At first glance there isn’t anything that truly stands out about Ryan Spooner. At just 21 years of age, Spooner is listed at around 5’10 and anywhere between 160 and 175 lbs. The only difference between Spooner and your average Joe on the street is that Spooner has a chance to make the Boston Bruins as a rookie coming out of training camp.
With the departures of Jaromir Jagr, Tyler Seguin, and Rich Peverley, the Ontario native has a prime opportunity to skate alongside Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly on the team’s new look third line.
Spooner spent the majority of the lockout-shortened season having a supremely successful campaign down in Providence. In 59 games with the B’s minor league club, the undersized center produced at nearly a point per game clip (57 points in 50 games), and did all he could to prove that he was worth being selected 45th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft.
Even with the Bruins outstanding depth up front, Spooner’s production did not go unnoticed. When the Bruins caught the injury bug in late March Spooner was not only called up, but was asked to fill in on the team’s first line.
After spending nearly his entire career at center, Spooner got his feet wet by playing on the wing. Spoons, as he has affectionately been dubbed by head coach Claude Julien, didn’t managed to crack the score sheet, but there is not doubt that the experience helped prepare one of the B’s top prospects for a potentially bright future.
According to Hockey's Future Spooner:
Slick, fast and creative, Ryan Spooner is an offensive-minded, puck-possession player. Masterful at carrying the puck, making defenders miss with paralyzing one-on-one moves and then finding the open man. He’s the kind of player who makes his linemates better. Praised profusely by Boston’s head coach Claude Julien for his intelligence.
The only two things working against the skilled forward are his contract, and his inexperience. Spooner is on the second year of a three-year entry-level contract that could see ping pong (allegedly his favorite off-ice activity) back and forth between Boston and Providence.
It’s good that Spooner has at least had a taste of NHL action, which should give him a leg up on other young hopefuls such as Jared Knight (who well cover later). Under Peter Chiarelli the Bruins have also shown a consistent level of patience (Tyler Seguin aside) with developing their younger players, so if Spooner struggles out of the gate, don’t expect the organization to force anything.
That being said, Spooner’s greatest advantage over a player such as Jordan Caron is his offensive potential. Claude Julien, barring a strong turnaround, knows what to expect from Caron. Spooner is young and on the smaller side, but if his body catches up to his mind and skill, then it might be out with the old and in with the new.
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