Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospects Series: #17 Andrew Bodnarchuk

Andrew Bodnarchuk, D
5-11, 200
July 11, 1988
Shoots: Left
Boston's 5th choice, 128th overall in 2006 Draft
Signing status: Signed through 2011

Talent Analysis

Physical: Another member of Boston's sub-6-feet brigade on 'D', Bodnarchuk is a dedicated gym rat who has done very well at building his strength, but will always face a mismatch when going up against the biggest, strongest of the NHL's ever-growing legion of power forwards. Plus-skater who has very good acceleration, speed, quickness and lateral mobility. Solid passer and shooter, but has become more of a stay-at-home, defensive player in the pros after putting up solid offensive numbers in junior. Plays bigger than his size; likes to initiate contact and will take the hit to make the play. Low center of gravity allows him to get up under bigger, stronger players to separate them from pucks. Pound-for-pound, one of the most rugged prospects in Boston's system. Overall defensive game and positioning needs work.

Intangibles: Hard worker and good teammate who was one of Rob Murray's go-to guys in Providence last season and was rewarded with a late-season callup, playing in all of Boston's final five regular season contests. Tenacious and learns from mistakes; settled in after a rocky start in Boston against Toronto and was a solid defensive performer to close out the season. Lacks the elite instincts needed to be a top defender at the next level, but has the desire and intensity to make something of himself.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Did not attend.

Bodnarchuk looks like a bottom-pairing/extra defender at the NHL level, but he could improve enough to play more of a role in time. He's a wolverine on skates; not all that big, but plays with an edge and keeps himself in the best shape possible. Like Don Sweeney, he comes from the Maritimes and went to St. Paul's Academy in Concord, NH before opting away from the NCAA track and staying at home to play major junior. Also like Sweeney, he understands his size is a major obstacle and will likely need to make the most of any chance he gets in Boston when spots are opened up because of injuries. He's going to be a very solid AHL defenseman, but how far he can go at the highest level is a tossup because of the organization's other undersized players at the position who have a little more upside.

“I talked to (Murray) quick, and he sort of gave me the, ‘Congratulations; good work, good luck.’ But, I know I put in my work this year and I’m glad it’s been noticed, so I’ll just go from here now.”- Andrew Bodnarchuk to; April, 2010

“It’s unbelievable; it’s a dream come true. It feels like the jitters are out now that the first game’s gone. My mind was going a little quicker than I wanted to during the first game, but as the game went on, I saw it slow down. (I’m) just more comfortable around the room comfortable around the guys.”- Andrew Bodnarchuk to; April, 2010

“(It sends) a really strong message. I saw it last year too, with the guys being called up: the Boychuks, Lashoffs and Karsums, guys getting a sniff and getting a chance. So, it’s really encouraging for the young guys in Providence to know that Boston does like to call up and work with what they’ve drafted. For the younger guys down there, take a look, put in the work and it’ll pay off.”- Andrew Bodnarchuk to; April, 2010

Bodnarchuk, Marchand on this ride together

“You look at their roster and you pretty well know who their top six (defencemen) are, just by looking at their contracts. There are three or four players, neck-and-neck, battling for that (seventh) spot … I’m looking forward to it.”- Andrew Bodnarchuk to Metro Halifax; July, 2010

“Hopefully, this year is going to be another step toward being a full-time NHLer. It tends to take a little bit longer for defencemen, especially for a shorter guy. I’m just looking to make more and more strides as the year goes on.”- Andrew Bodnarchuk to Metro Halifax, July, 2010

The Final Word
Although skilled enough, Bodnarchuk's lack of size and upside pushes him further down the depth chart, especially with the infusion of talent via the draft and trades. He's a good kid and hard worker, but the one-year contract extension he signed this month speaks for itself in terms of how he's viewed by the team right now and what his realistic chances of making an impact in Boston this year are. He'll be a valuable veteran in Providence for Murray if nothing else, and his small taste of the NHL life will put him on the short list for recall if needed, but he's got a tough challenge ahead of him to establish himself as a big league regular as anything more than a fringe/depth guy.

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