Bruins 2007 training camp preview

By Janine Pilkington

Coming off another tough season, the Bruins are hoping that a new head coach, as well as some new faces on the ice will help turn things around. Former Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils coach Claude Julien, was hired to replace head coach Dave Lewis, who, in his single season with Boston, saw his team finish 23rd in the league and well short of the playoffs. Counting both complete and partial seasons behind the bench, Julien will be the seventh coach to take the position since the 2000-01 season.

Offseason movement and signings

The Bruins sent right wing Petr Kalus to the Minnesota Wild for Manny Fernandez, with the hopes that they could both strengthen the goaltending position and buy some time for prospect Tuukka Rask to continue his development. The trade further depletes the stock of natural wingers in the Bruins system, something that has been a weakness in recent years, however, there are a number of centers in the system, many of whom are versatile enough to play either wing.

The acquisition of Fernandez sealed the fate of ts/hannu_toivonen”>Hannu Toivonen, who, after a tough season, was sent packing to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Swede forward Carl Soderberg. Soderberg brings considerable size and skill, and is a strong addition to a deep group of centers, though it is unlikely he will attend this year’s training camp.

The Bruins also added defenseman Adam McQuaid to the system in exchange for a draft pick. McQuaid, a big defensive-defenseman from the OHL, was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round of the 2005 entry draft. 

Other prospects signed/re-signed since May 2007:

Byron Bitz , Zach Hamill, Matt Hunwick, Mikko LehtonenMilan Lucic, Tuukka Rask, Jordan Sigalet, Vladimir Sobotka 

Available roster spots

As usual, rookies looking for a job in Boston this season have a steep climb ahead of them, as there are very few available spots. Mark Stuart is the most likely candidate, and probably the only defenseman who would make the squad out of camp. He played the majority of his two pro seasons with the Providence Bruins (AHL), but earned a couple extended stays in Boston, where he performed reasonably well. Matt Lashoff has an outside chance of making the roster, however the most likely scenario places him in Providence at the beginning of the season. Among defensemen, both Lashoff and Jonathan Sigalet are most likely to be called up during in the season.

With both Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez in net, there is virtually no chance of a prospect breaking into the goaltending position in Boston at the beginning of the season. Rask, Jordan Sigalet and Mike Brown are the only available players should a recall be necessary. Rask is heading into his rookie year, while Sigalet and Brown have each played two professional seasons.

Of all forwards in the system, Nate Thompson has a reasonable shot of making the team, most likely centering the fourth line. He has played two seasons with the Providence Bruins and is a high-energy checking forward. While David Krejci enjoyed a superb rookie season with the Providence Bruins, he will have a tough time beating out the veteran players for a spot. His strengths are in his ability to create offense and the Bruins may decide that he would be better served with a more prominent role in Providence. Krejci should, however, receive a recall sometime during the season.

Prospects attending camp this season

Player – Position- 2006-07 Team (League)

Byron Bitz –LW- Cornell University (ECAC)

 Andrew Bodnarchuk– D – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Mike Brown – G – Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL)

Chris Collins– LW – Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL)/Providence Bruins (AHL)

Zach Hamill – C – Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Matt Hunwick –D – University of Michigan (CCHA)

Martins Karsums – RW- Providence Bruins (AHL)

Jordan Knackstedt – RW- Red Deer Rebels (WHL)/Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

David Krejci – C- Providence Bruins (AHL)

Matt Lashoff – D – Providence Bruins (AHL)

Mikko Lehtonen–  LW- Espoo Blues (FNL/Elite) 

Milan Lucic –LW- Vancouver Giants (WHL)

Brad Marchand – C- Val d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)

Adam McQuaid – D – Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

Levi Nelson – C – Swift Current Broncos (WHL)

Petteri Nokelainen -C/RW- Bridegeport Sound Tigers (AHL)

 Radim Ostrcil– D- HC Vsetin (CZE/Extraliga)

 Wacey Rabbit– C- Vancouver Giants (WHL)

Tuukka Rask – G- Ilves Tampere (FNL/Elite)

Denis Reul – D- Heilbronn Falcons (DEU)

Jonathan Sigalet–  D- Providence Bruins (AHL)

Jordan Sigalet – G- Providence Bruins (AHL)

Vladimir Sobotka – C- HC Slavia Praha (CZE/Extraliga)

Mark Stuart – D- Providence Bruins (AHL)

Nate Thompson – C- Providence Bruins (AHL)

TJ Trevelyan – LW- Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL)/ Providence Bruins (AHL)

Camp invitees:

Daryl Boyle, D (WHL); Adam Courchaine, G (CJHL); Reid Jorgensen, C (WHL); Jamison Orr, LW (SJHL/UHL)

Preseason schedule:

SEPT 18 vs. NY Islanders (away)
SEPT 20 vs. NJ Devils (Home)
SEPT 22 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Home)
SEPT 23 vs. Montreal Canadiens (Away)
SEPT 27 vs. Montreal Canadiens (Away)
SEPT 30 vs. NY Islanders (Home)