Friday, October 11, 2013

One To Watch: Boston Bruins

The good news is you've been drafted by an original six team with legendary alumni, a ton of history and recent success as well. The bad news is that you somehow have to crack the roster of a club that has been to the Stanley Cup finals twice in the last three years. 

It's not impossible for a young player to do just that; Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and Dougie Hamilton are three examples of players that managed to do it but only undrafted Torey Krug managed to do it out of camp this year and he had last year's playoff performance to help his cause. 

Guys like Carter Camper, Ryan Spooner and Matt Bartkowski have seen spot duty with the Bruins but arguably would have played more had they been in another organization. It's a good problem to have though. 

2012 Choice: Carter Camper - The college standout appeared in 3 games for the Bruins the year previous and I wondered if he'd force his way into more NHL action last year. That didn't happen; he played 57 games in Providence instead, compiling nearly a point per game in that time. Camper is undersized but his numbers at Miami are pretty impressive with 183 points in 156 games. It just might be a case of a guy needing a better opportunity with a thinner organization. 

My selection as One To Watch for the Bruins comes after the jump. 

Joe Morrow (D)
Providence Bruins
6'1, 204 lbs
Acquired via trade

Recent first round picks don't get traded all that often let alone twice during their rookie professional season but that's exactly what happened for Joe Morrow. In fact, his jersey in Providence is the third one he's worn in less than 8 months. 

Initially drafted by Pittsburgh, Morrow was sent to Dallas by the Penguins for Brendan Morrow as they attempted to load up for a Stanley Cup run. The "Two-Morrow" swap didn't really pan out for either side although it did allow Dallas to make another big deal just a couple of months later with the Bruins. 

The 7-player deal between the Stars and Bruins included the former Portland Winterhawk defenceman who admitted on my show in August that it was a blow getting dealt once let alone twice.  

"You can look at it like: Pittsburgh didn't want me, Dallas didn't want me. Maybe Boston doesn't really want me and I just kind of got thrown into the deal. Or you can look at it as Pittsburgh wanted me but they wanted someone else and Dallas really wanted me. And Boston really wants me, and someone else could really want me. You can take it as a positive or a negative and I've learned that the negatives aren't going to help you at all." 

Photo: Getty Images
In all, Morrow says that his rookie year in the AHL was not what he expected.

"I thought it would have been easier than it was, in all seriousness," he said in our candid conversation. "I don't like to admit it but I thought it was going to be... you know, coming in as one of the higher end kind of players from the WHL and being really comfortable with that league i thought that coming into the AHL would have been kind of the same."

Morrow went on to describe how his junior training hadn't really prepared him for playing against men in the AHL - he now had to learn how to play defence. I asked him if that was frustrating. 

"Extremely frustrating," Morrow said, "It kind of took all the fun out of hockey for the first couple of months. It was like getting trained for a new job and having absolutely no idea what you're doing." 

Photo: Getty Images
Morrow credited Pittsburgh with helping him adjust. He spent hardly any time with the Texas Stars but over the course of the year he managed 19 points in 66 games. 

The Edmonton native is obviously hoping to have more stability with the Bruins and a shot at the NHL sooner as opposed to later. To get it he'll have to continue his evolution to being a complete player as a pro. 

Joe Morrow is my selection as One To Watch for the Boston Bruins in 2013-14. 

Up Next: Columbus Blue Jackets       

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