SPOOOOOOOON! This shifty, elusive centerman offered ample opportunities to shout his name in his first full professional season down in Providence, leading the resurgent squad for nearly a point-per-game. His speed and vision, along with a tool kit of tricksy one-on-one moves left countless AHL defenders watching hopelessly in his wake. A balanced scorer throughout his junior career, he's found more of a niche as a puck-possession playmaker since turning pro, and he seems to have developed a sixth sense for seams at this level. In spite of his speed and impressive acceleration, he has an almost-Krejci-esque ability to slow down the flow of play around him and create space for his wingers. His D is still in the works and could do with a touch more minor league seasoning, but he's gradually taking on more responsibility under Providence Coach Bruce Cassidy, who has praised Spooner's efforts to become a more well-rounded player.
Spooner's first crack at the big league may not seem terribly promising, posting a Hamill-esque goose egg in four games. But this stint should be taken with a grain of salt as filling in for Chris Kelly, he was only entrusted with Merlot minutes and seeing scarcely seven ES minutes per game with a constantly juggled rotation of linemates. In those four games, he saw not more than 12 total minutes with any one forward, those 12 being Jay Pandolfo. Not exactly a showcase deployment for a top-six projected player. What he can do in the NHL remains to be seen.
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As you can see, not a single contributor places Providence's leading scorer below the top five. Routinely the last cut from camp and frequent recipient of high praise from Coach Julien, Spooner looks to have a promising future in Boston but is presently blocked by virtue of position, faced with a glut of prime-aged top end Center talent ahead of him. His ability to crack the roster this season will likely be out of his control and predicated on injuries. Another year leading the Providence Bruins wouldn't hurt, but lighting up the minors as he is, he's probably overdue for an extended look - especially when other prospects have squandered their ample opportunities. Were he a right handed shot, he'd be a shoe in to step into Rich Peverley's vacated skates, but alas...
Among the forward pool, Spooner is probably the closest thing in our system to the total package. Khokhlachev may have a better finishing touch and a higher projected scoring ceiling, but Spooner has already seamlessly transitioned to the pro game, not skipping a beat in his output between major junior and the AHL. At just a year and a half older, he's already presenting his potential against high-level competition.