United States Hockey League (USHL)

Boston Bruins Prospect Chris Pelosi Finding Offensive Touch In New Season

Boston Bruins Prospect Chris Pelosi Finding Offensive Touch In New Season

Boston Bruins draft pick Chris Pelosi is off to a hot start this season thanks to a commitment to shooting more. The results speak for themselves.

Nov 1, 2023 by Ryan Sikes

Chris Pelosi backed off on his dreams of being drafted by an NHL team. 

A deviation from his planned route forced the Sioux Falls Stampede forward to reassess in the early stages of the 2022-23 season.

The 18-year-old was initially a Muskegon Lumberjacks selection in the 2021 USHL Phase I Draft. Pelosi made a hard push to make the team in training camp last year. Unfortunately, he did not crack the Opening Night roster and was sent down to the North American Hockey League’s (NAHL) Janesville Jets to begin the season.

Pelosi viewed the opportunity as a blessing in disguise. In a league known for developing gritty players, he was able to hone in on his tenacity, an attribute he modeled after his childhood idol.

“Growing up, I always watched Patrice Bergeron,” Pelosi told FloHockey. “I would always say I want to play like him one day. It rubbed off on me in his leadership. Especially wearing an ‘A’ this year, you have to lead by example, and hopefully, with me doing that, it’ll get my teammates going as well.”

The left-shot forward recorded 10 goals and 17 points in 24 games with the Jets before the USHL came calling. A three-way trade between Muskegon, Sioux Falls, and Chicago sent Pelosi to the Stampede in early October.

While the skill level was certainly an adjustment, Pelosi’s brief stint in the NAHL allowed him to become acclimated to the junior hockey style. He hit the ground running in Sioux Falls, scoring goals in three of his first four games.

The initial plan was for Pelosi to be up with Sioux Falls for the two weeks before Christmas. However, he was playing so well that he forced the Stampede into the easy decision of keeping him with the team for the remainder of the season.

Pelosi rode a hot streak in early February with six goals in a nine-game stretch. He finished with 13 goals and 19 points in 43 games for the Herd, who narrowly missed a postseason berth.

Now, the question came down to whether he would generate enough interest from NHL clubs. 

Pelosi and his advisor fielded calls from several teams, but the Boston Bruins showed the most interest throughout the draft process and selected the young forward in the third round, 92nd overall, in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Having grown up idolizing a pillar in the Boston sports scene and then being drafted by the Bruins, it was indeed a dream come true for Pelosi.

“The Bruins really liked how I played, and they mentioned that I fit their playing style perfectly,” he said. “I couldn't be more excited to be picked by them.”

Following the draft, Pelosi attended the Bruins Development Camp in early July, where he had the opportunity to get to know one of his future Stampede teammates Beckett Hendrickson. The former NTDP forward, who the Bruins picked up one round after Pelosi with the 124th overall pick last June, was selected by Sioux Falls in the 2023 USHL Phase II Draft.

The Bruins' weeklong camp provided Pelosi with an opportunity to fine-tune his skills and receive feedback from the Bruins’ player development staff. He also noticed the young talent level on display, which was a motivating factor heading into his second USHL season.

Back in New Jersey in the offseason, Pelosi was at his home rink daily, shooting pucks and working with the training staff there to set himself up for a big 2023-24.

While the new season is still in its infancy, Pelosi looks like a man on a mission. Consistency has been the main takeaway in his game thus far. He has seven goals and 19 points in 12 games and registered points in all but three contests.

The Quinnipiac commit is already over halfway to his goal total from last season. A contributing factor is Pelosi has been focused on shooting the puck more in his second USHL campaign. Through 12 games, he has 45 shots on net, compared to 78 shots in 43 games last year, an increase of nearly two shots on goal per game.

“This year, I told myself, ‘If you want to make plays, score goals, and all that type of stuff, you have to shoot the puck more.’ That’s what I’m working on, a shot-first mentality,” he said.

That mentality earned Pelosi his first USHL Forward of the Week honors after potting goals in three consecutive games in mid-October. 

The young forward credits his linemates for being able to claim the award. Hendrickson and Pelosi have carried over their chemistry formed at Bruins Development Camp. 

Along with Tyler Borgula, who took home the forward of the week award in early October, the trio has complemented each other’s games perfectly, working on the ice with the same mindset.

“Get in there, get in the dirty areas of the ice, get the puck, and good things will come out of it,” Pelosi said of his line’s approach.

The trio have Sioux Falls in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. It’s still early, but Pelosi and the Stampede look like a team that could make some noise this season.

Going into the year, Pelosi was dead set on helping the Herd make the postseason for the first time since claiming their third Clark Cup championship in 2019. He also wants to be a point-per-game player.

So far, so good for the Boston Bruins draft pick.