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Boston Bruins Prospect Update: Vaakanainen Learning To Adjust

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Boston Bruins Prospects Are Closer To The NHL Level Than Some May Think

The Boston Bruins Prospects, Development Camp wrapped up a couple of days ago and the prospects looked great. The standouts were Hobey Baker Finalist Anders Bjork who missed the first day due to personal matters and Urho Vaakanainen.

Some Other Standouts at the camp were Ryan Donato, Jeremy Lauzon, Joona Kopanen, and Daniel Vladar. There were many other at camp. These are the guys that seem most ready to play at an NHL level.

Anders Bjork, Forward (2014 Fifth Round)

Bjork who just finished his last season at Notre Dame looked very good at camp. He was also one of the finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. This kid is projected to be NHL ready this season look for him to get some playing time with Krejci. Here is the Bruins Player Development Coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner on Bjork:

 “I’ve liked his progression….He’s got a skill level that’s pretty high-end. He can make plays. He kind of dances on his skates a little bit. Light on his skates but strong on his feet and he pokes it around pretty good. He looks a little bit out of control at times, but he’s really not. He’s in control. He’s just moving that quickly.”

Ryan Donato, Forward (2014, Second Round)

Donato just finished his senior year at Harvard where he helped them make a Frozen Four appearance. He brought the Crimson to the semi-final where they lost to Minnesota Duluth 2-1.  Donato is a kid with very high hockey IQ and will be a big help to the Bruins if he can make the roster. He is a solid two-way forward. Hear what Done Sweeney has to say about him:

“We’ve always thought Ryan’s skillset was excellent. He’s going to play center this year and I’ve talked to [Ryan’s father and Harvard coach] Teddy [Donato] about that. We’re excited to see him play there. He had played a lot of that at Dexter [School]. It puts a lot more responsibility, more two-way responsibility on him. It’ll be interesting because he’s a primary shooter and he has an unbelievable release.”

Joona Koppanen, Forward (2016 Fifth Round)

Kopanen another guy who will need time to adjust before he plays in the NHL. Koppanen is a bit of a dark horse as he was drafted late. He is a very solid forward with a good shooting ability. Look to seem him in either AHL or with the Bruins in the next season or two. As for this year, he will play another year in the Finnish league.

Langenbrunner:

“He’s going to be playing in the [Finnish] Elite League next year. He’s signed over there and we’ll continue to monitor and see when it makes sense for him to try and transition over here. He’s already signed by us. So, he’ll be one of those guys that we’ll continue to monitor when it’s time.”

Jeremy Lauzon, Defenseman (2015 Second Round)

Lauzon is a very dependable defenseman. The only problem for Lauzon is that he was not ready to skate at development camp due to an injury. Lauzon suffered a horrendous neck injury last season. During play, he had his throat cut by an opposing player skate. He was then rushed to the Hospital for immediate surgery. He has been making a full recovery and should be skating soon.

Before his injury, it looked like he was going to be ready for the NHL sooner rather than later. Sweeney on Lauzon and Cam Hughes who are recovering from injuries:

“Lauzon wasn’t ready to skate and [Cam] Hughes is not ready to skate either. Both doing very well in their recoveries from surgeries. But, not ready to skate. But again, we have an investment in players through our organization and we want to continue it…[Lauzon will] be fine [for training camp].”

Urho Vaakanainen, Defenseman (2017 First Round)

The biggest difficulty for Vaakanainen will be adjusting to North American Style of hockey. Two weeks before development camp Vaak, traveled to Langenbrunner’s home in Minnesota to get accustomed to the culture. Vaak will be a guy to look for in the next season or maybe too. He is a very solid player but may need some time in the AHL to get accustomed. Other than that he should be a potential top 4 defenseman.

Langenbrunner:

“He’s a smooth skater. He sees the ice well, he’s got good size, and he can make plays. So, I think as the confidence grows, numbers will grow just if you’re making the right plays over and over again. I think it’s the effortlessness that he skates with – it’s smooth.”

Daniel Vladar, Golie (2015 Third Round)

Vladar is exactly the kind of goalie you want in the system. He will be able ti put pressure on both Tuukka Rask and Zane McIntyre for the starting gig. Goalie competition is a great thing to have. If Rask knows his job is at risk he will play better. Unfortunately for Vladar, he has also run into some injury issues. So look for him to gain some confidence this season in the ECHL.

Sweeney

“Daniel had a bit of a disjointed year for a number of reasons. He was in the World Junior camp [with the Czech Republic] and he was taken away from his time, he had some injuries…He had played up in Providence and did have some success up there as well.

“I think he is ready for it full-time, but we just want to get Daniel the net as much as possible this upcoming season. We’ll be very cognizant. It likely will be back in the East Coast [Hockey League].

Justin is a Computer Networking student at Wentworth Institute of Technology and joined the Trifecta Network as an Editor in February of 2016 and is a guest on Down to the WIRE Sports Talk.

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins Season Is Falling Apart Faster Than It Is Coming Together

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(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boston Bruins Stricken With Injuries As More Added To List

Boston Bruins are a team that has nothing positive going for them at the moment. Injury after injury has left the team scratching their head questioning what to do next. Bruce Cassidy has announced that both Anders Bjork and Brad Marchand will not travel with the team.

David Krejci will travel with the team on the upcoming road trip. This brings a small amount of light to a team with much darkness.

This is probably the biggest loss yet as Brad Marchand has 15 points in 14 games. Then Bjork a rookie who cemented his spot on the top line in training camp has 9 points already. Boston has already dug into the reserves in Providence with Danton Heinen and Jordan Swarz.

Now, these guys have played well since getting the call-up but a guy like Marchand is not replaceable. Hopefully, Providence is able to spare a couple more players or there might be a trade looming near. Providence is a team chalk full of young talent lucky for Boston except the well is starting to run dry. The Baby Bruins will soon run into the problem of not being able to field a team of their own.

Most Likely Call-Up Candidates

Zach Senyshyn. Senyshyn has 5 points in 12 games so far in Providence. He was on the bubble of making the roster during camp. Both Bjork and Debrusk took that spot. This could be his chance.

Kenny Agostino. Agostino who already has a couple NHL games this season and has been lighting up the AHL with 9 points in 8 games. Another bubble guy that lost out on a roster spot as he went down in the preseason with an injury.

Anton Blidh. Blidh who also has NHL experience would bring a bit more grit to a speedy team.

Peter Cehlarik. Another guy that is a bit more of a grinder than a goal scorer but that might be just what Boston needs.

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Boston Bruins Rob O’Gara Has His Shot To Make The Big Club

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Rob O'Gara

Rob O’Gara To Get His Shot

All season long the Boston Bruins have been dealing with injuries and other roster question marks. Additionally, Brad Marchand is now out with an upper-body injury. David Krejci has been placed on the IR. Rob O’Gara has been called up from Providence.

O’Gara now has his shot to earn himself a roster spot just as some of his former Providence team members have done, as with Danton Heinen. Alike Heinen O’Gara will have to make this chance count as Heinen did by scoring two goals in his debut. Though the expectations for O’Gara are a bit different seeing that he is a defenseman. Also, the expectation for him is to make a limited amount of mistakes. Plus contributing to the offense if/when possible.

Right now the Bruins are struggling in their own end, as most of their defenseman is a minus on the plus-minus chart. In contrast, O’Gara in 7 games for Providence is a plus-four. Hopefully, he can bring some much-needed defense, with the exception of Zdeno Chara to a team with many offensive minded d-man.

Similarly, the league has evolved to one where offensive defensemen are more sought. This leads to holes in the defense as we have seen with Boston so far during the first 12 games. Boston is looking for that spark on defense and O’Gara may be it.

Roster Position

The most likely spot for O’Gara to end up is the third pairing. Now that may seem bad, however, the Bruins run three d-pairs more than other teams. O’Gara gains the much-needed NHL experience from his ice time. Hopefully, he is not just here for one game as that would be useless. It would not help him in any way possible. In fact, it would most likely hurt him mostly his confidence. O’Gara should be a better fit than the newly acquired Paul Postma. Not only does O’Gara seem to have a bit more overall skill, he has more upside.

O’Gara a 24-year-old selected by the Bruins in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Tonights Game

Boston will face the Minnesota Wild at home. The game will be aired on NESN and broadcast on 98.5 the sports hub.

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Boston Bruins David Backes To Have Colon Surgery

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Backes To Miss 8 weeks

Boston Bruin Forward David Backes who just came back after suffering from diverticulitis. Bruins Dr. David Finn has now stated that he will undergo Colon surgery.

Backes will be out for at least 8 weeks. This will add even more pressure to the kids with yet another veteran absence.

“David Backes will undergo surgery on Thursday, November 2 to remove a portion of his colon. The expected recovery time is approximately 8 weeks. The decision to have surgery was made in consultation with team physicians as well as outside specialists in the management of diverticulitis. David’s episode of diverticulitis at the beginning of the season was his second episode in two months and was complicated with an abscess (collection of infection adjacent to the colon) that required drainage. Repeated episodes, like what David experienced, have a very high likelihood of recurrence in the near term, which is why he was advised to have surgery to remove the area of colon causing the problem. It was determined that attempting to delay the surgery until after the season was an unacceptable risk to his health.

Just as he was getting back to his normal position and injury/health is an issue again for the Bruins. Sean Kurarly or Riley Nash will most likely fill the void as Ryan Spooner is still out with a groin injury. The potential of JFK being called up is there, do not get your hopes up as Kurarly has been solid.

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