BOSTON -- It didn’t take long for Providence Bruins head coach Rob Murray to learn what type of leader and player Steve Kampfer is on and off the ice.
Kampfer, 21, stepped off the collegiate ice for the University of Michigan last spring and quickly made the transition to professional hockey when he played a total of six games for Boston’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins.
The Anaheim Ducks originally selected the defenseman in the fourth round (93rd overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The Bruins acquired Kampfer in a trade last March in exchange for a conditional draft pick, and once his college career ended, he was sent to the P-Bruins.
With Bruins brass looking on last April 2 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, the same game fellow prospect Joe Colborne and Max Sauve also made their professional debuts, it was clear Kampfer stood out.
“Steve’s a guy, realistically, when he came to us last year we really felt he was essentially pro-ready,” Murray said. “He played like it and played with a confidence that I really admire, really like about him. He’s one of these guys you just know wants to be a hockey player. He does what he has to do to have success with it, too.”
“We’re looking for big things out of him and I know the organization is really happy with him,” added Murray. “As far as his timeline to make it to the NHL, or get NHL games, who knows? That’s kind of up in the air, but to me and to the organization, I feel like, even though it’s limited that we have seen him, he’s definitely on the right track.”
Kampfer, an offensive-minded defenseman, enters camp this fall knowing exactly what to expect. He said he believes it was his brief stint in Providence last season that helped him focus on his offseason workouts in preparation for camp.
“Going out and getting my feet wet was awesome,” he said. “Going to Providence and playing those six games really helped. I’m just trying to get ready for this year and make a push out of camp.”
Kampfer spent the summer working out with current Bruins defenseman -- and fellow Wolverine -- Matt Hunwick, and the two pushed each other.
“You’re used to playing against small men in college and you’re not used to playing against 28- and 29-year-old guys who do this for a living,” Kampfer said. “That was a big adjustment. Guys are a lot stronger. Everybody is positionally sound and that’s something I had to work on. I went home and worked on my defensive-zone play over the summer and I’ve carried it over into this camp.”
Kampfer wore the ‘C’ on his sweater for the Bruins rookies on Wednesday, something he takes great pride in.
“It was an honor. It was great wearing it and hopefully I’ll get it again,” he said.
He’s also focused on what his goal is for the 2010-2011 season.
“Right now I just want to get an invite to main camp,” Kampfer said. “Obviously you want to make a push for the team, that’s why you’re here. If that’s not the case, you go down to Providence, have a heck of a year and hope you get called up during the season.”