Boston Bruins Prospect Report: Seth Griffith
(September 23, 2011 — Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
By Benjamin Woodward (@_BWoodward)
Player: Seth Griffith
Position: Right Wing
2011-’12 Team: London Knights (OHL)
Drafted: Fifth Round (131st Overall), 2012
Vitals: 5’11”, 185 lbs., Age 19
Hometown: Wallaceberg, Ontario
Camp Observations: Despite being drafted by the Boston Bruins just about a week before the opening of the team’s sixth annual rookie development camp, young Seth Griffith wasn’t making his first appearance with an NHL organization. After being passed up in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, undoubtedly a bitter pill for any player to swallow, Griffith was invited to skate with the Lightning’ youngsters at Tampa Bay’s prospect camp last summer. With the experience in Tampa under his belt, Griffith declared for the 2012 Draft with the hopes of erasing the memories of 2011. On day two of the draft, the Boston Bruins traded up in the fifth round – in the deal that sent forward Benoit Pouliot to the Bolts – to secure themselves the chance to select Griffith. The knowledge that a team thinks highly enough of you to make a deal to draft you must have been a fantastic feeling for the undersized winger from Wallaceberg, Ontario.
“It was pretty cool. I didn’t even know about the trade until after the draft, they told me. It was pretty cool to have that happen.” – Seth Griffith
Just five days later, Griffith found himself skating upon the ice of the Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Massachusetts as part of the team’s rookie development camp in his first-ever appearance as a member of the Boston Bruins.
“I think it’s just a different feeling getting drafted here, knowing they really wanted me here, rather than taking a chance with an invite. The Bruins are a great organization and they’re really good at developing players. I’m just looking forward to the next couple years and seeing what unfolds.” – Seth Griffith
The type of speed and offensive skill that helped Griffith become the leading scorer (45G/40A) on a tremendously talented London Knights squad was on full display at development camp, with the youngster helping to produce many “ooohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd with high-precision wrist shots and dazzling dangles.
Future: After he, fellow Bruins’ prospect Jared Knight and highly-touted Tampa Bay draft choice Vladislav Namestnikov lead the Knights to an OHL championship and a deep run in the Canadian Hockey League playoffs, Griffith’s London squad would fall 2-1 in overtime to the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes in the Memorial Cup final. Losing a game of this magnitude obviously isn’t an enjoyable feeling for any hockey player, but the experience of such a deep postseason run should be able to benefit Griffith’s overall development.
“We were fortunate enough they put a great team together this year. (The experience was) Very valuable. We weren’t supposed to make it this far this year, so we were a little underrated. It was a great experience and we’re supposed to be back in that same position next year. We’re glad to have that experience under our belt and hopefully we’ll get another chance at it next year because losing in overtime isn’t the best feeling.” – Seth Griffith
Despite losing a large number of the team’s older and most valuable players, namely Knight, Namestnikov and possibly 2012 Pittsburgh Penguins’ draft choice Olli Maatta, Griffith expects the Knights to be right back in championship contention next season.
“We’re losing a lot of guys, a lot of ‘92’s. It’s going to be a lot different and I’ve got to step it up and be a leader next year. I’m hoping for an A or a C…… It’s going to be a little different but I’m excited for it, the chance to play with more guys, and I’m expecting a big year out of our team.” – Seth Griffith
Perhaps the most intriguing portion of the above quote is of Griffith’s desire to take on a leadership role with the Knights in his final year of Ontario Hockey League eligibility. You don’t teach leadership, and to see that type of motivation to achieve it in one of their younger prospects is a great sign for the Bruins.
Potential: While there is obviously a chance that Griffith does something amazing, opens up some eyes and earns himself a roster spot out of training camp this fall (or winter?), I wouldn’t exactly bet my house on it. In no way is that a knock on the player, but an acknowledgement of the fact that late round draft picks don’t often make NHL rosters in their first professional season. In all likelihood, Griffith will be headed back to southern Ontario for another year with the Knights, where he hopes to improve his core strength and stability.
“I just want to work on getting a lot stronger, stronger on my feet, stronger in the corners. Obviously I’m not 6’3” or 6’4” so you’ve got to be strong on your feet. If you look at a lot of the smaller guys in the NHL, Danny Briere and stuff like that, they’re really good stabilizers. I just want to work on getting stronger and I’ll be fine.” – Seth Griffith
At just 5’11” and 185 pounds, Griffith has often had to make up for what he lacks in size with strengths in other areas of his game. His tremendous speed, offensive skill and ability to succeed in the two-way game when called upon should allow Griffith to eventually enjoy a successful career in the NHL. While he may be at least a couple of years away from making any sort of impact at hockey’s highest level, general manager Peter Chiarelli and the Boston scouting staff most certainly made a wise decision in selecting Seth Griffith at the 2012 Entry Draft, a player with a chip on his shoulder and plenty of built-in motivation to prove people wrong through achieving a high level of success in the NHL.
“I just want to prove people wrong, that I should have been drafted last year and higher than a lot of people thought. I want to prove the Bruins right for picking me. I think I just use that as motivation in the back of my head. I’m just happy to be here and start moving forward.” – Seth Griffith
Please check out the rest of my Boston Bruins prospect reports, published earlier this summer.
D Dougie Hamilton
D Tommy Cross
F Ryan Spooner
D Torey Krug
F Jared Knight
D Matthew Grzelcyk