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 clickinghere.
The New England Hockey Journal’s Kirk Luedeke contributes an in-depth feature to the Boston Bruins Prospect report every edition.
BostonBruins.com - Three weeks into the major junior season, it is becoming evident that the time and effort the Boston Bruins have spent scouting in Ontario is paying off, with five impact prospects all putting up impressive performances in the early going.
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Boston’s top choice in the June draft is also making waves in the OHL this year. Malcolm Subban is justifying the faith the team showed in him to make the Belleville puckstopper the 24th player off the board in Pittsburgh. With his outstanding quickness and athletic ability, Subban has been an early season workhorse for George Burnett’s Bulls, starting in eight of the team’s first nine games. He’s still a work in progress in terms of his overall technique, but Subban looks like the first-round pick he was in June and appears to have a lock on the No. 1 goalie chores for Team Canada at the 2013 World Junior (Under-20) Championship.
2012 fifth-rounder Seth Griffith was named the first OHL player of the week of the new season, keyed by a hat trick in the season opener. Although undersized and lacking in breakaway speed, the 19-year-old winger possesses outstanding hands and offensive hockey sense. He instinctively knows where to be on the ice, and is proving that he should not have been passed over in his first year of NHL draft eligibility. The London Knights will lean heavily on Griffith this year, and he will challenge for the OHL scoring crown.
Also attracting notice in the OHL is Plymouth Whalers power forward Cody Payne, another fifth-round pick in June. The Floridian is finally getting a chance to play a regular role in his third season of major junior and rewarded coach Mike Vellucci’s confidence with timely scoring and physical play. Possessing good size, skills and a rugged style, Payne is breaking out as one of the Whalers’ more consistent scorers and less than a month into the season has already equaled his goal output from an entire year ago.
Doug Hamilton is off his torrid points pace from last season, but he played a physically dominant contest against top OHL pick Connor McDavid to open the year. He has lost none of the luster in his fourth OHL campaign. There is nothing left for him to prove at this level, and if not for the lockout, there is little question he would still be in Boston at this time. He just needs to keep things simple, continue to refine his game in Niagara.
The most pleasant surprise in the OHL from a Bruins standpoint is this prospect edition’s focus player, who is off to the best start of his four-year major junior career.
Talent analysis: Despite not having a large frame at a shade under 6-foot-1, Camara nevertheless plays a rugged, physical style and is known as one of the league’s top hitters. He’s picked up the offense while playing alongside Barrie scoring leader and Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Mark Scheifele. Camara is using his speed and quick hands to crash the net score goals in close. Additionally, he’s shown off an impressive release, beating netminders with shots from the outside while backing up defenders with his wheels. When you toss in Camara’s physical edge and toughness, he’s on pace to be one of the OHL’s most complete players this season.
Outlook:The Bruins recognized Camara’s offensive potential when they took him 81st overall despite a lack of consistent production, but he was slow to justify that faith last season. After the trade to Barrie, the Mississauga native made some key plays in the 2012 OHL playoffs and has stepped up his game in the early going. He may not have the creativity to be a top-two line player in the NHL, but he is proving that when skating with the right players, his willingness to go into the dirty areas of the ice and cash in on scoring chances makes him a versatile option for his club. He’s leaner, quicker and in top shape, yet seems to have lost none of his snarl from past seasons. As it stands right now, Camara looks like a safe bet to one day carve out a niche as a higher-end NHL third-liner, with the chance to develop into something more.
We’ll be back in two weeks to analyze the AHL’s new-look Providence Bruins and how that team is faring.
Kirk Luedeke covers the Boston Bruins and NHL prospects for the New England Hockey Journal and is a contributing editor and hockey scout for the Red Line Report independent scouting service. You can follow him on Twitter at: @kluedeke29