Bruins Top 25 Under 25 - #17 Anthony "Bitchin" Camara

Drawing comparisons ranging from Shawn Thornton to Milan Lucic, where does Anthony Camara fit into the Bruins' future?

Anthony Camara

LW

Height: 6-1
Weight: 192
Born: Sept 4 1994 (Age 19)
Drafted: 3rd Round (81st overall) 2011
2012-2013 Numbers:
Barrie Colts, OHL: 36-24-60 50GP, Playoffs: 9-7-16 16GP

Our rankings:

Sarah Cornelius Ecozens Wayne Whittaker Ian McLaren Sean Hathaway TomServo42 Dan Ryan
24 9 10 23 6 N/A N/A 17

Anthony Camara has all the earmarks of becoming a popular guy in Boston. Embodying the Bruins' scrappy ethos, he's by all accounts a physically punishing north-south forward and willing combatant. Traded last season from the Saginaw Spirit to a superior Barrie Colts team seeking some crash-and-bang, the bruising winger saw a full season with the Colts this year and exploded for an over point-per-game output for the first time in his four season OHL career. If you're curious about character, feel free to read up on his hard-luck story and see if you don't find yourself rooting for him to crack the bigs. See also the high praise in this mutual love-in with liney Mark Scheifele, fellow 2011 draft pick at #7 overall for the Winnipeg Jets.

While his breakout OHL season has some seeing great things to come, drawing comparisons all the way up to Lucic-level as in the aforementioned Star article, I'd temper that enthusiasm a wee bit. All other forwards appearing on our countdown showed their offensive potential at a higher rate at younger ages. That Camara didn't contribute above a half-point per game in a development league until his fourth season in the OHL isn't a terribly positive indication of his innate abilities. It's more a reflection of his size mismatch against younger, smaller players. Even going back to Midget AAA, he didn't dominate - compare to a guy like Fitzgerald, who falls off our ranks, against high schoolers or Ferlin in the USHL. Furthermore, considering that he never produced until paired with Scheifele, a teammate-elevating offensive dynamo at every step of his pre-pro career, and things start to seem a little less promising for Camara.

Strange to say that a first year pro is facing a make-or-break season, but his debut in Providence will determine whether he can hang with boys his size and without an elite pivot; whether he's a genuine late bloomer or just good against small teens. He should look to Bruins newcomer Matt Fraser, soon to show up on our list, as the former Dallas pick followed a very similar development arc and found immediate success in the AHL. Optimistic comparisons to Looch, who broke out a year earlier in his curve, or even so much as the Chris Neil projection on Hockey's Future or Cal Clutterbuck, are likely being overly optimistic and disregarding the comparative curves of these players.

While it's up in the air if not outright dubious that he'll be a big offensive contributor, he can certainly contribute in other ways: by adding to LTIR time of opponents. Over the past few seasons and tournament appearances, Camara's developed a pretty nasty habit of borderline-to-dirty hits. He's lost a good number of games to suspension and will need to clean up his game and stay on the right side of penalty differentials if he's to remain in the good graces of the Bruins' coaching staff. Should he manage to color within the lines, you know he's going to find himself auditioning in Merlot down the line. He's also put together a pretty decent sized fight card if you're into that kinda thing.

As you can see from our rankings, the split opinion on Camara extends to our staff as well as scouts. He's the lowest ranked player on the final tally to make it into an individual writer's top ten. And we can't solely blame Cornelius "Outlier" Hardenbergh for skewing the rank as with Friday's entry Justin Florek. Ian, Erin and Cornelius: feel free to defend away in the comments but I've got the floor here, suckas! I personally scored this third round pick outside of the top 25 for his lack of production against weaker, smaller competition sans playmaker, low-line projections and undisciplined streak. I'll also confess that his draft position contributes to my low rank. Third round picks are probably not best spent on bottom six ceiling players, who have a low cost to acquire through other means and are attainable later in the draft. The Bruins' scouting staff talking of him in a Thornton-type roll at the time of selection inspires limited confidence in a decent ROI on that pick position.

He also hits the shit list for his underhanded attempt to climb the Bruins' prospect ranks by taking out superior forward Seth Griffith.

If Camara cracks the roster in the next few years, his physicality is going to make him a fan favorite, though he's unlikely to measure up to the lofty - or even the more measured - player comparisons bandied about. Camara strikes me as a poster-boy for the overvaluing of size, hits, fights, blocks and PIMs. So if you're a fan of RGI, here's your boy.

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