Jordan Caron aiming to earn (and keep) a spot with Bruins
|09.13.13 at 9:26 am ET|
You can’t blame Jordan Caron for blocking out the past.
“I don’t want to talk about the last two or three years anymore,” the 22-year-old said following his first on-ice sessions in training camp. “I just want to look forward and put my foot down and not look back.”
It’s been a frustrating few years for Caron, who made the Bruins out of training camp in 2010-11 but has spent the last three seasons up and down between Boston and Providence, struggling to earn a full-time spot at the NHL level.
Last season, injuries, the lockout and the failed Chris Bourque experiment limited to Caron to just 17 games.
The Bruins traded for the former Capitals second-round pick and gave him the chance Caron thought he’d been close to earning. Caron was hurt during the lockout, so Bourque got the job when the season started and the B’s stuck with him through a woeful 18-game stint, which lasted past when Caron was ready to return in mid-February.
“It was pretty frustrating,” Caron admitted, “but it’s over now. I think we shouldn’t be talking about that anymore.”
Now on a one-year, one-way contract and with the Bruins having at least one bottom-six job available, the opportunity is there for Caron to become an NHL regular. Among the things that stand in his way are a group of other young wingers — Jared Knight, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Carter Camper among them, not to mention young center Ryan Spooner — and the fact that for a two-way player he hasn’t been much of a two-way player but rather a player who has only excelled in the defensive zone.
“He’s big, he’s strong,” Claude Julien said. “He’s got to be strong along the walls, he’s got to be sure that he gets in there quick enough on the forecheck, and then when we do get the puck in the offensive zone he should be strong along the walls, but at the same time he’s a guy that can take pucks to the net and go to the net and bring some offense to his game, as far as wanting to be on the side of scoring opportunities.
“We don’t want him to just think about not getting scored on. We want him to think about being a good two-way player, because he’s capable of doing that.”
Caron isn’t getting ahead of himself just because there’s a spot available. As he puts it, people were saying that he was in line for a spot entering last season, but he wasn’t healthy enough to compete in training camp following the lockout and didn’t end up getting that full season.
What Caron seeks to accomplish in camp is to find both consistency in his own came and earn him the most important consistency of all: job security.
Caron admits to putting more pressure on himself when he’s been in and out of the lineup so frequently. In seasons past, he’s felt the need to be perfect when he’s been in the lineup because he didn’t know when he’d be in there the next game.
“A little bit,” he said. “I think it’s natural. You’re out there, you squeeze your stick a little too much. Sometimes you think a little too much.”
If he can get into 15, 20 games in a row knowing his job is safe, Caron feels that would alleviate a lot of the concern.
“I think that’s huge, just confidence-wise,” he said. “You’re allowed to make mistake out there and it’s not the end of the world. Obviously, you don’t want to make any mistakes, but it happens a lot. You’ve just got to be really confident and just play your game, and it’s nice when you don’t have to worry about things like that.”