July 3, 2012

New draftees, 'usual suspects' impressed Chiarelli at camp

By Jesse Connolly

The Bruins concluded their sixth annual development camp on Monday afternoon, wrapping up things at Ristuccia Arena with a hard-fought scrimmage.

General manager Peter Chiarelli spoke with the media afterward and was pleased with what he saw, especially from this year’s draft class.

“The younger crew, this year’s draft I was happy with. You very rarely come away from these camps with a negative feeling ‘cause it’s all potential and you always – you know you have to - there’s varying degrees of potential but – then a year later you sift through the players and maybe seventy percent of them in your mind go to the next year, but it was fairly deep this year.

“Our guys – our big pick – the guys - the [Cody] Payne’s the [Colton] Hargrove’s the - got some big guys that can skate, so I was happy – those are the lower end guys I’m just – thematically I mean we’ve got some size and skaters. Like specifically this year’s draft – Malcolm [Subban] I thought acquitted himself very well – [Matt] Grzelcyk played well but these guys are three, four, five years away.”

Unlike in past years, this crop of draftees didn’t have much time to unwind. The B’s began camp just five days after the draft ended.

“Well yeah probably a little bit if you had a couple weeks to decompress after a draft and you’re 18 years old you can probably kind of gather things,” Chiarelli said when asked about that challenge. “We have some young players and they’re just - it’s the new draft class, they’re just younger.

“And that’s why when you look at this you have to look at it closely. And you’ve got your 18-year-olds – first drafts - and you’ve got your 23-year-olds, college free agents, and the Tommy Cross’s. So I mean you’re talking five years of development and growing and maturing, so to your question, the younger guys - the freshman draft class - yeah, I’m sure if they had two weeks to kind of sit home and soak things up and then come here it would be different but nothing wrong with baptism by fire.”

The burning question for most fans is whether or not anyone climbed the ladder or slipped back down it. Unfortunately, no player swayed Chiarelli’s opinion in one direction or the other.

“No, not really. I call them the usual suspects – are progressing - and they’ll be – I said this the other day, just by where they are in their development and contractually, there’ll be guys that’ll challenge at our training camp,” the GM said.

“I think the [Ryan] Spooners or the [Jared] Knights are going to challenge, obviously Dougie’s [Hamilton] going to challenge. I don’t want exclude anyone but those are the guys - those are the usual suspects.”

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.