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Bruins Prospects Out to Prove Themselves at 2019 Development Camp

34 prospects from six different countries arrive in Boston to kick off another development camp.

by Michael Tolvo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - Some laced up their skates at Warrior Ice Arena for the first time as a member of the Bruins while others returned to the Brighton practice facility after another year of development. In total, 34 prospects from six different countries participated in workouts on and off the ice to begin the 2019 Bruins Development Camp.

Off The Ice

A trio of highly touted Bruins prospects remained off the ice on Wednesday. Jakub Lauko, Jack Studnicka and Kyle Keyser all participated in the off-ice testing, but remained off the ice due to the recency of their seasons coming to an end.

Jakub Lauko's season came to a close on May 26 when his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies claimed the Memorial Cup - awarded to the top team between all the Canadian junior hockey leagues.

"Lauko had an injury in the conference finals right before the Memorial Cup and played through the Memorial Cup," said Bruins Director of Player Development Jamie Langenbrunner. "He's only been done for two-and-a-half, three weeks so it was not worth it for him to do this time."

Lauko led the Memorial Cup tournament in points with eight (2 G, 6 A), including the primary assist on the eventual game winning goal in the final game.

Jack Studnicka and Kyle Keyser reported to Providence for a playoff push after their respective seasons came to an end in the OHL. The two then joined the Black Aces for the Bruins lengthy playoff run which stretched until June 12.

Langenbrunner noted that Keyser suffered a minor injury while practicing with the Black Aces, and Studnicka required a break after a lengthy season.

"Kyle, he got a little banged up during the Black Ace stuff and just like that," said Langenbrunner. "With Jack he literally finished on June 12th or 13th. It was his last day here still. He will be with the nutrition people and in the weight room. The guys all wanted him to still come and be part of the group so testament to those kids. That's what they wanted them to do and we are holding them off or otherwise we will do it in June."

Studnicka played for three different teams in the 2018-19 season and his development has been noted, especially as a leader.

"Jacks last year of development was very good," said Langenbrunner. "He got an [assistant captain] letter within a month of being on the team that he got traded too. That's very impressive. Doing the things the coaches and players want out of him and doing the little things that matter. He stepped right up on the Providence [Bruins] team and he was in our lineup three days later while we were in the playoffs which is huge."

Video: Langenbrunner talks following Day 1 of Dev Camp

Beecher in Boston

The Bruins 2019 1st round pick, John Beecher, took the ice in Spoked-B for the first time on Wednesday, and is looking to prove himself right away.

"I think I just want to show them what I can do," said Beecher. "I want to make sure that I was the right man for the pick. Like I said, there's a lot of talent here. There's a big pool of guys and I just want to showcase what I can do."

The big power forward believes he can fit right in to the Bruins style of play and to the city of Boston as a whole.

"I think my style of play fits right in with theirs," said Beecher. "They're a hard and heavy team to play against with a lot of speed and that's exactly how I play. I don't think I could have gone to a better place. Obviously, this city is amazing. The support that they get from their fans and the success they've had, it's tremendous. I don't know if there's a better fan base in all of sport. Obviously, you have the Red Sox and the Patriots and everything like that. It's a fun city to be a part of

Langenbrunner noted areas where Beecher stood out on day one.

First impressions - speed," said Langenbrunner. "Even in those drills we were doing today. He played with a lot of speed and played with a lot of poise. Real calm for an 18-year-old out there. Didn't get rattled, stays with himself and super athletic. He's picking up pucks from bad passes no problem. So, he has some skill level that's underrated, I think. You play behind [2019 first overall pick] Jack Hughes and [2019 ninth overall pick] Trevor Zegras and [2019 fifth overall pick Alex] Turcotte you know those guys may have gotten the first kicks, but I think he has more skill than people think."

Steen Stands Out

The Bruins selected Oskar Steen in the 6th round of the 2016 NHL draft. Three years later, the Swedish forward is showing significant growth. In 2018-19, Steen broke out with 17 goals and 20 points in 46 games in the SHL, the top league in Sweden. That mark ranked in the top 10 in the entire league.

"I think his development has gone exactly how we've hoped," said Langenbrunner. "He sees the transformation. His body is from a little boy a few years ago to a man now. His game this year, he was a very good player. Great athlete, top 10 in scoring. I think his competitiveness, his willingness to get inside of people will translate to his game here probably even better than playing there. He will be a very effective player for us in Providence to start and we will see how good he can translate that to be get himself on the radar for the guys up here."

Steen's scoring breakout comes after scoring only 15 points (5-10=15) over 109 games in 3 previous SHL seasons. Measuring in at 5'9" and 192 pounds, Steen looks the part of a professional hockey player.

"It was a really good season," said Steen. "My best season so far in Sweden, had a lot of points and played a good role in the team and I played a lot of ice time."

Video: Steen talks following Day 1 of Development Camp

Steen's top 10 finish came at just 21 years old. The average age of the nine players to finish ahead of Steen is nearly 31 (30.6).

"I think he showed us this winter he can play center," said Langenbrunner. "He had been primarily a wing the whole way and this year they moved him to center, and he was very effective. I think our plan for him here is to try them both and see what's more comfortable…He is one of those guys that give us versatility. I know Don [Sweeney] and Butch [Bruce Cassidy] talk about it all the time, two position players are huge so we will try to develop that in his game."

Steen noted a former Development Camp participant as a player whose path he hopes to follow.

"I look at Karson Khulman," said Steen. "He was here last year and the year before. Now he played a Stanley Cup Final and had a good season."

Andersson In Year Two

After being selected in the 2nd round of the 2018 NHL draft, Axel Andersson spent a full season playing in the professional ranks in Sweden as an 18-year-old.

"He is continuing," said Langenbrunner. "He is still young; he still looks like a young kid. He played over there in their second division in Sweden…His game we saw a little bit in the preseason, and he made great plays and his instincts are very good. He will be over here in North America this year whether that is in Providence or playing in junior, that's to be determined, I guess.

"But he's a heady player with great instincts and we just got to give him time. He has a young body and hopefully he will continue to put in more work this summer and we will see even more of a transformation in the next two months."

Andersson believes the biggest improvements in his game came in the defensive end.

"This year I had in Sweden was the first [time playing] with men," said Andersson. "The first pro year. I think I developed mostly my defensive game. I developed defensively. Took more responsibility this year.

 Video: Andersson speaks at Day 1 of Development Camp

Swayman Following Along

Bruins goalie prospect Jeremy Swayman was amazed by Tuukka Rasks performance in the playoffs. The University of Maine puck stopper watched the B's playoff run and Tuukka very closely.

"Speechless," said Swayman of his reaction to Rask's play. "He steps up in big times and he's a big role model for me and I'm sure for a number of goalies."

In 35 appearances with Maine, the 2017 4th round pick recorded a 14-17-4 record, a 2.77 GAA and a .919 save percentage.

Video: Swayman talks about third Development Camp trip

Runs In The Family

The name of 2019 7th round draft pick Jake Schmaltz may sound familiar to some hockey fans. That is because there are already two other Schmaltz' in the NHL. Jake's cousins Nick and Jordin have both been drafted and appeared in NHL games.

"It helps so much," said Schmaltz. "If I'm nervous or something, it's an easy phone call and they just help me to relax and help me just understand how this whole process goes."

Schmaltz believes his game will translate well to any style.

"I can play with anyone I feel like," said Schmaltz. "I can merge and play whatever style they need me to play. And just working hard. That just makes everything easier."

Video: Schmaltz reacts to being drafted by B's in Round 7

The Wisconsin-native played the past season in the USHL with the Chicago Steel, notching five goals and 13 assists for 18 points in 60 games.

Offseason Update

The Bruins announced on Wednesday that the team would be extending qualifying offers to Brandon Carlo, Peter Cehlarik, Danton Heinen, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Charlie McAvoy.

Qualifying offers are one-year contracts of different salaries dependent on the players previous compensation. If the offer is not made, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.

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