Matt Poitras, the Boston Bruins, and the World Junior Championship a Win-Win-Win

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Ahead of the 2023 World Junior Championship, Team Canada received a boost following the news out of Boston regarding the Bruins budding 19-year-old center, Matt Poitras. After much speculation, it was made official Poitras would leave the Bruins, briefly, to help his native Canada compete. Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney spoke regarding the decision “There’s really no downside for him to go and represent and be a leader on that team and hopefully accomplish the ultimate goal”. 

Speaking of goals, Team Canada certainly has them; after all, they’re gunning for their third straight gold medal at the WJC. However, this year’s roster, which returns only three players from last year’s roster, lacks its signature strength. Well, at least strength by Canadian standards, presumptive 2024 first-overall selection Macklin Celebrini is on the roster for crying out loud. But to be fair, there will be no Mason McTavish, Connor Bedard, Quinton Byfield, or Dylan Cozens like talent leading the way. 

A lack of the aforementioned star power provides Poitras with an excellent opportunity to be an all-purpose center. Lugging huge minutes and being flanked by top talent game in and game out. A luxury he has seldom enjoyed at the NHL level.

Undoubtedly, there will be detractors for sending Poitras off with his country-mates, calling out Fabian Lysell’s underwhelming showing at last year’s tournament. A fine counterargument, but one could raise you, Charlie McAvoy, who backboned team USA to gold in 2017. But unlike in both cases and according to Sweeney, Poitras will be returning to Boston upon the conclusion of the tournament. With or without a gold medal.

So, how did we arrive at this decision? Just a short time ago it appeared that Boston had no intention of letting Poitras step away from his pro team for what ultimately will be 18 consecutive days. 

You’ll need to look past the glitz and glamor to realize that, at its core, the World Junior Championship is nothing more than a developmental tournament. Your country’s best and brightest, 20 years of age and under, versus mine. Providing scouts, management, coaches, and fans unparalleled access to the NHL’s future stars.

In essence, if there were ever a time or situation to set the kid up for success, this would be it. 

For Boston, in the interim, don’t change what has been working. Morgan Geekie, for example, has elevated his play of late, particularly on the power play; unfortunately, that elevation came at the behest of Poitras’ who previously excelled with additional time and space to work with. 

Pavel Zacha is set to return to action Tuesday night, and with that, the center depth chart, which already included Charlie Coyle, Geekie, and John Beecher, got even more crowded. If Poitras remained, it would mean someone needs to come out of the lineup.

Now, head coach Jim Montgomery, who as of late had been subbing Poitras in and out every other game, need not decide. Instead, Poitras will be playing regularly, contributing, and working toward bringing his country its third consecutive gold medal.

Sounds like a win-win.

Season 3. Episode 49. Prospects Rankings 26-30 Bruins Benders Podcast

Join the Bruins Benders Podcast as they cover the HOTTEST topics in the Boston Bruins market, along with… – Prospect Rankings 26-30- Early Line Projections- Most Hated NHL Franchises- Cole Spicer Steps Away& Much More!DraftKings Sportsbook – Boston’s hometown Sportsbook is LIVE right here in Massachusetts! Bet local on all your favorite sports from the comfort of your own home with DraftKings. To celebrate, ALL new customers will receive up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets when you sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook using code ITR! You can now bet local on money lines, spreads, props, and more with one of America’s top-rated Sportsbooks – DraftKings Sportsbook!  Download the DraftKings Sportsbook app and sign up with code ITR to get up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets to use now that mobile sports betting is live in Massachusetts. That’s code ITR only at DraftKings Sportsbook. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 800 327-5050 or visit helplineMA.org to speak with a trained specialist, free and confidentially, twenty four seven. 21+. Physically present in MA. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Eligibility and deposit restrictions apply. Opt in required. Bonus issued as free bets. Terms at draftkings.com/MA.
  1. Season 3. Episode 49. Prospects Rankings 26-30
  2. Season 3. Episode 48. Arbitration Deadline
  3. Season 3. Episode 47. Free Agency Begins
  4. Season 3. Episode 46. Draft Night
  5. Season 3. Episode 45. After the Hugs Are Gone

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