Welcome to our annual 31-in-31 Summer Series here at DobberProspects! Every day in July we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft, notes from their development camp, and insights into their off-season moves so far. Following this up, the August 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check in often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all summer long!
The Stanley Cup runners-up dealt away multiple depth draft picks in an effort to improve their roster at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. As a result, the Bruins were left with just five selections to make in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. They used these selections on four forwards and a lone defenseman, an expected outcome given the wealth of quality young rearguards in the team’s system. Boston has not selected in the top 15 in any of the previous three drafts, resulting in plenty of high-upside picks made during 2019’s draft weekend.
Round 1, 30th Overall – John Beecher, C
The Bruins clearly have a type, and Beecher fits that mold to a tee. He is a big, strong, defensively-sound center with speed to burn. He plays physical in all three zones and is not afraid to drive the net with the puck. His game is all about playing responsible hockey, but he still manages to contribute offensively when given the opportunity. When asked about his playing style, Beecher had the following to say via an interview with NHL.com: “I use my size and my speed to my advantage, and I think my game really translates well to Boston.” Furthermore, if his play on the ice was not enough to entice Bruins fans, perhaps his mindset will. When asked about being chosen by Boston, he had the following to say about the organization: “I’ve always watched the Bruins and admired them. They’ve had a lot of success for a reason. They’re world class. I mean, they do things the right way, so it’s an honor and privilege to be a part of it.”
Well said John, well said.
In the strongest draft the U.S. National Development Team has ever had, Beecher was an afterthought, playing a checking-line role behind other 2019 first-round talents. As a result, the Bruins expect a similar development curve for Beecher as they saw out of their 2016 first rounder, Trent Frederic. A breakout season is not out of the question for Boston’s 30th overall selection, as he is set to join the University of Michigan and should receive a more prominent role than he had with the U.S. Development Team.
Watch Beecher’s development closely over the next few years, as there will inevitably be scoring-role center jobs available in Boston when David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron eventually lose their touch.
Round 3, 92nd Overall – Quinn Olson, LW
Playing his 2018-2019 season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, the undersized forward racked up 20 goals and 66 points in 54 league games. What might stand out more from a fantasy standpoint were Olson’s 75 penalty minutes, showing a gritty trait that he has held throughout his time in the league. Olson spent his draft-eligible season in the AJHL in order to retain his NCAA eligibility. This decision should pay off as he is committed to an excellent program at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he will have plenty of opportunities to turn this high-risk pick into a high reward for Boston.
Round 5, 154th Overall – Roman Bychkov, D
The lone defenseman selected by the Bruins in the 2019 draft, Bychkov is a mobile, puck-moving defenseman with excellent edges and overall skating ability. He has spent the majority of the past two seasons playing for Loko Yaroslavl of the MHL, and managed 15 points in 40 games from the backend last season. He also represented his native Russia at last year’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, tallying a single assist through 5 games. Bychkov was selected by the Guelph Storm in the 2019 CHL import draft, offering the Bruins another option for his development. He needs to work on his shot and fill out his slight frame moving forward, but has high upside and is a solid fifth-round selection by the Bruins.
Round 6, 185th Overall, Matias Mantykivi, C
Continuing the trend of smaller players drafted with Boston’s depth draft picks, Mantykivi is a slight centerman that spent the majority of his draft year playing for SaiPa’s U20 team in Finland. He managed 12 goals and 36 points through 34 league games, demonstrating a sound understanding of the offensive side of the game. His hands and offensive awareness are the most prominent qualities of his game, with noted concerns over his foot speed and defensive game. Mantykivi did manage to appear in 6 Liiga games with SaiPa last season, which should bode well in preparing him for the more mature competition he will face moving forward.
Round 7, 192nd Overall, Jake Schmaltz, LW
Boston’s final selection in the 2019 draft was the 6’1” Schmaltz, who played a secondary role for the USHL’s Chicago Steel in 2018-2019. He managed just five goals and 18 points last season, playing behind point-per-game players Nicholas Abruzzese (drafted by Toronto in 2019) and Robert Mastrosimone (drafted by Detroit in 2019). He has self-proclaimed his game as one that focuses on forechecking above all else and could be a solid selection for the Bruins if he is able to add size to his current frame. Schmaltz will return to the Steel for the upcoming campaign, before joining the University of North Dakota in 2020-2021.
The theme of Boston’s 2019 development camp was making an impression. Bruins GM Don Sweeney noted that his goal at this year’s iteration of the event was to get to know more of his prospects, while also giving many of them a first impression of what the franchise has to offer. The camp spotlight was understandably stolen by many of the team’s more experienced prospects, however, Boston’s brass left the camp with a great view of where many of their impressive young players stand in their development. Altogether, the team invited 19 organizational prospects along with 15 undrafted invitees to camp.
The complete camp roster is listed below:
Forwards In The System
Defensemen In The System
Goalies In The System
Notes from development camp:
Jack Studnicka, Jakub Lauko and Kyle Keyser did not participate in the on-ice portion of development camp due to long individual seasons and lingering injuries. This group was in attendance for off-ice team-building activities.
Axel Andersson – Andersson will be playing in North America in 2019-2020, either with Providence or with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL (the Wildcats drafted Andersson 30th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft)
John Beecher – The Bruins’ 2019 first round pick impressed team management during camp with his speed and poised game. Don Sweeney noted that when given space, the game comes easy for Beecher, and he is excited to see what the big centerman can do after he refines his game in the NCAA.
Oskar Steen – Boston’s 6th round pick in 2016 showed maturity and an improved physical element at this year’s camp. Jamie Langenbrunner, the team’s Player Development Coordinator noted Steen’s physical transformation as an important aspect of his development last season. He expects the young winger to make an effective player for Providence in 2019-2020.
On July 1, the Bruins announced the following signings:
Unrestricted Free Agents
F – Par Lindholm (2 years, $850,000 AAV)
F – Brett Ritchie (1 year, $1 million AAV)
F – Brendan Gaunce (1 year, two-way contract)
G – Maxime Legace (1 year, two-way contract)
D – Josiah Didier (1 year, AHL contract)
Restricted Free Agents
D – Connor Clifton (3-year extension, $1 million AAV)
F – Ryan Fitzgerald (1 year, two-way contract)
All of the Bruins transactions on July 1, 2019, were depth moves, either to fill out the bottom of the NHL roster or in an attempt to help Providence in the AHL. Lindholm (27 years old) split time last season between Toronto and Winnipeg, managing a modest 13 points. Ritchie (26 years old) has spent his entire career in the Dallas system, managing a high of 16 goals and 28 points in 2016-2017. The two will compete to replace the bottom-six hole left by Noel Acciari, who signed a three-year deal with the Florida Panthers.
Perhaps the most notable news (or lack thereof) to come on the opening day of free agency was that Marcus Johansson was not re-signed by the Bruins, who had been interested in doing so during the days leading up to July 1. Johansson fits well with the team during their 2019 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, however, the high demand for top-six forwards likely priced the Bruins out of MoJo’s services. The team will likely look for internal improvement by some of its more established prospects to fill the hole left by Johansson.
With established veterans at nearly every position, significant roster changes were highly unlikely for the Bruins entering this offseason. One potentially impactful move to watch for would be the signing of Alexander Khokhlachev, who has yet to re-sign in the KHL for the 2019-2020 season. The Bruins own the shifty forward’s rights until he turns 27, and there were rumors of his desire to return to North America as recently as last year. If he does decide to return to Boston, his play style would allow him to seamlessly fill the role played by Marcus Johansson.
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