same number of assists, but the forward’s goal total ballooned to 45.
"It takes time," Griffith said of his OHL progression. "Especially in London, they count on their older guys to step up. It’s a process.
"And then when Boston picked me up, I used that as motivation because I wanted to get to the next level.
"I always try to use something as motivation when I go into my workouts, and especially when I'm on the ice playing in games, and that’s what makes me keep wanting to go every shift, and play my hardest," he said.
Whatever Griffith has used for motivation with London this season is definitely working.
Griffith is scoring at nearly a half-a-point higher per-game click than his previous season. Through 36 games, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward has compiled an impressive stat line of 25-33=58, standing third in the OHL in points.
"Seth is going to score goals at all levels," said Sweeney. "We acknowledged that we think he has great anticipation and smarts for the game, his skill set is very good, and he’s got an incredible release.
"He's going to score goals if he can get to those spots."
Griffith said a large factor in his increased scoring output has been finding those scoring areas, something that has come with more OHL experience. He’s also been finding more space on the ice thanks to another sport he enjoyed growing up.
"It just goes back to I grew up playing lacrosse, and it’s a fast-paced, quick-moving game, and it's just like hockey," Griffith said. "If you want to get in the scoring areas, you have to be rolling off checks quick, and getting open, and releasing your shot really quick."
While Griffith has done well to evade defenders long enough to create scoring chances, in his own zone, he's working hard to make his presence felt consistently.
"I do like going out there on the PK and blocking shots, because that’s just as important as going out there and scoring a goal," he said. "If you want to win games, you have to be blocking shots, especially playoff time. That’s pretty much what it comes down to.
"I enjoy it, and it's something that I’ll always enjoy doing throughout my career."
Bruins prospects know that earning a chance to wear Black & Gold in the NHL requires a black-and-blue mentality, but Sweeney said the B’s brass has already seen Griffith’s high compete level.
"We asked him to continue to have that dog-and-a-bone mentality, where he gets to pucks, wins his puck battles," Sweeney said. "He's not going to physically overwhelm anybody, but he has the anticipation and the ability to get to areas quick, either through skating or through his hockey sense."