Boston Bruins July 31-in-31
The Bruins were quite at the draft table this year. They didn’t make any splashes on the trade market for players, nor did they try and move up or down the draft board. They did come in with an agenda to get players who can skate, and defenceman who can move the puck and possess an offensive flare. They grabbed three forwards and two defencemen in this year’s draft. All of whom possess the desired traits the B’s were looking for, and all of whom will most likely take a minimum of a year before they are fantasy relevant.
Round 1 – The Bruins pick was traded at the 2018 trade deadline.
Round 2 –Axel Andersson was selected by the Bruins 57th overall.
The Swedish rearguard displayed fantastic offensive skills for his U20 club in Djugardens this season and posted 31 points in 42 games. He led his team with 25 assists. The Bruins scouting staff felt he was held back on a more defensive minded Swedish team at the World Juniors. He is described as one of the best skaters in the draft, a player who loves to join the rush and likes to distribute the puck. Axel is quick, agile and moves the puck extremely well. A right-handed shot, he will someday play top four and see powerplay time. He is a few years away from the NHL.
Round 3 – Jakub Lauko was selected by the Bruins 77th overall.
He can play both the wing and the center ice, and scouts like his acceleration. He posted nine points in 42 games with Pirati Chomutov in the Czech Extraliga this year playing against men. Lauko himself thinks he is one of the fastest players in the draft and wants to prove himself to be a draft steal. He projects to be a versatile forward who can play up and down the lineup and score. The Bruins love his compete level and attitude. Along with his speed he possesses a dangerous shot. Great shot, great speed, competes hard; sounds like a poor man’s Marian Hossa.
Round 4 – Curtis Hall was selected by the Bruins 119th overall.
He has great size at 6-3 200lbs and plays a gritty and powerful game. He posted 31 points in 54 games for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. He is committed to Yale next season which will give him great opportunity to build on his power forward game. Hall is also a quick and solid skater. Will play at least a few years at Yale before going pro.
Round 5 – The Bruins pick was traded at the 2017 deadline.
Round 6 – Dustyn McFaul was drafted by the Bruins 181st overall.
A project. McFaul is considered a good skater who competes hard on pucks. Needs to gain weight and refine his game. Committed to Clarkson University for 2019/2020, will most likely move to USHL or BCHL next year.
Round 7 – Pavel Shen was selected by the Bruins 212th overall.
A swing for the fences pick. Shen split the year between the KHL and the MHL. Was nearly a point per game in the junior league, has good size (6-1, 185lbs) and distributes the puck well
Development Camp Notes:
Invitees are indicated by “*”.
Stephen Baylis *
Henry Bowlby *
Mitchell Fossier *
Philip Lagunov *
Tom Marchin *
Colin Theisen *
Nick Albano *
Philip Beaulieu *
Lucas Ekestahl-Jonsson *
Teemu Kivihalme *
Nick Wolff *
Development camp looked a little different this season as forwards like Anders Bjork, Zach Senyshen, JFK and Trent Frederic all graduated. Bruins GM Don Sweeney was impressed by the speed of players at camp, particularly new draftee Jakub Lauko. Goaltender Dan Vladar is also looking more refined and is inching closer to NHL readiness. Curtis Hall also caught management’s eye with his heavy shot, of which he used to rip a beauty goal in the end of camp scrimmage. Jack Studnicka was the best player at camp, and with a strong training camp in the fall, anything could happen. Karson Kuhlman, who signed as a free-agent after his final year at the University of Minnesota-Duluth; where he was captain and a national champion, also has Bruins management’s eye. He could potentially earn himself a bottom-six role in training camp. Oskar Steen seems to come to the development camps every year with more confidence, it shows especially during the scrimmages at the end of camp, this year he capped his performance off with an absolute snipe. The end of camp saw 2nd round pick Axel Andersson earn an entry level three year deal with the Bruins.
On a side note, Bruins defence prospect Daniel Bukac was released by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. He missed the first part of the year following offseason surgery. He re-entered the CHL import draft and was selected by the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs. He is a huge (6-5, 200lbs) stay-at-home defenceman who is a decent skater.
After elimination by the Lightning the Bruins remained relatively quiet. They got involved in the Tavares Sweepstakes, resigned shifty and offensive D-man Matt Grzelcyk . They lost out for now on dynamic Russian forward Alexander Khokhlachev who opted to return to Spartak Moskva for another year. The Bruins also took a flyer on a one year, two-way contract with Slovakian forward Martin Bakos; a slick handed playmaker. The latter will get a look in the bottom six but will most likely play in Providence.
July 1, 2018 was a busy and exciting day. No, the Bruins did not win the Tavares sweepstakes, but that is good news for some of the Bruins prospects as the top six spots remain flexible to grab. More good news for Bruins prospects is that the bottom six has a few more spots available with the departure of Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, Austin Czarnik, Brian Gionta, and Nick Holden on the blueline. The depleting of the bottom-six opens up opportunity for prospects like Ryan Donato and Danton Heinen to really take hold of secure spots on the third line and find some consistent production. Now the open positions will not be walk-ins, Sean Kuraly has been offered an extension and the Bruins also signed depth forwards Chris Wagner; a real banger, and Joakim Nordstrom. With Czarnik gone it also opens up the top line spot in Providence where Ryan Fitzgerald and JFK can show their stuff and possibly earn some callups this coming season.
Where the Bruins do have a logjam is on left defence. Nick Holden his out, but John Moore is in, as is Matt Grzelcyk on the left side. The right side however is a bit less bumper-to-bumper. Aside from Griz, it is unlikely that any of the Bruins prospects on defence crack opening night roster. However, if the Bruins top seven’s play is lackluster, or riddled with injury, Jakub Zboril will surely get a look for a lefty and Connor Clifton’s aggressive play and mobility could also get a peak during the season.
Anton Khudobin has also been bid happy trails and his backup position has been filled with veteran Jaroslav Halak. The Bruins have a great pipeline of goalies. MacIntyre will start the year for Providence as the starter but Vladar could very well take that position over, or platoon as a 1A goalie. Swayman is a few years away but he stole the start job at Maine as a freshman last year. If he can continue to work hard and develop, he may be knocking on the door for a contract sooner than later. Nobody hopes for injuries but if they happen both Vladar or MacIntyre could see NHL minutes next season.
Boston is looking to see what the young guns can do now, so it is an exciting time to have Bruins prospects. Barring injury, Bjork, Donato, Heinen and Grzelcyk look ready to put up some points. Some other names who could see NHL action include; Senyshen, JFK, Fitzgerald, Gabrielle, Cehlarik, Zboril and Clifton.