No one expects Zach Hamill to show up for training camp next week and push Marc Savard for the Boston Bruins’ No. 1 center spot. The odds are Jamie Arniel and Matt Marquardt won’t be stealing away even a fourth-line job from a Bruins veteran, nor will Adam Courchaine or Matt Dalton leap ahead of Tuukka Rask on the club’s depth chart.
But that doesn’t mean some of the Bruins’ top prospects can’t use the upcoming rookie tournament in Kitchener, Ontario, as a place to get their games in gear in order to be in peak form when big camp opens Sept. 12. That was the theme today as the Bruins’ rookie team assembled at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., before boarding a bus for the 12-hour journey to Kitchener for the four-team tournament.
“You want to have a good tournament here and then kind of hit the ground running (before big camp),” Bruins 2007 first-round draft pick Hamill said. “You don’t want to just go into main camp and be standing still. … You want to be able to be in midseason form. That’s what I’m hoping this camp will do and I can go out there and show my skills, show my stuff.”
“We definitely have to take what we can out of this week and bring it into next week if we get the chance to go to main camp,” Arniel added.
All the Bruins’ draft picks and signed players are expected to join main camp after returning from Kitchener Friday. And the invitees still have a chance to impress and earn a berth into the Bruins’ camp. Providence coaches Rob Murray and Bruce Cassidy, along with Boston assistant Doug Houda are expected to work hands-on with the players during their two practices and coach from the bench during the the three games. In the stands will be pretty much every member of the coaching staff and the Bruins’ front office, including general manager Peter Chiarelli and Director of Hockey Operations and Player Development Don Sweeney.
In addition to assessing his own organization’s depth, Sweeney said he’ll get to look across the aisle as well.
“You’ll have players that we looked versus the draft last year or previous years that you might’ve had on your radar screen and you find out how they’re doing,” Sweeney said. “There’s benchmarks and things that you’re always looking at from an organizational standpoint.”
•Three players who are injured and will not be making the trip to Kitchener — Jordan Caron, Yannick Riendeau and Zack McKelvie — will be arriving in Boston for main camp. Sweeney said that Caron, the Bruins’ 09 first-round pick who suffered a broken collarbone last month during a Team Canada camp, is progressing well from his injury.