Thursday, August 5, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospects Series: #31 Justin Florek

Justin Florek, LW
6-4, 195
May 18, 1990
Shoots: Left
Boston's fifth choice, 135th overall in 2010 draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical: Big, lean winger has the height and long limbs to be an effective power forward but has a long way to go in terms of filling out his frame and gaining the requisite strength to be a physical force. Good skater with a long, loping stride and the ability to cover ground quickly. Still a bit gangly, and not as proficient in his lateral movements as he is in a straight line when he's going up and down the wing. Okay hands but not high-end offensive skills; doesn't handle the puck a lot in traffic, but has a nice shot and the ability to finish off chances in close and around the net. An underrated playmaker; able to find seams in defenses and set up teammates for scoring chances. A willing physical player who understands his role and responsibilities and uses his size well to gain position in front of the net. Must get a lot stronger. Looks to have a bit of a mean streak, but is more of an honest skater who doesn't try to intimidate but won't shy away when the hitting picks up, either. Plays a solid three-zone game and is an effective special teamer at the NCAA level.

Intangibles: Hard-working, character player who is a good teammate and has the desire to go along with an impressive set of natural gifts. He's an intelligent two-way player, but doesn't appear to have the kind of elite offensive instincts that would translate into a top-six role in the NHL. However, he understands that he's most effective when going to the net and picking up the trash. A diligent, responsible player who puts in the work without a lot of fanfare.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Skating on a line with Tyler Randell and Joe Colborne at times, Florek did not look out of place as he hustled, took the puck hard to the net and was able to win a lot of battles for loose pucks in front of the goal and along the walls. In all honesty, Florek is a longshot, but he's got some character and a good atttitude; he seems genuinely pleased to be a Bruins draft pick and will put in the work to make a run at an NHL job eventually. There is not much flash or dash with this player, but he has nice size, good mobility and uses his physical tools well. He did well at camp, but has a long way to go.

Projection
Florek could possibly make the NHL as a third-line winger, but will probably spend considerable time in the minors first. He's raw and doesn't do much at the high end of the offensive spectrum, but is the kind of guy who could exceed expectations because he has the work ethic to go with his size and skating.

Quotable
"He's a big kid who moves well and has some good upside as a power forward. We think he's only scratching the surface of what he's capable of and with his character, is someone we're glad to have in the organization."- Bruins amateur scouting director Wayne Smith to B2010DW, Los Angeles; June 26, 2010

“First year, I was heartbroken like any kid would be expecting to get drafted and not being drafted. The second year I didn’t really think about it but obviously, it’s in the back of your head. And then, the third year, I just picked up the shift on Saturday, draft day, and didn’t even think about it. I was working when I got the call.”- Justin Florek to hockeyjournal.com, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

“I’m a big power forward; I pick up loose pucks around the net and maintain possession down low. I throw the body around when I need to. I’m a defensive forward; I penalty kill a lot and play the power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5– I do it all.”- Justin Florek, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

The Final Word
Florek is the kind of player who illustrates the kind of prospect depth the Bruins have at forward. He isn't someone who is going to jump out at you, but could develop into a legitimate offensive player in the AHL and has a shot at carving a niche at the NHL level despite being passed over in the draft previously. Unfrotunately for him, trying to make an impression in Boston is going to be a tall order, as they have quite a few players who bring a similar style and ability to Florek. As is the case with other late-round picks, time is on Florek's side, as he can spend one or two more years in school before turning pro and then can spend an additional couple of years honing his game and gaining experience in the minors. Ultimately, however, the ability to gain a roster spot in Boston is going to be difficult, so he'll need to emerge as a force at NMU this season to position himself for the chance, at least.

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