August 32-in-32: Boston Bruins

Dave Hall

2022-08-03

The 32-in-32 Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in August we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s Draft, and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up in September, we will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the
upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all off-season long!

The Bruins find themselves in an awkward stage, caught in the midst of a budding division. With teams such as the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings bolstering their line-ups this summer, while the Maple Leafs, Panthers, and Lightning continue to boast strong foundations, the Atlantic Division is not getting any easier. And with a 107-point season and a first-round playoff exit in the shadows, Boston is now faced with the million-dollar decision: to blow it up or gun for one last shot at the title. To throw complication to that decision, a large chunk of their core is confirmed to be out of the lineup for a significant amount of time to start the 2022-23 campaign. Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy are both scheduled to be out until December with their respective ailments, while Matt Grzelcyck should be sidelined until at least November. Not great.

Contractually, however, the Bruins are in good standing order, with only one core player, albeit a large part,  at risk of walking this summer. That, of course, being long-time captain, Patrice Bergeron, who has suggested the possibility of retirement. Aside from that, the Bruins had only a few minor dealings to cover over the off-season, which we will cover later.

Furthermore, with so many question marks on this aging roster, the organization is at a crossroads and must decide what to do with 26-year-old, David Pastrnak. With only one year remaining on his current deal, there have been serious hints linking him to a blockbuster deal in an attempt to attain further assets and kickstart a full-blown rebuild. With the combination of Bergeron nearly on his way out, Marchand already on his back-nine, and a few injuries now plaguing the club’s 2022-23 season, you get the sense that some change, potentially huge, could take place. And while the Pastrnak news is merely a rumor, it’s certainly something to keep close tabs on. Stay tuned on that.

The Draft

Thanks to a deal that brought in veteran defender, Hampus Lindholm, the Bruins, for the third time in five years, did not carry a first-round pick. With an already moderate prospect pool, the lack of picks is concerning, especially if they choose to blow the team up and rebuild.

While they would go on to make a few mid-draft trades to offload and shuffle various picks around, the club settled for a grand total of six picks throughout the weekend. Of course, with their highest pick in the depths of the second round (54), this draft was more about building depth than finding the club’s next top-six star. To their credit, they managed to pull some intriguing, and much-needed, center depth, who can play Bruins-type hockey.

Round Two, 54th Overall – Matthew Poitras, C

Poitras, a 2021-22 Guelph Storm rookie, earns his role by outplaying opponents. He brings a decent skillset to the table, but his defining feature is his high-end, non-stop motor. He is relentless in all areas of the ice and has a knack for causing panic and eventual turnovers due to the constant pressure. 

Offensively, he carries a strong shot – one that is certainly capable of handcuffing NHL-calibre goaltenders. He shows decent puckhandling and is able to corral the puck in tight areas in order to create space for his linemates. Despite his high motor, he still has some fine-tuning to do with his overall 200-foot game. However, as he grows and develops even further skating ability, this should follow with time.

As a second-round pick, Poitras carries the highest upside out of the Bruins 22’ crop. Yet, his upside still likely projects as a middle-six hopeful. That’s okay, though. His waterbug demeanor matches the role well, and with a pinch of offensive upside sprinkled in, could still provide useful tools for the Bruins to enjoy. Fantasy-wise, peripherals are certainly the main attraction.

Round Four, 117th Overall – Cole Spicer, C

Similar to their previous pick, Matthew Poitras, Cole Spicer is an all-out energy driving forward. Developing through the USNTDP, the 5-foot-10 pivot will take on the NCAA next season, suiting up for Minnesota-Duluth. 

While he has noted stints of offensive numbers in the past, Spicer should not be looked at as a producing asset at the pro level. With average puck skills, and moderate IQ, there could be flashes in the pan to convert from time to time, but overall, expect a heavy peripheral foundation. 

He has a good motor, wins most of his one-on-one puck battles, and shows some very intriguing defending qualities. In general, expectations should be set in and around a decent third-line upside, with penalty kill minutes to boot.

Round Four, 119th Overall – Dans Locmelis, C

There seems to be a trend in the Bruins selection process: work ethic. Locmelis, although not as tenacious as the previous two picks, brings his own version of compete. However, Locmelis can sprinkle in hints of offensive touch to his game as well. He is small, yet agile and makes decent decisions with the puck on his stick. 

The Latvian forward had an interesting 2021-22 campaign, working his way up the Swedish circuit. He even saw two, albeit very low utilized, SHL games. It was at the J20 level, however, that he enjoyed peak success, producing 34 points (18-16-34) over 44 games. He will make the jump to the North American circuit in 2022-23, suiting up for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. 

There could be some untapped bottom-six potential here, but right now, remains somewhat of a project for the Bruins brass.

Round Five, 132nd Overall – Frederic Brunet, LD

Finally, a defender. Brunet, an overaged rearguard passed over last season, enjoyed a much-improved sophomore campaign in the QMJHL. With a nice jump from nine (over 30 games) to 34 points (over 63 games), Brunet finished just outside of the league’s top-10 in points by a defender in 2021-22. 

He brings a nice mix of offensive ability and physicality, and at 6-foot-2, 176-pounds, there is still room for growth to make him pro-ready. He’s by no means elite in any department, but sturdy in most. He provides sneaky bottom-pairing upside.

Round Six, 183rd Overall – Reid Dyck, G

Reid Dyck, a 6-foot-4 netminder for the Swift Current Broncos (WHL), does not carry flashy statistical numbers. However, most of his recent numbers, especially those in his first WHL season, should be taken with a grain of salt. Slotting in as a young backup option for an inexperienced and inconsistent WHL squad, his rookie season saw him post a 6-12-1 record. He took over starting duties due to injuries and held his own, given the circumstances with the team. Additionally, he was honored as a top-three player on his U18 Team Canada roster, despite sporting frightful numbers (please, do not simply look at the stat sheet!).

The Manitoba native brings efficient mobility and is said to track pucks quite well. As he progresses through the ranks, Dyck will need to work on his aggressiveness when challenging puck carriers. This is something that he should get tons of exposure towards next season, as he is likely to take over the reins as the starting netminder for the Broncos. Dyck is surely a project between the pipes but brings intriguing elements as a late-round asset.

Round Seven, 200th Overall – Jackson Edward, LD

Jackson’s development, like so many, has taken a beating over the past few years. With the COVID-19 shutdown putting a drastic halt on so many leagues, including the OHL, Jackson has just 54 competitive games under his belt over the last two seasons. Last year, as a London Knight rookie, Jackson posted six assists and 51 penalty minutes – which seems to be right on brand. Although he skates well and shows “okay” offensive tools, he does not project to be a huge contributor at the pro level. In fact, as a steady two-way defender, there is a better chance of him recreating those 51 PIMS, over any significant offensive numbers.

At 6-foot-2, 194-pounds, he has some weight and with the combination of solid skating, there is definitely some intrigue to be had. Overall, however, fans should be happy with a bottom-pairing upside, with peripheral potential down the road. He will return to London to take on his second (should be third) season with the Knights.

The Off-Season

As mentioned, the Bruins were contractually sound this off-season, needing very little housekeeping. In fact, with only $4,758,333 in projected Cap Space (courtesy of CapFriendly) to sign their newly acquired center, Pavel Zacha, and potentially Bergeron (hopefully on a very “team friendly” deal), the club has very little to work with to make any significant splashes, should they want to. Of course, this is barring any further major trades.

Incoming

Main roster:  Connor Carrick (D), Pavel Zacha (C)

System: Dan Renouf (D), Keith Kinkaid (G), Vinni Lettieri (C),  A.J. Greer (LW)

So far, the club’s top transaction has come in the form of the trade, as they gain six years of age by dealing away Erik Haula (31) for former New Jersey Devil, Pavel Zacha (25). Zacha has produced 170 points (0.46 point-per-game) at the NHL level and can play either up the middle or on the wing. He will have no issues slotting into the club’s immediate top-six plans and depending on Patrice Bergeron’s retirement decisions, we could be looking at the Bruin’s top-line center for the year. Given the potential for top-heavy deployment, he should see a significant uptick from his previous 36-point career-high.

With the absence of the McAvoy for the first half of the season, the Bruins brought in Connor Carrick, a right-shot option, at league minimum ($750k) to battle for an open spot on the club’s bottom-pairing. He hasn’t proved to bring significant production, thus far, but adds competition in training camp and solid depth, if needed.

As if there weren’t enough “what if’s” heading into the season, a reality where former long-term Bruin, David Krejci, returning from his one-year hiatus seems to exist. The now 36-year-old is fresh off a year in the Czech league, where he posted 46 points(20 + 26) over 51 games. You have to think his decision would play a big role in Bergeron’s, which in turn, will affect Zacha’s further deployment. So much uncertainty.

Outgoing

Erik Haula (C), Curtis Lazar (C), Tyler Lewington (D), Cameron Hughes (C), Jesper Froden (RW), Josh Brown (D), Callum Booth (G),  Linus Arnesson (D), Troy Grosenick (G), Steven Fogarty (C), Kodie Curran (D), Anton Blidh (LW)

Re-signed

Jakub Zboril (D), Joona Koppanen (LW), Kyle Keyser (G), Nick Wolff (D), Jack Ahcan (D), Matt Filipe (LW), Jack Studnicka (C)

In next month’s 32-in-32 Series we will be diving into updated organizational depth charts to identify the prospect risers, fallers, and projected roles for the 2022-23 campaign. 

Thanks for reading. Follow me @hall1289 for more prospect coverage.

 

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES