Monday, July 26, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospect Series: #13 Jamie Arniel

Jamie Arniel, C
5-11, 190
November 16, 1989
Shoots: Right
Boston's 4th choice, 97th overall in 2008 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2012

Talent Analysis

Physical: Average-sized player whose number one challenge right now is to get stronger and continue to add muscle mass to his slight frame. Above average skater with good jump and the quickness and agility to get things done in all zones. Solid puckhandler who can advance the puck in traffic and has quick enough hands to finish in close. Good passer and shooter who scored 30 goals in junior and could hit 20 in the right situation eventually. Plays with a little grit and jam, but doesn't have the size or temperament to bring a consistent physical presence and mean streak.

Intangibles: Very good defensive hockey sense and the ability to read the developing play effectively. His uncle, Scott Arniel, was a solid NHL two-way forward (known mostly for his time with the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres) who had a brief stint with the Bruins and is now the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Involved in an ugly off-ice incident after he was drafted, but to his credit, Arniel seems to have put the problem behind him and has been a model pro since.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Graduated from development status-- did not attend. Socred 12 goals, 28 points in 67 AHL games with Providence as a rookie; won AHL Rookie of the Month honors in November.

As it stands right now, Arniel's upside appears to be as a third-line pivot. He's got good bloodlines and was a solid value pick for the Bruins two years ago. Not ready for primetime yet, Arniel nevertheless could see time in Boston this season if injuries decimate the forward group as it happened last year. He's solid across the board and can play special teams, so in time, Arniel might be the kind of ideal option in terms of ability and salary cap hit to play on the lower lines and work him into the NHL. He was a standout player at last year's B's Rookie Camp and tourneyin Kitchener, so it will be interesting to see how he's progressed since then. Like Brad Marchand, he'll have to guard against complacency and taking a step back after making a good impression on the Boston coaches and brass a year ago.

“Jamie is pretty multidimensional in terms of where he can play and the kinds of things he’s able to do. I don’t know that he’ll be that No. 1 center in the NHL, but he’ll be the kind of dependable guy that the coach feels comfortable putting out there to play a lot of different roles for the team.”- Providence head coach Rob Murray to New England Hockey Journal; December, 2009

The Final Word
The term "jack of all trades, master of none" certainly applies to Arniel, who doesn't have elite hockey skills nor does he score in bunches, but just seems to have all the attributes that solid, longtime NHL players possess. He's not all that big, but should be okay so long as he continues to work on his strength. He's not a blazing skater, but he's quick enough. He doesn't score a lot of goals, but he's capable of getting some big ones. This isn't the kind of player who will garner a lot of headlines, but he's on a steady path of progression which should end up in Boston eventually. Just don't expect him to be a top-six forward who comes out of nowhere to be an NHL star-- this is a player you win with in the trenches...nothing more, nothing less.