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WILMINGTON (CBS) – As far as a last act as a development camper, Ryan Spooner couldn’t have produced any better.
On the last day of the Bruins’ 2012 development camp, Spooner’s third since he was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NHL draft, the center scored two goals during the camp-concluding scrimmage at Ristuccia Arena Monday.
All day long, Spooner seemed to have a step on the rest of Boston ’s prospects and camp invitees.
“That’s one thing you want to do before you leave is kind of finish off strong,” Spooner said after the campers got off the ice. “I got some great passes out there and I guess I just got a little bit lucky that they went in.”
The next step for Spooner will be main training camp in September. Although he fared a little better in his first camp in 2010 than he did at last year’s camp, two years running Spooner used strong development camps to build momentum and turn some heads at camp with the big club. Each summer and fall, the Bruins have seen steady improvement in Spooner as a player and a person.
“Well, I think both on and off the ice maturity has been a big factor,” assistant general manager Don Sweeney said. “He’s gaining in strength and understanding that going up in a level of play the stronger guys are going to be there. His playing in Providence has helped him in that regard. His overall training and there’s a pro mentality that’s starting to seep in there, which is something we need all these guys to do. It’s not something you wake up with or do through osmosis, you have to really go through it and understand it, and they’re building blocks.”
“You see the skill obviously comes out and he’s a very creative player. And that’s the stuff we know is there. But we want to make sure we keep building the habits away from the puck and he understands that much, much better.”
Both previous times he attended main camp Spooner was returned to his junior team and then joined Boston’s AHL farm club at Providence at the end of the season. This time around, he’ll either be with Boston or Providence once camp is through.
Along with Jared Knight, Spooner is one of the two Bruins forwards with no prior NHL experience who have the best shot of cracking the 2012-13 roster. So far general manager Peter Chiarelli’s silence on the trade and free-agent front would lead one to believe there will be at least one job open where Benoit Pouliot vacated. The competition will be stiff, with Jordan Caron, Chris Bourque and a couple players with more pro experience from spending at least one full season with Providence in the mix.
Spooner isn’t worrying about handicapping the training-camp field just yet.
“Not really, no. I don’t really pay attention to that too much,” he said. “I think if you do that it kind of gets you sidetracked from what you need to focus on. I think the worst thing to do is to always be worrying about others. The best thing to do is worry about what you need to do. And then when you come to camp, obviously, you just have to play your game. And if there’s no spots available, there’s nothing I can do about that, right? I’ve just got to camp, just work hard and just do what they tell me. That’s kind of what I’m doing right now.”
While it might be forgotten come Fall, Spooner’s last act in development camp should keep many thinking about him for the bulk of the summer. Whether he can carry over his solid play to the NHL game will determine if his next act for the Bruins will occur in a game at the sport’s highest level.