Brian Ferlin left Cornell a year early to push for a job in Boston. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE — As darkhorse candidates to make the Bruins go, Brian Ferlin’s numbers won’t dazzle the ‘they need a sniper!’ crowd.
Yet Ferlin, whom the Bruins chose in the fourth round of the 2011 draft (a round after they took Anthony Camara), presents an intriguing case. The Jacksonville native left Cornell to sign with the Bruins after three years of playing in coach Mike Schafer’s defensive system, and he feels he has more to give offensively.
While it’s good that he aspires to be a better offensive player, his numbers at Cornell weren’t bad, especially considering the system the team played. For example, with 13 goals in 32 games as a junior, Ferlin was the only Cornell player to reach double digits in goals scored. As a sophomore, he was second on the team with 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists).
His .84 points per game clip as a junior (27 points in 32 games), combined with his two-way play, was enough for the Bruins to encourage the 6-foot-2, 201-pound right wing to turn pro.
“At the end of the day, they left it up to me,” Ferlin said Friday. “They didn’t really push me too much one way or another, but after talking to Sweeney and Chiarelli, those guys, they made it really clear that there was obviously opportunity within the organization and I just kind of felt like I was mentally and physically ready to make the jump to the next level.”
Though he’s yet to play an AHL game, Ferlin hopes he can make a strong enough push to make himself a realistic candidate to take one of the forward spots that is up for grabs. One thing he has going for him is that he’s a right shot, as none of the NHL right wings on Boston’s roster are righties. Ferlin is, as are David Pastrnak and Seth Griffith.
Ferlin’s also willing to fight, it seems, as he worked on technique with Bobby Robins after a recent informal practice. Robins, Ferlin said, had approached him about it, and Ferlin accepted with the mindset that he should be able to offer anything and everything to the team if it means getting a spot. He’s only fought twice before, dating back to his USHL days in 2010. The last fight he got in was against now-Canadiens defenseman Jared Tinordi.
Yet for all the smart hockey he plans to offer and his willingness to drop the gloves, it will be offensive firepower that will round him out as a prospect. It’s common for players to be weak in their offensive zone, but not being able to produce offensively ‘ something that has plagued players like Jordan Caron ‘ can really hurt players who otherwise have NHL qualities.
“I think that certainly the areas that I needed to work on in my game defensively and playing really solid in all three zones, that’s a big thing that coach Schafer emphasizes at Cornell,” Ferlin said. “I think I definitely came out of there a more well-rounded player, but it’s definitely not a run-and-gun offense. You’re not taking a bunch of chances. Traditionally, there’s not many guys that put up huge numbers there. There’s been a lot of pretty good pro players that come out of that program, so I’m not too worried about it from that standpoint.
“I think coach Schafer really helped me and he obviously plays a similar system to what the Bruins expect out of their guys — being responsible in all three zones, so I think that will help me really translate over well to the pro game.”