It’s that time of year again!
Yes, even in the heat of summer, it’s hockey time in New England as the Boston Bruins’ kick off their annual Development Camp at Warrior Arena. Practices will run from July 11-15, beginning at 10:00 a.m., and will feature 30 participants ranging from draft picks to prospects to non-roster invitees.
This years group has some exciting names, including former first-rounder John Beecher, while others like 2021 first-round pick Fabian Lysell will be absent. Despite some notable names missing out, there’s still plenty of talent on display in Brighton this week. Here are a few names to remember throughout the week:
F Georgii Merkulov
Speaking of Ohio State, Merkulov is an intriguing prospect about whom little is known, mostly because of how sudden and late he signed last season. The Russian forward played one season for the Buckeyes before opting to turn pro and signing a three-year entry-level deal with Boston.
Merkulov finished his lone season of college hockey with 34 points in 36 games (20g, 14a) and a plus-18 rating. Since coming to North America in the 2019-20 to play for the Youngstown Phantoms, Merkulov’s production has skyrocketed as the forward has seemingly found his identity. In just eight games for Providence last year after signing, Merkulov had a goal and four assists and could likely produce even more with a full season to play.
F Matthew Poitras
The Bruins’ top draft choice in 2022, Poitras has been heralded for his energy and forechecking ability as Boston looks for potential future replacements for its talisman, Patrice Bergeron. Poitras was taken ahead of his Guelph Storm teammate, Danil Zhilkin, whom many in Bruins’ circles pegged a good fit for the Black & Gold.
Poitras, 18, is set to get his first taste of pro hockey this week and he enters Development Camp with an eager attitude. As someone scouts have viewed to have “playmaking upside”, it will be interesting to see how Poitras fits into the Bruins’ plans in the coming years.
G Philip Svedeback
A position that three years ago needed no addressing, Boston has suddenly found itself with very little organizational depth at goaltender. Enter Philip Svedeback, who the Bruins selected late in the 2021 Draft, who is set to play at Providence College this season.
In 25 games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints last season, the Swede had probably his best season at the elite level yet, going 15-7-3 with a .910 save percentage and a 2.95 goals against average. While he’s still years away, Svedeback is undoubtedly Boston’s top goaltender prospect even with other young netminders signed to deals in Providence and Maine.
A few others...
Of course, we’d be remiss to not mention John Beecher in this list. Of course, all eyes will be on the first-round pick who enters the most important year of his development after signing on late last season.
Marc McLaughlin will draw attention as well. The Billerica, Mass. native and Boston College alum made his dreams come true scoring in his NHL debut last year and got his feet wet at the pro level in a valuable way. He should make major strides in year two.
In net, Brandon Bussi, who signed to a deal out of Western Michigan last season, immediately inserted himself as a starter for the Providence Bruins upon his arrival and could be someone to look out for as a potential sleeper at that position.
And finally, Mason Langenbrunner, son of Bruins Director of Player Development and Player Personnel Coordinator, Jamie Langenbrunner, an 18-year NHL veteran, was a fifth-round pick by Boston in 2020 who dominated the high school scene in Minnesota. Committed to Harvard for 2022-23, the defenseman had 22 points for the Fargo Force in USHL action last season and is expected to grow his game even more at the collegiate level.