In Matthew Poitras, the Bruins may need discovered an impression heart. However is he prepared in 2023?


“I am gonna attempt to do my finest to make it exhausting to ship me again to juniors.”

Bruins Matthew Poitras runs through a drill during the first day of Bruins Development Camp at Warrior Arena.
Matthew Poitras will play in both the NHL or OHL this season. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

The Bruins are usually not setting any limits on Matthew Poitras throughout coaching camp.

The 2022 second-round choose is not going to flip 20 years previous till March 2024. He’s but to log a sport up within the professional ranks, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting him to only two full seasons in junior hockey.

However Poitras’ relative lack of expertise stands in distinction to the spectacular stat traces he’s produced since getting drafted, in addition to the cerebral, superior offensive ability set that has allowed his inventory to soar during the last 12 months.

And if he’s able to make a push for the NHL roster this fall, the Bruins are usually not going to get in his manner.

“His hockey sense, his ability, actually stand out for us,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney mentioned of Poitras earlier this summer season. “The tempo of play and the power of play in opposition to NHL gamers is what dictates whether or not a participant could make that soar. It’s a giant soar, however we actually like his hockey IQ.”

The Bruins aren’t placing any restrictions on Poitras and his efforts to make the soar from the OHL to the NHL.

Sadly, the NHL and CHL (Canadian Hockey League) are a bit extra inflexible on the subject of Poitras’ path transferring ahead.

On account of the NHL-CHL switch settlement, prospects are usually not allowed to be re-assigned to the AHL till they’re 20 years previous, or have performed 4 seasons. There are particular exemptions that may be granted, as is the case with Seattle Kraken ahead Shane Wright this upcoming season. 

However for Poitras, he’ll seemingly must both earn a spot up within the NHL ranks this fall — or spend one other 12 months down in junior hockey.

Given all that he’s already confirmed down within the OHL, Poitras is hoping for the previous over the latter.

“I believe for me, clearly yearly you come to any sort of camp — I need to make the workforce, I need to impress,” Poitras mentioned Wednesday at Warrior Ice Area. “I’m gonna attempt to do my finest to make it exhausting to ship me again to juniors.”

The Bruins’ incapability to draft and develop a confirmed top-six pivot over the previous decade has stood as one of many Authentic Six franchise’s most evident shortcomings, particularly with each Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci not getting any youthful.

After working on borrowed time for the previous few years, the Bruins have few long-term options now that each Bergeron and Krejci have hung up their skates.

Each Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle might be pressed into top-six duties this season.

But when Boston is in search of a featured, long-term possibility down the center, a dearth of inner choices within the prospect pipeline will seemingly pressure Sweeney and Co. to scour the free agent or commerce markets for top-six expertise within the years forward.

However a blue-chipper like Poitras provides hope that the Bruins fill a kind of vacancies with homegrown expertise — be it this fall or subsequent.

Praised for his “elite mind” by Bruins assistant GM Jamie Langenbrunner, Poitras has diced up defenses throughout his two seasons with the OHL’s Guelph Storm. Final 12 months, he scored 16 objectives and dished out 79 assists over 63 video games.

“The way in which he sees the ice…I imply, he nonetheless put up [79 assists] and didn’t get rewarded on most nights one way or the other,” Bruins participant growth coordinator Adam McQuaid mentioned of Poitras. “He could make performs; I believe the following step for him is to proceed to get stronger, the bodily growth.

“He has a willingness to need to take pucks to the soiled areas, to the web. Getting stronger will permit him to do these issues, so I believe we’re simply rounding out his sport.”

Poitras could not have the scale and skating potential of a Johnny Beecher, nor are his spotlight reels inundated with clips of dekes and dangles like fellow prospect Fabian Lysell.

However the 6-foot heart nonetheless repeatedly impacts the sport by means of altering tempo, positioning down low, and poised passing.

“You’ve seen snippets all 12 months, each day, his potential to play in house, his potential to create house, his elusiveness,” Langenbrunner mentioned of Poitras. “He buys time for himself. He has that knack the place he can look guys off and discover lanes.”

Not like different gifted passers his age who decide to skate to the skin looking for seams, Poitras has a knack for creating these defensive faults himself by bringing the puck into Grade-A ice. 

It’s a sought-after ability set, however one that might result in loads of punishment on the professional stage. 

As such, Poitras has centered most of his offseason work this summer season on bulking up and honing his skating potential. 

The subsequent step is proving it out on the ice this fall, particularly in opposition to elevated competitors. 

“I actually need to make this workforce,” Poitras mentioned. “It’s my dream to play within the NHL. Yeah, I’ve to return to juniors if I don’t make it. However I’m simply gonna attempt to put my finest foot ahead and see what occurs.”