Andrew Bodnarchuk spent the last four seasons learning the defense of the division rival Providence Bruins. Now, he will be learning how to defend against them among many other teams. Bodnarchuk recently signed a one-year contract and will join the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings organization for the 2012-13 season.
The Kings, probably better than anyone, know the value of having depth in all positions. Last season, defenseman Slava Voynov was considered an extra defenseman and was playing for the Monarchs until he was called upon to fill the role of a puck moving defenseman when blueliner Jack Johnson was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jeff Carter.
"Obviously, you have to prove yourself once the season comes and training camp comes along but it is something you look forward to in having an opportunity," said Bodnarchuk. "I think looking at L.A., they are a team that has rewarded guys for their good play if they are in Manchester. That was something I look to and that I am excited about."
Last season, Bodnarchuk proved his worth by recording a career-high 19 points and tied a career-high with five goals after appearing in 63 games for Providence.
"I think it is a bonus with my game," said Bodnarchuk of his offensive production. "Coming out of juniors, I was really more offensive minded, not so much a offensive wizard but I didn't put a leash on myself in that way. Moving into the pro game, I had to use my speed and quickness as a smaller guy and I was moved into a role as more of a shutdown guy who can chip in so I bought into that role."
The Monarchs and Bruins have had a healthy rivalry over the years and it is something that Bodnarchuk was always aware of when the two teams played. One particular game between the rivals on November 22, 2009 stands out to him.
"We see each other so many times so the memories all kind of blur together," said Bodnarchuk. "But I think one that stands out is when we had a big comeback game when I was in Providence a few years back. I think Manchester lead 4-2 going into the third period and we ended up winning 5-4 and I got the winning goal that game, but other than that you have to scratch for every inch when you play against each other that is for sure."
He scored the game-winning goal against current Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier with just 48 seconds remaining in the game.
Ultimately, Bodnarchuk is thrilled to have the opportunity to sign with another winning organization because aside from hard work, there is a reason they have become a winning organization.
"It speaks to the people who run the organization," reasoned Bodnarchuk on what makes a winning team seem desirable. "It shows they care and want to put together good teams and usually following with a winning team is a good family mentality, if you would, among the organization. I am excited to join another winning team. It is always exciting. I know after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup and coming back to the organization after that was an exciting feeling and a little bit of a different feel so I am excited to do that again."
As for the plans for the rest of the summer, Bodnarchuk will continue to train in Halifax, Nova Scotia like he always has only this time he will be preparing to head to Los Angeles for training camp in September.
"I have a good group of guys I train with in Halifax," stated Bodnarchuk. "Brad Marchand has been a long buddy of mine and we have been training together for a long time and there are a lot of good players around here. We have good ice time and training sessions so I always come back home (to train).
Bodnarchuk will be in training camp in Los Angeles this September looking to see what it means to be a Los Angeles Kings player and teammate.
© 2010 Manchester Monarchs
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