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First NHL Goal: Jordan Caron

Somewhere along the way, Jordan Caron became the other kid.  His skill level, size and work ethic should have made him the kid everyone talked about, but a combination of factors always seems to be working against him.  He's gone to all the right programs:  midget hockey at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, a junior hockey career with the Rimouski Océnaic of the QMJHL, and a stint with Canada's U20 team at the 2010 World Junior Hockey championship. But he's always been, at best, the second most talked about player his age group on his team.  

After his stint at Notre Dame, Caron followed somewhat in the footsteps of fellow alumni Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards in joining the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL.  Caron was picked 8th overall in the league's draft, so he came into town with considerable hype, and he justified it with a solid rookie season of 18 goals and 40 points in 59 games.  However, a funny thing happened:  because of his later November birthday, a fellow 16 year old rookie gained more attention on the team quickly, even though he was putting up less impressive numbers.  That would be Patrice Cormier, who stood out for his physical edge and defensive play down the middle, a nice compliment to Caron's skill set.  Cormier went on to be drafted in the second round, 54th overall, after a  41 point sophomore campaign in 2007-08, while Caron had to wait a year for his draft date.  Just the matter of their skill set, and their less than five months of age separation, made Cormier a more common household name in Canadian hockey circles in 2008-09 than Caron.  Cormier made the Canadian U20 World Junior team in 2009, while Caron was still trying to work up his draft stock in Rimouski.  Cormier helped play a depth role for Canada's fifth straight gold medal winning team in Ottawa, despite the fact that back in Rimouski, Caron was outscoring him.  Caron scored 36 goals and added 67 points, which helped him earn a higher draft ranking than his teammate:  going 24th overall in the first round to the Boston Bruins.

The next year, Caron and Cormier followed each other around.  Cormier was named captain of the U20 team, while Caron was selected to a depth role.  Cormier finished with five points while Caron had four in the silver medal cause.  Just days later, both were dealt to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in a blockbuster QMJHL trade deadline deal, but it was Cormier who made the immediate impact, for less than celebratory reasons.  So while all the talk was about Cormier's cheap shot on Michael Tam, Caron continued on to try and justify the blockbuster trade for Rouyn-Noranda on his own, and he did quite well, scoring 17 goals and adding 33 points in just 23 games, plus 7 goals and 18 points in the QMJHL playoffs. 

Unfortunately, that playoff run only lasted 11 games, and Caron was now looking at turning professional.  He broke camp with the talented Bruins forward corps, but all the talk was about another teenage rookie on the team:  Tyler SeguinSeguin scored first, but Caron didn't wait too much longer, scoring in his second NHL game on Oct. 16, 2010, in New Jersey against Martin Brodeur:

While it's uncertain how many Francophone kids grow up dreaming of scoring their first goal with the Boston Bruins, one could definitely imagine that Caron had always wanted to get one past Brodeur.  Caron has carved out a nice little niche with the Bruins to date, but that could all be coming to an end soon.  After 19 games, he now has three goals and four assists, but is often seeing 12 minutes or less of ice time per night, and on a salary capped team like the Bruins, and Marco Sturm and Marc Savard looking to return to the lineup in the coming weeks, Caron could be an easy victim of the numbers game due to his higher cap hit as a first round draft pick.  Certainly, however, he's made a positive impression, and one gets the feeling that it won't be too long until Caron gets more publicity.  As as sign of the quality of player this now twenty year old is, he's been trusted with over 2 minutes a night on the Bruins' penalty kill, which is currently ranked 6th in the NHL. So while others may be able to last a bit longer on name recognition, Caron sticks around due to hard work...  and the results that come from it.