Bruins 2009 first-round draft pick Jordan Caron got exactly what he wanted in 2011-12, his second full professional season – a mostly full year spent living and Boston and skating with the NHL club.
Caron played in just 17 games for the Providence (AHL) farm club, while he appeared in 48 games for Boston in the regular season and then was thrown into the fire of two playoff games against Washington.
As he adjusted to the part-time role, both during long stretches as a healthy scratch and while receiving scant minutes when in the lineup, Caron showed flashes of his potential as a former first-round pick and also went through stints of invisibility.
Like Tyler Seguin before him, though, Caron should benefit from the season spent mostly at the game’s highest level and the experience should allow him to show up next season confident and ready to contribute on a more regular basis for Boston. That’s all you could really ask for from a 22-year-old.
Regular season: 48GP, 7-8-15, even
Playoffs: 2GP, 0-0-0, minus-1
Contract status: Signed through 2012-13 at a cap hit of $1.1 million
Regular season recap
Highlight: There was no better example of Caron’s ability to be a long-term net-front presence for the Bruins than his performance March 6 in a win at Toronto. Caron scored twice, with both his goals finding the back of the net from right in front of the goal. He also recorded an assist in 14:20 of ice time. He was plus-3 on the night.
Lowlight: Every rookie seasons features growing pains, and in St. Louis Feb. 22 Caron didn’t take a single shift in the third period. That head coach Claude Julien felt there were better players in the lineup to help the Bruins earn a dramatic victory against one of the league’s elite that night showed that Caron still had room for improvement.
Playoff recap: Caron was a late-series addition to the lineup because of the uncertainty over Patrice Bergeron’s injury. In his two games, he was mostly a non-factor as he and the Bruins’ fourth line were outplayed.
Grade: B-minus. Caron had to find ways to make his presence felt quicker and be better at shaking off the rust after his strings of healthy scratches early in the season.
Carnac predicts … Caron will be given every chance to win a spot among Boston’s top nine forwards next season and will at worst become a regular as a third-line winger. But there are questions about whether he’ll produce enough offense to become a fixture or be relegated to a role as an energy player for the long haul.