The Boston Bruins are two weeks removed from the sting of their agonizing Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final. Their future, however, remains bright.
Part of their future is in Boston now, taking part in the annual Development Camp at Warrior Ice Arena. The likes of Oscar Steen, Axel Andersson, Jeremy Swayman, and 2019 first-round pick John Beecher are front and center, giving Bruins fans a look into their coveted prospect system.
Each Bruins prospect has a lot to look forward to during the three-day festivities in Brighton. Not only will they display their skill set to the Bruins’ brass, but they bring an inspiring mindset following Boston’s postseason run in 2019.
“It’s an exciting group of players,” Bruins Player Development Coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner said. “The scouts have done a good job of identifying players who are excited to play hockey.”
They’ll be excited to play for an Original Six organization when the time comes. For now, it’s looking up to the current core of Bruins for inspiration.
Swayman, a two-year starting netminder at the University of Maine, felt a local New England vibe during the Bruins’ third run to the Cup Final this decade.
“It was awesome,” the 2017 fourth round pick from Anchorage, Alaska said. “Knowing that I’m a part of this program and seeing how well they do every year — especially this year — is really great to see. And I know I’m in really good hands being a part of the Boston Bruins.”
But one goaltending peer, in particular, left Swayman at a loss for words this postseason.
“Speechless,” Swayman said about Tuukka Rask’s playoff run. “I know he’s a big role model for me — and I’m sure he’s [a role model] for a lot of other goalies — so I’m definitely a fan of his game and I want to follow in his footsteps for sure.”
From the northernmost state in New England to Nordic countries like Finland and Sweden, the prospects kept their eyes glued on the TV with every Bruins playoff game. In some instances, like Andersson — living six hours away — that meant taking care of academic responsibilities before catching his future team in action.
“I was in school and that was during playoff time,” Andersson said, “but I watched as much as I could. And of course, I watched Game 7 and that was disappointing.”
The bitter feeling of a Game 7 loss resonated with Andersson and some of the other Bruins prospects living overseas. But again, they have a lot to look forward to.
The young and talented Bruins blueliners who climbed through the ranks over the past few years give Andersson more inspiration when he arrives at Training Camp in September. The likes of Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Conor Clifton — Andersson’s defensive partner at last year’s Development Camp — gave the Black and Gold a much-needed injection of youth over the past few years. Andersson would love nothing more than to follow in their footsteps.
Andersson’s has a tough climb ahead of him to make an immediate impact. But the Bruins may have a couple of open spots up for grabs in the preseason. Given their salary cap situation — and pending new contracts for RFA’s Carlo, McAvoy, and Danton Heinen — the Black and Gold may have to look internally to fill holes in the middle of the lineup. That gives the likes of Steen and top prospect Jack Studnicka a chance of playing time at the NHL level to start the season.
Boston’s prospects have plenty of proven commodities like Rask, Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara to look up to for inspiration. They’ll also have the weight of inspiring another run of success upon their NHL arrival.