Bruins Prospect Still Adapting to North American Game

Boston Bruins prospect Axel Andersson still has work to do before he can excel at the next level.

There’s no question if Andersson was with any other organization he would probably be in the American Hockey League right now. Nonetheless, the nineteen year old, is still finding his way and cutting his teeth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

Andersson burst onto the scene in October taking Moncton and the Q by storm.

The highly skilled silky smooth two-way transitional defencemen had a tremendous impact on the Wildcats backend and still is for that matter. However, there have been some definite ups and downs.

It became pretty clear during a five to seven game stretch that the young talented defender was forcing the issue and trying to do too much.

“Axel has special skill set, his skating and puck skills and it’s definitely something we want him to make sure he uses and explores to get the maximum out of him,” said Wildcats Director of Hockey Operations Ritchie Thibeau.

“We don’t want him to limit that in any way because in the end of the day its important for us and for him,” Thibeau said.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

Thibeau feels the Bruins 2nd rounder has adapted very well to the North American game in the short time he’s been in the QMJHL.

“Axel is a great kid and came in very positive and learned to play in our system and the North American game.”

“I think he’s adjusting well. He has had some ups and downs which is expected for any first year European player that comes over,” Thibeau added.

“Overall we are very pleased with his progression and we expect a big second half from him.”

Andersson has 19 points in 34 games with the Cats this season and is a +10.

Andersson found instant chemistry with Sean Stewart, who plays a very similar game to that of former Bruins stalwart Andrew Ference.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

Nevertheless, the Cats coaching staff decided to pair newly acquired defencemen, Detroit Red Wings Prospect Jared McIsaac with Andersson.

So far it looks like a match made in heaven.

Andersson and McIsaac read off each other very well and have played phenomenally well together in the last three games.

Thibeau believes the newly formed pairing will have a big impact on the team and players alike.

“Jared is a world class D and Axel is a world class D, so between the two of them they can feed off each other and learn different things from each other and overall, it’s better for us and for the rest of our group as well,” explained Thibeau.

Forcing the issue is common place for any young talented player who cares and is a team first type of player.

The highly touted B’s prospect was taking risks and making some ill-advised decisions with and without the puck.

Photo Credit Chronicle Herald

You could say Andersson’s turnover to pass ratio took a hit for awhile and his overall performance slightly dipped.

Andersson was getting caught up ice and beat wide on a few occasions as well during that time.

Just a young talented player forcing the issue, growing pains, or could this be a major cause for concern?

“Yes, it’s part of the development process for me,” Thibeau said of Andersson potentially forcing the issue at times this season.

“Axel probably wants to be more offensive and get more points, that’s pretty normal for players, but we keep saying to stay in his game and play well defensively and use the skills that he posses and that will come and it’s just a matter of being patient.”

Photo Credit Telegraph Journal

The Bruins have been very proactive checking in on

Andersson’s progress throughout his first season in the Q.

“We have had visits and talked in person with some of their pro scouting staff that have attended some of our games that have evaluated and talked with him and have made adjustments as the year has gone on. They have stayed in very close contact as the year has gone on to watch him and his development this year.”

There’s no need to criticize or hit the panic button, Axel Andersson is the real deal and has a very bright future in the game.

The Boston Bruins have a great prospect and future two-way defensive star on their hands. It remains to be seen where Andersson will play next season, but rest assured his time in the QMJHL with the Wildcats have and will continue to drastically impact his development.

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