WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins' sixth annual development camp concluded with Team White beating Team Black 4-2 on Monday. But it was a Team Black player who stole the show with Ryan Spooner scoring two goals and flashing some highlight-reel moves.
Spooner, whom the Bruins took 45th overall in the second round of the 2010 draft, showed the skill that has the organization very excited about his potential. Spooner, along with Jared Knight -- who was the team's other second-round pick (32nd overall) in the same draft -- and 2011 first-round pick Dougie Hamilton (ninth overall) stood above the rest and appear ready to challenge for roster spots at the Bruins’ training camp in September.
"We call them 'the usual suspects,'" general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "I think Spooner and Jared Knight are going to challenge. I think Dougie is going to challenge. I don't want to leave anybody out, but that's who I like to call 'the usual suspects.'"
This trio exemplifies what the Bruins hope development camp does for all their prospects and invitees each year. While their skill and stature among their peers may have given them an advantage coming into their first development camp, they need to continue to develop a pro mentality and work ethic.
Assistant general manager Don Sweeney, who has been in charge of this camp since its inception, used Spooner’s performance Monday and throughout camp as an example of how the camp can help players.
“I think both on and off the ice maturity has been a big factor,” Sweeney said. “He’s gaining in strength and understanding of the level of play going up and the stronger guys are going to be there. His time in Providence has certainly helped in that regard.
"There’s a pro mentality that’s starting to seep in there, which is what we need all these guys to do. It’s not something you wake up with or you do by osmosis. You have to really go through it and understand it, and they’re building blocks. You just can’t go from A to Z; there’s a period of time and transition that you go through, and you see the skill, obviously, comes out.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a player like Malcolm Subban, an 18 year-old, who showed up at development camp only six days removed from being drafted. Sweeney wanted Subban and the other prospects to get a taste of what it takes to compete at the pro level.
“He literally just went from the excitement of being drafted in the last weekend to being thrown into this environment, which can catch anyone off guard especially when you’re 17 or 18 years old,” Sweeney said. “So I think that’s great. That’s really where the expectation part goes. We realized that even when Tyler [Seguin] missed a meeting last year and the repercussions of that. That’s the pro mentality we want to start to seep in. We want them to realize that you can’t get that overnight. You have to go through it and realize it and be around other guys. They’ll see [Jared] Knight and some of the other guys, Tommy [Cross], that they’re further along in that process and all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Whoa, that’s how I’m supposed to react.’”