The Boston Bruins held the first day of rookie camp at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday ahead of the weekend’s Prospect Challenge in Buffalo, N.Y.

The 24 players, 18 within the Bruins organization and six invitees, are looking to make an impact when they faceoff against the prospects of the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils.

Providence Bruins head coach Ryan Mougenel has high expectations for the prospects heading to the Sept. 15 to 18 round-robin tournament in Buffalo as well as training camp slated to open on Sept. 20.

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“There’s a lot of guys with a lot of opportunity,” Mougenel told reporters, per team team-provided video. “A lot of guys that played for us in Providence last year — ready to take a step. I think there’s attributes that they bring and I think this tournament is an amazing opportunity for them to showcase those and maybe get a head start on some of the older guys, veteran guys that don’t get those exhibition games early on.

“That’s what we want to see. We want to see the competitive spirit. Figure out what your brand is for us,” Mougenel continued. “I think we have a lot of young players that did a really good job last year, especially in Providence doing that. I’m excited to see a lot of guys.”

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Fabian Lysell, John Beecher, Georgii Merkulov and Mason Lohrei are among the highly touted prospects Mougenel expects to have excellent showings in both the tournament and camp.

“(Luke) Toporowski’s another guy that might surprise you,” Mougenel said. “He plays the game the right way and is taking huge steps as a pro.”

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The Bruins will certainly look a lot different when they take the ice on opening night against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 11 at TD Garden.

Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci both retired this summer. The Bruins parted ways with Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno when the duo was traded to Chicago before free agency and Tyler Bertuzzi, Dmitry Orlov, Connor Clifton, Tomas Nosek and Garnet Hathaway all signed with other clubs in the offseason.

Boston filled a few of those holes with Milan Lucic, James van Riemsdyk, Kevin Shattenkirk, Morgan Geekie, Patrick Brown and Jesper Boqvist and extended PTOs to Danton Heinen and Alex Chiasson but that doesn’t mean the prospects will automatically be relegated to Boston’s AHL affiliate.

“Guys see some of the holes. Some of the messages to some of the guys is that ‘you got to do what other guys aren’t willing to do,'” Mougenel said. “You come to a certain spot where everybody’s capable, and it’s just willingness and that’s one thing I think we saw in Providence was guys put their toes in early one, and then they really dove in by the end of the year and we had a lot of huge growth in a lot of young guys.”

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Rookie camp will conclude after Thursday morning’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena before traveling to Buffalo for the Prospect Challenge at LECOM HarborCenter. Boston with play Pittsburgh at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 15, Montreal at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 16 and New Jersey at 10 a.m. ET on Sept. 18. 

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images