While most of the Bruins are enjoying their final weeks of inactivity or working out on their own to prepare for next month?s training camp, rookie Tyler Seguin is about to get a taste of top-notch competition to help get ready for his first pro season.
Seguin is one of 48 players invited to Hockey Canada?s National Junior Team Development Camp that will run from Wednesday through Saturday in St. John?s, Newfoundland. The camp will help determine the roster Canada will send to this year?s World Junior Hockey Championships, which will be held in Buffalo on Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
Seguin attended last year?s evaluation camp but did not make the final squad, which finished second when the United States won the gold-medal game in sudden death on the strength of on overtime goal by Natick, Mass. native and Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson. Perhaps that snub helped fuel Seguin?s 106-point breakout last year with Plymouth (OHL). Seguin did get some international experience as well, scoring 10 points in four games as he helped Canada?s under-18 team win the Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
The Bruins probably wouldn?t mind seeing Seguin miss this year?s tournament as well. That would mean all is going to plan and Seguin has established himself as a regular contributor in the Bruins? lineup as a rookie. If he?s earning regular ice-time and playing well in Boston, the Bruins are unlikely to loan Seguin to Team Canada in the middle of the season. But if he is sent back to his junior team or is struggling in Boston, then the World Juniors could be a rewarding experience for the youngster.
OHL rival Taylor Hall, who went first overall to the Oilers, obviously plans to spend the entire season in Edmonton. He opted not to attend the evaluation camp, which makes him ineligible to play in the World Juniors.
The Bruins also hope that Seguin fares better at this camp than 2009 first-rounder Jordan Caron did at last year?s summer evaluation. Caron suffered a broken collarbone in a scrimmage last year when blasted by an open-ice hit from defenseman Colten Teubert. Caron still made the World Juniors team and earned a silver medal alongside Teubert and Co.
While the Canadians prepare for their camp this week, the reigning champs have already gotten their evaluation camp under way. Team USA brought 42 players together in Colorado Springs for an eight-day gathering that began on Friday. It will run through next Saturday and feature games against Sweden and Finland in addition to practices and scrimmages.
Goalie Zane Gothberg, who was picked in the sixth round by the Bruins in June, is among the invitees. He?s the only Boston prospect on hand, but there are plenty of other skaters with local ties..
Forwards Ryan Bourque (Boxford, Mass.), son of Bruins great Ray Bourque, Connor Brickley (Everett, Mass.), whose father is the cousin of former Bruin and current NESN analyst Andy Brickley, Charlie Coyle (Weymouth, Mass.), Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.), Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) and Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass.), as well as defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Biddeford, Maine) are all attending the camp in hopes of landing a spot on the final squad.
Those decisions will be made by coach Keith Allain, a Worcester, Mass. native who also coaches at Yale, and general manager Tim Taylor. That?s not the former Bruin of toe-in-the-crease infamy, but rather the former Yale coach who also happens to be a Boston native.