WILMINGTON, Mass. — There’s a precedent for a player attending Bruins development camp on a tryout to earn a contract with the organization.
Just last summer Rob Kwiet and Zack McKelvie accomplished the feat.
So it’s with good reason that Ryan Donald made the trek from his native Edmonton to be part of this year’s Boston development camp at Ristuccia Arena.
Donald is one of three invitees, along with Windsor defenseman Marc Cantin and RIT forward Tyler Brenner, in this year’s camp. All strike an imposing figure on the ice at 6-foot-1 and taller, but Donald really looks like a beast at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. In drills he has looked solid defending odd-man rushes and keeping puck-carriers to the outside. Obviously, few guys are going to be stronger, but he hasn’t been hurt by a foot-speed disadvantage too often.
His humbleness off the ice matches his on-ice success.
“No, I’m just trying to work hard and that’s for them to decide,” he said after two on-ice sessions today when asked about trying to impress the Bruins’ brass.
Donald’s profile rose throughout his four years at Yale, along with the team’s improvement. Assistant general manager Don Sweeney says the club kept an eye Donald throughout his years with the Bulldogs. When the NCAA season ended, Donald joined Springfield of the AHL on a tryout for three games. He posted an assist and a plus-3 rating and continued to impress.
“We’re intrigued,” said Sweeney about Donald, not wanting to tip his hand about whether the Bruins might want to continue their relationship with the 23-year-old.
Donald isn’t sure of his plans after development camp beyond going home and working out every day with a group that includes Bruins prospect Ryan Button and defenseman Johnny Boychuk. The political science major might want to ask his workout pals to do a little lobbying for him so he can keep his pro-career dream alive.
•The prospects scrimmaged 5-on-5 again after a morning of shooting and passing drills. One line in particular — centered by Tyler Seguin with Jordan Caron and Jared Knight on the wings — created some offense and showed Sweeney what he wanted to see.
“Look, I put the lines together. So I know those guys feel like, they’re looking off to their left and right and saying ‘we better do something,'” Sweeney said. “They’re primary players, so I feel like they want that pressure. And the other guys that are playing against them, they realize they’re primary players and they’re job maybe is to exceed them.”
•Saturday will be the last day of camp, with one session 11 a.m to 1 p.m.. Expect a slightly longer scrimmage to cap the festivities.