Now having spent more than two weeks in Boston — including two very successful rookie games against the Islanders and a handful of NHL preseason games under his belt — Jordan Caron has been showcasing his skills to the city of Boston and proving why he was the Bruins’ first-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
With all eyes and ears focused on Tyler Seguin in the early stages of training camp and rookie games, Caron stood out and made his mark in the Hub by netting a hat trick in his first-ever game in Black and Gold at the TD Garden.
Caron, who stands 6-foot-2 and tips the scale around 202-pounds, play a big, physical game. His goals — minus the empty-netter — against the Islanders were all in part using his body for positioning himself in scoring area. His first goal was a tip-in from Matt Delahey’s slap-shot from the point; and his second was a result of gaining position in the slot to take a threaded pass from Seguin along the boards and behind the Islanders net-minder.
“His physical strength for his age is extremely good, so he has shown us a lot of good things in front of the net.” said head coach Claude Julien of Caron last week. ”He has good size, good strength, protects the puck well, he crashes the net, will take the puck to the net.
“The things we really like about him, too, is that we think he positions himself very well in front of the net. He goes to the front of the net, he positions himself well, and because of his size, he’s able to stand in there, tip pucks, and jump on the rebounds.” added Julien. “And with a body like his, it’s an asset for him; it’s an asset for us.”
The 25th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft played three-and-a-half seasons with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Juniors Hockey League (QMJHL), posting 83-87-170 career totals in in 181 games with the club. In early January, 2010, Caron was traded to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in a blockbuster deal that also sent Rimouski’s Patrice Cormier, plus other players and picks, from the East to West Division. Caron continued his his torrid scoring pace in 2009-10 by tallying 17-16-33 in 23 contests with the Huskies, and 7-11-18 in 11 playoff games with his new squad.
During last night’s 4-1 preseason loss to the Washington Capitals at the TD Garden, Caron, lined with Patrice Bergeron in the middle and Mark Recchi on the far wing, logged 14:10 of total ice time. He also chipped-in with :20 of power play ice time, and shared a team-high — with Micahel Ryder and Bergeron — with four of the Bruins’ 26 shots on goal, including several good scoring opportunities.
“I want to stay here and I want to contribute offensively.” Caron said last night, post-game, before boarding a chartered flight to Belfast. “Sometimes those chances don’t fall, but yeah I want to continue to work for those chances. We missed a couple of opportunities in front of the net tonight but hopefully in the next couple of games I can bury those chances.”
There’s no questioning the 18-year-old’s offensive play and ability to put the puck in the net; his hat trick during the rookie games helped proved that. But perhaps the most the most impressive attribute that Caron possesses is his responsibilities for both sides of the puck. Despite being a minus-1 thus far this preseason, the Sayabec, Quebec, Canada, native has never been on the minus side — having totaled a staggering plus-54 in his four-year Juniors career.
His great two-way play has certainly translated to this year’s training camp and NHL preseason action. Caron has been one of Julien’s go-to-guys on the penalty-kill — whose PK is better than 88-percent thus far this preseason — by logging 2:27 of shorthanded ice time last night to lead all Bruins’ forwards.
Through three preseason games played, Caron has averaged over 14 minutes of ice time, has nine combined shots on goal, and nearly six-total-minutes on the PK. And having survived numerous roster cuts, Caron continues his NHL quest with the 25-man Bruins roster in Belfast, Northern Ireland this week by continuing to play his game.
“I think every game I tried to play good defensively and I think the defensive part of my game is really important. I’m not only an offensive guy,” said Caron. “I try to contribute defensively as well and I think that’s a big point that got me here.
“It’s good to get some powerplay and penalty kill time and be trusted to be there on the penalty kill and just be in the game more in those situations and get the experience.”
On March 31, 2010, Caron was inked to an three-year entry-level contract with the Bruins. And having all but solidified his NHL roster spot with Boston for this upcoming season, Caron is a face that we’ll be seeing much more of donning a Spoked-B, not only this year, but for years to come.
“We like what we see from him,” added Julien. “He is certainly opening up a lot of eyes right now.”