The Boston Bruins kick off their rookie camp for the 2023-24 season on Wednesday, and one of the team’s rookies to keep an eye on will be 19-year-old center Matthew Poitras.
With the Bruins expected to have a wide-open battle for the center position, there’s a chance the Brooklin, Ontario native, whom the Bruins signed to a three-year entry-level deal worth an NHL cap hit of $870,000, could come in and steal a spot.
“I’m just going to keep working hard,” Poitras said at the 2023 Boston Bruins Development camp in July. “Come to [training] camp ready and in shape, and just give my all, and try to make their decision difficult to cut me.”
After being drafted in the second round (54th overall) in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Matthew Poitras has turned heads with his junior team, the Guelph Storm, in the Ontario Hockey League and then again at Development Camp. After scoring 16 goals and notching an astonishing 79 assists in 63 games for the Storm this past season, Poitras was at it again in July playing amongst and against his fellow Bruins hopefuls.
“[Poitras] has a willingness to want to take pucks to the dirty areas, to the net,” Bruins player development coordinator Adam McQuaid told reporters in July.
However, as McQuaid pointed out, there is still room for improvement in the defensive game of the 5-foot-11, 176-pound pivot.
“Getting stronger will allow him to do those things,” McQuaid explained. “On the defensive side, if he’s going to be a center, we’re going to need him to be reliable in his own end.”
While Poitras almost doubled his point total (50) from the 2022-23 season, that was due to his passing and not his shooting, as his goal total went down five goals from the previous season.
“I think I was looking to just pass a bit more,” Poitras told the media at Boston Bruins Development Camp. “Maybe I was a bit snake-bitten throughout the year, but going into next year, I’m definitely going to try and shoot the puck a bit more.”
McQuaid concurred but was sure to praise the monster playmaking skills Poitras displayed last season.
“The way he sees the ice, he still put up 79 assists, something in that range, and didn’t get rewarded somehow, on most nights, on another opportunity,” McQuaid said.