Welcome back to the “Getting To Know” series. In this edition we will be looking at Ryan Spooner, the Providence Bruins leading scorer in the 2012-13 AHL season.
Name: Ryan Spooner
2010 NHL Entry Draft
2nd Round, 45th Overall
Another player who the Bruins picked late in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Much like Craig Cunningham his selection was overshadowed by Tyler Seguin. Although Spooner along with Jared Knight were talked about when they were selected, more notably Jared Knight because he was picked with the second round pick the Bruins acquired in the Phil Kessel trade with Toronto.
Spooner started his junior hockey career with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. He was selected 5th overall in the 2008 OHL Draft, and played 2 seasons with the team and was traded 14 games into the 2010-11 season to the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. He was selected by the Bruins 45th overall in the 2nd round of the NHL Entry Draft, which is the exact same place Patrice Bergeron was drafted in by the Boston Bruins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Spooner had two small stints with the Providence Bruins during the 2011-12 and 2010-11 AHL seasons. His first stint was 3 games in the 2010-11 season where he scored 1 goal and 2 assists and was a +2. He would have another appearance with the team this time scoring 4 points in 5 games (1-3). He would return to the Kingston Frontenacs and was then traded again to the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. He would score 30+ points with both teams finishing with 66 points overall at the end of the season (29-37). His first full AHL season came this year with the 2012-13 season. He lead the Providence Bruins in points (57) and assits (40) and was second the team in +/- with a +14 rating. He is the team’s first line centre and this season he centered Craig Cunningham and Chris Bourque during the season.
The Argument for Spooner:
Spooner is a gifted playmaker and it shows. Not only is he good at making long passes and finding open ice, he’s also got a mean scoring touch. During a 2012-13 regular season game against the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL, he had a 4 point night leading the Providence Bruins to a 4-3 win.
Spooner also has amazing speed and as he demonstrates in the video, he uses a sort of shuffle / stutter step when he crosses centre ice into the offensive zone allowing him to speed up on a pivot and go around the defenceman. It’s an interesting tactic for sure and not something you normally see guys doing but it definitely helps him with acceleration.
The Argument Against Spooner:
Much like Cunningham, Spooner has a major draw back. He is a left handed shot and a centre. The Bruins do not need anymore centres in the line up as they already have 5 centres on the team at the moment (Bergeron, Krejci, Kelly, Soderberg and Campbell). As nice as Spooner’s playing making abilities would be, especially on the powerplay, he would be relegated to the wing but that would hurt his centre ice development. Spooner was made to be a centre and shows the tools and skills to be a great Top 6 centre later down the line. He will more than likely spend some time in Providence until either a spot as a third line centre or fourth line centre become available.
Another issue he has is his height. This was something I think I may have overlooked with Cunningham. Both are short players and while for some that doesn’t make a difference (i.e Marchand & Krug) some guys will get chased around and hurt much easier if they are undersized. Another thing is trying to stand up at the blueline or make hits, they won’t be nearly as effective as it would be for anyone else.
Spooner is a really good player and he will continue to grow and mature into a very effective player in the future. Do the Bruins need his talents right now, No. He needs to be put at centre. Cunningham has played both the winger and centre positions in his career and he has had time to adjust and be able to play as a winger. Spooner on the other hand has been a natural centre his whole junior and professional career.
I don’t see him getting a shot at the team this year and if he does, he will probably have some major starting difficulties with his height and adjusting to the winger position. I don’t think he would be that good of a fit on the third line with plenty of other forwards floating around in the system.