Soon, those decision making processes will kick into high gear and many of the younger players on the B's roster will get an important opportunity to prove themselves worthy of donning the Black & Gold on TD Banknorth Garden Ice.
Anchorage Alaska native Nate Thompson is one of those players.
Last September, Thompson looked to break onto the NHL scene during Bruins training camp, but the front office decided another year in Providence was in order.
However, true-to-form, the always-affable forward, who was re-signed by Boston earlier this summer, arrived in Wilmington early, ready to hone the skills that brought him to the precipice last year.
With a 35-45-80 line in 216 regular season games in the American Hockey League, Thompson, who will turn 24 in October, views the competition to make the big club and the inherent pressure to improve his game as improving his shot at the NHL.
“The competition is great, it really keeps me on my toes all the time,” said Thompson in between skating sessions on Tuesday. “It always keeps me working hard and forces me to feel like I’m in an uncomfortable spot.”
Now with three plus years of significant experience with the P-Bruins, including AHL career bests of 19 goals and 20 assists over 75 games in 2007-08, Thompson surely understands that this may be his best opportunity to make the Bruins final roster.
|Nate Thompson |
As such, the center hopes to add more games to the four contests he played with the B’s in 2006-07 and score his first NHL point during the upcoming campaign.
“I’m always looking to refine all areas of my game and keep improving stuff on the fly,” repeated Thompson. “Having said that, my goal is to come into camp quicker, in the best shape possible, and with great confidence about my ability to play at this level.”
While others in his situation might have been discouraged about not making the team the first time around, Thompson remains positive and determined.
“I’m pretty lucky to have an opportunity to make this team in back to back years,” he said. “A lot of guys just don’t get that second look.
“I’m just going to come into camp with a great attitude and work really hard at my game to give myself the best chance possible to make the team.”