When training camp opens up for the Bruins in less than a month, there won’t be many roster spots up for grabs as the Bruins look to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in four seasons. But one position that will be fought for is the third line right wing spot.
When the Bruins traded Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars, a spot on the Bruins third line opened up. Chris Kelly returns for his third season with the Bruins and is a lock for the third line center role. Carl Soderberg who joined the Bruins last season is expected to skate to Kelly’s left. Who skates to their right is one of the biggest questions the Bruins will face as August turns to September and the Black and Gold get back to business.
The Bruins have a few guys who will battle it out as they look to be penciled into the lineup for opening night against the Lightning on October 3, but at the end of the day the job is Jordan Caron’s to lose.
Caron’s tenure as a Bruin has been a bumpy one, and if Caron’s latest contract with the Bruins is not an indication that this is his last chance to prove his worth, then I don’t know what is.
Coming off his three-year entry level deal this summer, Caron signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $640,000. Caron has spent the past three seasons bouncing back-and-forth between the AHL and NHL. The 22-year old forward has 11 goals in 88 games with the Bruins and 27 goals in 111 games with Providence.
A one-way contract means in order for Caron to be sent down to Providence he would need to clear waivers, something the Bruins may not be comfortable doing. Caron has shown signs of potential at times, but for the most part has struggled at the NHL level.
Looking to beat out Caron for third line right wing spot will be Bruins prospects Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight. Riley Smith and Matt Fraser—both of whom were acquired in the trade with the Stars—are also in the mix.
Caron’s NHL experience makes him the early favorite, but certainly doesn’t guarantee that the job will be his. Albeit 40 games and 13 games respectively, Smith and Fraser do have NHL experience.
Caron’s 6’2 200lb body makes him a perfect third line forward, espcially for a Bruins team who is known for it’s physical play, but it seems to be Caron’s confidence, or lack thereof that has hurt him in the past.
Spooner could be the dark horse—if you even want to consider him that—in this competition. The former 2010 second rounder made his NHL debut with the Bruins last season, playing in four games total where he failed to register a point. Spooner had a phenomenal rookie campaign for the “Baby B’s” last season with 57 points in 59 games.
There’s no doubt it’s going to be a fun battle to watch as training camp and preseason roll along. The job is Caron’s to lose; from here it’s up to him to make something happen with his NHL career.
When rumors broke during last April’s trade deadline that the Bruins were looking to acquire a legitimate scoring threat, Caron’s name was floated around, but “experts” quickly shot that rumor down saying the Bruins value Caron much more highly than other teams do in the league. If there is truth to that, it can only benefit Caron.
Rookies will report to training camp on September 3 with veterans reporting on the 11th. Almost there folks, we’re almost there.