MONTREAL — Jordan Caron had pretty much accepted the fact that he was going to have to return to the Bell Centre tomorrow for the second day of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft as the first round drew toward a close tonight.
But then at pick No. 25, the Boston Bruins opened up free time on Caron’s Saturday schedule by selecting the 6-foot-2, 202-pound Rimouski winger.
“I thought it was kind of a surprise. There was only five teams left in the first round, so I thought maybe I’d have to wait until tomorrow,” said Caron, 19.
Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said his club had Caron ranked in its top 15, although CSS had him ranked at 21. So the pick was pretty easy to make once the Bruins’ turn came up. Known for his solid wrist shot and strong skating for a large player, Caron potted 36 goals in 56 regular-season games for the Oceanic last season after missing a few weeks with an ankle injury. Then in the Memorial Cup, which Rimouski hosted, Caron scored two goals in four games.
“He had such a good Memorial Cup, that’s the last kind of impression that a lot of scouts get. That’s why we thought that he would’ve been in that top echelon. So we were fortunate,” Chiarelli said.
In addition to boosting his draft stock, Caron learned how to perform in a pressure-packed environment during the CHL championship tournament.
“I think it was great playing against the top teams in the CHL,” said Caron. “The crowds in Rimouski were unbelievable. It was a very nice experience playing with Rimouski, I’m from there, and the chance to live that experience in my hometown, it was a very nice experience.”
Chiarelli had a difficult time coming up with a comparable NHL player for Caron. But the Sayabec, Quebec native compares his game to that of Minnesota forward James Sheppard. Regardless, Chiarelli is able to come up with a much longer list of things the Bruins like about Caron than players to stack him up against.
“He’s got a really good shot. He’s not what I would call a really pure shooter,” said Chiarelli. “He find spaces to shoot with his feet. He doesn’t have to go find a spot, stop and shoot. He can grind too. He’ll go in and he’ll dig out pucks. He’ll take pucks to the net off the cycle or kind of down low.”
Caron is a February 1990 birth date, so he’ll have to turn pro after next season. He’s now taken the most important step toward that goal after a breakthrough season.
“I think I gained confidence a lot this year in the second half of the season. I think I learned to play more physical in the second half and I think that’s the main reason I ended up with a great season,” he explained.
“I think it was just a mindset. I gained confidence. I told myself that I was as good as anybody in the draft that was coming here.”