After a 3-0 shutout win over the New York Rangers in the preseason opener, the Boston Bruins hit the road for game two, heading to Western New York for a showdown against an Atlantic Division rival in the Buffalo Sabres.
During the summer, the Sabres signed free agent defenseman Connor Clifton after his contract with the Bruins expired. He is not expected to play in the game tonight. They also made a trade with the Bruins a few years back, trading Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar to Boston for Anders Bjork and a second round draft pick. Remember that fleece by Don Sweeney?
Ok, back to the game at hand. As it is still early in training camp and preseason play, there aren’t a ton of veterans. It will be players fighting for roster spots and young prospects who make up the majority of the roster against Buffalo.
With the Bruins releasing their roster for tonight’s game last night, here are the three to keep your eye on the most.
We saw Beecher in action on Sunday against the Rangers. The former first round pick scored on a breakaway goal in the second period, which made the score 3-0. With 23 points in his first full season in Providence last year, Beecher won’t ever light up the scoresheet.
He is, however, a strong defensive minded center who can play valuable minutes in either a middle six or bottom six role in the NHL. Someone who is on the roster bubble this preseason, Beecher will be worth watching as he looks to build off his strong preseason debut.
Another younger face on the roster bubble, Marc McLaughlin will be playing in his first preseason game against the Sabres. Down in Providence for 66 games and with the Bruins for two last season, McLaughlin will be making his case for a bottom six role with the team out of camp.
McLaughlin gives the Bruins a solid two-way presence on the ice who is capable of scoring and playing effective defense in his own end. That is a valued commodity on the bottom six, so keep an eye on the Billerica kid against Buffalo.
Mason Lohrei will also be a player to keep an eye on. With just five games with Providence last season after signing an entry level contract following the end of Ohio State’s season, Lohrei is rather unlikely to make the opening night roster for the Bruins.
He is, however, a potential blue-chip defenseman in the making, as evidenced by the Bruins making him a second-round draft pick in 2020. Playing in his first taste of NHL action this preseason will only be a good thing for Lohrei as he looks to marinate in Providence this season to further develop his game. Keeping an eye on the future is never a bad thing.