PROVIDENCE, RI: While all eyes were focused on Warrior Ice, and the Bruins Development Camp, a Bruin was born north of the border. The 21-year-old Olivier Galipeau abruptly left his invitation to the Montreal Canadiens camp to join the Bruins.
Galipeau finished a 4 year tour of the QMJHL playing for three separate teams: the Val-d’Or Foreurs, Chicoutimi Saguenéens, and lastly, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The 6-0, 203 lb defenseman was ranked as the 142nd North American Skater in his draft year (2015) but went unnoticed till his past year in the QMJHL where he racked up 25 goals and 49 assists through 67 games played. However, before we get too excited, remember Galipeau was a 21-year-old playing against kids.
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 point production during his last year in the QMJHL is a culmination of his four years of work, or he was too good for the competition remains to be seen as he dons the black and gold.
Details of his contract have not been released as of now; based on the rumor mill at Bruins Development Camp it seems he will join Providence exclusively a la 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 6-1 lanky Swede is a 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 everyday.”
Lucas 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.” However, 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, I think they had a possible unpolished diamond in their midst. 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 thusfar, he’ll be turning more heads than just mine.