Boston Bruins rookie camp: What and who to watch for?

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: A general view as Urho Vaakanainen is selected 18th overall by the Boston Bruins during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: A general view as Urho Vaakanainen is selected 18th overall by the Boston Bruins during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins begin their Rookie Camp today, September 7, and start the pre-season off with some fun for the young guys.

The Boston Bruins officially start their pre-season today with the opening of the Rookie Camp at Warrior Arena.  Rather than have it be multiple days of drills, practices, and meaningless inter-squad scrimmages, the Bruins are doing what they done in the past few years and doing a Prospect Challenge tournament in Buffalo.

The Rookie Camp/Prospect Challenge features a round-robin tournament, and this year features rookies and prospects from the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, and host Buffalo Sabres. The schedule that was released by the Bruins on August 31 is as follows:

Thursday, September 7

  • -Boston Bruins 2017 Rookie Camp presented by AT&T opens (Warrior Ice Arena, Boston, MA)

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  • -Players will be available to the media at approximately 10:30 a.m.
  • -Travel to Buffalo
  • -Player media availability at HarborCenter, TBD

Friday, September 8 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)

  • -Boston morning skate, 9 a.m.
  • -Boston vs. Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.
  • -Buffalo vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 9 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)

  • -Boston morning skate, 10:30 a.m.
  • -New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.
  • -Boston vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Sunday, September 10 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)

  • -Boston practice, 12:30 p.m.

Monday, September 11 (HarborCenter, Buffalo, NY)

  • -Boston morning skate, 10 a.m.
  • -Boston vs. New Jersey, 12 p.m.
  • -Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

The participants

In the same article, the Bruins released the roster of players that would be attending the tournament in Buffalo:

Forwards: Anders Bjork, Shawn Boudrias, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jesse Gabrielle, Alex Gacek, James Hamblin, Danton Heinen, Justin Hickman, Joona Koppanen, Sean Kuraly, Cedric Pare, Zach Senyshyn, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka

Defensemen: Victor Berglund, Connor Clifton, Matt Grzelcyk, Owen Headrick, Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Charlie McAvoy, Rob O’Gara, Ethan Sakowich, Jakub Zboril

Goaltenders: Kyle Keyser, Luke Richardson

Who to watch for:  Forwards

BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 08: Ryan Fitzgerald
BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 08: Ryan Fitzgerald /

One key player to watch during this camp and during Bruins full camp starting September 14 would be winger Anders Bjork.  Many people, including Bruins’ reporter Joe Haggerty feel that the 20-year-old forward out of Notre Dame is NHL ready, and very well could be a top-six forward in his first year of his three-year entry level deal.

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"“Bjork looks like he could be a guy who comes in at camp, wows people, and just takes the job from day one,” said Haggerty. “He’s got the speed. He’s got the skill. He’s more of a polished product because he’s been at Notre dame for three years.“As soon as he came in [to development camp], he was the best player on the ice. And it’s clear that he’s far ahead of where most of these other players are, and I think that he’s ready for the look he’s going to get in camp to potentially win that role.”"

Also on many people’s radar will be center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, or JFK as he’s been dubbed. Another player 20 year-old player on an entry deal, I feel he may have a legitimate chance to crack the Bruins’ opening day lineup.  He’s got NHL size and plays a solid two-way game, scoring 30 points as a freshman at Boston University (10 goals, 20 assists), and 33 points as a sophomore (14 goals, 19 assists).

Notable mentions:  Sean Kuraly (played 60 total games in Providence last season, 12 in Boston; scored 2 huge goals in the playoffs against Ottawa; could be depth guy in NHL if injury bug hits); Jake DeBrusk (had pretty solid year in Providence as a first time AHLer; plays left wing where the Bruins could use some talent); Zach Senyshyn (former 1st round pick who impressed in Development Camp).

Who to watch for:  Defensemen

(Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images) /

The obvious answer here is Charlie McAvoy.  With his skill set and play-making abilities, the depths of which we are still yet to see fully, people see him as the future blueline cornerstone of the franchise.  He will not only make the NHL roster this season, he will be an integral part of any success the Bruins have this season.  Possibly playing this upcoming season with the current blueline stalwart in Zdeno Chara might be just the ticket to get McAvoy into talks for the Calder Trophy.

Jakub Zboril is still a bit of a raw prospect.  Hopefully he will eventually get his game to the level that will justify using the 13th overall pick in 2015 on him.  While the NHL may still be a few seasons away for him, given that he has yet to suit up for an AHL game, his game may be rounding into form, along with his maturity as a player.

Next: Boston Bruins and David Pastrnak update…good and bad news

Notable mention:  Matt Grzelcyk (solid defenseman out of Boston University who had 32 points in 70 regular season games in Providence).