BOSTON (CBS) — The future is bright for the Boston Bruins and their newly minted head coach, Bruce Cassidy.
Cassidy may have instantly won over Bruins fans with his comments on the Canadiens when he joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Friday. But the Bruins’ deep pipeline of talented young prospects, some of which have already made their NHL debuts, may win fans over even more in the coming years. You can watch Cassidy’s comments on the team’s prospects in the above video.
The one new prospect who appears guaranteed to crack the NHL lineup next season is defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who played six impressive games in the playoffs for the Bruins as a 19-year-old. He legitimately could be the Bruins’ best defenseman as soon as next season, and few were more impressed with his play than Cassidy.
“I think McAvoy proved that he can step in,” said Cassidy. “I don’t think it’s beginner’s luck. I think he’s got it. He’s a kid who handled the limelight very well. The intangibles of his game are unique.”
Brandon Carlo is another young defenseman who is virtually guaranteed to make the team next season after an impressive rookie campaign playing on a pairing with Zdeno Chara, where he is expected to stay moving forward. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson is a young forward who had a cup of coffee with the NHL club this season, and Cassidy remarked that he would have liked to see even more of him at the NHL level.
Here’s what Cassidy had to say about the rest of the Bruins’ young prospects, which could crack the NHL roster as soon as next season – if they haven’t already.
Carlo: “He’s got all summer to get himself squared away [after a concussion]. We’ve just got to watch the proverbial ‘sophomore jinx’ with him, but I think he’ll be fine. He’ll keep building his game. He’s got a good partner with [Chara]. I like that combination.”
Forsbacka Karlsson: “We would have liked to see him more, to be perfectly honest, but [it was a] tough situation to throw him right in. … He could be a wild card, because he’s got a lot of Bergeron characteristics. You don’t wanna throw that out there lightly, but that’s what I’ve been told, and he might be able to model his career on that type of player.”
Left-shot defensemen Jakob Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Rob O’Gara, and Matt Grzelcyk: “These guys are turning pro. It’s tough to step in [to the NHL] at 19 – but Carlo did it, McAvoy did it, so maybe there’s another guy on the [left] side that can do it. We’ll let that play out, but I think we’ve got some good options there.”
Forwards Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn: “DeBrusk [is] down in Providence having a good year [in the AHL] … Senyshyn just turned pro, he’s in the playoffs with the P-Bruins now, so there’s a lot of options.”
Winger Anders Bjork: “He was a great pick by our scouts [in the fifth round]. … He’s up for the Hobey Baker [award] and I’ve been told by a lot of people that he’s one of the more dynamic players in college hockey. So if we could get him under our umbrella then there would be more to choose from. He could be a guy that steps in.”
Listen to the full interview with Cassidy on Toucher & Rich below: