The Boston Bruins are 8-0-1 and in firm control of first place in the Atlantic Division. After losing their top two centermen Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to retirement, it seemed the Bruins were due for regression. Regression seemed inevitable regardless, as they broke the NHL regular season record for team points.
With Charlie Coyle seemingly better as a third-line center, they looked to a 19-year-old to fill in on the second line. 2022 second-round selection Matthew Poitras has been more than impactful during his short tenure with the team. The Bruins front office had to decide after nine games whether to keep him or send him back to the OHL for more development which would preserve a year of his rookie contract. He's earned his chance to stay, and the team announced this morning, he'll remain on the NHL roster for good.
Who Is Matthew Poitras?
Poitras, or "Potsy" as he's referred to by his teammates, is from Brooklin, Ontario, and played for the Guelph Storm in the OHL before being drafted a year ago. It's fair to say that he developed faster than expected. Standing at 5'11", he's a 200-foot player that can skate with anyone. His tenacity and wherewithal to find open guys are the most eye-popping traits. On a roster loaded with talented wingers, being a pass-first center (similar to Bergeron and Krejci) is a recipe for success.
Poitras has already scored three goals and added two helpers in his first nine regular season games. While the line combinations have fluctuated throughout the beginning part of the season, Poitras has played with most of the top-6 forwards, while also seeing some power play time. He's a versatile player, and in a year where they needed to solidify the center ice position, he's progressed at exactly the right time.
Weighing The Options For the Boston Bruins
The biggest risk with holding on to Poitras is the injury factor. While he's gotten bigger and stronger over the past year, he's still not built to take big hits. What helps him is his ability to play smart and avoid dangerous situations. After scoring 95 points in the OHL last season, it doesn't seem it would be helpful to send him back there. Given his age, he's not eligible to play in Providence, either, so the decision was only between the OHL and NHL. I believe they made the right decision, as he's ready for this challenge. Expect him to progress as the season goes on and be a pivotal piece for this dominant Bruins team.
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