In a stunning turn of events, 19-year-old forward Matt Poitras has defied expectations and secured his spot on the Boston Bruins’ roster for the entire 2023-24 season. The decision was announced by Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery on Tuesday, signifying a remarkable journey for the young talent.
Halloween was a date circled on the calendar for Matt Poitras, who faced a crucial evaluation period. The Boston Bruins had the option to play him in nine regular-season games before making a definitive choice – whether to retain him in the NHL, consequently burning the first year of his entry-level contract, or send him back to his junior team, the OHL’s Guelph Storm.
Poitras, a 2022 second-round pick, exceeded all expectations during this nine-game trial run. He quickly established himself as a vital component of the Bruins’ forward lineup, contributing three goals and five total points during this period.
Initially, Poitras began the season in a bottom-six role, but his exceptional performance led to a flexible placement within Boston’s revamped forward corps, even skating between the seasoned David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha during Monday’s thrilling overtime victory against the Panthers.
- Advertisement -
Jim Montgomery, Bruins head coach, expressed his thoughts on Poitras’s growth since the season opener on October 11: “I don’t know if there’s actually been developments or strides. He’s played faster. He’s continued to get better at both ends of the ice. But what’s appealing to us is every time you start to think, ‘This might be too much,’ whether it was the exhibition season or these nine games, he just always finds a way to prove he belongs.”
What distinguishes Poitras is not just his scoring capabilities but his exceptional puck protection, elusiveness, and the ability to handle the physicality of the NHL. Montgomery emphasized the value of Poitras’s gritty determination: “We see the hockey IQ, we see the skill, we see the vision. But if you don’t have natural second and third effort, especially at a young age, it’s hard to stay in this league, and that’s been the quality that has been the best quality as to why we think he’s earned this.”
With Poitras firmly in place, the Bruins have the opportunity to restructure their lineup, moving forward Charlie Coyle down the order to anchor the third line. This strategy plays to the team’s strengths, creating a formidable bottom-six group capable of handling challenging matchups, particularly if Trent Frederic continues to partner with Coyle on the right.
However, for this lineup adjustment to persist, Poitras must continue to perform at a high level. Fortunately, the rookie has shown little reason to doubt his ability to thrive in this crucial role.
Brad Marchand, a seasoned Bruins player, had high praise for the young sensation: “He’s definitely made the best case possible for himself. He’s a heck of a player. He’s gonna have a very long career. He does all the right things on and off the ice to be a good pro, and it’s very impressive to see at his age.”
- Advertisement -
Marchand went on to emphasize Poitras’s incredible poise, confidence, and maturity, highlighting his bright future. “So we’re very lucky to have him in the organization, and he’s definitely made a great case.”
The rise of Matt Poitras is not only a personal victory but also a testament to the resilience and determination that young talents can bring to the world of professional hockey. His journey from an untested prospect to a key player on the Boston Bruins is a story of dedication, hard work, and a promising future that Bruins fans can eagerly anticipate.