After going undrafted in his first year of eligibility, Seth Griffith locked in.
“When you’re drafted right away you might want to sit back a little bit,” Griffith said. “I got in the right mindset that I had to keep working and that good things would happen.”
During his draft year (2010-11), Griffith had a respectable 62 points (22 goals, 40 assists), but in his second full season for the London Knights his offensive production exploded. Griffith lit the lamp by blasting home 45 goals and once again dishing out 40 assists.
“As you play in the league long enough you start to watch guys that you want to play like,” Griffith said.
“With (Nazem) Kadri being on our team when I was younger, I would just watch what he did on and off the ice,” said Griffith. “As you get older you gain more confidence, coaches have more confidence in you, so I’m just fortunate my coaches in London had that confidence in me. I can’t thank them enough.”
This season Griffith continued to improve, only falling out of the OHL scoring race due to a broken hand. In 54 games, he still tallied 81 points (33 goals, 48 assists). The Wallaceburg, Ontario native led the Knights to another OHL championship. It was Griffith’s second OHL title, but the Knights fell short in the Memorial Cup as the Halifax Mooseheads took home the prize.
“It was a great experience going to the Memorial Cup twice, but unfortunately we couldn’t get those last couple wins,” he said.
Although Griffith inked his first professional contract with the Boston Bruins back in April he still hasn’t been able to make his debut at the AHL level like many were able to do at the end of last season.
“A lot of guys get down to Providence when they’re about to turn pro, but because he had such a good season (in London), we didn’t get to see that,” Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Some come in and do great, some other guys once they are thrown in against men, they have a tougher time, and others stay on a course you would expect. Which one he will fall into, who knows? But he sure looks good out there, skates well, and he’s strong.”
Griffith is eager to jump into the swing of things at the AHL level after showing that he can play with the best of them at the junior level. This fall, he has his chance to lock down a spot on the Providence Bruins roster in training camp.
“I am just looking forward to making the jump to the AHL next season,” Griffith said. “It’s going to be a lot different there than in junior because I [will be] playing with men. I am working hard, and looking at guys like [Ryan] Spooner this year shows that a younger guy can be successful [in the AHL].”
Every player develops differently, though. Griffith and the Bruins organization understand that it isn’t going to happen overnight, but rather over time. With time spent in the AHL the hope is that the Bruins can develop Griffith into an NHL player.
“Some guys come in faster than other, and he has to come in at his own pace,” Cassidy said of Griffith’s development. “Hopefully it is quick for everyone’s own benefit, but it doesn’t always work like that. We just want to do our job to make him the best player [he can be].”
Griffith has tried to liken his skills on the ice to some NHL superstars like Claude Giroux and Danny Briere because of their similar, average-sized body builds.
“I watch Briere and Giroux a lot,” he said. “They are a bit undersized, but they obviously also are very high skilled. They do the little things right by back checking, making those little plays along the boards, and hitting. That is the kind of stuff you have to do to reach the next level.”
The jump to the AHL next season is not going to be an easy task, but if Griffith continues his steady progression he could be fighting for an NHL spot in the next few years.
Follow Richard Murray on Twitter via @Richie_Murray