Show of hands: how many of you had heard of Lane MacDermid before his appearance against Pittsburgh on March 11, 2012?
It was something of a surprise to AHL Bruins watchers to see MacDermid get called up this season, though the callup was definitely well-deserved. The pugilistic young Hartford native was having a very fair season; while playing third and fourth line minutes, often paired with Kirk MacDonald for maximum efficiency, he managed four goals and 12 assists in 69 games this year, and likely would have tied a career high had he played the full season in Providence.
So what did MacDermid accomplish during his brief stint with the big club? Did he prove himself useful at all? Let's have a look.
Here is MacDermid's stat line from his time in Boston.
MacDermid made an immediate impact on the hearts of Bruins fans in his first game against the Rangers in New York City. On his very first NHL shift, the 6'3, 205lb 22 year old decided it would be a good idea to get in a fight with Mike Rupp.
For comparison: Mike Rupp is a 6'5, 243-lb seasoned NHL veteran at 32 years old, with over 80 fights to his credit. Although the fight was brief, MacDermid held his own. Despite his mere five and a half minutes of ice time and an eventual Bruins loss, MacDermid took eight shifts and finished the game even.
MacDermid's TOI increased from his second to his third game, and both were wins for the Bruins. MacDermid took three shots on goal total over the course of these two games, and even finished a +1 against Buffalo in his third game, as he was on ice for a Gregory Campbell goal.
His TOI decreased slightly in his fourth game, but he was promoted to third-line action with Jordan Caron and Chris Kelly. (The fourth line in that game was Thornton with Campbell and Mottau. Yes, defenseman Mike Mottau.) With increased time came increased confidence; MacDermid put three shots on goal against Washington, and despite the fact that none of them went in and Boston eventually lost, fans were beginning to pick up on the fact that this random callup might actually pretty solid.
In his last game, MacDermid again saw minimal ice time against a very good Pittsburgh team. Again primarily paired with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell while Daniel Paille was out, MacDermid played very sheltered minutes - except for one instance when his line went out while Evgeni Malkin, Matt Niskanen, and James Neal were still on the ice, which resulted in a goal. Goals were, in fact, scored on both of his first two shifts in this game. Hard to fault the guy for it, less so since he improved with each passing shift.
Despite playing only five games, MacDermid was very decent for a first time, young NHLer. He projects to be somewhat of a Gregory Campbell type; defensively responsible (though young, his rookie-style slipups should correct themselves with additional work and experience), as well as a guy who isn't afraid to stick up for himself against stronger competition. The Bruins asked him to fill in at a very limited role, and I would argue that in those five games he proved himself up to standard with a high ceiling for improvement.