PC’s Florentino ready for 1st pro season

BUFFALO — Anthony Florentino, who is playing for Buffalo in the Prospects Challenge, grew up in West Roxbury, Mass., rooting his heart out for the Bruins.

So it’s not a surprise that the opportunity to face players wearing the Spoked B on their chests was on the mind of the former Providence College defenseman before the Sabres and Bruins played on Saturday night.

“It was pretty cool. I was actually thinking about that  after warm-ups, growing up watching (the Bruins). I realized I’m one step closer but I’ve got a lot of work to do. It was a pretty cool feeling,” said Florentino, who is headed for Rochester on an AHL contract this season.

“You’ve got to play loose. You can’t be tense and uptight about it. I relaxed a little and thought about how far I’ve come. It was definitely a cool experience.”

The burly Florentino was ready to go with Boston’s Ryan Fitzgerald during a third-period scrum, but the linesmen intervened.

“Fitzy’s a good guy. He competes. You’ve got to do what you have to do, especially in this. Nothing but respect for Fitzy. He’s a great player. He plays hard. I play hard,” he said.

Florentino was pleased with his play in the first two games.

“Obviously there’s some shifts I wish I could have back, but overall I can’t be too hard on myself. It’s all a learning experience and making a good first impression. You can’t play tense and overthink. I’m pretty happy with my performance,” he said.

With his PC degree in his backpocket, Florentino is looking forward to his first pro season.

“It’s definitely going to be different. I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands, so I’ll try to stay busy and make sure I’m taking care of my body. It’s going to be a big jump for me, without the stress of school and whatnot.

“I’m going to miss it, being around the guys, Friartown. Awesome four years. I’m going to miss it for sure but I’m ready for the road ahead,” he said.

Sunday practice notes from Buffalo

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Jesse Gabrielle (82) and Ryan Fitzgerald wait their turn during a drill on Sunday.

BUFFALO — Connor Clifton may not have the size, skating ability or pedigree of some of the players on the Bruins roster at the Prospects Challenge, but he’s been one of their more noticeable players through two games.

Whether he’s practicing or playing in a game, Clifton’s body language tells you that there is no other place he’d rather be than on the ice making things happen.

Boston pro scout Dennis Bonvie and executive director of player personnel John Ferguson Jr.  both agreed on Sunday that Clifton’s passion for the game is one of his better attributes.

Jay Leach, who will coach Clifton in Providence this season, talked up the former Quinnipiac captain after the Bruins practice. (There were no games on Sunday.)

“He’s exciting to watch, on both ends of the ice. He’s involved. He loves to play hockey, I can tell you that. A little rough around the edges, but has some potential. As a staff/organization, we love his compete and the way he’s jumping into plays,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a defenseman have two breakaways on a penalty kill before. It’s pretty amazing. There’s obviously something there. We’re excited about it.”

Clifton, 22, was drafted by Arizona in the fifth round, 133rd overall, in 2013, but opted not to sign. He inked an AHL deal with the P-Bruins on Aug. 17, two days after hitting free agency.

Against Pittsburgh on Friday and Buffalo on Saturday, Clifton rarely saw a rush he didn’t try to jump into.

Leach and his staff will no doubt work with Clifton on picking his spots, but not just yet.

“At this particular moment, I think we just let him fly. I did show him this morning something defensemen work on, just to help him when he gets in a certain situation,” Leach said.

“We can tweak (his play), but you don’t want to completely tame the horse.”

Concussion for Johansson

The Bruins practiced for an hour early on Sunday afternoon without defenseman Emil Johansson and center Jack Studnicka.

Johansson is out with a concussion after taking a big hit on Saturday, said Leach.

Studnicka is day to day with a lower-body injury after being hit by a puck. He’ll be assessed again on Monday.

No McAvoy on Monday?

Leach said he didn’t think Charlie McAvoy would be in the lineup when the Bruins play their final game of the Prospects Challenge on Monday at noon against New Jersey.

“There’s some other guys we’d like to see play,” he said.

Studnicka impresses

Leach has liked what he’s seen from Studnicka, who sniped Boston’s first goal on Friday.

“He’s a heady player. Has some intangibles, back-to-basics hockey stuff, quick on pucks, able to read plays well, takes pucks to the middle and sucks guys in. Does a lot of nice things. He’s been pretty impressive,” Leach said.

Studnicka, 18, was drafted in the second round, 53rd over all, in June. He’ll captain the Oshawa Generals this season.

Gacek gets an invite

Free agent invite Alex Gacek of Dracut, Mass., scored a total of 26 goals with three teams in the ECHL last season.

”He’s clearly not afraid of confrontation. Gets his nose dirty. Skates, competes, he’s a smart kid,” Leach said.

Gacek, who played four seasons at Miami University, has an ECHL deal with Atlanta and will attend Providence’s training camp.

Notes from Saturday night

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BUFFALO – After two solid periods, the second game of the Prospects Challenge got away from the Bruins – did it ever — in the last 20 minutes on Saturday night.

The final score was 7-4 for Buffalo, as Boston gave up five power play goals.

But the slick pass from Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson to Anders Bjork, who one-timed the puck into the net for a late goal, gave Bruins fans something to put their arms around when the final horn sounded.

The other Boston goals were scored by Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald.

Jakob Zboril played very well, bouncing back from a difficult night on Friday. He was a physical presence.

Charlie McAvoy got his first game under his belt. Connor Clifton had another good showing.

In addition to his goal, Hickman was physical and did a nice job protecting the puck in the offensive zone.

Jesse Gabrielle was involved all night, trading jabs — verbal and otherwise — with several Sabres.

“All in all, a lot of good takeaways for our team,” said McAvoy.

Jay Leach’s take on the game

“I really liked our first two periods. The third period got a little wacky and I think we all kind of lost composure. Half the time we didn’t know exactly what was being called and it was tough.  We skated and competed and had some chances. I think we had over 20 chances in the first two periods. Just one of those games, I suppose.

“I’m sure, if we were to ask the referees, they’d like to have some calls back.”

Zboril zeroes in

The physical aspect of Zboril’s game was an eye-opener. He made a big hit on Nick Baptiste in the second period and blew up C.J. Smith in the third.

“It looked like he was involved, enjoyed playing. Made some major hits. Made some nice plays, as well. Maybe Charlie (McAvoy) rubbed off on him a little bit, but in saying that, I think he took it upon himself to improve his game. I really thought highly of him in this game tonight,” said Leach.

“That hit in the second period, that was a big-time hit. It probably hurt him and the other guy.”

Zboril was pleased with his performance. “I think I was very much better,” he said.

“I found my legs. The first game, I was not feeling well, I felt really heavy. Today’s game I found my legs again. I could skate and be more physical. I had so much more energy in this game.”

The 20-year-old Czech said that he has always enjoyed the physical side of the game.

“Since I was 10, I started hitting, even when we were young and couldn’t really hit. I was still doing it and getting penalties all the time,” he said with a smile.

Hitting game

Bjork took a couple of high, hard hits, but no damage was done.

“I’m feeling fine. It was a good wakeup call. Keep my head up and do a better job next game. It’s a physical game, a lot more physical than college was. Guys are competing for spots. You’ve got to play smart and just as hard as they do,” he said.

Johansson hurt

Emil Johansson left the game after being trucked by Hudson Fasching, who received a charging penalty.

An update is expected on Sunday, but Leach said Johansson was up and walking around after the game.

Leach on debut of Bork and McAvoy

“They were fine, in their way. It was an intense game. I think they put a lot of expectations on themselves to perform well. Obviously, Bjorkie had a nice goal. JFK made some nice plays. But at the same time, I think they’d say it’s a good first step and they’ll be looking forward to Monday, for sure.”

Fitz fitting in

Fitzgerald just missed scoring a second goal.

“Ryan Fitz was good. Very serviceable. Plays a lot of positions. He was all over the puck. Gets inside guys. Obviously, he was on the board. He’s effective when he’s on that puck,” said Leach.

Leach on Gabrielle

“He forced that Sean Kuraly goal. It really was all Jesse, getting on his horse and forcing that goalie to make a bad play. He was physical, he was confrontational. He was walking that line. I thought he did a pretty good job.”

Fisticuffs

DeBrusk was on the receiving end of a flurry of punches from Buffalo’s Arvin Atwal in the third period, and then the two traded insults while in the penalty box.

“He got seven good ones and I didn’t even feel it. That’s what I was telling him in the box,” DeBrusk said.

The Bruins rookie recalled a fight against Gabrielle while in the WHL.

“There’s no video of it, but I got the win, for sure,” DeBrusk said with a laugh.

A grinning Gabrielle remembered it differently, insisting that the victory belonged to him.

Pre-game notes on Day 3

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BUFFALO — Jay Leach and Jakub Zboril are in agreement: the 20-year-old rookie had a tough time in Friday’s game against Pittsburgh.

“I think he struggled,” Leach said after the team skated this morning.

“He looked a little tentative to me. You saw glimpses of his physicality and the way he can close and do those sorts of things. But, overall, he’d like to be a bit more aggressive and use that a lot more. (His play against the Pens) tells me you’re thinking too much or you’re not in the moment, you’re not enjoying the game.”

List at 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds, Zboril was drafted in the first round, 13th overall, in 2015. With a strong camp, he could be in the hunt for an NHL job, but Providence is a more likely destination this season.

“We talked to him this morning and hopefully he’ll get more involved and get out there and really make a difference, because he can. He’s got that ability. Whether he was nervous or whatever, he was tentative (on Friday),” said Leach.

Zboril, who says that his skating and physicality are the strongest facets of his game, owned up to his struggles vs. the Pens.

“Last night, I don’t think it was optimal for me. I’m not really happy for what I did last night. I know I have to step up. (Last night) I had a hard time skating, first game after a long break. I have to step up,” he said after the morning skate.

“My mindset right now is I know there is one spot open (in Boston) for one left D. So I’m just going to have to battle through this camp and (Boston’s) training camp. I have to show that I really want that spot. I have to battle for it.

“If it happens, it happens. If not, I go to Providence, fine, I’ll just have to battle through. I have to work my hardest right now and see what happens,” he said.

All eyes will be on Charlie McAvoy when the Bruins play the Sabres tonight, but Zboril will be in the spotlight, too, as McAvoy’s partner.

Leach is hoping that some of McAvoy’s zest for the game rubs off on Zboril.

“Obviously, Charlie’s a gifted player. He’s got that little sparkle in his eye every time he hits the ice. Hopefully, Jake can see that and it can kind of filter through to the other side of that pairing. Charlie is a gamer and he wants to play, whether it’s pickup hockey or in the Stanley Cup playoffs,” said Leach.

Sabres on tap tonight

Sabres.com will stream tonight’s 7 o’clock game.

Luke Richardson, a camp invite from Kitchener of the OHL, will start in goal for Boston.

The lines:

Debrusk-Studnicka-Bjork

Fitzgerald-JFK-Senyshyn

Gabrielle-Kuraly-Steen

Gacek-Koppanen-Hickman

D pairs:

O’Gara-Clifton

Zboril-McAvoy

Sakowich-Johansson

Leach on Debrusk

After a good rookie year in Providence, Jake Debrusk is expected to make a strong push for an NHL job in camp.

“He looked, really, pretty good in (Saturday morning’s) practice. More than anything, he looks like he’s grown a year, he’s a year older. He’s had another summer, you can tell he’s worked out, he’s powerful,” said Leach.

“He’s got a great release, he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas. He’s an up and down winger and he’s got some polish. He’s got straight-line speed. Who is that in the NHL? I’m not going to put that on him. But he has a lot of NHL potential.

“I wouldn’t put a cap on (how far he can go). It’s way too early for that. Brad Marchand when he was with the Providence Bruins was, I think, a fourth-line left winger.  I would never want to put a ceiling on someone like that, and Jake has serious potential to really be anything – first, second, third or fourth line winger,” Leach said.

O’Gara-Clifton

Watching practice on Saturday morning, Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said he thought Conner Clifton was the best defenseman for the Bruins on Friday.

On Saturday, Clifton will play with Rob O’Gara. It’s a pairing of a former Quinnipiac Bobcat (Clifton) and an ex-Yale Bulldog (O’Gara).

Grzelcyk on Grant

First-year pro Matt Grzelcyk and veteran Alex Grant were one of Providence’s go-to defense pairs last season.

Heading into his second season, Grzelcyk appreciates the help he received from Grant, who signed with Minnesota in July.

“He was someone who kind of settled my nerves out there for a while. He’s a steady presence, had a big shot. Obviously, I like to dish the puck so I could just slide it over to him and (he would) let that slapshot go. He’s been up in the NHL for a bit earlier in his career. He took me under his wing. That really helped me out the whole year,” Grzelcyk said.

Leach on value of Prospects Challenge

BUFFALO — Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach is on the front lines when it comes to player development. It was interesting to hear his thoughts on the value of the Prospects Challenge for Boston’s young players.

“It’s a really good step for the kids, especially the new ones who haven’t been in the pro game at all. They’re obviously going to be playing in front of a lot of important people,” the former Providence College captain said.

“The play might be a little scrambly at times, but it is important for them to get used to the pro environment, to play a game where you are expected to be a professional. It’s invaluable to them.

“For our returning guys, you can see, hopefully, the stepping stone they’ve made this past year, and they’re that much further along toward hopefully being in the NHL,” he said.

When Leach was breaking into the pro game as a player 15-plus years ago, teams played individual rookie games, not mini-tournaments, which have now become yearly events in the NHL. And those rookie games were often bloodbaths.

(Going way back, I remember watching a Boston-Hartford rookie game in the ’80s where a Bruins prospect was assessed three fighting majors and an automatic game misconduct in the first 20 minutes. You might have heard of him: Jay Miller.)

“It’s changed. When I was playing it was kind of a big meatfest. It was rough and tumble,” said Leach.

“Now you see these rosters, there’s maybe eight guys returning who were rookies last year with high-end skill. Then you throw in a couple of guys we’ve signed this past year. It should be a good tournament with regards to the level of play, regardless if it’s scrambly or not,” said Leach.

Everyone wants to get to the NHL fast, but for all but a handful of players, it can be a long process, not a sprint. Leach points to the Prospects Challenge as a milestone along the way for the prospects.

“It’s good for them in that it’s nice for them to take steps. They might not understand it – and I understand their mindset where they want to be in the NHL right away – but it’s like a bank account, I think.

“This experience is something they can put in their bank account. ‘I did my Prospects Challenge. Hopefully performed well, and it’s in my back pocket and I can move on to the next step.’ It might be just a weekend or a little bit longer for some of them, but it is important for their development.

“It’s good grounding. It teaches some of these guys to walk before they run . Whether they are playing in the NHL this year or next year, they will run into times when they run into some tough situations, and you need to lean back on your structure, what you’ve done in the past, to get past that.

“In this game of professional hockey, you’re never always going to be on your game. You’re just not. So to be a bit grounded will help them adjust and get back to that game when those times arrive.”

Notes from Day 2 in Buffalo

BUFFALO — Whether it was out of embarrassment, frustration or exhaustion — maybe it was all three — Jesse Gabrielle was red-faced after he muffed a glittering scoring opportunity in overtime against Pittsburgh on Friday.

But, to his credit, Gabrielle didn’t quit after the puck slipped off his stick as he closed in on the Penguins net. He shifted into defensive mode and raced back into the Boston end of the ice.

Seconds later, after the Bruins regained possession, Gabrielle again carried the puck into the Penguins zone, with linemate Joona Koppanen alongside. This time, Gabrielle ripped the puck past goalie Alex D’Orio for the winning goal.

“I was trying to go high, but it went low blocker,” a tired but beaming Gabrielle said after Boston’s 3-2 victory in the first game of the Prospects Challenge.

“I got a chance to redeem myself there,” said Gabrielle, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015 who notched 35 goals for Prince George of the WHL last season. “Luckily it went in the second time.”

The 20-year-old left winger has good speed and plays a feisty game. He had a joust with Pittsburgh’s Dylan Zink during the second period on Friday.

Gabrielle is likely ticketed for Providence in his first pro season, but you never know.

“I think I’m ready to make the jump this year. I’ve been putting in the work. Hopefully I get a chance to show them what I can do. They’re going to do what’s best for the hockey club. I’m going to trust the process and whatever’s best for the hockey team, I can accept,” he said.

Slow start, fast finish

Boston was outshot, 14-4, and trailed, 2-0, after the first period.

“There were some jitters and I think we were fancy. There were things that we as an organization don’t want to be,” said coach Jay Leach.

“The great thing about it from a coach’s perspective is it was a teaching point, so hopefully they understood that we’re a little bit more of a straight-line team, a team that wants to get pucks to the net, and I think you saw that in the second and third. It was kind of a night-and-day difference.

Jack Studnicka, a second-round pick in June, put the Bruins on the board with a power-play goal in the second period, assisted by Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon assisted.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson tied the game in the third period.

Leach on JFK

Leach’s take on Forsbacka Karlsson: “Smart player. I would have liked to see him shoot the puck more in the first period, but then in the third period you saw him shoot one and it ended up in the back of the net. Clearly, a smart, intellectual player. Makes nice reads. Supports the puck well on breakouts and that sort of thing. Defensively, he’s very responsible.”

Clifton’s debut

Former Quinnipiac defenseman Connor Clifton, who signed an AHL contract with Providence last month, made an impression in his first game.

“I had a lot of fun. We have a good group of guys. We obviously started slow, got the jitters out. It was a good experience for Game 1,” he said.

After knocking a Penguins forward off the puck in the second period, Clifton fed a long pass to a teammate in center ice for an offensive chance.

“At Quinnipiac we were all about quick ups,” he said.

At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Clifton hits hard.

“I’ve been playing against bigger kids (my whole life). That doesn’t bother me much. I’m not going to turn away from a guy because he’s a little bigger or a lot bigger than me,” he said.

Good game for Johansson

Defenseman Emil Johansson, a seventh-rounder in 2014, had a good game, moving the puck smartly and defending well.

After averaging 20 minutes a night for Sweden’s Djurgardens last season, the 21-year-old finished the year with Providence.

“I didn’t think I played to my standard last season in Providence, but it was a good experience to come over and see how everything works. Now I can focus on this year and know what I have to improve. The smaller ice is a completely different game for me,” he said.

He said he tries to model his game after Niklas Hjalmarsson.

“He’s a solid player. Passes the puck fast, joins the rush, blocks shots. He’s maybe more a shutdown player than I am. I’m trying to join the rushes, too, because I’m a good skater,” Johansson said.

Up next: Buffalo

The Bruins will face the Sabres at 7 on Saturday night. After sitting out on Friday, Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork, Jake Debrusk, Rob O’Gara and Sean Kuraly are expected to play on Saturday, according to Leach.

 

Notes from Day 1 in Buffalo

jaylBUFFALO — The NHL is seemingly getting faster all the time and if the group that took to the ice at the Harborcenter on Thursday afternoon is any indication, the Bruins are doing their part to keep up.

The day before Boston’s first game in the Prospects Challenge, coaches Jay Leach, Jamie Langenbrunner, Trent Whitfield and Spencer Carbery put the 16 forwards, 10 defensemen and two goalies through a fast-paced workout.

“We’ve got some kids that can skate. I think we also benefit having seven or eight guys that have played in the system for a bit and are used to the pace. We’ve got some hockey players that like to skate and play fast. I think that’s what you saw,’’ Leach said after the one-hour-plus workout.

Thursday’s drills emphasized skating and competing, with systems taking a backseat.

“You don’t want to overwhelm them with information but at the same time if we can provide them with a little bit of structure, just so that when they go out there tomorrow afternoon, they’re not either frozen or their heads are spinning,” said Leach.

“We had some D zone coverage and maybe a breakout structure, as well. That’s really all you can do if you have 55 minutes.”

Bjork turns on jets

Some of the best wheels on the ice on Thursday belonged to Anders Bjork.

“That’s the third time I’ve seen him and every time I walk away and say, whoa, I never played like that,” said Leach.

“He’s obviously got exceptional ability with reading things. He’s got that ability to be inside people and he makes these nice little plays that not a lot of people can make. Every day he keeps doing it. For him, he’s just got to get comfortable with the pro game.

“He’ll be playing against bigger guys and stronger guys.  His ability to learn to get inside those bigger, stronger guys is going to be his key to getting where he wants to go. Today he looked pretty good,” he said.

Leach understands the buzz surrounding Bjork, who gave up his senior year at Notre Dame to sign with Boston.

“With guys like that, it’s real easy to get excited. I get it. I see it. Everybody sees it,  but at the end of the day, in fairness to the kid, we try to take it step by step the best we can,” Leach said.

“He’s probably got a lot coming at him right now and that sort of ability does lend to some fanfare and it can get to you. For us, I think our hope is that we can provide him with structure, (make sure) he’s comfortable with his teammates and he can go out there and do what he does.”

For his part, Bjork has been checking in regularly with his buddies at Notre Dame.

“Some of my closest friends are still there. I’ve been talking to them and seeing how that team’s doing , how practices are going, conditioning and tests and stuff. I’ve been kind of making jokes with them about doing homework and stuff like that,” he said.

Grzelcyk gaining

After a good rookie season with Providence (including a two-game NHL callup) and a summer of training, Matt Grzelcyk has gained in both confidence and weight.

“I was able to put on 6-7 pounds, which is what I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” he said.

In his second prospects challenge, the 175-pound Grzelcyk is more comfortable.

“Last year I didn’t know what to expect. I was a little wide-eyed. Coming in here and knowing how everything operates, even something as simple as knowing some of the guys and the staff, it makes a big difference. Just playing more confident and trying to be more of a leader this year,” he said.

He has a fan in Leach.

“I love Grizzy. He’s a hockey player.  He’s undersized but he’s not afraid to play defense. He’s got a nice stick, he can skate and he’s obviously offensive. He’s got a lot of tools there. Like we’ve said with some of these other guys, they’ve just got to figure out a niche. Everyone’s different. He might be a combination of a Tory Krug and a Jared Spurgeon,” said Leach.

Boudrias looks good

Six-foot-four undrafted winger Shawn Boudrias made a positive impression on Day 1.

“He looked pretty good. Made some nice moves, took the puck to the net,” Leach said.

Boudrias, 18, scored a total of 17 goals for Charlottetown and Gatineau of the QMJHL last season. He was picked 13th overall in the first round of the QMJHL Draft in 2015.

Bruins vs. Pens

Boston and Pittsburgh are scheduled to face off at 3:30 on Friday. The game will be streamed on penguins.nhl.com. Leach said he was undecided on his lineup.

Separating prospects from suspects starts in Buffalo

Just a couple of more days until the Bruins and Penguins rookies face off in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, and it feels like we are entering uncharted waters.

I honestly can’t recall another year where there was this much anticipation and excitement over a crop of Bruins prospects.

On Friday, we’ll begin to learn more about the kids and start to find out who is a prospect and who is a suspect, who will be able to contribute at the NHL level and who can’t, now and down the road.

A handful of players suiting up in Buffalo – let’s start with Charlie McAvoy and Anders Bjork –  likely will be in Boston’s lineup against Nashville on opening night a month from now. If everything goes as hoped, they will step right in and contribute.

Most of the the young guys, to state the obvious, will spend the year in Providence.

If they don’t make the big club out of camp – and I’m not ruling anyone out at this point — will second-year pros such as Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly, Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk continue to make progress?

How will the likes of McAvoy, Bjork, Jesse Gabrielle, Zach Senyshyn, Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon fare in their first full season of pro hockey?

A few more questions to ponder before the puck drops:

Can McAvoy pick up where he left off in the postseason?

I don’t see why not. I believe he will be in the discussion for the Calder Trophy by season’s end.

Is Bjork ready for full-time NHL duty? 

I like his chances, but you never know. The Boston lineup needs the speed and skill that he showed off at development camp in July.

Darkhorse candidate to impress in Buffalo: Ryan Fitzgerald gets my vote. The Boston College alumnus played well in Providence at the end of last season. It says here that he’ll keep that up.

What will the first power-play unit be on Friday?

I’m going with McAvoy and Grzelcyk up top, JFK as the bumper, Bjork on right wing and Heinen on the left.

How does Boston’s young talent stack up?

This weekend will provide a good measuring stick as to how good Boston’s young players are. Prospects like Nico Hischier and Will Butcher of the Devils, Alex Nylander of the Sabres and Daniel Sprong of the Penguins should be there. It will be interesting to see how Boston’s guys look in comparison.

When will David Pastrnak’s contract be straightened out?

Okay, this one doesn’t have anything to do with what happens at the Prospects Challenge. Still, it’s a question that is on everyone’s mind these days. Simply put, Pastrnak has to be signed and ready to go on opening night. The success or failure of the Bruins season might depend on it.