After starting the 2014-15 season in Providence with a goal and a plus-3 rating through two games with the Providence Bruins, the Boston Bruins recalled Seth Griffith who made his National Hockey League debut in a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on October 13, 2014.
Playing alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci on the Bruins’ top line, Griffith, at times, showed glimpses of what type of player he can be at the NHL level. Despite those glimpses of hope, Griffith battled with consistency and because of that, later in the season found his minutes reduced or found himself watching from the press box as a healthy scratch.
After being sent down and recalled a few times, Griffith was sent down to Providence at the end of January after notching just one goal in fifteen games prior to his demotion. That marked the last time the 21-year old would see NHL action in the 2014-15 season.
The move down to Providence didn’t seem to help Griffith too much as he continued to struggle as the Baby Bruins’ season winded down. The AHL playoffs didn’t change Griffith’s luck too much.
All and all it was frustrating times for Griffith.
“Yeah a little bit of a drought there, I think every player runs into it. For me, it was a little frustrating,” Griffith said Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
“I want to go out there and score almost every shift or at least get a good chance. So when I’m not getting those chances it gets a little frustrating for me. Butchie (Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy) helped me a lot through that and eventually I found my game and it was better late than never. I don’t want that to happen again, I think it was a learning point for me.”
Learning from his troubles, Griffith knew what parts of his game he needed to focus on this offseason in order to make himself a better player.
“I worked a lot on my offseason training. You know, getting faster, a little stronger in the corners and stuff like that,” he said. “You don’t do too many battle drills in the offseason, so it’s a matter of getting into it right away, get into some battles and making sure you’re ready for like I said these exhibition games.”
Skating in the second of three groups that took to the TD Garden ice on Saturday, Griffith skated to the right of Frank Vitrano and Joonas Kemppainen on the second day of training camp. Sunday night the Bruins will head to Providence to host the New Jersey Devils in their first of seven preseason games.
“Yeah it was good, getting back out there with all the guys again,” Griffith added. “It’s starting to ramp up here pretty quick. Coaches and all the players want to get our pace going right away so that we’re feeling good for these exhibition games.”
After an offseason of changes to the Bruins roster, a handful of jobs are up for grabs, Griffith is in the mix for a spot among the Bruins’ bottom six forwards, a role he saw some time in last year after being demoted from the Krejci line.
With more guys in the mix and a close eye being kept on Griffith and the other Bruins fighting for a job, the 5-foot-9 winger knows making the team this year is going to be much tougher than it was a season ago.
“Yeah it’s going to be a little tougher, but I think if you want to play on any line on the Bruins you have to have that gritty side to your game there,” Griffith said. “I don’t have to change a whole lot, just a matter of getting pucks deep, not trying to be fancy all the time.”
Unlike previous seasons where the Bruins roster spots were pretty much set in stone ahead of training camp, competition seems to be the common word used in the Bruins dressing room so far.
A little competition is never a bad thing.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of competition going on right now, but I think that’s only going to make me better,” stated Griffith. “Going against a lot of guys at the right wing position — you know we’re all battling right now. I look at it as you can only get better if you’re going hard every single practice rather than knowing you have a spot. So you have to look at the positive side.”
After being one of the final cuts last season, Griffith hopes he does enough through training camp and preseason to crack the Bruins’ opening night roster.
His offseason was dedicated to it.