Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospect Series: #3 Jordan Caron

Jordan Caron, RW
6-2, 205
November 2, 1990
Shoots: Left
Boston's 1st choice, 25th overall in 2009 Draft
Signing status; Signed through 2013

Talent Analysis

Physical: Large frame with natural strength and a wide skating base. Should add another 10-15 pounds to his body before all is said and done. Average skater; straight-line speed is fine and he has better agility than originally thought. However, he doesn't have a strong first-step, and he appears to favor his left (skating) side. Skating deficiencies are nothing that can't be improved with some power skating work. Superb hands; handles passes cleanly and can advance the puck up the ice, or protect it down low and on the cycle. Excellent shooter with an NHL-ready release. Shot is hard and heavy; he generates a lot of power and torque on it. Caron is not an overly physical, nasty player with a mean streak, but he does initiate contact and use his big body to shield the puck well in the offensive zone. He goes hard to the net and like most players of his type, sets up shop in front and is difficult to move.

Intangibles: Solid feel for the game; has a knack for scoring and proved he can play an effective defense/checking role as evidenced by his performance with Team Canada at last year's World Jr. Championship tourney. Has an easygoing personality that belies a good competitive drive; he beat out other more skilled players to earn a spot on the WJC team because he brings certain attributes that can't be taught/are appealing to any team's makeup such as size, strength and two-way play. Caron is never going to be a 'rah-rah', in-your-face kind of guy, but is starting to exhibit solid leadership traits that will serve him well. Intelligent and easy to work with; makes a concerted effort to address his faults and isn't a player who dismisses the observations and suggestions from his coaches.

2010 Development Camp assessment
Caron had a solid performance at camp, even if Jared Knight stole a lot of the thunder on the left side centered by Tyler Seguin. The power winger's game isn't going to jump out at you because he essentially goes up and down the wing, takes the puck into traffic and doesn't generate a lot of highlight reel stuff. But, he was pretty effective in creating time and space for his linemates and he did show the flashes of why he was the team's first round selection a year ago. His skating shortcomings were on display on the camp's second day, but he didn't exhibit major flaws. He himself talks about needing to pick up an extra step, so as long as he's willing to put in the work, Caron should be fine. What he does well is to provide a physical net presence and good offensive puck possession. He displayed those attributes well throughout the camp and even showed off a nice chemistry when he was skating with Craig Cunningham during the final day's 3-on-3 scrimmage. If both are in Providence this season, you can bet that Rob Murray will put them together at some point, as he was there for the scrimmage and undoubtedly picked up on how well the two complemented each other with their skilled, but grinding style.

Caron is tougher to project at the NHL level because he is still very much a work in progress. The Bruins no doubt see a top-six forward and solid power winger in him to draft him where they did (and they indicated that he was pretty high on their '09 board). However, other NHL teams saw him more as a third-liner and checking guy, and that's what he did for Team Canada, so whether he can improve his skating and his hands can be enough to score at the next level is going to be the biggest factor in how effective Caron ends up being. He's a smart, coachable kid who has a very good reputation in the dressing room and is willing to work. Look for him to come to main camp hungry after being denied the chance last season, but he's a work in progress who may take some time to find the offensive element to his game if he reaches the NHL early without much developmental time on the farm.


“Just the offense stuff was much harder this year, I think. The pool stuff and the workout yesterday was harder than what we did last year. But, on ice, I think it’s pretty much the same. Same coaches, so it’s been much like last year.”- Jordan Caron at Development Camp, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10

“I think I gotta work on my speed again and my explosion. If I can do that, I think everybody here is gonna have his chance. So I gotta keep working out and going on the ice a lot to make sure I’m ready in September.”- Jordan Caron at Development Camp

"Being on (Team Canada) was huge for me. It was a big goal to make that team and be able to play with so many of the best players in the world. It was a great experience, even though we didn't win. I think it helped me a lot to have a chance to make the NHL this year, and it taught me that I gotta keep working hard and working on my game."- Jordan Caron at Development Camp

"Jordan's quiet; he's not going to tell you that he knows the expectations are there. But I just like their (Caron and Joe Colborne) daily approach; it's no-nonsense, it's I want to get better, I need to get better. Recognizing that I need to get better, and that's an important aspect of anyone's development curve. And I think that it sets a great example for the rest of our guys. If we can find the guys that have been earmarked as first-round selections who set the bar for everybody else, then we're heading in the right direction. But I would expect that regardless of what round you're drafted in, each and every one approaches it that way, then we're headed in the right direction as well."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney at Development Camp, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

The Final Word
Caron did well last season to bounce back from that collarbone fracture that cost him the first month-and-a-half of the QMJHL campaign. It says a lot for him that even after missing significant time, he was still able to nail down a spot on Team Canada for the World Jr. tourney, so he has a lot of confidence in his game and the ability to get his foot in the door. That said, while he's a player who has a good chance of making the Boston roster, he'll need to show the coaches a continued dedication to improvement between now and the September camp. Remember, he'll be a rookie in terms of facing off against NHL competition because he was unable to participate in any of the on-ice work at main camp a year ago because of the injury he sustained at Team Canada camp in August. Because Caron is a big body who brings an offensive element to the table, he could secure a spot with the Bruins on the lower lines, but he'll have his work cut out for him. He may be better off at least starting the year in Providence where he can get top-six forward ice time and gain some confidence as opposed to being thrown into the mix with the big club right away. But all of that will clearly depend on how well he performs at camp and in the preseason. Expect him to get a pretty long look and be one of the final cuts, if he is to at least start his pro career in the AHL. In all likelihood, Caron is being groomed to make a contribution to the B's fortunes sooner rather than later, and even with the drawbacks in his skating, he could earn an NHL look in short order.

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