WILMINGTON, Mass. — A year ago, Jared Knight showed up at Bruins development camp the week after the organization used a second-round pick to draft him weighing in at around 180 pounds.
For this week’s fifth annual development camp at Ristuccia Arena, Knights’ carrying around about 200 pounds, which sort of makes him look like an Incredible Hulk-like specimen — if the Hulk was just 5-foot-11.
“Hockey players, they can’t be body-builders. But you want to be strong,” said Knight today after the second day of development camp. “You’re going against solid guys. I’m a smaller guy, so I’ve got to be solid. I’ve got to be able to take care of those guys.”
Some players add bulk and struggle to get used to their new body (remember Blake Wheeler? Brandon Bochenski?). But Knight says he’s had no such problem.
“Not at all. I think it’s really helped me because I added a lot of lower-body strength and it’s made me quicker,” said Knight, who put 70 points on the score sheet last season with London (OHL). “I’ve got a lot faster two steps there, so it’s helped me.”
The bulk will help Knight do what he does best even better. He’s a bit of a mucker of a power forward, even though he possess a lethal wrist shot. Even in development camp, he’s shown that he’s not going to just rely on his shot to score. He ran over goaltender Michael Hutchinson during on drill Thursday.
“I enjoy doing it,” he said about going to the net. “Not a lot of players like doing it, and it’s something I think that really sets me apart from everyone else. I get in the dirty areas, and it’s fun for me. It’s fun going full speed across and stirring it up.”
That’s the type of philosophy the Bruins like to hear from their prospects. Through two days of his second development camp, Knight has been one of the standouts. Providence (AHL) head coach Bruce Cassidy, who had Knight for three games on a tryout at the end of last season, even admitted that the real measuring stick for Knight will be when he arrives for training camp in the fall.
But that doesn’t mean Knight, who would have to go back to junior in the fall if he doesn’t make the NHL roster, can’t throw his weight around among the prospects and try get a head start in pursuit of a pro career.