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.