WILMINGTON, Mass. — Of the 37 players invited to Boston Bruins development camp this year, only four were born later than forward Zachary Senyshyn.
But that’s OK with the 18-year-old Ottawa native. He’s used to being the young guy.
“I was on the fourth line for the majority of the year,” Senyshyn said Wednesday after Day 3 of camp, referring to his season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. “There was a lot of battle for ice time. You had to battle with these older guys to kind of battle for their ice time and battle for their jobs, which has really helped me coming into this camp.
“… It was a huge development year for me.”
Senyshyn became accustomed to playing alongside — and against — more experienced skaters during his time in the OHL, one of Canada’s top junior leagues. Twenty of his Greyhounds teammates last season were older than him — two or three years so in many cases.
Yet despite his relative inexperience, Senyshyn showed plenty of promise, ranking second among OHL rookies in both goals (26) and points (45). He hopes to bring that same scoring potential to the NHL level — though not for another year or two, at least.
“I love to skate, and I love to score goals,” Senyshyn said. “I want to take that puck right to the net and kind of put it right in there. I’m not too scared to get to the dirty areas, and I’m really excited to score some goals in my Boston Bruins uniform.”
For now, Senyshyn is focused on continuing his development. He said he’s tried to be a sponge this week at camp, absorbing as much information as he can from both the Bruins coaches and fellow campers who are attending for a second or third time.
“The level that everyone’s at, they’re all pros, the guys that I’m learning from,” Senyshyn said. “Even some of these guys in here are pros — they’ve been to the camp so many years before. As I said before, (I’m) taking pieces away from everyone, not just your instructors, coaches, development guys, (but) also the players.
“Everyone in this room is here because they do something exceptionally well. And I think looking toward those guys and being able to take something from them, whether it’s small or big, I think that that’s going to be what helps you get to the next level.”
Despite Senyshyn’s successful debut campaign in the OHL, experts were stunned when the Bruins selected him 15th overall in last month’s NHL draft. Most projected him as an early second-rounder at best.
The third of Boston’s unprecedented three consecutive first-round picks this year, Senyshyn has yet to sign with the team (No. 13 pick Jakub Zboril inked his entry-level deal earlier this week) but doesn’t seem particularly worried about his contract situation.
“It’s really excited for a lot of friends that have been able to (sign), but right now everyone has different paths,” he said. “And I’m not too nervous or too excited kind of to jump right in there. I think I’m on my own path, and I’m really focusing on my development over the course of this week, learning from these coaches and players and becoming the best player I can be. And hopefully (signing) is the end goal, but not something I’m really looking forward to right now.”
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images