BOSTON – Wednesday was the first day of Boston Bruins development camp, and it started with some big news for fans of the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Olivier Galipeau left NHL Canadiens development camp to join the Bruins organization. The news came in a tweet from Mikael Lalancette of French-Canadien media outlet, TVA:
Revirement de situation dans le dossier Olivier Galipeau : il s’est désisté du camp des Canadiens et a signé un contrat avec les Bruins de Boston dans les dernières heures. #tvasports
— Mikaël Lalancette (@MLalancetteTVA) June 27, 2018
Galipeau joins the Bruins after finishing a four-year tour of the QMJHL playing for three separate teams: the Val-d’Or Foreurs, Chicoutimi Saguenéens, and most recently, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The 6-0, 203-pound defenseman was ranked as the 142nd North American Skater in his draft year (2015) but flew under the radar till his last year in the QMJHL, where he racked up 25 goals and 49 assists through 67 games played. While his numbers are impressive, it’s important to remember Galipeau is a 21-year-old who was playing against teenagers.
Nevertheless, Galipeau is a physical yet smooth-skating blueliner with a good first-pass out of the zone. Since his draft year, Olivier worked to improve his “quick movements”/lateral movement along the line and shot release. Whether his explosion in offensive production during his final year in the QMJHL is a culmination of his four years of work or a byproduct of his physical stature remains to be seen.
Details of his contract were not been released at the time of publication, based on the rumor mill at Bruins Development Camp it seems he will join Providence exclusively, much like Connor Clifton did last year out of Quinnipiac. After a year at the AHL level, Bruins brass will most likely re-evaluate his progress and determine if a two-way contract with the big club is in order.
Before this news broke, the focus of this article was going to be an attendee to Bruins development camp I’d like to see the Providence Bruins give an AHL deal to. Lucas Ekeståhl-Jonsson’s name not only stood out because it spanned the entire jersey, but his presence on the ice spoke for itself. The lanky 6-1 Swede is a first-year camp invite, and was excited to learn the North American game: “It’s interesting to see how the NHL players are living and how they practice every day.”
Ekeståhl-Jonsson seemed to be a puck magnet during drill rushes through both sessions of on-ice activities. Both the offense and defense ran through Lucas whenever he was on the ice. His skating got him into position, but his vision and thinking the game created open passing or shooting lanes. “My biggest asset is my vision, and how I see the play, what I want to do with the puck.” Lucas is both a fan and a critic of his own skating abilities: “It’s definitely one of my strengths.” But in the next breath, he admitted his skating is also an area he needs to improve after exposure to the North American game. The drills at Bruins Development Camp have been “a good workout, especially the [crossover drills]”.
If the Bruins hadn’t picked up a defecting Canadien, Lucas would have made an excellent depth signing or AHL addition. Given the organizational depth of left-shot defensemen, Lucas may have a tough road to break the lineup of Boston or Providence. If he keeps playing smart and sees the ice as well as he has thus far, he’ll be turning more heads than just mine.
Development camp continues through Friday at Warrior Ice Arena in Boston.