Throughout Bruins Development Camp, NEHJ's Kirk Luedeke and Jesse Connolly will be profiling the participants. Today, they're looking at Rob O'Gara, a skilled defender who will be heading to Yale in the fall.
|Defenseman Rob O'Gara has had a much bigger impact at his second development camp. (Dave Arnold Photography)|
Rob O’Gara, D Milton Academy Mustangs
6-3, 190 Jul. 6, 1993 in Massapequa, N.Y.
GP 24 G 5 A 20 PTS 25
Drafted: 5th round, 151st overall, in 2011
Strengths: Ideal NHL size with a lanky frame in need of filling out. Very good skater with a fluid stride and impressive footwork. Smart defensive player who keeps it simple and the play in front of him. Showed off an offensive upside not as visible in his first prep season at Milton when he often covered for defense partner Pat McNally (now with Harvard). Solid passer who plays with his head up and is a dependable two-way presence. Often played upwards of 35 minutes per game on an inexperienced and undermanned Milton club. Hard-working, character kid with leadership traits who will be a player to watch at Yale starting in the fall.
Weaknesses: Raw talent with a lot of development ahead. Needs to get stronger and is not a physical defender, instead using an active stick and angling to keep opposing offenses from quality scoring chances.
Projection: Middle- or lower-pairing NHL defenseman who can contribute on special teams. O’Gara will likely follow a path similar to Tommy Cross on a long developmental road, but the payoff could be a good one for the patient Bruins who can afford to wait.
At last year’s camp, O’Gara was in a bit over his head. A prep-school standout stacked up against full-grown collegiate and junior hockey stars, the Milton Academy product was at a disadvantage with his lanky frame, and his lack of experience.
But O’Gara learned a lot over his week with the B’s prospects, filled out a bit over the last calendar year and seems far more poised this time around. Without having a lot of weight to throw around, O’Gara relies on being positionally sound and has looked effective at angling off attackers thanks to his strong skating game and noteworthy intuition in his own zone.
On where O'Gara is at in his development...
I was thinking of him – last year he walked in and I think I had seen bigger legs on these chairs, you know, and then he comes in this year he’s talkative he’s, again kind of like we discussed about [Ryan] Spooner last year, he looks more like a man than a boy. With his style of play he’s a defender, big guy so when he grows into his frame and recognizes how to use his stick well, I mean, he’s one of those guys – not flashy at all but could be, you know, a very serviceable guy for you down the road.
But I definitely see improvement physically in him and just his sort of demeanor around the locker room. Like a lot of guys that come in here, they’re intimidated let’s face it, but then they go through it a year and they get a little more comfortable and learn a couple things about, you know, the pro side of it and hopefully takes that forward with him off to Yale and has a good year there.