Closing the book on development camp


Final thoughts from Boston Bruins development camp.


He was the best player in camp.

Others who had a good week: Teemu Kivihalme, Karson Kuhlman, Mitch Fossier, Oskar Steen and Philip Beaulieu.


Nice prospect, but his camp performance confirmed that he has work to do before he is NHL ready.

“He’s one I’d want to give just a little bit of kick to just to get going a little bit,” said Langenbrunner on Tuesday. “He’s kind of feeling his way through this a little bit.’’


Brown University’s Marchin finished strong with a pair of goals in Friday’s scrimmage. He showed off his hard shot by one-timing a Studnicka feed into the net, then went to the edge of the blue paint for his second score.

Marchin, who turns 23 this fall, is farther along in his development than many of the youngsters in camp. At 6-foot-3 and a solid 215 pounds, he already has a man’s body.

“The beginning few days I was getting into the groove. In the summer, you’re working on technique and you’re going slower, then when you get here you have to do all that stuff at a much higher pace. It was good that I was able to connect it in time, for the last two days,’’ Marchin said.

Brown needs him to put up some numbers this winter and if plays like he did this week, he should have a good year. And have some options to continue playing.


The 5-foot-9 defenseman put up 42 points in 43 games for Northern Michigan. Moving the puck is his strong point and he did it smartly in Friday’s scrimmage.

“(Camp) was a great experience. Found out what it takes to be at this level. There’s no better place to come than an Original Six organization. You realize what it means to be a pro,’’ he said.

“The way the game has changed, (smaller) guys that can move the puck and prosper is encouraging. Makes me feel like I have a chance. Back in the day, guys like Torey Krug came in and paved the way. I just want to work hard and get to where he is.’’

Beaulieu is a name to keep in mind when NCAA free agent season rolls around next March/April.


Players from non-traditional hockey locales have become a thing lately in the college and pro game.

The Bruins had that base covered with Keyser of Coral Springs, Fla., and Fossier of Alpharetta, Ga.

Keyser, 19, plays for Oshawa of the OHL. He signed his entry-level contract after rookie camp last September. Fossier, 21, is a free agent who will be a junior at Maine.

I asked Keyser how a kid from Florida gets to the OHL?

“Hard work and getting to know the right people who can put you in the right situations to succeed,’’ said Keyser.

“ I was fortunate to grow up in Florida and play hockey there. I met a lot of good people and NHL retired guys that helped me and I’m thankful for that. They gave me the right opportunities and options. The rest was up to me to do the hard work that got me where I am today.

“I grew up playing for the Florida Jr. Panthers, the Alliance, Triple A teams, and we’d come up north here to Boston and Detroit and get as much competition as we could, get scouted as much as we could, and go from there.’’

Keyser considered the college route, but ultimately chose major junior.

“I thought about it long and hard with my family. We spent about a month thinking about me decision and what I was going to do. At the end of the day, I think we made the right decision. The OHL was what I wanted to do. I felt like it’s a professional style of game and I’d be competing against the best players in the world at my age every single night. That’s what I wanted, to give myself the best opportunity to play against the top players, because you’ve going to play against the top players in the NHL, as well.’’

Fossier opted for the NCAA route.

“My dad grew up playing hockey so he put me in it pretty early. Believe it or not, there are a few places that you can play in the South that can get you far enough growing up. Eventually I had to move away from home to play juniors. I was fortunate to have some teammates, even down in Georgia that are playing D-I, too,’’ he said.

“My team for most of my youth hockey was composed of kids from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama that we kind of pulled together to make a AAA team. There was a lot of travel, even just for practice, and flying up north on weekends for games. It was busy for sure.’’

It paid off. After a couple of years of junior hockey, Fossier ended up at Maine. He led the the Black Bears in scoring last season as a sophomore.

Day 1 at Bruins Development Camp


Five quick hits from the first day of Boston Bruins development camp.


You have to like the way Boston’s 2017 second rounder is thinking.

“I’m going into camp with the mentality that I want to make the team. I want to play in the NHL this year,” the young center said after Tuesday morning’s skate.

Whether you think it’s realistic or not, talk like that is music to the ears of Bruins management.

“I think it’s great that he wants to do that. I think that’s a lofty goal for him as a 19-year-
old. Not a lot of 19-year-olds play in the National Hockey League,” said Jamie Langenbrunner, Boston’s player development coordinator.

“I wouldn’t put it past him, he’s a determined kid. I think if you would have asked him last September, his goal was to make the team also. He wants to do that, that’s great. We’re not going to take that away from him. If he’s able to push and take that job, then great.”

Realistically, Studnicka will likely end up back in Oshawa for 2018-19, which might be for the best. He’ll be the captain again, will probably be one of the leading scorers in the Ontario Hockey League and be in prime position to play on Canada’s team in the World Juniors.

Then he could be ready to bypass Providence as a first-year pro and step right into Boston’s lineup in 2019-20. But you can’t blame him for shooting for the moon this season.


He may not make the Boston Bruins out of training camp, but I like Karson Kuhlman’s chances of playing NHL games at some point during his upcoming rookie season.

Kuhlman, who will be 23 in September, showed me enough during his brief time in Providence in the spring to convince me that he is close to helping in Boston’s bottom six.

He plays the right way and his reputation as a big-game player precedes him. He scored a double overtime goal to end Providence College’s season in the NCAA Tournament in Worcester in 2016. Last spring he was Frozen Four MVP, captaining Minnesota Duluth to the national championship.

“I bring the 200-foot game to the table. I take pride in the defensive zone as well as chipping in offense as much as possible. I just want to be the hardest worker every day. It’s a privilege to come to the rink every day and I just want to give 100 percent every time and hopefully push the other guys around me to do so, as well,” he said.

In addition to training back home in Minnesota, Kuhlman is spending as much time as he can — including plenty of fishing trips — with his dad. Dean Kuhlman, who serves in the Air National Guard, is scheduled for an overseas deployment later this year.


With a blistering shot and good size at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Brown University senior Tom Marchin is going to get some attention from NHL scouts this winter.

Attending Bruins development camp for the first time, Marchin is looking to be more consistent once the season starts in October. When he plays his game, he is a handful along the boards and around the net.

“I’m definitely looking to show that I can play my role as power forward and play more consistently. I’ve been hearing that from my coaches back at school,’’ said Marchin, whose sister Taylor plays for the Yale women’s team.

Marchin scored 14 goals as a freshman, tailed off to just 3 during an injury-shortened sophomore season, then bounced back with 12 last year. He’ll be looking for more as he wraps up his career at Brown.

“My freshman year I played with Mark Naclerio and Nick Lappin and I was able to go in front of the net, pucks would come to the net and I’d bury rebounds and make myself room and (his linemates) room. (Since then) I’ve had to create more on my own, control the puck more and have it on my stick more. That’s going to be helpful next year and beyond. A little more scoring touch would be good,’’ he said.


Turns out 2018 fourth-round pick Curtis Hall and Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy go way back, sort of.

Hall’s father, Mike, played for Cassidy in the ECHL with both the Jacksonville Lizard Kings (can’t get enough of that name) and the Trenton Titans.

According to Curtis, his dad used to bring him to the rink in Trenton when he was very young. “I doubt if (Cassidy) remembers that, but it’s pretty cool,’’ said Curtis, who is headed to Yale in the fall.

“I committed (to Yale) a few years ago and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since. I finally got cleared with my grades and now I’m sure I’m going, so it’s exciting,’’ he said.


Beware of first impressions at development camp.

A few years back, I watched Matt Benning at Bruins camp in Wilmington and came away thinking he was the worst player on the ice that summer.

Well, maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t, but he went on to have an excellent career at Northeastern and he just signed a two-year extension with an average annual value of $1.9 million with the Edmonton Oilers. In the end, that first impression didn’t mean jack.

Which brings me to seventh round pick Jack Becker. In the 2015 camp, Becker was just a few weeks past his high school graduation and he looked to be in over his head against players who were older and more experienced.

Jump ahead to 2018 and Becker looks like a different young man – bigger, stronger, more confident.

“I’m just a better hockey player than when I first got drafted,’’ he said on Tuesday morning.

The 6-foot-4 straight-line winger turned 21 on Sunday. Coming off a solid freshman year at Michigan, he is making steady progress.

“College is a good path for me. I love it at Michigan. From my freshman season, I just grew so much. I’m really excited for what’s to come,’’ he said.

Langenbrunner – a Minnesotan like Becker – is playing a part in his continued development.

“We’ll shoot each other texts about the weekend or I’ll give him a call. I ran into him a couple of times at Michigan this year. I remember watching him on TV when I was younger. It’s pretty neat that he’s a resource that I have now. I’m really lucky,’’ Becker said.