Thursday, August 5, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospects Series: #32 Nick Tremblay

Nicholas Tremblay, C
6-0, 190
April 5, 1988
Shoots: Left
Boston's 5th choice, 173rd overall (sixth round) in 2008 draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical: Average height, but is stocky with some mass on his upper body and strong on his skates. A sublime skater; possibly the best pure skater in the entire Boston organization-- right up there with Marco Sturm. Explodes to top speed in just one or two strides from a standstill and has a mastery of his edges that some players can only dream of. Some players have a separation gear, but Tremblay has about three. Form and technique are just about flawless and when he revs it up through the neutral zone, defenders had better have their gap control straight or Tremblay is blowing by them. Hands and shot are decidedly average-- and what is keeping him from being more productive in college and higher on the Boston prospect depth chart. Stickhandling could stand to improve and is more of a "crest shooter" at this stage; must work on hitting the corners and finding the holes in order to get the puck to the back of the net. Physical play is not there yet; will go into traffic, but does not initiate much and plays more of a finesse game. If he can improve his three-zone play, could be a very effective checker and penalty killer with his pure speed.

Intangibles: Hockey sense is a question mark at this stage; he has the speed and explosiveness to do a lot more than he has to date. Good character and team player; shows a lot of determination on and off the ice. An underrated leader; does the right things and inspires others through a positive example.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Solid camp performance highlighted by the clinic he put on during the second day (on-ice) power skating instruction where he was far and away the best skater of anyone on the ice. Seems to be gaining more and more confidence, but still did not do enough offensively in the scrimmages to warrant the kind of consideration that would see him project as a potential top-six forward at the NHL level. He was constantly backing up defenders and looked great as he surged up and down the Ristuccia ice, but at the end of the day, he didn't accomplish a great deal on the offensive ledger alongside fellow Clarkson U. forward Ben Sexton and whomever else played on that line (Tyler Randell was there at times, as was Justin Florek). The skating is world class, but Tremblay has simply got to pick up the production in order to have a shot at being signed and put into the mix.

Bottom six/fourth line checking or part-time forward at the NHL level, productive scoring presence in the AHL. If being an NHL player was all about the speed and character, Tremblay would be near the top of the Boston prospects roster, but he has a lot of improving to do in other areas before he can be considered a legitimate B's future option. He gets high marks for his attitude and willingness to improve, but this is a huge year for him at Clarkson now that he's spent two seasons in Potsdam.

“I think (development camp's) a lot tougher mentally. We had The Program coming in; it was really challenging, especially because we went there before going on the ice—it was exhausting, but I’m really enjoying it.”- Nick Tremblay to, Wilmington, Mass.; 6-10 July, 2010

"Obviously, my skating is the best part of my game and it's something I keep working on. I’m trying to work on my shot a lot. I think it was a big thing for me last year, trying to hit the open corners and not the side of the net every time. I’m just trying to get a harder shot, make it more accurate.”- Nick Tremblay, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

The Final Word
It isn't like Tremblay was a second- or third-round pick, so the Bruins can afford to be patient with his development even though he just turned 22 in April and is older than a lot of the team's players in the system. If he can prove that he's an offensive threat at the NCAA level, he'll have a chance to work his way into the NHL as a grinder, and he can put the puck in the net as evidenced by his 50+ goals scored in one season with the Smiths Falls Bears of the CJHL. At the same time, he was passed over twice prior to being picked in the sixth round two years ago and thus far, has not shown a great deal to convince anyone that his development will culminate with a solid NHL forward when all is said and done. As a good number of his fellow forward prospects down the depth chart are coming to understand, there is a glut of talent ahead of him on the roster, so trying to break in with Boston right now as a forward isn't the greatest situation to be in.


  1. Does the skating alone make him an NHL 4th liner (even if the rest of his game doesn;t progress)?

  2. His skating is outstanding...he could see time in the NHL on that alone, but in order to stick, he's got to get better with the offense and defensive play and grit. He's a bit on the soft side based on what I've seen from him in a few viewings of Clarkson games.