WILMINGTON — Zach Trotman is coming off concussions. The 23-year-old defenseman was the 210th and final player selected in the 2010 NHL draft. The Bruins will most likely not have any openings on defense, as Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug should fight for the No. 6 spot.
Yet Trotman remains squarely in the mix for a future varsity promotion.
Mr. Irrelevant from 2010 could be one of the first in line for a Providence-to-Boston commute if injuries hit the big boys. In 2012-13, as a first-year pro, Trotman recorded two goals and 14 assists in 48 games for Providence. The right-shot defenseman earned Providence coach Bruce Cassidy’s trust in all situations.
“Highs and lows with him,” Cassidy said. “He had some stretches where he was arguably our best rookie and in our top three or four defensemen. He also had some injuries, some concussions, that set him back. When you have those, it takes a while to get back up to speed.
“Very strong, very mature for his age. There’s a lot of attributes there that translate into [an] NHL-defenseman type of player.”
The 6-foot-3-inch, 219-pound Trotman has NHL size, and the Bruins are satisfied with his skating and offensive awareness, even though the three-year Lake Superior State blue liner showed his stuff for a shorter-than-desired window.
“I had kind of a rocky start the first few weekends or so,” Trotman said. “Then I started to get my wheels under me and doing really well up until Christmas.
“Once the lockout ended, I had some concussion problems in the second half of the season that sidelined me. I’m just hoping to rebound and pick up where I left off last Christmas before all the injuries.”
If Trotman stays healthy and continues to develop, he could become a full-time NHL defenseman. The Bruins could have two right-shot vacancies after 2014-15, when Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid are scheduled to reach unrestricted free agency. Trotman is entering the second season of his two-year, entry-level contract and will be restricted after 2013-14.
“We’ve just got to keep him healthy and consistent to have one of those consistent years,’’ said Cassidy. “He can shoot the puck. He’s got good feet. He’s strong, so he can battle. He’s a physical guy. Not a mean guy, by any means, but he can take on big guys.
“He can play in all situations and play against different types of players — fast guys, because he’s got the foot speed, and heavier guys, because he’s strong. I think they’ve got themselves a real player.”
Campbell on the ice
Gregory Campbell, who broke his right leg in a playoff game June 5, participated in an informal practice at Ristuccia Arena Thursday. It was the first time Campbell had skated in one of the sessions.
Campbell required surgery June 10, and it is unknown whether he will be a full go for the start of training camp next Wednesday.
Campbell should be the fourth-line center and penalty-killing specialist once he returns to full health. He has been linemates and PK partners with Daniel Paille for most of the last three seasons, but Paille could be moved up to the third line alongside Chris Kelly.
Lindblad in the mix
For most of Thursday’s rookie practice, undrafted forward Matt Lindblad was on a line with high-profile prospects Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight. Lindblad, 23, should remain on the line when the Bruins kick off their four-team rookie tournament against Tampa Bay Friday in Coral Springs, Fla.
Lindblad was a three-year player at Dartmouth. During his junior season, he collected 10 goals and 18 assists in 30 games. On April 5, the Bruins signed the left-shot forward to a two-year, entry-level deal. Cassidy used Kelly as an NHL comparable for Lindblad.
The Bruins weren’t sure Lindblad would be able to play in the AHL because he was completing classes at Dartmouth. But after signing his contract, Lindblad had one goal and four assists in five games for Providence.
The Bruins considered dressing Lindblad for the playoffs, but Cassidy said they didn’t want to keep him from missing classes toward his degree.
“He slipped in for a couple weekends and played very well,” Cassidy said. “He’s a deceptive skater. He’s quick. He got some opportunities, finished some plays, made some nice plays down low. He killed penalties and played a little bit on the power play.
“He kept up. He was able to protect the puck and responsible. And he’s a fair size [6-1, 200]. He can hold his own. Nice surprise, because we didn’t know what to expect.”
Gloves stay on
After Thursday’s practice, the rookies traveled to Florida. They will play rookies from Tampa Bay Friday, Florida Saturday, and Nashville Sunday. Players will be allowed one fight during the three-game tournament. If a player drops the gloves for a second time, he will not be eligible for any more games. “Some of the camps in the past, there was a lot of that stuff going on,” Cassidy said. “It ends up taking away from what you’re trying to do — evaluating players. Certainly, as long as it’s part of the game, I think with the players who do that and make a living doing that, you’ve got to evaluate them there. But for the most part, I think you’ll see more hockey than fisticuffs.” . . . Jordan Caron, who is fighting for a third-line spot, participated in his first informal practice Thursday.