Editor’s Note: Future Watch is a weekly feature that looks at the performance of the Bruins’ top prospects. It will be written by NESN.com assistant editor Nicholas Goss.
Prospect Name: Ryan Spooner
Position, Team: Center, Boston (NHL)
Stats through Nov. 1: 1 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 0 +/-. 2 SOG
Analysis/Notes: Spooner’s solid training camp and quality performances in Providence (seven points in eight games) earned him a call up on Thursday and he immediately made an impact. He played as a center on the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg, and picked up the secondary assist on the B’s first goal of the game in the second period. It was his first career NHL point.
One of Spooner’s best attributes is starting the rush up ice with quick, accurate passes through the neutral zone. He connected on one of these passes before Soderberg’s goal by quickly getting the puck up to Kelly, who found the Big Swede as he skated into the attacking zone.
“It gave us a little bit more,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien when asked about Spooner’s addition to the third line. “I mean it scored a goal and I’m not sure that [Kelly] is as best utilized on the wing as he is at center but the one thing I thought is [Spooner] did give us some speed on that line and created some of that stuff and for the first time together, I think they were okay. ” Kelly also praised Spooner’s speed after the game.
The 21-year-old forward replaced Jordan Caron in the lineup, and given the fact that he has more talent and offers more versatility than the former first-round pick, don’t be surprised if Spooner gets a couple more chances to impress Julien and the rest of the coaching staff before Caron returns to the lineup.
Prospect Name: Joe Morrow
Position, Team: Defenseman, Providence (AHL)
Stats through Nov. 1: 8 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 0 +/-, 12 SOG
Analysis/Notes: Morrow was excellent offensively in the last week with three points (one goal and two assists) in three games. As usual, his speed, skating ability and good first pass out of the defensive zone to start the rush toward the opponent’s zone was stellar.
Like I mentioned last week, it’s unlikely that Morrow gets called up anytime soon, especially since Matt Bartkowski is unable to crack the lineup consistently as a healthy scratch for the Bruins. After the first few weeks of the season, the Bruins should be pleased with Morrow’s progress. He’s made a smooth transition to a new organization and is making an impact offensively at even strength and on the power play.
Prospect Name: Niklas Svedberg
Position, Team: Goaltender, Providence (AHL)
Stats through Nov. 1: 4-0-2, 2.55 GAA, .927 SV%
Analysis/Notes: In the last week, Svedberg won both of his starts and also improved his GAA and save percentage. He’s been rock-solid for Providence and is proving that last year’s amazing success, which earned him the AHL goalie of the year award, was no fluke.
Not that there was much of a competition to begin the year, but the Swede’s play through six games has made him the undisputed starter for the P-Bruins ahead of former first-round pick Malcolm Subban. His four victories are tied for the third-most in the AHL thus far.
Prospect Name: Alexander Khokhlachev
Position, Team: Center, Providence (AHL)
Stats through Nov. 1: 8 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 0 +/-, 11 SOG
Analysis/Notes: In two games this week, Khokhlachev failed to score a single point and tallied only three shots on goal. He failed to make much of an impact offensively, but there’s no reason to panic this early in the year.
The encouraging sign is that he’s helping the P-Bruins’ power play with crisp passes that set up scoring opportunities and the ability to keep the puck in the attacking zone with his improved strength.
His defense isn’t where it needs to be, but that area of his game will continue to improve with more experience in the AHL.
Prospect Name: Malcolm Subban
Position, Team: Goaltender, Providence (AHL)
Stats through Nov. 1: 0-2-0, 4.09 GAA, .879 SV%
Analysis/Notes: Subban didn’t make any starts this week, but that’s not too surprising considering his role is Svedberg’s backup. He has to wait his turn, but watching Svedberg’s solid fundamentals and the way he prepares for games will certainly help Subban for when he is Providence’s starter, which could be as early as the 2014-15 season.
Nick Goss’ Updated Prospect Rankings (as of Nov. 1)
1. Ryan Spooner
2. Joe Morrow
3, Niklas Svedberg
4. Alexander Khokhlachev
5. Malcolm Subban
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