WILMINGTON — On Wednesday, one more prospect joined the long list of those at Boston’s development camp who have signed their entry-level contracts.
The Bruins announced that 2015 first-round pick Jakub Zboril has inked a deal with the B’s, just a few short weeks of being selected with the 13th overall pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.
“It’s really awesome,” Zboril said following Thursday’s on-ice session of development camp in Wilmington. “[I’m] really happy for me, and I’m really thankful to the Bruins, but it’s just one of another steps that have to be done.”
This past season marked Zboril’s rookie campaign with Saint John of the QMJHL. There, he finished third in scoring among rookie defensemen. His on-ice skills have impressed Bruins Development Coach Jay Pandolfo, even after just three sessions at Boston’s camp.
“On the ice, he makes it look pretty easy — real smooth skater, moves the puck really well, defends well because he’s such a good skater,” Pandolfo said. “He’s a young kid — he still has a lot to learn, but he’s come in here [as Boston’s] first overall pick. It’s opened his eyes a little bit, and we’ve talked to him, and he knows what he needs to do to get better, and he’s going to do that. He’s a good kid.”
Pandolfo said that most of Zboril’s improvement in the near term will stem from his conditioning. Like many 18-year-olds who enter their first pro camps, Pandolfo said, there are some areas where Zboril can stand to improve, especially in terms of pro-level conditioning.
Pandolfo is confident that the Czech native knows what is expected of him and will make the necessary improvements.
“I just think what the Bruins expect — what type of conditioning level we expect here — he’s never been around the organization before, so I think that is something that is going to be new to him,” he said. “But 18-year-old kids — they’re young, they can eat what they want, they can do what they want, but once you get to this level, you’ve got to start taking care of yourself a little better off the ice, and I think that’s one thing he’s going to do better.”
Zboril should be in attendance at Boston’s rookie camp this fall, but beyond that, he is uncertain of what his future holds. He said anything can happen over the next couple of months, but he thinks a return to Saint John is most likely in the cards.
Regardless of where Zboril ends up for the 2015-16 season, Pandolfo said it is definitely a benefit to have him signed before camp wraps up. Now, Zboril is officially a Bruin, and now, he can begin taking the necessary steps to ensure he will soon be in Black and Gold.
“I think for sure, it’s exciting,” Pandolfo said. “Now, we know he’s part of our organization, and now, we’ve got to do some work and give him some information, and he’s got to run with that.
“So we’re excited about him, for sure, to get him under contract and really be able to get him a part of this Bruins culture.”