Okay, so preseason hockey isn’t always the most thrilling watch.  But there are so many questions needing answers in Boston that can’t be dodged like in a presidential debate that the games in New England do carry some significant importance.  No Seidenberg, no Loui, no Trouba, no Shattenkirk, no Vesey, no Vatrano (til Christmas).  So who’s going to play for this team this year?  Here are a few of my impressions of some of the potential new guys in the first preseason game:

Brandon Carlo is Legit

The kid had a great night.  There is no question he was the best defenseman on the ice for the B’s.  His decision making was refreshing, with getting pucks deep when needed, using his 6’5″ frame to battle in the corners and around the net, and his skating was great.  He also placed shots from the point on net quickly and accurately without taking monster wind up roof-scrapers that take too much time.  His point shot on the Heinen tip in was money.  We have yet to see him matched up against an abundance of top-6 NHL forwards but after one game the kid is off to a great start.

Jake DeBrusk Continues To Roll

Ol’ Jake had a good night, I tell ya.  He turned a fantastic fake shot into a dish to Jimmy Hayes for a tap in goal:

And overall DeBrusk was a dominant player all night.  One particular play by he made that I was surprised went under the radar during the NESN broadcast was his move on the powerplay when Danton Heinen was robbed on a back door play.  DeBrusk ever so slightly set a pick on the Blue Jacket defender in front of the net simply by maintaining his positioning in the slot.  That heady move opened the passing lane for Heinen’s scoring attempt.  He just plays like a smart pro and that probably starts with the DNA he inherited from his former NHLer father.  There was just a lot to like from his game.

Danton Heinen Showed Off The Hands

Heinen’s tip in goal off the Carlo point shot was a beauty. Hand eye coordination at its finest really.  And his previously mentioned back door powerplay attempt was also a nice glimpse at his mitts.  I initially thought he could have one-timed the man advantage shot but on replay it was clear the pass he received was off just a hair.  The split second it took to corral the puck cost him a goal when he was unable to elevate the shot.  Although not as standout most of the night like DeBrusk, Heinen was good overall. He also has a head of hair that’ll make you sweat. Very impressive.

Some bonus quick hits for you:

  • No it wasn’t the usual full cast of NHL caliber talent he’s used to battling against but Jimmy Hayes had a good night.  He was playing angry at times and looked into it. The guy is going to take a beating in the media this year for every little thing so I figured I’d give him props here.  And this is not out of sympathy, he really had a good showing.
  • Austin Czarnik’s motor was running hot. He was forechecking aggressively, buzzing in all three zones, and even picked up an assist on the Hayes goal.  It also felt like coach Cassidy had him on the ice the entire 3v3 overtime.
  • For the most part Jakub Zboril had a solid outing.  He got the DeBrusk-to-Hayes goal going by initiating the quick puck movement up the ice, yet soon after participated in a joint brain fart with Seth Griffith on the Blue Jackets second goal.  There was simply no communication between the two which left Daniel Zaar alone in front for a layup on Anton Khudobin.  But for most of the night he looked poised and making good decisions.
  • Sean Kuraly caught my eye. I don’t know if it’s because I was surprised to see the 6’2″ guy look that fast but the big guy was getting around the ice nicely and maybe that’s all it took for me.  He’ll most likely start the year in Providence but it was nice to see him making his presence felt.
  • There were no blatant unforced turnovers or headaches from Kevan Miller.  He also threw a couple real nice body checks while playing a quiet, simple game.  He’s yet another guy B’s fans will rip into hard this season as he sits under the microscope.
  • Peter Mueller was quiet out there.  Not bad, not great, just kinda there.  It’s only one game but the clock is ticking on his PTO and some of the young kids certainly outplayed him.

All in all it was a pretty good game where the kids who are in the spotlight made a good first impression.  Now they just gotta keep that party going.

Next preseason game is Wednesday vs. Detroit. 7pm.