Bruins’ top draft pick leaves development camp more knowledgeable, motivated


Dean Letourneau poses after being selected by the Boston Bruins during the first round of the NHL draft on June 28. Steve Marcus/Associated Press

BOSTON — Dean Letourneau’s flight was scheduled to take off not long after the final day of Bruins development camp finished on Thursday.

But the Canadian teenager headed home with a plan.

Less than a week after the Bruins picked the unusually tall center 25th overall in the first round of the NHL Draft, Letourneau spent four days in Boston dipping his feet in the water of what he hopes will be his future.

He and 34 other draft picks, minor leaguers and hopeful college players took part in development camp, getting skill instruction, competition and perhaps most importantly instructions from the Bruins organization on how to best get from where they are now to, perhaps someday, the NHL.

For Letourneau, it’s a big jump. Coming from St. Andrew’s, a Canadian Prep School, he’ll enroll and play at Boston College in the fall.

“Overall, I thought the camp was great,” said the 6-foot-7, 210-pound center prospect. “I think I just need to get a little stronger, playing against older and stronger guys. You can’t get pushed around up there. So if I put a little more weight on, going into this offseason and next year it’s  going to be a big, big help to my game.”

Letourneau and the rest of the players were given guidance on how to best get their bodies NHL-ready from the team’s strength and training as well as the nutrition staff.

Letourneau will be back in the area at the end of August when he starts at Boston College. Until then, he’ll skate with several Ottawa area professionals. He said the four days in Boston were eye-opening.

“Coming here, it’s a high tempo, especially in the games,” Letourneau said. “Guys are playing physical so I definitely, got my mind opened to what pro hockey is looking like and just how strong you need to get.”

Being immersed in Bruins’ culture for four days motivated him to get back.

“It’s a winning culture. That’s what I like most. This team really wants to win,” he said “That’s the thing I’m most excited about is to come in here every day and compete with the guys that want to compete their hardest and hopefully win a Stanley Cup. … I like it when guys push me, it just makes you better. So, I mean, I’m not complaining about that.”

Adam McQuaid, Boston’s player development coordinator, said the camp is designed to be valuable on and off the ice.

“That’s the ultimate goal. There’s the on-ice piece where we’re, we’re working on certain skills and, and trying to give them some stuff that they can take home with them from a skating standpoint,” he said. “But probably more so than anything, it’s them getting introduced to the organization, the expectations and the history. Also getting out to see the city a little bit, get to know Boston, get to know us, lets us get to know them. The relationship piece that’s so important to build. It only grows over time and it’s a lot.”

MATT POITRAS, whose rookie season was cut short by season-ending shoulder injury last year, was notably absent from Bruins development camp at Warrior Arena on Thursday.

McQuaid said the move was simply precautionary. The final day’s activity featured a scrimmage and the team chose to keep Poitras out of harm’s way.

“With the pros and cons of playing today, we just decided to keep him off. He’s on the right track,” McQuaid said. “There were no setbacks or anything like that. We just kept him stay away from the contact.”

McQuaid said overall it was a good camp for Poitras, who was the surprise success story of Boston’s preseason a year ago, when he earned a spot on the NHL roster as a 19-year-old and had five goals and 10 assists in 33 games.

“He’s doing good. It was a great week for him. I know he enjoyed it getting back with the guys and probably being around some guys closer to his age,” McQuaid said. “Nothing concerning there.”

On Monday, Poitras, who is his third development camp, was glad to be on the ice.

“It’s just nice to be back here and get on the ice and kind of get some reps in,” he said Monday. “I’m feeling good. My shoulder is feeling good. Doing everything, shooting. I feel good. No pain or anything.”



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