The Bruins’ rookies report for duty, off-ice testing and an on-ice practice, Sunday — some five days before the NHL veterans are due to open main camp.
With just three days of practice before the rookie games against the New York Islanders on Wednesday and Thursday, the Bruins’ youngsters will try to get a lot done in order to perform at their best against the Isles.
Here are a few things I’ll be looking for during the practices and the two games:
•Tyler Seguin, Joe Colborne and Jordan Caron lead a handful of rookies with aspirations to play in the NHL this season. They all looked great during development camp, but now there really are jobs on the line — and the Isles’ rookies will be looking to make their marks as well at the Garden. I can’t wait to see which Bruins rookies build some momentum heading into main camp, even though I believe it’s a foregone conclusion that Seguin is on the team and Colborne and Caron are ticketed for Providence, even if it’s just because of salary-cap reasons.
•The race to be the second goaltender with the P-Bruins starts this weekend, with Matt Dalton, Mike Hutchinson and Adam Courchaine all competing to complement veteran Nolan Schaefer. Hutchinson could still be headed back to junior, although the Bruins might put their affiliate in Reading and their new affiliation with Finland to get all their guys pro experience.
•Max Sauve got a brief taste of pro hockey last spring but missed the on-ice portion of development camp while recovering from injury. So now let’s see what he’s got. His speed and hands could be a welcome addition to the Bruins if he can make the quantum leap this fall. He was one of the more impressive draft picks this time last year.
•Everyone was salivating over Jared Knight as a second-round steal during development camp. It’s one thing to do it in scrimmages, but now I want to see how he does it against an opponent that’s really trying to stop him, and also see how he handles himself in drills against some guys that already have pro experience.
•To me, Ryan Donald was an unsung hero at development camp. The Bruins obviously liked what they saw because they signed the free-agent former Yalee. If he can continue to improve his mobility to complement his size, he could be a key performer for the P-Bruins and a future depth defenseman for the big club.
•Hopefully Yannick Riendeau, who played just 28 games last season with Providence and Reading, will be healthy enough to get into game action and flaunt the wheels that made him a 126-point scorer in 2008-09 in juniors. I doubt he’ll see the light of NHL day until next winter the earliest, but the P-Bruins could sure use a sniper to take the heat off Colborne, Caron, Sauve and Zach Hamill.
These are just a few of the things I’ll be looking at. What are you excited to see? Remember to log on to TheBruinsBlog.net for complete coverage of rookie camp and the rookie games.