by Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards
The Boston Bruins prepared for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft without a first-round pick. That selection was now in the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, who would choose right-wing Jacob Perreault with the 27th pick out of the Ontario Hockey League. Now the trade for Ondrej Kase is complete with the Ducks taking David Backes, Axel Andersson, and Perreault. The Bruins began drafting in round two last night with pick 58 after sitting out round one.
General manager Don Sweeney has been known to draft players off the board at times, and last night was the most drastic case of this philosophy when the team announced that their second-round pick was 6’4″, 200-pound left-shot defenseman Mason Lohrei from the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. This pick left even the NHL Network crew scrambling for video, of which they had none. The Verona, Wisconsin native, was ranked 132 by Central Scouting and is committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2021-22. The Bruins see potential with his size and ability to move the puck, especially out of tight spaces. Lohrei is a project who will not see time at the National Hockey League level for a few years. Lohrei is the roommate of Jake Schmaltz, who was drafted by Boston in the seventh round in 2019.
🎥 Mason Lohrei after being selected in the second round of the #NHLDraft: "I had probably a 35-40 minute phone call with Mr. Sweeney at one point this summer…I had a good feeling. I was confident." #NHLBruins | @Vistaprint pic.twitter.com/a1Dp1oq9li— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 7, 2020
Boston would then draft in the third round and select center Trevor Kuntar, a 6 foot, 200-pound top ten scorer in the USHL last season. He is viewed by eliteprospects.com as a highly competitive player with a good motor and battles for pucks. Kuntar was ranked the 143rd North American skater by Central Scouting, but 83rd by TSN. This pick was not quite the reach that Lohrei was, and Kuntar showed excellent offensive production with 53 points in 44 games with the Youngstown Phantoms. The Bruins will be able to see a lot of Kuntar’s games as he has committed to Boston College and will play there as a freshman in 2020-21. Following the roommate trend as Kuntar roomed with Curtis Hall, who was selected by Boston in the fourth round in 2018.
After not having a fourth-rounder, which was traded for Marcus Johansson, the Bruins fifth-round pick has a familiar last name to NHL and Bruins fans. Mason Langenbrunner became the 182nd pick in the draft when Boston chose the 6’2″, 165-pound Moose Lake, Minnesota native who is the son of former NHLer and Bruins Director of Player Development Jamie Langenbrunner. Mason was ranked 131st among North American skaters by Central Scouting, which is a good value at this point in the draft. Langenbrunner is committed to Harvard University and will join the Crimson in 2021-22.
In the sixth-round, Sweeney went back to the Youngstown Phantoms by choosing Woburn, Massachusetts native Riley Duran, a 6’2″, 180-pound center who scored 44 points in 27 games at Lawrence Academy last season. Duran was ranked the 95th North American skater by Central Scouting and will join the Phantoms this season before heading to Providence College in 2021-22. The Bruins traded their seventh-round selection to Toronto for the Maple Leafs’ 2021 seventh-rounder.
"My brain is still twisting right now…I never thought I'd be at this point. It's just awesome."— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 8, 2020
🎥 Woburn's Riley Duran reacts to being drafted by his hometown team. #NHLBruins | @Vistaprint pic.twitter.com/yuTExozSGm
In all, it was a fairly uneventful draft for Sweeney and the Bruins and even created some head-scratching analysis. All four players are deemed projects and will not see the American Hockey League any time soon. The Bruins ended the draft with two defensemen and two centers, but the one common denominator was they all have size and compete level. The Bruins recently have gone with more speed and skill on the roster, and it has been a contributing factor in losing to St. Louis and Tampa Bay the last two seasons. Another common theme is that all drafted players are North American players. In fact, the Bruins have not drafted a Canadian player from the OHL since they drafted three in 2017. Time will tell if any of these young prospects will be Boston Bruins down the road.