WILMINGTON (CBS) – Luckily for forward Zachary Senyshyn he was at the NHL Draft last month when the Bruins selected him 15th overall in Sunrise, Fla.
Senyshyn heard his name called by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, rose with a joyous look on his face and then embraced several friends and family before heading to the podium to get his Boston sweater and pose for pictures with the Bruins’ brass.
Had Senyshyn been watching on television, he might not have felt so great about himself. The usually polite and flattering broadcasters on NBCSN were skewering the Bruins’ pick. First Bob McKenzie classified Senyshyn as a reach. Then Pierre McGuire and Craig Button both declared that there were better players available that the Bruins passed on.
Even if you value honesty from your announcers, you had the feeling the criticism was over the top, especially with an 18-year-old just a few yards away celebrating the greatest moment of his career to this point.
Senyshyn heard about what the big mouths had to say about him. In the long run, those comments might benefit both the player and the Bruins.
“I heard a lot of chatter and stuff. But I’m really confident in my abilities,” Senyshyn said after the third day of Bruins development camp Thursday at Ristuccia Arena. “The Boston Bruins staff really believes in me and I believe in myself. So I think that this week, kind of being able to show what I can do, and hopefully going forward, proving myself and proving myself not just to myself and to the staff but to the Boston Bruins fans. I’m really excited to show those fans what I have to offer.”
“Again that’s motivation,” he continued. “It definitely lights a little bit of a fire under you. I try to tune most of that out and kind of focus on what I can do this week and my development this week.”
Draft experts across the continent might’ve had the 6-foot-1, 192-pound Senyshyn ranked 15, 20 or even 30 spots lower on the chart than the Bruins. But maybe they didn’t take into account the lack of ice time Senyshyn got as a rookie in the Ontario Hockey League on a deep Sault Ste. Marie team. Despite playing on the fourth line he still scored 26 goals and had 45 points in 66 games.
Many of the Greyhounds’ top players have graduated on to pro careers after last season. Senyshyn will get more ice time, more responsibility and more opportunity to prove the Bruins right. He’s looking forward to a move into the spotlight.
“I really am. And I’m kind of learning from these guys like Darnell Nurse and Jared McCann, looking up these guys, I’ve kind of seen the way they handled it and I’m looking forward to handling it myself this year,” he said.+
Already three days into his on-ice career with the Bruins, Senyshyn has shown off some of the talents they liked about him.
“You can tell right away how powerful a skater he is,” Bruins development coach Jay Pandolfo said. “And he’s young. You can tell that he still hasn’t really matured, even his body. So he’s just going to keep getting better. But you can tell right away the explosiveness he has. But I think he has a lot of room to grow so it’s exciting to see what he has.”
There’s no telling what type of player the right shot from the Ottawa area will become. But he has a target talent in mind: New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider.
“Speed, explosiveness, I love to skate and score goals,” he said. “I want to take that puck to the net and put it right in there. I’m not too scared to get to those dirty areas. I’m really excited to score some goals in that Boston Bruins uniform.”
Senyshyn has already proven he has added thick skin to his list of talents right next to speed and skating ability. If he develops the way he and the Bruins think he will, he might be able to do something a few years from now that no one’s been able to do: shut up Pierre McGuire.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.