Top 5 Prospects with NHL Upside for the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins have some prospects that will be looking to solidify the depth of the franchise in the future and inherit the style of hockey that saw Boston win a Stanley Cup. The Bruins' farm system features many players who are projected to have NHL upside. These are the top five players in my opinion.
1. Ryan Spooner
The 45th pick of the 2010 draft, Spooner is a smaller player by NHL standards at 5'10" and 175 lbs. This should not stop him from being considered the best player in the Bruins system. He is extremely creative and had an excellent year for Kingston (OHL) in which he scored 25 goals and tallied 62 points in 50 games. Spooner has always been more than a point-a-game player in the OHL and the AHL, spending time with Providence in the AHL and the Petes of the OHL as well as Kingston. His offensive creativity and nose for the net are exceptional. Spooner can prove the critics wrong by playing a tougher game. This has been much more of a concern than his talent, which most scouts do not question.
2. Jordan Caron
Caron is an impressive player who is not afraid to go to high percentage scoring areas on the ice. As a result, he often takes a lot of damage and has missed significant time due to injuries. At 6'2" and 202 lbs, he has NHL size and the Bruins do put priority on players who are larger and playing a grinding or crashing style. Caron fits in right away as a depth forward who drives to the net very well. He has shown good upside as a two-way player after a decent year at Providence (12 goals, 16 assists in 47 games). Caron is probably not the type of player who will rip a puck into the net, but he scores on rebounds and deflections consistently. He thinks the game at a high level and is considered a pretty dependable player.
3. Matt Bartkowski
Bartkowski is a prospect that was obtained from the Florida Panthers in the Dennis Seidenberg deal at the 2010 trade deadline. He is an excellent skater who is steadily increasing his hockey IQ by learning when it is good to join the rush and when it is better to stay back. Bartkowski is learning to become a better positional player as well. He possesses a heavy shot and is willing to play a physical style, as he is an excellent hitter. He had five goals and 18 assists in 69 AHL games last season. That performance earned Bartkowski a six-game trial with the Bruins at the end of the season. Expect to see him on the big club at some point this year as well.
4. Maxime Sauve
Sauve is a hard-working center that any team would love to have filling out their roster. He skates extremely well, works hard on the forecheck and plays with a lot of heart. Sauve had an excellent year with 20 goals and 17 assists for Providence last season. The 47th pick of the 2008 draft, Sauve has not failed to impress at any level that he plays at. He works hard to out hustle everyone and has enough offensive upside to be a top-six forward in the NHL in the future. Sauve has NHL like size at 6-2" but may need to gain some weight.
5. Jared Knight
Knight has had a lot of success as a Knight, a London Knight of the OHL, that is. His steadily ascending offensive numbers have resulted in a 70 point, 25 goal season in the OHL that earned him a three-game trip to Providence last year. Knight is another smallish forward at 5-11" and 186 lbs, but he is a good skater and works hard to score goals. He should be an excellent two-way forward in the future and probably projects best as a second or third-line center.
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