Brian Ferlin possesses a lot of the skills that the Boston Bruins value in forwards.
He’s a strong, smart player who battles hard to win puck possession in all three zones, has a powerful shot and plays a responsible defensive game. Ferlin is one of many Bruins forward prospects who will battle for a roster spot at the NHL level during the upcoming rookie and training camp sessions.
The B’s are in search of at lease one right wing with a right-handed shot to help fill the open roster spots created by the free-agent departures of veteran forwards Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton earlier in the summer. As a player who fits both of those requirements and also has a more polished defensive game than some of his teammates, Ferlin will be a player to watch over the next few weeks as position battles heat up.
“At the end of the day, they’re probably going to take who they feel is the best fit, right shot or left shot,” Ferlin told the team’s website Friday. “With one of the right wing spots open, maybe it’ll give me a little bit of an edge being a right shot and playing in a pretty defensive system on the right side over the last three years.”
Ferlin had a choice to make after finishing his junior year at Cornell with a career-high 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) in 32 games. The 22-year-old forward could have stayed for a senior season or turned pro, and the Bruins are happy he’s decided to embark on the next journey of his hockey career.
“Brian spent three years at Cornell and had a real good frame when we first saw him and drafted him — athletic build, explosive,” Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney said Thursday. “When you look at his vertical jump numbers , you realize there’s an athleticism to Brian Ferlin that translates to the ice.
“He’s a powerful guy, shoots the puck well coming down the wing. I think he’s done a lot of good work. He spent the entire summer up here in Massachusetts training with a group and I think he’s excited to get his pro career underway. I think the organization is excited about the progression he’s made as a player.
“He’s a guy who protects pucks and cycles pucks really, really well. It’s probably the strength of his game, from the tops of circles down, but now you realize how much quicker he gets up to speed and goes by his defensemen. Once he gets sort of acclimated to the systematic stuff — Cornell does a good job defensively. (Cornell head coach) Mike Schafer did a good job preparing him that way, so I think he’ll make that transition smoothly.”
There’s no reason to rush Ferlin to the NHL given his lack of experience at the pro level. He does, however, have a more well-rounded skill set and better size/strength than a lot of the players he will be battling for a roster spot over the next few weeks. Even if Ferlin doesn’t make the team to start the regular season on Oct. 8, he could be among the first call-ups when injuries inevitably force B’s head coach Claude Julien to make lineup changes.
Photo via Twitter/@bostonnewsnow
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