BostonBruins.com — At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, David Warsofsky is used to having to prove his worth as a defensemen.
With many NHL blueliners tipping the scales at 200-pounds-plus and standing over 6-feet in their hockey socks, the former Boston University Terrier and 2009 NCAA Champion knows his skill set will be ultra-scrutinized as he works to solidify his already steady foothold in the professional game.
"Yeah, I’ve had that my whole life where I’m a smaller defenseman; I know that," said Warsofsky. "But the NHL has changed since 10-15 years ago where guys my size are starting to make it.
"I think it’s important for me to just be a puck moving guy," he explained. "I think that’s what the Bruins want me to do—it’s kind of—it’s not so much what they have up in Boston, so I think I just want to move the puck, and then at the same time, be steady defensively.
"But obviously, offense and being a puck moving defenseman is a big part of my game."
Thankfully, and as Warsofsky develops his own game, the Providence blueliner has a similarly-statured former Bruins defenseman to reference as he works toward the NHL. Also helpful is that the former Bruin is a frequent guest in the Dunkin' Donuts Center's press box and the stands at P-Bruins practice.
"Well, being vertically challenged at that position as well, I think I can speak from experience that the laws of physics don’t apply sometimes in situations," said Boston Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney with a smile. "But David brings skill sets to the table that other people can’t do.
"He moves the puck extremely well, he skates well, he anticipates well. He led our [AHL] defensemen in scoring last year as a rookie at this level.
"So I think he’s looking forward to challenges of playing against better players," he said.
Sweeney, who played 1052 NHL games with the Bruins after joining the organization out of Harvard, scored 52 goals, added 210 assists for 262 points, and also spent some time with the AHL's Maine Mariners (then the B's top affiliate). Having been in such a similar position himself, Sweeney said Warsofsky must take advantage of the opportunity he has to prove himself in Providence.
"I think everyone uses that as a measuring stick,” said Sweeney of the number of current AHL players with NHL experience. "Early on, you’re going to find players sort of intrigued where they stack up with other [experienced players], and I think David has gotten off to a really solid start here in training camp.
"We expect big things from David," added Sweeney.
David expects big things from himself, even though he knows the AHL's Goliaths will give him no quarter in the corners or the P-Bruins net as he fights for position.
Even so, Warsofsky remains on a mission to prove he can compete even with the biggest players the NHL has to offer, while providing Providence with the steady defense necessary to support a crop of young forwards.
"As a young kid you always want to play in the NHL, and now it’s more of a reality," he said. "It’s a lot of pressure, but at the same time, it’s one of my goals I’ve had my whole life, so I’m kind of using that to my advantage.
"Sometimes, it’s good to play with a little bit of pressure on you - kind of a little extra motivation for you."