Before this season started, the Boston Bruins knew they had a difficult decision to make on 19-year-old center Matt Poitras. The 2022 Bruins draft pick returned to his junior team in the Ontario Hockey League after last year’s training camp. His development exceeded the club’s expectations, as he averaged more than a point a game last season.
Even with his success in junior hockey, Poitras needed to prove his worth more than most other prospects during training camp.
Since he is just 19 years old, he is ineligible to play with the Providence Bruins this season. In other words, his only options going into this season were to make the NHL out of training camp, which was ideal for him and his personal development, or return to juniors for the season.
Poitras impressed the Bruins coaching staff, management and veteran players during training camp and earned his spot on the opening night roster. He excelled in a lot of situations during the pre season. He still however, had to prove himself to the team.
The Bruins had nine games to decide where he will play this season. They wanted to see how he would do in more challenging situations that usually do not occur during the pre-season. For example, teams usually do not travel very far and do not play two nights in a row during the pre-season.
During opening night against the Chicago Blackhawks two weeks ago, Poitras assisted on one of the Bruins goals for his first NHL point. He showed a lot of promise in the first two home games of the season before really being put to the test.
The Bruins played three games in California, which included traveling three time zones and included back to back games. He scored his first two NHL goals in Anaheim, making him the fifth youngest player in Bruins history to achieve that milestone.
He then added another goal in Chicago two days later. While he is still yet to score at home, his play during his nine game trial earned him a spot on the roster for the entire season.
While it is still too early to tell how Poitras will do for the rest of the season, he can finally check off one box and know where he will be playing this season.
The coaching staff have been impressed with his attitude so far and know that he will be an important part of the Bruins forward group for the years to come. He has embraced the opportunity to play with and against elite players. Besides contributing to the Bruins, he has the ability to compete around the NHL with one of the deepest rookie classes in recent years.