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Leandre: Youth Movement at Center Stage for the Bruins

Ryan Donato (Front) celebrates after scoring his first NHL goal (Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury - Getty Images).

When you think of Bruins hockey, who comes to mind?

More likely than not, the first few names that popped into your head were Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Zdeno Chara. Boston’s beloved hockey team has established an image that revolves around gritty veterans who can play at a top-tier level in all three zones of the ice.

However, a new-look Boston Bruins squad is on the horizon, as the new infusion of youth has really taken the league by storm, forcing opposing coaches and front office members to go into almost an ‘adapt or die’ mentality. The Bruins are no exception to that adaptation, having replaced the likes of Loui Eriksson, Dennis Seidenberg, and Matt Beleskey with the likes of Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, and Danton Heinen.

But with all of this youth at the NHL-level already, there’s a plethora of young talent that is on the bubble of being NHL-ready, and remaining in the AHL. We already know the young talent whose spot is all but guaranteed this fall, but what bubble guys have the best shot at cracking the opening night roster?

Ryan Donato

Donato made an immediate impact on the roster during his 12-game stint last season. He scored five goals and dishing out four assists that gave Bruins fans a right to be excited for what the Harvard product would be capable of doing in the future.

While he looked incredibly shaky in his 11:50 average time on ice in the three playoff games he appeared in, that’s not any reason to lose faith. Unfortunately, not everyone can come out of nowhere and dominate his first postseason the way guys like Torey Krug and Brad Marchand were able to do.

Trent Frederic

The Bruins selected this left-handed center in the first round of the 2016 draft, and after two seasons with the University of Wisconsin, plus 13 games with the Providence Bruins, this kid seems to be on the cusp of being an NHL player.

Frederic scored 37 goals in his last 79 games played and showcased an ability to put goals on the board. In a game where offense matters more than in recent years, that ability should be pretty attractive to Don Sweeney and the Bruins.

Peter Cehlarik

Bruins fans got a taste of what Peter Cehlarik can bring to the table in his brief 17-game NHL career over two seasons. However, unfortunately for him, there’s always been another guy ahead of him on the depth chart.

He has nice hands and a very good feel for the offensive side of the game. After all, his first career point was a sick feed to an Adam McQuaid one-time goal past Carey Price in a game at the Garden—so, he obviously has some skill.

Cehlarik is a good young player, he just needs to get some playing time at the NHL level. However, with guys like Tim Schaller, Riley Nash, and Rick Nash gone, the door is open for Cehlarik to step in and finally get a chance to earn a spot in the NHL.

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