Wilmington, MA – With Development Camp coming to an end on Monday at Ristuccia Arena, the Bruins prospects took advantage of the final scrimmage to showcase their talents and progression, while the B's staff utilized the opportunity to get one final look before the players parted ways.
And that rang true for both prospects already in the B's system, as well as those invited to this year's camp. Right out of the gate in the second scrimmage in as many days, it was a few camp invites factoring into the scoring.
|Six-time Development Camp attendee Tommy Cross |
Colin Campbell scored a quick goal to make things interesting, and shortly after, Campbell set up Wayne Simpson, who deked to the backhand and lifted the puck to beat Parker Milner.
“We’re happy with all the players that we brought in,” said Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney, when asked about the large number of camp invites this year.
“Sometimes you can go and get an idea when you’re speaking to coaches of their current teams and watching them play, but the trade off is pretty unique to have them in your own camp against players that you’ve been evaluating for two, three, and four, five years and see how they stack up there.”
The B’s staff and fans saw firsthand how all camp attendees stacked up, including the likes of top prospects Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Spooner.
After going down 2-0 early to Team White, the Black Team woke up and responded strong. Hamilton freed up the puck with an open-ice hit, clearing the way for Ryan Spooner to notch the team’s first goal. After the white squad retaliated with pressure, Brian Ferlin gathered the puck and advanced it to Spooner who flew up ice and scored his second of the afternoon to knot the score 2-2.
Participating in his third camp, Spooner has certainly caught - and kept - the attention of the Bruins staff.
“You’ve seen him play – very skilled through the neutral zone, very highly skilled kid,” said B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli.
“For him, it’s about learning the professional game, learning the game without the puck, and with a lot of these kids that have either turned pro or are about to turn pro, it’s about being mentally prepared for every game, every practice.”
Sweeney added that the 2010 second-round draft pick "had a real good day in the scrimmage today – a very creative player.”
Later in the scrimmage, camp veteran Tommy Cross showed his own prowess, collecting the puck on the left wing – just in front of the blue line – and sniping the top corner to give the White Team a 3-2 edge. It was unclear if the puck was deflected in front, but it found its way past Cross’ recent Boston College teammate Parker Milner, giving the defenseman his first goal in the six Development Camps he has attended.
“He wins the award for longevity here, and it’s just great to see him healthy,” said Sweeney.
“You saw the physical presence, and he still has patience on the offensive blue line to wait that extra second so a shot gets through … I think he’s really looking forward to moving to the pro game now.”
After Cross’ goal, the physicality picked up along the boards between Hamilton and Colton Hargrove, who were quick to smile and laugh after the whistle blew shortly thereafter. The white sweaters continued the assault with Justin Florek using all 6’4” 194-pounds to fight for real-estate in front of the net and convert on a second opportunity to lift the White Team to a 4-2 lead.
Malcolm Subban showed lightning quick athleticism when turning a rocket of a shot aside with his glove towards the end of the scrimmage, and shortly after, the teams split up into a faux shootout to the delight of the crowd.
Bruins fans weren’t the only ones to notice Subban’s play. Assistant GM Don Sweeney remarked following the scrimmage that the 24th overall pick in this year's draft came into camp “pretty much as advertised.”
“The athleticism and the competitiveness, you know, even from a shootout perspective, his statistics are phenomenal in that. Then you see him out here - he’s an exciting prospect.”
Nikas Svedberg also showed his athleticism in the shootout, even though Hamilton was able to tuck a wrist shot over his glove - something Svedberg proved in Sunday’s scrimmage that was no easy feat.
To conclude the day, the players lifted their sticks in salute to the faithful Bruins fans in attendance – a crowd that hit capacity at Ristuccia Arena.
“The crowds here were great and I think I was talking to somebody the other day that – I don’t think they were this big even in Tyler’s [Seguin] year, consistently,” said Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli, following the last day of camp. “So that was great to see.”
Camp newcomer Torey Krug said he and the other prospects enjoyed the atmosphere as well, on and off the ice.
“I had a lot of fun this week - coming into the week, I didn’t know what to expect from the other prospects, but there’s a very talented group of guys in here that work very hard.
“I know the Bruins have very bright future ahead of them.”
---Joe Gallagher contributed to this report