Late last season, a hometown kid burst onto the scene for the Boston Bruins and made an instant impression on the club and its fans. Marc McLaughlin grew up in North Billerica, Massachusetts, and played college hockey at Boston College in the Chestnut Hill section of Newton. The 6-foot, 205-pound forward signed a two-year, $1.85 million contract with Boston on March 15, 2022, after a stellar senior season at The Heights. It was a dream come true for McLaughlin, leading to an unforgettable start to his professional career.
McLaughlin scored three goals on twelve shots in his eleven games with the Bruins toward the end of last season. The right-shot winger delighted the home TD Garden crowd with a goal in his NHL Debut, becoming the fifth Massachusetts-born player to score in his debut for the Bruins and the first since Ryan Donato from Scituate scored in his first goal four years prior.
After a solid training camp, McLaughlin was in the running to make the Bruins roster but became a victim of a numbers game. This edition of the Boston Bruins is loaded with veteran players, and the need for a younger bottom-six forward was non-existent, and the 23-year-old could be sent down without waivers. McLaughlin was one of the late roster cuts and was sent to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and forced to prove his worth again and bide his time until an opportunity arose.
McLaughlin struggled offensively to start the season in Providence, going scoreless in his first 14 games. The former captain of the Boston College Eagles scored his first goal on November 19, one of only three goals before the first of the year. It was not the type of offensive promise that McLaughlin had shown in his first stint in the NHL. It was certainly not the way to impress the Bruins’ brass and force their hand.
But in the last 14 games, McLaughlin seems to have found his game. His skating has improved, and his sneaky good shot and willingness to get to scoring areas are coming through. The physical forward has six goals and six assists in that timeframe and has begun to get back to what endeared him to fans when he signed with Boston.
The Bruins have added another bottom-six forward in Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals, who should help the current team with his physicality and snarly play. Trent Frederic has had a career year with 13 goals for Boston, and Nick Foligno has found his game again. Boston’s third and fourth lines are becoming matchup problems for teams around the league. Therefore, barring injury, McLaughlin might have to wait until the next training camp to regain a spot in the lineup. There might be a good chance, as Frederic, Foligno, Hathaway, and Tomas Nosek are all unrestricted free agents after the season. The hometown kid Marc McLaughlin could be back in Boston next season with a more consistent role, to the delight of Bruins fans.