For those of you out there who dislike Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand (and time and again that has proven to be a majority of NHL fans), you’re about to see double. The Bruins announced today that they have inked prospect Jesse Gabrielle to an entry-level contract, and Gabrielle models his game off of none other than his future teammate.
Gabrielle was Boston’s 2015 fourth-round pick, thought to be a bit of a project player when selected from the WHL’s Regina Pats. Gabrielle was part of Bruins GM Don Sweeney’s first draft class, which included this season’s rookie revelation Brandon Carlo, recently-named World Juniors participants Jakub Zboril and Daniel Vladar of the Czech Republic and Zach Senyshyn and Jeremy Lauzon of Canada, Providence Bruins impact rookie Jake DeBrusk, Boston University star Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, and University of Wisconsin play-maker Cameron Hughes. However, Gabrielle has not let the immense amount of talent in his draft class overshadow his own ability.
When drafted by the Bruins, Gabrielle had put up just pedestrian numbers in parts of three WHL seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats. His 70 points in 115 games wasn’t terrible, but the scrappy forward was known more for his great forechecking and gritty two-way play. Then, like idol Marchand, Gabrielle chose to put his full offensive ability on display last season. After an off-season trade to the Prince George Cougars, Gabrielle responded with 75 points and a team-best 40 goals in 72 games, as well as 101 penalty minutes. So far in 2016-17, he leads the team with both 19 goals and 31 points, as he continues to dominate the junior level in all facets of the game. Gabrielle even got to skate in three games with the AHL’s Providence Bruins at the tail-end of last season, and while he was unable to register a point, the hard-working winger showed that he could hold his own in the pros. At 6’0″ and 200 lbs., Gabrielle is bigger than Marchand, but plays the same agitating, elusive style that has made Marchand a fan favorite in Boston and hated throughout the rest of the league.
Now developing into a lethal combination of skill and grit, Gabrielle has been thrust into the forefront of Boston’s youth movement plans. Expect “Marchand Jr.” to get a shot at cracking the roster for the Bruins next fall, if he can beat out the plethora of top prospects in the Boston pipeline.