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Looking ahead at development camp

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  July 6, 2009 11:43 AM

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Joe Colborne will literally be the organization's biggest prospect to participate in this week's development camp. (Fred Chartrand/AP)

Tomorrow is the kickoff to the third annual Bruins development camp at Ristuccia Arena. The campers will go through off-ice workouts tomorrow, then hit the ice for the first time on Wednesday.

Here are five things to watch for this week:

1. Who will emerge as the camp's standout? Two summers ago, David Krejci was far and away the best player. Last July, Blake Wheeler performed well and carried the momentum into training camp.

2. The development curve of Zach Hamill. The No. 8 overall pick of the 2007 draft had an underwhelming first year as a pro: 13-13--26 in 65 games for Providence in 2007-08. Hamill projects to be a skilled center, but saw mostly third-line action with Providence after starting the season on the shelf following thumb surgery. Hamill is only 20, so there's still time for his game to evolve. Somewhat surprising that he's back for his third camp, but the Boston bosses probably want him to be a leader and emerge as one of the better players this week. This is an important camp and summer for Hamill, who must assert himself as a top-two center in Providence in 2009-10.

3. How Joe Colborne is growing into his body and game. Big Joe currently checks in at 6 feet 6 inches, 196 pounds. That's an inch taller than he was last summer. He is arguably the club's brightest prospect because of his size and skill. Colborne will return to the University of Denver for his sophomore season.

4. If Adam Courchaine, Matt Dalton, or Michael Hutchinson can show indications of NHL potential. The Bruins are thin between the pipes and don't have a Grade-A netminding prospect with the graduation of Tuukka Rask to the NHL. Kevin Regan would be first in line for a promotion in case of injury to Rask or Tim Thomas, which isn't the best scenario for the Bruins.

5. What kind of game Yuri Alexandrov will bring. The Russian defenseman was selected 37th overall in the 2006 draft, 13 slots ahead of Milan Lucic. The 6-foot, 185-pound Alexandrov, who turned 21 last month, played with and against men for Cherepovets in the KHL in 2008-09. The Bruins are hoping Alexandrov could give them some much-needed help on the blue line in Providence. Five of the defensemen are free agent invitees, indicating the lack of blue-line depth in the organization.

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