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Bruins coaching camp takeaways: Morgan Geekie set for pivotal position, McAvoy’s evolution as a pacesetter


“When your greatest gamers are assured, everyone follows.”

Morgan Geekie might slot in as Boston’s new third-line heart in 2023-24. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

The Bruins continued their 2023 coaching camp on Friday with one other two on-ice periods at Warrior Ice Area. Listed here are a couple of takeaways from Boston’s newest set of practices.

Morgan Geekie prepared for key position up entrance

Morgan Geekie made essentially the most of no matter time was carved out for him final season with the Kraken.

He performed in 69 video games with the NHL’s thirty second crew in 2022-23, logging simply 10:27 of ice time per contest. For reference, that’s over a minute beneath a few of Boston’s bottom-six regulars final season like Garnet Hathaway (11:04 ATOI), Trent Frederic (11:55), and Nick Foligno (12:22).

However even with these restricted reps, Geekie nonetheless managed to provide. He posted 28 factors (9 targets, 19 assists) in that bottom-six position. His 2.47 5v5 factors per 60 minutes of play ranked thirty first within the league among the many 593 NHL skaters who logged at the very least 500 minutes of 5v5 ice time.

And for his efforts, the 25-year-old ahead acquired a one-way ticket to free company.

Whether or not it’s a cap-crunched league panorama that prompted a number of groups to relinquish promising expertise or Seattle’s doubts about his long-term manufacturing, the Kraken opted to not hand Geekie a qualifying supply in the beginning of the offseason, sending him to the open market.

“I discovered on Twitter,” Geekie stated of his foray into free company. “It’s what it’s. On the finish of the day, it’s a enterprise, and I loved my time in Seattle, no matter the way it ended. … I’m excited to get began right here, and that’s type of within the rearview mirror. However it’s positively going to be one thing that I used to be completely satisfied to be a part of for a few years.”

Now in Boston, Geekie hopes to benefit from the added minutes that must be up for grabs, particularly as a viable candidate for the Bruins’ third-line heart place. By way of the primary two days of practices, Geekie has skated alongside Trent Frederic and Anthony Richard.

“I really feel like we’ve been enjoying nicely on the market,” Geekie stated of his linemates. “It’s the primary couple days of camp, we’re simply attempting to get our ft below us and attempt to make performs and be stable, but it surely’s good. Yeah, I’m wanting ahead to it. He’s an ideal participant, clearly robust to play in opposition to. So I’m completely satisfied to have him on my crew now.

Already a stable presence on the faceoff dot (51.1 profession FO%), Geekie hopes to generate extra offense with the added reps set to return his method.

However on a revamped Bruins crew whose strengths will lie in its defensive construction and goaltending, Boston may also want Geekie to spherical out his two-way recreation if he needs to earn regular minutes.

“I don’t suppose it’s gonna be that a lot of an adjustment,” Jim Montgomery stated of Geekie studying Boston’s defensive scheme. “Seattle did a zone-type protection. So he’s used to it. I don’t know the intricacies or the interior particulars of how they do their D-zone, however I don’t see it being an enormous adjustment for him.

“I feel the offensive facet of issues and the way he transitions and stuff goes to be an even bigger adjustment for him.”

It stays to be seen how precisely Montgomery plans to allocate offensive-zone begins and deployments for his 4 strains, particularly with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci now not in place.

Final season, Geekie began within the offensive zone on 63.3% of his 5v5 reps with the Kraken. As Boston’s 3C final yr, Charlie Coyle began within the offensive zone simply 33.2% of the time at 5v5 motion.

“I’d prefer to suppose that I can fill a few roles, and I feel that I’m studying to play at each ends of the rink. To be a defensive heart, that’s one thing I’m for positive open to doing and something to assist the crew,” Geekie stated. “So, there’s a whole lot of good gamers on this group and this crew.

“So I’m simply going to attempt to are available and convey what I can to the crew, no matter which may be, and simply attempt to take it and run with it.”

Right here’s a have a look at Boston’s strains on Friday afternoon. There have been no adjustments from Thursday’s set of practices.






Van Riemsdyk-Zacha-McLaughlin



A fast turnaround

It received’t take very lengthy for the Bruins to hit the ice in a recreation setting. After Saturday’s apply at Warrior, the Bruins will open preseason motion on Sunday with a matchup in opposition to the Rangers at TD Backyard. Puck drop is ready for five p.m.

“Yeah, actually I simply discovered that we had [a game] yesterday after I appeared on the schedule,” Geekie stated. “I believed I used to be wanting on the schedule [for] subsequent week and never realizing that [the start of camp] was solely three days lengthy.

“It’s good. You type of get proper into it, doesn’t offer you a lot time to suppose and simply begin making ready. So I feel after three days of apply, you’re type of itching to get into it after every little thing that you simply study. So it’s good to get our ft below us on the market and we’ll convey it into Sunday.”

As anticipated, the Bruins don’t plan on rolling out a slew of established gamers in opposition to the Blueshirts, particularly with the excess of youthful gamers on the camp roster jockeying for added reps within the coming weeks.

“You’re not gonna see greater than eight vets,” Montgomery stated. “However we’re going to have a look at gamers that we predict have earned the appropriate to get a chance to see what they’ve — to both lengthen time or enhance their place throughout the crew.”

Heinen vying for a shot

Danton Heinen might need been one of many final additions to the roster proper earlier than the beginning of coaching camp. However even with the previous Bruin solely right here on an expert tryout (PTO) deal, don’t low cost his means to solidify a roster spot over the following few weeks.

Though Heinen was a little bit of a divisive participant throughout his time in Boston resulting from some uneven scoring manufacturing, he nonetheless tasks as a flexible two-way participant who can play up and down the lineup.

The 28-year-old winger is already accustomed to Boston, however he additionally boasts shut ties together with his former coach on the College of Denver in Montgomery.

“At Denver, he was our greatest participant. I had him for 2 years and when he bought there, unexpectedly we went from an actual poor offensive crew to a a lot better one. I do know at this degree he’s not the identical participant he was on the school degree, and that’s true for everyone. And he’s discovered,” Montgomery stated of Heinen. “But when I have a look at the [2019] crew that misplaced to the Blues, he performed on the third line and had 12 factors, I consider, in 21 video games within the playoffs.

“So he was an vital half that helped the Bruins get to the Finals. “So that is somebody that’s been confirmed to do a whole lot of good issues and but on the NHL degree and we have to see him present that why he wants the chance to be a Bruin once more.”

For the second straight day, Heinen skated on a line centered by Georgii Merkulov, with Jake DeBrusk skating at proper wing. After a sluggish begin for Merkulov on Thursday, the 22-year-old ahead performed with a lot better tempo on Friday.

“I like the best way he rebounded as we speak,” Montgomery stated of Merkulov. “I believed he was so-so yesterday. I believed he was actually good as we speak. It was very evident, he was on prime of pucks, I believed his tempo of play was quite a bit higher as we speak. And I feel that line particularly was fairly dominant on the market with what number of targets they’ve scored.”

McAvoy entrenched as a pacesetter

Very like Brad Marchand’s ascension as Bruins captain, few have been shocked to see Charlie McAvoy solidify himself within the crew’s management hierarchy by getting named as an alternate captain alongside David Pastrnak on Wednesday.

Even in his first season behind Boston’s bench, Montgomery was impressed by the presence {that a} 25-year-old participant like McAvoy already instructions.

However now that Boston’s No. 1 defenseman is one other summer season faraway from main shoulder surgical procedure (held in June 2022), Montgomery believes that McAvoy has much more to provide now that his thoughts is now not occupied by a prolonged rehab course of.

“I don’t know if it’s simply because he has coaching camp this yr … However simply the best way he carries himself, his swagger, and his confidence on the ice and within the dressing room, I feel he’s simply simpler for him to concentrate on turning into a participant than he’s for the Bruins — a dominant hockey participant in our league,” Montgomery stated of McAvoy’s management capabilities. “I feel it simply comes from he’s not apprehensive about how his rehab’s going.

“He’s simply apprehensive about preparing. And that helps his management qualities, simply because when your greatest gamers are assured, everyone follows.”

Odds and ends

One more bodily set of practices at Warrior on Friday, with battle drills and netfront scraps dropping fairly a couple of skaters to the ice. After taking successful from Alex Chiasson on Thursday, Marc McLaughlin was hobbled a bit Friday after an ungainly crash into the boards. He didn’t depart apply early. Oskar Steen may want a couple of stitches (or a slight readjustment for his nostril) after catching a excessive shoulder.

One other potential checking unit of A.J. Greer, Patrick Brown, and Alex Chiasson have toppled over a number of skaters already by two practices. Given the variety of different bottom-six forwards vying for spots, gamers like Greer might want to present the thump early and infrequently to warrant a spot within the lineup.

It positive helps having an elite expertise like David Pastrnak on his line, but it surely was a very good apply for Matthew Poitras. Though the 19-year-old heart must considerably bulk up (176 kilos), he has completed a very good job constantly successful puck battles because of his positioning and talent to anticipate skaters alongside the boards.