OTTAWA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 25: Carter Camper #58 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his first career NHL goal with teammates Johnny Boychuk #55 and Zdeno Chara #33 during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on February 25, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Another day, another prospect that played fewer than five NHL games last season. Carter Camper, a 24-year-old, 5'9 forward from Rocky River, Ohio is another kid that was off most peoples' radars before February 22, 2012 - the day he made his NHL debut.
Let's rewind a little. As an '88 birthday, Camper was eligible for the NHL draft in 2006, but went undrafted. After not being selected as an overager, either, he finished school at Miami of Ohio (graduating with a degree in Psychology - oh, and a 3.57 GPA, to boot). In his last year, he served as captain of the Miami hockey team, finishing the season with 19 goals and 38 assists in 39 games. He was nominated for the Lowe's Senior Class award, as well.
From there, it was on to Providence. Camper signed with Boston as a free agent on April 7, 2011, immediately after his senior season ended.
Camper played three games at the tail end of Providence's season in 2010-2011, another year in which the P-Bruins didn't make the playoffs. He scored a goal and an assist in those three games, and upon his return for the beginning of his first pro season, Camper immediately began showing up on the scoresheet. He had 18 goals and 30 assists in 69 games for Providence, and was the only P-Bruin named to the AHL All-Star Game in Atlantic City.
The transition from AHL to NHL was fairly seamless for Camper; he looked confident centering a line with Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron against St. Louis, primarily matched up against the Blues' third line. He took 11 shifts, and was even through all 11 of them, despite no shots on goal. His game was similar against Buffalo - again paired with Pouliot and Caron. He finally took a shot against Ottawa on February 25, and earned his first NHL point on his first NHL shot.
Through three games, Camper took 14 faceoffs and was 6 for 14 (42.8%) at the dot.
At the trade deadline, with the acquisition of Brian Rolston, Camper's services were no longer necessary in Boston and before he could play a game in Boston, like Lane MacDermid, he was sent back to Providence. He dealt with a low-grade concussion, but still managed to outscore the rest of his team, leading the P-Bruins in assists and total points by the end of the year.
Despite a small sample size, Camper made it clear that he is a definite option should Boston need to fill a forward spot. General consensus seems to be that first center-spot callup will belong to new pro Ryan Spooner, but I'd argue that depending on their training camps and how their seasons go, we might just see that #58 in the lineup first.