The Bruins didn’t enter training camp expecting Matthew Poitras to compete for an NHL roster spot, but that’s exactly what he’s doing.
It’s only been three preseason games, but Poitras has looked the part of an NHL center in limited exposure to high-level competition. The 19-year-old had a pair of assists and a goal in those games, but it’s what he’s doing outside of the scoresheet that’s impressing head coach Jim Montgomery.
“I thought he did an excellent job tonight,” Montgomery said following Monday’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers, per Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic. “He shows a lot of poise with the puck. He makes plays. He makes intelligent support plays. He’s someone that built our team game tonight out there and made a lot of smart hockey plays.”
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Boston surely enjoys what it’s seeing out of the 19-year-old, but questions remain about how his 176-pound frame could hold up at the next level. The Bruins have sort of protected him in the preseason, allowing Poitras to play with the likes of big-bodied forwards Jesper Boqvist, Marc McLaughlin and James van Riemsdyk, as well as top-line NHL scorers like David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk.
The Bruins lost two of the greatest centerman in franchise history over the offseason, with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci both retiring. They’re not going to find a replacement in a 19-year-old, but the flashes shown by Poitras are enough to make one believe he could step in and help ease the burden for Boston up the middle.
It’s pretty obvious Poitras won’t be ready to take on a top-six role this early, but he’s making it increasingly difficult for the Bruins to send him packing. His evolution beyond making the roster, which is what the franchise wants its young players to do, is what should have Boston fans so excited.
Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images