Hello everyone, and welcome to the debut piece of “Bruins Extra”, to be featured here on Hockey Independent after each and every Bruins — be it Boston or Providence — game that hockey writer Benjamin Woodward is assigned to cover. The blog will feature in-depth analysis of individual performances, big moments in the game or any other extra thoughts from the previous night’s hockey action. I would advise you all to read the game recap — always linked below –, before taking a look at “Bruins Extra”, as it will give you a detailed background of that particular game’s events.
Game: Albany Devils 1, Providence Bruins 2 (Shootout) : Recap
Adam Larsson will be a staple on the New Jersey blueline for many years to come…
There’s a reason general manager Lou Lamoriello decided to select Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. At the time, he was considered to be the most NHL-ready prospect in his age group. After all, he was already playing against men in the Swedish Elite League. Larsson would enjoy a decent rookie campaign in 2011-12, but expecting an 18-year-old to come in and produce at a high level is a bit of a reach. Especially for defensemen, who typically develop a little slower than forwards.
On Friday night, Larsson’s immense talent was on full display in Providence. It isn’t flashy, but Larsson’s game is extraordinarily solid. He does a tremendous job using his 6-foot-3-inch frame to angle opposing forwards into the corner on offensive rushes, holds his own against sizeable opponents in front of his own net and has excellent puck skills. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the young blueliner’s game is his on-ice vision. He knows exactly when to get the puck up quickly in the transition game and when to slow it down, dictating the pace of the game with control in the neutral zone. He’ll never be an Erik Karlsson-type 60-point producer, but it’s clear that Adam Larsson’s impressive two-way skill-set will be a staple on the New Jersey blueline for many years to come.
Zach Trotman has great potential, but a lot left to learn…
“Mr. Irrelevant”, to use an NFL reference, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, defenseman Zach Trotman, wasn’t expected to amount to much at the professional level when the Boston Bruins selected him with pick number 210. However, a pair of impressive seasons at Lake Superior State earned the Noblesville, Indiana native the right to sign an entry-level contract with the 2011 Stanley Cup champions. In his first season of professional hockey, Trotman has scored one goal and added two assists in nine games of action. At times, Trotman showed flashes of brilliance on Friday night, displaying great on-ice vision and passing skills. He also made one particularly impressive play in using his body to shut down a potential 2-on-1 opportunity for the Devils late in the third period.
However, there were some instances in which Trotman would be overpowered by a smaller forward in the corner or in front of his own net. He also made a couple of brutal turnovers in his own zone, one that nearly led to a go-ahead goal for Adam Henrique. They weren’t egregious errors, but were definitely noticeable, and something Trotman needs to improve upon. While it’s clear that the youngster still needs some seasoning and has room for plenty of improvement, if he can continue along his current development path, Zach Trotman could one day become a valuable member of the Boston Bruins defense corps. At pick #210, that would be quite the coup for Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli.
P-Bruins’ head coach Bruce Cassidy offered his thoughts on what he’s seen thus far from Trotman during his post-game press conference.
“We like where his game’s at, but for him to be a true Boston Bruins’ prospect, he’s going to have to improve that part of his game where he’s playing a little more on the edge and dialed in, so to speak. He’s got a lot of the physical attributes. He’s got a good head for the game and a good shot; it’s just a matter of putting it all together and playing at a certain pace.” – Bruce Cassidy
Niklas Svedberg making seamless transition to the North American game…
Coming over from Sweden in the offseason, Niklas Svedberg was expected to develop alongside Michael Hutchinson in Providence and eventually challenge Anton Khudobin for the role of Tuukka Rask‘s back-up at the NHL level. The transition from the European style of play to North American hockey is never easy, but Svedberg seems to be handling it well. The young goaltender spoke about his adjustment to the North American style of play after the game on Friday.
“It’s different in some ways but I think it’s maybe a bigger difference for the skaters. I try to play the same way as I do back home. Of course, there are some differences, like behind the net, there’s more space (in Europe), and you play the puck more here. I try to develop every part of my game and adjust to some of the details here. For the big picture here, I try to play the same way, just develop that game… I think it’s been an OK adjustment.” – Niklas Svedberg
While Hutchinson began the year as the starter for the P-Bruins, its been Svedberg whose stolen the show. With a 4-1 record, the young Swede has been in net for every one of Providence’s wins this season. In the past two games, he’s allowed just one goal, total, helping the P-Bruins to secure a two-game winning streak. His great play in net has helped the rest of the team establish a refreshing sense of confidence in their new number one goaltender.
“The guys seem to have rallied around him (Niklas Svedberg). When he’s in there, they’ve got a lot of confidence in him. He makes big saves when he has to… We like him a lot, we like his battle effort. He’s 4-1, what’s not to like about his record? You know, so far, so good. It’s early in the season, so we’ve got to make sure he can sustain it.” – Bruce Cassidy
“Whenever we do have a breakdown, we have him back there to backstop us. That’s what he’s paid for. He’s doing really well and has given us some confidence. When we do make a mistake, he’s there to back us up.” – Chris Bourque
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.