Bruins’ Zach Senyshyn studying how to be a pro

Author: Mike Loftus, The Patriot Ledger
Date: Jul 13, 2017

BOSTON – The record shows that Zach Senyshyn made his professional hockey debut in last spring’s AHL playoffs, and it suggests that nothing positive came from it. Senyshyn didn’t have a goal or an assist, took one penalty, landed only three shots on goal and was minus-2 over four games. He was a healthy scratch for nine straight games at one point, and didn’t play for an entire seven-game series.  The numbers don’t tell the whole story, though.

“It was a little bit of a humbling experience, for sure,” the 20-year-old winger said Friday at the Bruins Development Camp. “But there’s one thing you realize: When you make it up to these levels, everyone pays their dues.

“Everyone has to put in that work and compete for their position, earn that position. It was great to see that, and to see what I have to strive for next year.”

Senyshyn will almost certainly be cut some slack in 2017-18. The Bruins invested a first-round draft pick on him in 2015 (No. 15 overall), and he has surpassed the 40-goal mark in each of the past two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League. That natural scoring talent, combined with good size (6-foot-1, 199 pounds) and excellent speed, all but guarantee he’ll get the opportunity to earn top-line minutes and power play assignments – most likely as a rookie pro at AHL Providence.

The B’s don’t think it hurt, however, for Senyshyn to see it’s going to be harder to succeed at the pro level, and that he’s going to have to work on new ways to be productive and effective.

“It’s just learning to play ... the rest of the time, without the puck,” said Jamie Langenbrunner, the Bruins’ player development coordinator. “That’s normal for a young kid, especially a young kid who can score goals in junior hockey. They develop some of those habits that pro hockey will fix real quick.”

Senyshyn believes he learned a lot last spring, even when he wasn’t playing.

“It was a great opportunity for me ... to be able to learn from the older guys” at Providence, which reached the Calder Cup semifinals. “I tried to absorb as much knowledge as I could.

“We had a big group of players there, so it was great to work with them, and work with the coaches. They were able to teach me a lot about what it takes to play at that next level.”

There are some things Senyshyn doesn’t need to be taught: He can skate, and he can shoot. His assignment next season is to develop and refine other aspects of his game, so he can make the most of the skills he has in place.

“Obviously, he’s as fast as anybody we’ve got, so that dynamic is going to be good,” Langenbrunner said. “It’s about Zach learning how to be a pro.

“We’ve stressed that – getting the details of his game better. He’s going to continue to work on that, and the quicker he grasps that, the better off he’s going to be.”

Senyshyn, who scored 26 goals as an OHL rookie during his draft year, has posted 45 and 42 in the last two seasons, respectively, for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The B’s put him into one preseason game in 2015 and two prior to last season (one assist), and while the likelihood is that he’ll start next season at Providence, he’s not about to count himself out of competition for the NHL jobs the Bruins have open on the wings.

“I’m definitely excited,” said Senyshyn, who is on a three-year, entry-level contract. “Being able to start with the group in Providence was a great experience; I loved the staff and I loved the team.

“Now, I’m really looking forward ... to striving this year to make it to Boston at some point.”

  Share   Tweet

Strategic Partners