Bruins have high hopes for defensive prospect Linus Arnesson

Ian McLaren

A looming reality in Boston is the fact that defensive stalwart Zdeno Chara won't be around forever; when the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs roll around, the Bruins captain will be 38, with his best years likely behind him. 

In preparation for the inevitable, the team is amassing pieces for the future of the blue line, led by current NHL defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug.

In the not too distant future, they'll be joined by 2013 second round pick Linus Arnesson, who impressed assistant general manager Don Sweeney at the team's recent development camp.

Via The Boston Herald:

I went and saw Linus play last year early in the season and we’re all excited about his mobility. He goes back and defends really well. They played him in a lot of key situations, especially defensively. Now, we’re starting to see a lot more of his confidence come out with the puck. We’ve talked to him a lot about the offensive blue line . . . (and) encourage him to realize that there’s a lot offensively that he hasn’t tapped into yet.

He’s a real aggressive player on one-on-one situations, even 2-on-1 situations and we’re going to build in patience a little bit and get him to understand. He’s got great gap control, but as (Providence assistant coach) Kevin Dean would say, he sort of blitzed at times and we’ve got to get him to back off, just to allow a play to develop a little bit rather than put himself in a situation.

The 19-year-old spent the past season playing for Sweden's Djurgården, a team set to make the jump to the nation's top division in 2014-15. Arnesson scored one goal and added five assists in 44 games, hence the exhortation from Sweeney to step up that side of his game.

The Swedish game is traditionally quite defensive-oriented, but Arnesson believes his game is ready for that next level. 

“I think it’s just coming naturally,” Arnesson said. “I think I’m getting more and more confidence in the offensive zone. It’s coming to me more easily this year.”

Arnesson is expected to play at least one more season in Sweden, with an eye on North America: “I want to try and play in the NHL, or at least the AHL and work my way up from there.”