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Matthew Poitras Is At Bruins Development Camp With A New Purpose

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AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

BRIGHTON–Matthew Poitras is by no means an NHL veteran. However, the 20-year-old may as well be a card-carrying member of the AARP at this year’s Boston Bruins development camp while skating alongside many of the organization’s wide-eyed prospects.

A year ago, development camp was simply about making the Bruins roster for Poitras. He eventually did, scoring five goals and 10 assists in 33 games for the Bruins before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in early February. Now working his back to full strength at development camp, Poitras is much more intent and skating with a whole new purpose. 

“I came into camp last year definitely undersized,” Poitras said on Monday following the first day of development camp at Warrior Ice Arena. “There were some bigger guys that I couldn’t hold my own against. This year is about going in a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger and choosing my spots a bit more because sometimes I would take some big hits that were unnecessary. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get a chance to finish last year.”

Six months removed from his operation, Poitras says he is now pain-free on the ice after being limited early on in his recovery process. With not much else to do, Poitras focused on bulking up and has packed on an extra nine pounds since going under the knife.

“I had those three months where I wasn’t on the ice,” said Poitras. “For a guy like me who isn’t too tall or too big, that was kind of a good time to get in the gym and put some weight.”

It’s an honest, introspective, and, most of all, mature outlook from Poitras. It wasn’t all that long ago that he was gleaning advice from the Bruins veterans. Now, he’s imparting the wisdom to the prospects following in his footsteps, even if he’s not much further along than they are. 

“I got to ask him a couple of questions,” said the Bruins’ recent first-round draft pick, Dean Letourneau. “It’s my first development camp, so he said just to enjoy it, work hard and have as much fun as I can.” 

“I just try to come in and still do my thing,” Poitras said. “I’m a bit older. It’s my third camp now, so I can try and lead and just make sure that our standards are being held up and try to be there for everybody.”

Making the NHL roster is as much of a goal for Poitras as it was last year but is less so a guarantee. 

The Bruins utilized Poitras much out of necessity last season, having lacked centers on their roster. The organization has prioritized adding depth down the middle thus far during the offseason, including signing Elias Lindholm to a seven-year contract on Monday, making it so that Poitras will have to earn a spot on the team once again. 

“For me, it’s still just putting on some more strength and getting faster and stronger,” said Poitras. “I wasn’t too great at the dot last year. So if I want to be a center, then I need to use the next couple of months to work on that and work on winning face-offs.”

That moment will come in September when the Bruins open training camp. Having been out of action for as long as he has, there’s no reason for Poitras not to be ready.

“I’ve been in the offseason, basically, for almost five months now,” said Poitras. “I’m pretty excited to get through the summer. We’re still going take it day by day, but I’m excited to get to camp and get into playing games.”

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