By: Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards
With the 2020 National Hockey League Draft fast approaching on October 6th and 7th, let us take a look at how the 2019 draft picks are progressing. This year, the Bruins will not be selecting a player in the first round as a result of the Ondrej Kase trade. It is not as bad as it sounds as the contract of David Backes was included in the deal. The Bruins will also be without a fourth-round pick as part of the Marcus Johansson deal during the 2018-19 season.
General manager Don Sweeney selected left-shot center John Beecher with the 30th overall selection in round one of the 2019 NHL Draft. The 6’3″, 210 pound Elmira, New York native played on the United States U-18 National team behind centers Jack Hughes and Alex Turcotte. Playing on a bottom-six line kept his numbers down, but he did average just under a point per game. He has a good blend of size and speed which intrigued many teams and the Bruins saw Beecher as a player who could develop his frame and play a fast game at center. With pivotmen Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci nearing the end of their careers, Boston will need to replace the center position soon.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Beecher opened many eyes at Bruins Development Camp last season with his great speed and raw strength. His powerful skating stride was apparent from the start and he showed a willingness to take the puck hard to the net. Beecher had a good first season at the University of Michigan with seven goals and nine assists in 31 games. Beecher played for the United States team in the World Junior Tournament this past year and was suspended for a boarding hit and was suspended for one game with Michigan for head butting an Ohio State player. Although the discipline is not where it needs to be, this does show a little bit of a nasty side to Beecher which, if controlled, can be a good thing in the NHL. Look for John Beecher to continue his collegiate career at Michigan for another year.
With their third-round pick, the Bruins chose Quinn Olson, a 5’11”, 170-pound left-shot, left-wing from the American Junior Hockey League. The Calgary, Alberta native is known as a feisty player who plays with an edge. At the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2019, Olson had fifteen points in 31 games as an 18-year old freshman with 24 penalty minutes. With his age and size, Olson will be best suited to play college hockey for at least the next two seasons. The Bruins like Olson’s gritty, edgy style paired with his high hockey IQ which led to the team drafting Olson 92nd overall.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Russian left-shooting defenseman Roman Bychkov was the next Bruins pick in the fifth round at 154th overall. Bychkov has been playing in the Russian junior league and did not make it to Bruins Development Camp. This makes Bychkov a more difficult read at this point. The 5’11”, 170-pound defenseman is said to be skilled offensively with excellent skating ability. Last season with Loko Yaroslavl in Russia, Bychkov did post a plus-29 rating in 62 games, but the jury is still out on whether he intends to play in the United States anytime soon.
Shortly after, the Russians answered back. Roman Bychkov (#35 EU skater) pinched in, spun around and beat Joel Blomqvist through the legs to make it 1-1. I don't remember seeing him make moves like that at the #WJAC. #NHLDraft #U18 pic.twitter.com/rcHoHVjHnV— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) February 8, 2019
Matias Mantykivi, a 5’10”, 143-pound (you read that right) left winger was the Bruins next selection in the sixth round at 185 overall. Playing in the top league in his native Finland, the 19-year old posted six points in 42 games. He does have some developing to do physically and is a project for the Bruins organization at this point. Boston may not see Mantykivi for a good three years or so, if at all.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
And finally, the Bruins took left-wing Jake Schmaltz with their last pick, in the seventh round from the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey. The 6’1″, 180-pound MacFarland, Wisconsin native is the cousin of NHLers Jordan and Nick Schmaltz and has good bloodlines. This past season, Jake played for the Green Bay Gamblers and produced 32 points in 47 games. Schmaltz with play another season with Green Bay, but is committed to the University of North Dakota beyond that and will probably play four full years there.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
With Beecher, the Bruins seem to have a center of the future and a player who can be part of the core going forward. In last year’s draft, Sweeney focused on offensive prospects and speed and skill. It will be interesting to see how the Bruins evaluate this draft and whether size and physicality will be addressed. Either way, without a first-round pick, there may not be a John Beecher this time.