Bruins Rookie Poitras Plays His Way onto Roster. Now He Needs to Find a Place to Live
Brad Marchand put a nasty move on 19-year-old Matthew Poitras in a 2-on-2 drill in practice on Monday, leaving the Bruins rookie to pick himself up off the ice.
“A little ‘welcome to the league’ moment out there,” Marchand said with a chuckle. “But, you know, he gives it to guys every day, too. So it’s fun to see out there.”
Marchand followed up his ankle-breaker by skating over to Poitras (pronounced POT’-rah) for a little stick tap on the shinguard — the new, mature version of the “Little Ball of Hate” that was promised when he ascended to the captaincy this summer. Afterward, there was more encouragement for the Canadian juniors product who led the team with three goals this preseason and played himself onto the Bruins roster.
“I really like him. He’s a really good kid,” Marchand said. “He’s just seems like he’s never under pressure. The game doesn’t move too fast for him. … He has all the attributes to be a great player in this league, and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Poitras is one of two rookies expected to make the opening night roster, joining forward Johnny Beecher, a 2019 first-round draft choice who played three seasons in college at Michigan. 2020 second-rounder Mason Lohrei, a defenseman who played at Ohio State, was sent down to Providence on Monday but is expected to be back.
“It’s exciting,” said defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who played himself onto the Bruins playoff roster in 2016, two weeks after Boston University was knocked out of the NCAA tournament.
“I just remember little stuff like your first point, your first goal,” he said. “Little stuff like that. It’s something that you play this game for, right? It’s cool, it’s fun. … They played outstanding in camp and I’m looking to embrace the opportunity to help them grow.”
The Bruins set NHL records with 65 wins and 135 points to win the Presidents Trophy last season before losing in the first round loss of the playoffs. Over the summer, captain Patrice Bergeron and fellow forward David Krejci retired, opening up some spots on the roster for newcomers.
“You never know the timelines. You just try and support to the development process,” general manager Don Sweeney said. "And when kids are ready — players are ready — give them the opportunity and hope that they take advantage of it. That’s on them.”
An Ontario, Canada, native who still has a Guelph Storm toiletries kit in his TD Garden locker, Poitras hasn’t yet figured out where he is going to live in Boston or learned how to cook anything that doesn't come with instructions on the box. The Bruins open the season Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, and for now his focus is sticking around.
“For me, I think it’s just telling myself: ‘I belong here, and I believe that I can play at this level,’” he said. “So I’m just going to be confident. I’ll play my game. I’m not going to go out of character and do a lot of things that haven’t helped me get here.”
Poitras is one of a few 2022 draft picks who could make the leap to the NHL already, including Arizona’s Logan Cooley and Toronto’s Fraser Minten. Poitras, who was selected No. 54 overall, is the latest pick in that draft to make it already.
But he won’t be the youngest player on the ice on Wednesday night.
Chicago’s No. 1 overall pick Connor Bedard is only 18.