The Hunt for Bruins Training: 6 Possibilities You Could Benefit from a New Voice

David Quinn, one of the candidates to replace Bruce Cassidy, is used to working with young players. That won’t change if the Bruins hire the former Rangers coach.

“We’re going to make a transformation, unlike in 2015, where we hired some young players,” general manager Don Sweeney said following Cassidy’s June 6 sacking. “We have to continue to do well when they are ready.”

Lately, Bruins haven’t had much room for horizons. Interpret last season’s off-season signings of Nick Foligno, Derek Vorport, Eric Howla, Thomas Nosek and Linus Olmark in whatever way you prefer – as tournament reinforcements or accommodations for an organization that lacks NHL-ready youth.

Either way, the result was a veteran-heavy roster.

“What happens is when you’re a team that competes for the Stanley Cup, there’s not much room in the roster to put these guys on a regular basis,” Cassidy said of the new faces.

That will change.

Matt Grzelcic, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy will not be available at the start of 2022-23. Whether or not Patrice Bergeron will retire is unknown.

Out of necessity, then, the next coach will have to rely on lesser-known players early in the season.

Here are six players under the age of 24 who, under a new coach, might get their biggest chance yet.

Trent Frederick

roof: Third Line Center

comparable: Brian Boyle

Situation: In a way, it is difficult to assign Frederick as a prospect. He has been a full-time player in the NHL for two seasons. His days at AHL are over.

But it is fair to say that the first director of 2016 may still be in the development sector in his career. At times, Frederick seemed like a powerful force forward. He practiced discipline, played smart and took good shots. He had undeniable chemistry with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith.

There were other times when Frederick took steps back. He picked a bad time – the second period of Game 7 against the Hurricanes – to stop the ball over the post and then failed to occupy a passing lane later in the turn. He took bad penalties. Frederick was late.

flaw: conflict. Frederick’s game featured many peaks and valleys so he could earn regular spells.

The solution: This may be where a reunion with Providence coach Frederick’s Jay Leach can express more about the striker’s game. In the 2019-20 season, Frederick scored eight goals and 24 assists in 59 matches while scoring a 148-minute penalty. At the time, Leach compared Frederick’s skill set to those of Tom Wilson.

“There aren’t a lot of guys like Tom Wilson in Washington who can produce like that and be tough as well,” said Leach. “I don’t know if there are five of them, really. Fred has this potential because of his origins, both with his body and hands. It sure is not an easy thing to put together all that.”

Juna Kobanin

roof: No. 4 left wing

comparable: Pierre Edouard Bellemare

Situation: The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder hit the AHL’s breakthrough in 2021-22, scoring 11 goals and 19 assists in 62 games. The left-footed striker, selected in the fifth round in 2016, signed a one-year two-way extension on June 2.

flaw: The 24-year-old has no NHL gaming experience. It was never called.

The solution: Copanen’s chance may depend on how Bruins progress with Foligno. The former Columbus captain is Copanin’s primary rival.

Fabian Lisel

roof: No. 1 right wing

comparable: David Pasternak

Situation: The 19-year-old had a very good first season in North America with WHL’s Vancouver. Lysell, the Bruins’ first all-rounder in 2021, led the Giants with 22 goals and 40 assists in 53 games. He added 21 points in 12 playoffs.

Lisl is on Sweden’s list for the rescheduled 2022 World Junior Championships. The tournament will take place in Edmonton in August.

He will be eligible to play in Providence in 2022-23. Whether he needs to develop AHL will be up to him. If Lysell keeps himself during training camp, Bruins might keep him at the start of the year. He has NHL skill, is also willing to go inside, is tough on pucks and grinds his chances.

flaw: lack of experience

The solution: Lysell has yet to begin his professional journey. It takes time.

Mark McLaughlin

roof: No. 3 Center / Right Wing

comparable: Nick Dodd

Situation: The illegal Billerica native chose to sign with his hometown team after completing his first season at Boston College. McLaughlin made an immediate impact by scoring in his first National Hockey League game. He has the attributes of the NHL, including a good shot, that will earn the confidence of his next coach.

flaw: lack of experience

The solution: McLaughlin needs actors, either in Boston or in Providence. 22 years is a quick study.


Oscar Steen (Kim Clement/USA Today)

Oscar Stein

roof: No. 3 Center / Right Wing

comparable: Curtis Lazar

Situation: Steen, the team’s sixth-round pick in 2016, appeared in 20 NHL games in 2021-22. The right striker didn’t look out of place at times. He broke through the ice inside the points, pushed opponents back and played quickly.

After an initial raise, though, Steen fell silent. He had no point in 11 of 12 games before being assigned to the AHL.

flaw: lack of experience

The solution: Steen should have a chance to break camp with the university. He needs an extended run to conquer the peaks and valleys of the NHL.

Jack Studenica

roof: No. 3 Center

Affordable, Affordable, Affordable: Jean Gabriel Bagu

Situation: It will never be good when your GM uses the word “flatline” to describe the state of your game. It is, frankly, an accurate recap of the last turn of his career for 2017.

At times, Studnicka looked like he could become David Krejci’s replacement. Bruins Studenica gave the keys to second place at the start of camp in 2021-22 while Charlie Coyle recovered from knee surgery.

But after his appointment to Providence, Staudnica had a disappointing third pro season. He scored 10 goals and 35 points in 41 AHL games. He did not score any goals and three assists in 15 college matches. In his most recent National Hockey League appearance, Studenica performed so carelessly against Toronto in the regular season finale that he played his part in the playoff.

flaw: Loss of confidence, inconsistency and indecision. In 2021-22, Studnicka played like he was afraid to make mistakes rather than make plays.

The solution: Another possibility for a rebound led by Leach. He was excellent as a first-year professional under Leitch in the 2019-20 season, scoring 23 goals and 26 assists in 60 games. Leitch regularly featured Bergeron’s Studnicka clips off-disc as teaching tools.

(Trent Frederick’s top photo: Sergey Belsky/USA Today)

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