Boston Bruins Prospect Report: Tommy Cross
(June 23, 2007 — Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
By Benjamin Woodward (@_BWoodward)
Player: Tommy Cross
2011-’12 Team: Boston College Eagles (NCAA)
Drafted: Second Round (35th Overall), 2007
Vitals: 6’3”, 200 lbs., Age 22
Hometown: Hartford, Connecticut
Camp Observations: Since its inception in the summer of 2007, the name “Tommy Cross” has been synonymous with Boston Bruins’ rookie development camp. So much so that 2012 third round draft choice Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, MA) spoke about coming to Ristuccia Arena in years past to see the young defenseman skate alongside the likes of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Adam McQuaid. After making an appearance – whether on the ice or off of it – in each of the Bruins’ first six development camps, the 2007 second round draft pick appears to be ready to finally take the next step in his career.
Future: Cross’ four-year journey with Coach Jerry York and the Boston College Eagles came complete with two NCAA National Championships (2010, 2012). Experiencing such long playoff runs can only benefit the long-term development of any NHL prospect. Less than a week after the Eagles took home their second National championship in three seasons by way of a 4-1 victory over Ferris State (Michigan), Cross would make his pro debut, lacing up the skates for Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins. In two games with the P-Bruins, the rugged blueliner didn’t register a point, picked up a pair of penalty minutes and skated to a plus-one rating. The 22-year-old Connecticut-native spoke quite highly of his brief experience at the AHL level and what it was like to adapt to a new system during an interview after day one of the Bruins’ 2012 rookie development camp.
“It’s a really good learning experience. I got adapted to the pro style and the systems, got to know the guys down there (in Providence). It’s a little more of a controlled style. The AHL was a new system, more organized.” — Tommy Cross
After inking a two-year entry-level contract with the Bruins in April, Cross is set to become a full-time professional this fall. As of this writing, the B’s have yet to come to terms with a sixth defenseman that ended last season on an NHL roster (unless you want to count Torey Krug’s brief two-game stint with Boston last April), leaving the door wide open for Cross to secure a spot with the big club out of camp in September. The race for the sixth and seventh defense slots should be an interesting battle to follow between Cross, Krug, uber-prospect Dougie Hamilton, newly-signed veteran Garnet Exelby and incumbent P-Bruins Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky. If Cross does not make the team out of training camp, expect him to be one of the first in line for a call up, should the injury bug strike the Boston blueline.
Potential: At 22-years-old, Cross already possesses the necessary size and strength to succeed at the pro level. He’s not going to blow you away with any sort of top-end speed or offensive expertise, but with a high hockey-IQ — common amongst Boston College products — and hard-nosed defensive zone play, Cross could carve out a niche for himself as a solid stay-at-home defenseman. High-end NHL comparables for Cross would be Daniel Girardi of the New York Rangers and Robyn Regehr of the Buffalo Sabres. However, a more realistic comparison could be made to Ottawa Senators’ rearguard Filip Kuba.
Please check out the rest of my Boston Bruins prospect reports, published earlier this summer.
D Dougie Hamilton