The 2017 Boston Bruins Rookie Camp, presented by AT&T, is taking place before main camp opens on Sept. 14. As part of camp, the rookies are competing in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, and competing against prospects from the Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New Jersey Devils. For more information on the prospects, visit BostonBruins.com/prospects.
BOSTON - The Bruins' prospects convened at Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday morning, as the 2017 Boston Bruins Rookie Camp, presented by AT&T, officially opened.
The group took part in physicals and off-ice testing, and then met with Boston reporters before traveling to Buffalo to compete in the Prospects Challenge over the weekend. There, they will play three games against prospects from the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New Jersey Devils.
"It was a great offseason, but it's time to go now, and everybody, including myself - we're all really excited," said defenseman Charlie McAvoy.
"You want to put your best foot forward every time you get out on the ice, because there are jobs on the line," said McAvoy. "It's competitive, as far as guys fighting for spots and guys trying to make a name for themselves, so you've got to embrace that and love it."
Heading into main camp on Sept. 14, there will be plenty of competition, with spots up for grabs.
"We've always stated that we want to be a deeper team, a deeper organization from top to bottom. You have to have players that can push through and push other players out," said General Manager Don Sweeney, who addressed media on Thursday morning.
"We have, potentially, spots, but we also have incumbents that don't want to give spots up, players that broke through last year that are going to want to continue their own progressions," said Sweeney. "We have younger players that are coming online, that as we've laid out, 'the opportunity is going to be there and you're the one that's going to have to take advantage of that.'"
"We've seen players come out of the gate strong and then have, as the rest of the players and the rest of the league gets better, they kind of stay at the same level and realize that they have more work to do and that could happen. We're excited about the competition."
A number of players on the rookie camp roster got into NHL action last season, including McAvoy, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly, Matt Grzelcyk, and Rob O'Gara.
Players like McAvoy and Forsbacka Karlsson joined Providence and Boston at the conclusions of their college careers with Boston University.
"It's nice to be here from the start and get to know the guys a little bit better, and just take it all and learn from the guys you're around right now and then get going from there," said Forsbacka Karlsson.
Several of the prospects spent the 2016-17 season with the Providence Bruins, and are looking to use that experience heading into camp.
"I'm definitely really excited to be back in Boston, and this summer was fun, but I'm ready to get back to business and start competing for a job here," said Zach Senyshyn.
"There's lots of openings and management has told us that young guys are going to get a chance, so that gives me good motivation coming into camp," said Jesse Gabrielle. "And I'm going to come in and ride with that and show them what I can do."
"It's lots of guys that I played with that are fighting for the same spots, players that you look up to as well, so it's very exciting," said Jake DeBrusk. "And I know that the opportunity's real and I know that's there and it's going to be very fun, and I'm really giving my all to earn a spot on this team. I want to be a Bruin, and I want to help the Bruins win, and it's going to be a really fun and exciting camp."
The Bruins' rookies will play their first game at the Prospects Challenge on Friday, Sept. 8 against the Penguins' prospects. The full schedule and roster for the weekend can be found below.
"Everyone's excited," said Heinen. "It's good to see a lot of familiar faces, so it's good, and we're glad we all got the physicals and testing out of the way, and we're ready to get some games under our belt."
"It's going to be a huge advantage, I think, to compete and get your feet under you," said Senyshyn. "It's been a long summer and a while since we've been on the ice competing, so it's going to be a great opportunity and I'm really excited."
Video: Bruins Rookies Depart for the Prospects Challenge
BOSTON BRUINS ROOKIE CAMP/PROSPECTS CHALLENGE ROSTER
Forwards: Anders Bjork, Shawn Boudrias*, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jesse Gabrielle, Alex Gacek*, James Hamblin*, Danton Heinen, Justin Hickman, Joona Koppanen, Sean Kuraly, Cedric Pare, Zach Senyshyn, Oskar Steen
Defensemen: Victor Berglund, Connor Clifton*, Matt Grzelcyk, Owen Headrick*, Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Charlie McAvoy, Rob O'Gara, Ethan Sakowich*, Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders: Kyle Keyser*, Luke Richardson*
*Denotes player attending rookie camp on an invite basis
BOSTON BRUINS ROOKIE CAMP/PROSPECTS CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 8 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)
-Boston morning skate, 9 a.m.
-Boston vs. Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.
-Buffalo vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Saturday, September 9 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)
-Boston morning skate, 10:30 a.m.
-New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.
-Boston vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, September 10 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)
-Boston practice, 12:30 p.m.
Monday, September 11 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)
-Boston morning skate, 10 a.m.
-Boston vs. New Jersey, 12 p.m.
-Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.