BRIGHTON, MA – The Boston Bruins held their fourth on-ice session of the teams’s 2023 Training Camp on Saturday, and Head Coach Jim Montgomery has loved what he’s seen from guys fighting for roster spots so far.
The Bruins are set to open up the preseason tomorrow night, hosting the New York Rangers at TD Garden with a good mix of veterans and young players in the lineup. Until then, here are some observations from Saturday:
Steen Bringing Physicality
Throughout Saturday’s Training Camp, Oskar Steen was paired with Charlie Coyle and Brad Marchand and provided great play all throughout. The Karlstad, Sweden native, suited up for the Bruins in three games in the 2022-23 season, notching one goal. Meanwhile, in Providence last season, Steen grabbed 35 points in 49 games. Not only is he providing support in the offensive zone, but he’s also appeared to be an effective two-way player throughout camp.
On Thursday, Bruins’ Head Coach Jim Montgomery stressed that he wants his team to be more physical in 2023-24, and on Saturday, he expressed that Steen has brought the physicality he’s been looking for since the start of the 2023 Training Camp.
“I thought he’s been very good, you know. We need, again, we are looking to improve as a team. We want to be physical at net fronts. He’s been physical. When he’s on top of his game, that’s what he’s doing is getting in hard areas, driving hard areas. Making it hard on other teams to have time a space.”
Steen worked to improve his off-ice strength to get quicker, faster, and stronger this off-season to give himself the best chance at cracking the 2023-24 roster.
“I got more experience this year, and I feel more comfortable. So I’m just trying to do my best here every day and don’t think too much and just do my job,” Steen told the media on Saturday. “There are some big opportunities this year. A lot of players left. So, yeah, I want to be the guy that steps in the lineup this year.”
Lauko Impressing Montgomery
Offensive job opportunities opened up with the departure of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno, and Tomas Nosek — and players are hungry for them.
One of those hungry players is Jakub Lauko, who slotted into the Bruins’ fourth line for 23 games last season, providing physicality and some point production. The Bruins’ 2018 third-round (77th overall) draft pick has caught the eye of the Bruins’ front office throughout camp so far. Montgomery conveyed that the Prague, Czechia native’s play throughout the start of the 2023 Training Camp had stood out enough to declare him a candidate for one of those job opportunities.
“I think he’s had a very good camp, you know. Day one — very impressive. It looks like, you know, he was making some creative plays that I hadn’t seen from last year within camp. So, he’s done well…He is a candidate (to move up the lineup).”
The six-foot, 196-pound center got a serving size of the NHL last season and used the knowledge he gained to prepare himself better coming into 2023-24.
“I played 20 games last season, so I got an idea of what does it take to be an NHL player. Especially the bottom six…Your job is to basically be 100-percent every shift, to skate hard, to play hard. Finishing checks, you know, be physical,” Lauko told Boston Hockey Now on Saturday. “I was kind of working to be more physical or a little stronger for my role. Because obviously, when you go (against) other fourth-liners, they can be big guys.”
Here are the forward lines, defensive pairings and goalies from Saturday:
Brad Marchand-Charlie Coyle-Oskar Steen
Brett Harrison-Georgii Merkulov-Jake DeBrusk
Anthony Richard-Morgan Geekie-Trent Frederic
Trevor Kuntar-Jayson Megna-Fabian Lysell
Justin Brazeau/Vincent Arseneau/John Farinacci/Danton Heinen
Parker Wotherspoon-Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm-Reilly Walsh
Jakub Zboril-Kevin Shattenkirk
Michael Callahan-Ryan Mast
A.J. Greer-Matthew Poitras-David Pastrnak
James van Riemsdyk-Pavel Zacha-Alex Chiasson
Milan Lucic-Marc McLaughlin-Patrick Brown
Luke Toporowski-John Beecher-Jakub Lauko
Jesper Boqvist/Curtis Hall/Joey Abate/Owen Pederson
Mason Lohrei-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Alec Regula
Frederic Brunet-Dan Renouf
Ethan Ritchie-Ian Mitchell