The Boston Bruins concluded their four-day Development Camp at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday with a full-sided scrimmage that showcased the abilities and talents of all 30 players in attendance.
This year’s camp brought with it an extremely competitive environment created by a highly skilled roster from top to bottom.
“Camp was a little different that we graduated some kids from the camp and into the next level and we feel good about that,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said in a press conference Friday following the conclusion of practice. “Now it’s about these guys that have just come in. It was a good week; they’ve been busy all week. Jamie has done a really good job putting a special camp together and hopefully they take a lot away from it.”
Although some might view this as merely a Development Camp in late June with a bunch of collegiate and international prospects, it is in fact much more than that. The fact that four skating sessions during the offseason were as intense as they were highlights where the Bruins organization is at and that the future is bright for Boston.
Among the standouts this week were Axel Andersson, the Bruins’ 2018 second-round pick, and Jack Studnicka, a second-round selection in 2017.
After the first day of practice, Andersson stated that he models his game after none other than the Bruins own Charlie McAvoy, and the comparison isn’t too far fetched. The 6-foot defenseman from Jarna, Sweden is the prototypical modern-day, two-way defenseman that has the agility to be attacking minded while still being strong enough to fend off attackers in the defensive zone; i.e. Charlie McAvoy.
“Looks like a smart player, give him the hockey player designation – finds ways to make plays in traffic,” Bruins director of player development Jamie Langenbrunner said. “Skating looks definitely above average and he’s got some strength to him.”
On the other end of the ice, Studnicka displayed his incredible ice vision and stood out as the best pure passer of the entire bunch.
The 19-year-old has a knack for finding the open man, as he registered 72 points (22 goals, 50 assists) in 66 games as the captain of the Oshawa Generals during the 2017-18 season.
The Tecumseh, Ontario native signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Boston on September 26, 2017. He played in five games for the Providence Bruins last season, tallying five points (one goal, four assists) in those contests; however, his Providence stint was short lived due to injury.
One of the things Studnicka has focused on this offseason has been getting stronger physically in order to avoid injury and be able to possibly make the Bruins NHL roster.
“He came into Providence and put up a point a game there. If he wouldn’t have gotten banged up there, he would have played more games. His year was strong, real strong. He looks to be even a little bit stronger physically from the end of the year in Providence until now. He’s putting in the work and wants to be a player,” Langenbrunner said.
“I think it’s great that he wants to do that. I think that’s a lofty goal for him as a 19-year-old, not a lot of 19-year-olds play in the National Hockey League. It’s something that I wouldn’t put past him; he’s a determined kid. If he’s able to push and take that job, then great. I think [Sweeney’s] spoken about that quite regularly. Whoever’s ready is going to get the job.”
Don’t be surprised if one of, if not both of these promising talents make an appearance for the Bruins in the near future.
Along with Andersson and Studnicka, there were a few pleasant surprises mixed in the group, including Karson Kuhlman from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Oskar Steen from Sweden and Jakub Lauko, the Bruins’ third-round selection this year.
Andersson, Studnicka and the rest of the Bruins prospects will report back to Boston for rookie camp in early-September.