Do you want a sign that the NHL season is getting closer? Here it is. The Boston Bruins began Rookie Camp Wednesday and Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena, before some of their prospects headed to Buffalo for this weekend’s Prospect Challenge.
Joining the Black and Gold in the round-robin tournament are the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils at the LECOM HarborCenter. The Bruins will play the Sabres at 3 p.m. Saturday and the Devils at 1 p.m. Sunday. It will be a good chance for Boston’s prospects to play against two teams that have been drafting high in recent drafts and have good young players to play against.
Bruins Announce Prospects Challenge Roster
Boston is sending some well-known names to the tournament, as well as some prospects who will be fighting for a roster spot once training camp begins in full next week. Here is a breakdown of the roster the Bruins are sending for the two games.
|Samuel Asselin||Jack Ahcan||Kyle Keyser|
|Matt Filipe||Noah Dorey*||Jeremy Brodeur|
|Jesper Frodon||J.D. Greenway|
|Curtis Hall||Brady Lyle|
|Brett Harrison||Ryan Mast|
|Jacob Hudson*||Andrew Peski|
|Jakub Lauko||Nick Wolff|
To fill out the roster, Hudson, Boudreau, and Dorey were non-roster player invites to provide the Bruins with extra depth in the two games.
2021 Draft Class Will Be Represented
There is certainly no shortage of young talent going to Buffalo for the Black and Gold, including three draft pick’s from this July’s Entry Draft.
Lysell headlines the list of names as the 21st pick in the first round of July’s draft will be part of the team. Expectations are high for Lysell, who projects as a top-six right wing, and playing in this tournament will be a good step in getting his feet wet.
Another forward selection from July’s draft that is part of the roster is Harrison, who was selected 85th overall in the third round. He is a member of the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and is a 6-foot-2, left-shot center. He was the 50th-ranked North American skater in the draft by NHL Central Scouting.
Projected as a late first or second-round pick, he slid to the third round and could end up being a steal in this draft class. In 2019-20 with Oshawa, he had 21 goals and 37 assists in 56 games. The Bruins have two other Generals in their system with forward Jack Studnicka (2017) and Keyser (2019), a goalie.
Related: Boston Bruins 2021-22 Season Preview
The final 2021 draftee playing this weekend is Mast, a defenseman. The Bruins love big physical blueliners and Mast fits that category. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he missed out on his 2020-21 season when the OHL canceled their season because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 58 games in 2019-20 for the Sarina Sting, he had one goal and 11 assists. With the OHL returning to play this season, he will return to the Sting for another season following this weekend.
More Notable Prospects Going to Buffalo
Lysell, Harrison, and Mast will draw some attention, but there are other prospects that played for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL) who are suiting up for the Bruins, while one other was recently signed as a free agent. Some of these players could be in play for a roster spot once training camp begins with the rest of the Bruins.
This summer, there were some changes in net for the Bruins. Linus Ullmark was signed as a free agent and Dan Vladar was traded to the Calgary Flames. That opened the door for Jeremy Swayman to battle Ullmark for the starting job in training camp with Tuukka Rask still a free agent. While all those names got a lot of attention, Keyser is quietly playing in their shadows.
Last season, he went 9-9-2 with the Jacksonville Icemen in the ECHL with a 2.46 Goals-against average (GAA) and a .917 Save percentage (SV%). Keyser won three of his five games in Providence at the end of the AHL season with a 2.56 GAA and a .913 SV%. The 22-year-old is in line to be the starter in Providence this season, but if an early injury happens to Ullmark or Swayman, he could find himself in Boston. His backup this weekend is Jeremy Brodeur, son of former NHL goalie Martin Brodeur. Jeremy is signed to play with the Maine Mariners this season, the Bruins’ new ECHL affiliate.
Lauko is someone that will get a lot of attention this weekend ahead of training camp. His development with Providence has grown over the last couple of seasons and is one name to keep an eye on in camp. In 23 games with the P-Bruins last season, he had five goals and 14 assists.
Another name that will draw attention when training camp begins is Lyle. He was one of the most impressive blueliners in Providence’s shortened 2020-21 season. In 19 games, he had six goals with six assists and made a name for himself with his all-around play. In April, he signed a two-year entry-level contract with an annual $800,000 cap hit.
The Bruins signed Froden to a one-year, $842,500 contract in June and he could be a wild card this season. The 26-year-old scored a team-high 22 goals with 18 assists for Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) in 2020-21. A right wing, this is an opportunity for the Bruins to get an early look at what they have in Froden.
Asselin, a left-shot that can play both center and wing, had eight goals and eight assists last season for the P-Bruins, a year after scoring 26 goals with 26 assists in 2019-20 with the Atlanta Gladiators in the ECHL. The 23-year-old will be looking to follow up his last two seasons with a stronger 2021-22.
After signing with Providence last season, Hall played in just 13 games as he dealt with an injury. He had two solid seasons at Yale University and after having his pro season cut short, he should be eager to get back on the ice. This is an opportunity for him to make an early impression on the Bruins.
Prospects Get Early Shot to Impress
With training camp about to get underway, there are going to be some interesting position battles. Some of the young prospects playing this weekend just might find themselves in the mix for a roster spot at the end of the camp. They get their chance to get a jump on camp this weekend and it gives the Bruins a chance to see their three draft picks from July’s draft in action for the first time.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.