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Beanpot Semifinal Observations: On Sharks Prospects Lund, Fisher

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Credit: Northeastern

BOSTON — The San Jose Sharks are hoping that one special Beanpot star will join them soon.

Macklin Celebrini, the consensus first-overall pick of the 2024 Draft, starred for Boston University in the semifinal of the Beanpot, leading BU with two goals in 4-3 triumph over top San Jose Sharks prospect Will Smith and Boston College on Monday night.

The Beanpot is an annual men’s and women’s hockey tournament, contested by the four major NCAA programs in the Boston area, BU, BC, Northeastern, and Harvard.

And I was there! Here are my observations of Sharks prospects Cam Lund and Michael Fisher.

Look for my thoughts about Smith and Celebrini later.

Harvard vs. Northeastern (Northeastern wins 3-2 in OT) 

After losing their former captain Henry Thrun to the San Jose Sharks at the end of last season, Harvard doesn’t boast any Sharks prospects. They’re also sitting at 4-12-1 this season. Seems like they could be missing Thrun just a tad. Anyways, the reason why I’m mentioning Harvard up front here is that I wasn’t watching much from their side of the ice, so I don’t have any other observations to give about them.

Northeastern, however, has two San Jose Sharks prospects in sophomore Cam Lund (2022 draft, 2nd, 34th overall) and freshman Michael Fisher (2022 draft, 3rd, 76th overall).

I posed an open-ended question for everyone on Twitter regarding my journey to the Beanpot, and surprisingly lots and lots of questions were about these two prospects. Let’s start with Michael Fisher’s game tonight before we get to Lund.

Michael Fisher

Fisher started on the third pairing tonight and a quick glance at his stat-line has him at 1 goal and 1 assist in 25 games played…but let’s back up.

Fisher was drafted out of the US High School circuit, then spent a year in the USHL before starting his collegiate career this season. He dealt with a torn meniscus for the majority of last season that kept him out of the lineup for 3/4ths of the year. Fisher was drafted as a long-term project for his size, his skating ability, and for his coveted right-shot defenseman position. He was billed as raw, with room to grow into his natural tools:

“Fisher’s athletic tools get scouts excited. His size and skating absolutely give him a chance to make it if he can become more dependable with the puck.” – Corey Pronman in his 2022 Draft Ranking

Raw prospects need to play, and play a lot to reach their potential. You really don’t want your raw prospect getting injured in one of the most critical seasons for their development, immediately after being drafted.

So where does Fisher stand right now? Still very much that work in progress he was billed as.

He started on the third pair, but his shifts were alternated with the 7th defender, Nolan Hayes. As far as I could tell he then did not play after the 1-1 goal by Harvard that he was on the ice for at 2:53 into the 2nd period. That could be from injury or from coach’s decision.

So keep in mind these observations are from tonight only, but I did catch a few USHL games of his last year as well.

I do like his skating. He can build up speed with the puck and can skate backwards well enough to cover lots of ice. He can match speed well when he has attackers off the rush. He got one shot off after a nice rush into open ice. That’s about it offensively. He was mostly chipping out and hitting simple passes for transitioning.

Defensively he was mixed bag. Like I said, he matched speed well for attackers off the rush, but got tied up following the attacker and pushed over into his partner’s territory. This led to a chance against off the faceoff circle.

The 1-1 tying goal against wasn’t a great look from Fisher. He came way too far out twice on the play, again chasing the puck carrier, eventually leaving the front of the net too, undefended. This goal wasn’t all his fault, but it did get him a sit-down afterwards, unless he got injured and I missed it.

This is going to be a long-term project for his development for sure. He needs to actually get ice-time to get puck touches to develop any sort of offense. It’s obviously too early to write him off as he’s still young and he does have some tools that NHL teams covet, but don’t expect much for a few years at least from him.

Cam Lund

Lund is a lot further ahead in his development than the last time I checked up on him. As early as a year ago I felt like he didn’t have much of a “B” game, or a game away from the puck. He’s just now starting to find that and even more offensively.

He also was drafted for his tools. He’s a good size for the NHL, a good skater (his heavy use of crossovers was something I made a note of) with above-average marks in puck-handling and shooting.

This game I found him to be dangerous as a playmaker. He displayed a few good, simple touch passes to keep the play going offensively, and set up two high-danger shots from the slot through some clever passes.

His shot wasn’t on display here for most of the game, but the few clean shots he did have were impressive. He’s got a quick release and excellent velocity for his wrister.

There are two big things I think Lund needs to work on while he’s still in college (if he goes back next season) before he makes the jump to the pros.

First, his pace of play offensively needs to improve. He can be lacking in getting the puck on the net and doesn’t always recognize the opportunities in front of him to create a high-danger chance. He’s often hoping his teammates will join the rush, defaulting to stalling and waiting rather than forcing breakdowns defensively. He had the puck three separate times in the high slot with Harvard scrambling, but instead of turning quickly and firing the puck on net, he opted to hold onto the puck. Often times he would take a worse shot after holding, or lose the puck entirely. With his skills in shooting, skating and handling, he should be able to attack far more often than he does, and it’s something I’d like to see more of next year.

Secondly, defensively I’d like to see even more refinement. He’s definitely improved since his freshman year in this regard. Then he was just kind of waiting around for the puck, and wasn’t really sure how to contribute to stopping cycles defensively or getting in the way of passing lanes. This game I saw some smart sticks defensively, and I think he’s got a knack for pokechecking and stealing pucks, he’s just not doing it so consistently. Some shifts he’s slow to get back from the offensive zone, taking wide-arcs to remain high up in the neutral zone, and not covering anyone.

I think the ability to be a more physical, defensively responsible winger is there, but he hasn’t tapped into it. This is something that I’ve talked about with Brandon Coe, and a huge reason why in my opinion he hasn’t taken the jump from prolific junior scorer to professional scorer. You have to get the puck back at the next level. In lower ranks the opposing team will just lose it and it’ll fall to you. That stops happening in the AHL and beyond.

Anyways, all of this is to say that I think he’s got potential. He’s got more skill than someone like Coe, and has slowly but surely taken strides to improve his pace offensively and defensively. This game was solid all-around from him and I’m excited to watch him in the final.

And here are my thoughts on Smith and Celebrini!

Beanpot Semifinal Observations: On Celebrini & Sharks Prospect Smith

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