Monday, July 26, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospect Series: #11 David Warsofsky

David Warsofsky, D
5-9, 170
May 30, 1990
Shoots: Left
Acquired from St. Louis for C Vladimir Sobotka; June 26, 2010
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical: Very undersized for the defense position, but has high-end skating and hockey skills, which help to offset the physical mismatches he's bound to face in the pros. A sublime skater; explodes to top speed from a stop in just a few strides and exhibits outstanding four-way directional mobility. Tremendous backwards mobility and lateral/crossover ability. Very good puckhandler who can make the effective clearing pass and loves to jump up into the play using his speed and puck skills to motor through the neutral zone and back defenders up. Soft hands for on target passes in the offensive zone, and he's more of a puck distributor than an actual triggerman when playing the point. Possesses a big shot despite the lack of big size, but is a more effective scorer from the high slot, when he can rip off wrist and snap shots through screens. At a disadvantage physically because of his lack of size, but will initiate contact and is willing to take the hit to make plays. It's not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog with Warsofsky: he proved that adage correct when he manhandled the much bigger Tommy Cross during a scrum in the BU-BC Fenway game. Has a high panic threshold, meaning he'll hold onto the puck as long as possible to wait for an opening, knowing he's going to get blown up when the nearest opponent finishes his check. Refining his defensive play: solid positionally, but still prone to trying to do too much in his own end and getting to running around. A bit of an agitator; will yap a bit and get under the skin of opposing players. Productive in all the right ways as a sophomore last season: finished second on the team in goal scoring by defensemen with 12, but tied for the NCAA lead with four shorthanded markers, including a highlight reel end-to-end beauty against BC during the Beanpot tourney in February. A standout at Cushing Academy before joining the NTDP, he racked up 83 points from the blue line in two seasons in Ashburnham.

Intangibles: Has overcome the doubters and naysayers at every level so far; captained the 2008 U.S. NTDP Under-18 team and played in all 45 games as a freshman at Boston University in 08-09, earning a national championship and Beanpot trophy in the process. Very good vision and offensive hockey sense. Defensive awareness and decision-making need work; will try to carry the puck out of the zone from in front of his net or make low percentage passes that beg for turnovers. A good, solid character guy who is from the South Shore (Marshfield) and always dreamed of playing for the Bruins-- now will have his chance after being acquired by the team on the draft's second day. A winner; won the 2009 Frozen Four in Washington, a gold medal at the 2010 World Jr. Championship in Saskatoon last winter and a bronze medal at the 2008 World U-18 Championship. Roomed with '09 NY Rangers third-round pick Ryan Bourque at Cushing and was coached on defense by Bourque's father, Boston legend Ray Bourque while the two played there.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Warsofsky had a solid performance at camp this month, showing off his natural talent and ability at times, while also demonstrating that he's best served by continuing his development in the NCAA this season. A memorable highlight was the shootout goal he scored in the final scrimmage, where he was one of the few B's prospects to find the back of the net. He made a bevy of moves before roofing a backhander over a prone (and helpless) Mike Hutchinson after Warsofsky got him to bite on the first of several fakes. On the downside, he made repeated attempts to walk the puck out from in front of his own net, and on the second attempt, Tyler Seguin stole it away and got off a very nice scoring chance (Zane Gothberg made an even better save). But overall, Warsofsky did exactly what was expected: used his skating and puck skills to move the puck and be a going concern on offense. He also had a memorable one-on-one defensive stop on Jordan Caron early in the camp during a drill, when he used his quickness and savvy to block the bigger, stronger Caron from bulling his way to the net, while at the same time, maintaining net coverage so that the power winger couldn't even get a shot off.

Warsofsky is one more small, but skilled defender the Bruins have added to the prospect stable (where he joins Andrew Bodnarchuk, Steven Kampfer, Jeff Penner and Maxim Chudinov as blue liners all under 6-feet) but it's hard to predict where he will play at the NHL if he gets there. Of that group, the Terrier standout is the most skilled and has the most offensive upside, which is why he's just outside the top-10. However, because of the lack of size, he's going to have to keep building his strength and will likely need a couple more years of NCAA play and apprenticeship in the minors before he'll be ready to seriously challenge for an NHL job. Warsofsky could be a top-four in the NHL, but realistically, he's probably a third-pairing guy who will see time on special teams on the PK and PP units. He's a long-term project, but Warsofsky is both skilled and tenacious; except for the lack of size, he'd be a high-end prospect, so he could overcome the modest expectations to be more than the sum of his parts in time. It's all about the upside with this guy. Is he going to be a big-time scorer from the blue line in the NHL? Probably not. But Don Sweeney had a gleam in his eye whenever he talked about Warsofsky at camp, so one can only imagine that the former rearguard who logged more than 1,000 big league games with the B's sees a good bit of himself in the BU standout.

"It's unbelievable to be a part of the Bruins organization and to be given the chance to fulfill a dream I've had for a good many years. Obviously, there are going to be some fans who are sad to see (Vladimir) Sobotka go, so I've got to show them that I can play this game and will one day hopefully be doing a lot to help Boston win a lot of hockey games. That would be a dream come true for me."- David Warsofsky to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

"I know that I'm not going to grow another two or three inches, but I am going to hit the weights hard to keep building my strength and give everything I have. I can't do anything about my height, but there are other factors I can control, so I'm all about learning as much as I can here this week, and then continuing to do the things I have to in order to play at the next level."- David Warsofsky, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

“We did scout to potentially draft David. It just so happened that a team took him in front of us.”- Bruins assistant GM Don Sweeney, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6, 2010

“I’m envious of the position he’s in, to be honest. David has challenges, but he’s got a skill set that will afford him the opportunity to go out and play. The smaller man does have a bit more leeway in the game now, as it’s composed, if he has the courage to go into areas and be smart enough and quick enough to take advantage of the skills he has.”- Don Sweeney, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6, 2010

The Final Word
You have to like this guy: he's a local who grew up a fanatical Bruins supporter, has made himself into a legitimate NHL prospect despite the fact that 10 years ago his size would have scared all 30 teams away. Warsofsky's a bulldog on skates, and if you've followed his career progression to date, there is no reason to think that he won't succeed in his bid to make the team some day. The problem for Warsofsky is going to be that he falls into a category that the B's have a surplus of, so for him to win a spot is going to be a difficult challenge and he may have to hope for management to clear out some of the competition along the way. Because he's going back to school for his junior year at a minimum, and could very well return to Commonwealth Ave. for his senior season, it might not become an issue for the Bruins until 2012, but he'll still have his work cut out for him.

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