By: Ryan Ellis | Follow Ryan on Twitter @_RyEllis_
With NHL and Boston Bruins action less than a month away, it’s hard not to get excited at the idea of strolling down Causeway and moseying on up the North Station escalators into the TD Garden. The sensory overload provided by the sounds of the organ, raucous fans, and PA announcer mixed with the faint smell of vulcanized rubber, stale popcorn, and beer settles you like a warm blanket. To some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. To others, it can serve as a reminder that your favorite sport may be outgrowing your wallet.
As amazing (and borderline spiritual) of an experience, a Boston Bruins game may be, it is not always budget-friendly. That’s not to say you can’t get your hockey fix in the Greater Boston Area. We’ll even do you one better! You can find a few players right here in New England that are recent draft picks of our beloved B’s. Marquee matchups can still get pricey if you are ballin’ on a budget. If you take a few minutes to poke around, there are more than enough games with a more reasonable amount of digits left of the decimal point.
There are three recent Bruins’ draft picks gearing up for the NCAA Men’s Hockey season right here in New England. Forwards Riley Duran and Trevor Kuntar, and Defensemen Ty Gallagher, are three of the nine prospects in the Bruins organization playing at the collegiate level this year. Get to know some of the young talents who learn and lace ’em up right here in our own backyard.
Ty Gallagher – D – Boston University
After a strong showing at the 2021 U-18 World Junior Championship, where Gallagher scored three goals in five games, the Bruins spent their seventh-round pick on the trigger-happy, right-shot defenseman. A native of Clarkston, Michigan, the 18-year-old Gallagher chose to take his talents to Comm. Ave., where Head Coach Albie O’Connell hopes to mold the young blueliner in the image of a former Terrier standout and current Bruins’ star, Charlie McAvoy. No pressure, kid.
To be fair, no one is actually expecting Gallagher to reach Chuckie Bright Lights status. But as a high octane right-shot who definitely does not back down from putting up points, why not compare the two? As Ty fills out, he will even sport a similar build to Boston’s #73. He has plenty of work to put in before any realistic comparisons are made, but this kid is fun to watch.
If you get the chance to watch this youngster play, keep an eye out for shifty and crisp passes if he decides not to shoot. In the offensive zone, he’s tactful and disciplined. On the other end, he may not show the flashes of excellence he can with the puck on his stick; however, he avoids mistakes and is generally average (or slightly above) in all facets of his game. Fine-tuning his game while gaining size and experience in the Hockey East should do wonders for his development while playing with and against top-level collegiate talent. This should give him a chance to compete in Providence at some point in the next couple of years if he ultimately signs his rookie deal with the Bruins.
Riley Duran – C – Providence College
Like the other two Hocket East players on this list, Riley Duran is an American-born player. Unlike the other two, Riley Duran is a hometown kid. Lawrence Academy alumni and Woburn’s own is heading down I-95 to join the PC Friars squad led by Head Coach Nate Leaman. By looks alone, one would expect Duran to be bound for the pros. At six-foot-three and creeping towards 200-pounds, a few years at PC, and then with the P-B’s, this long-term prospect has time to fill out and refine his game before signing. As a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft, the Bruins see Duran as a project with plenty of time and lots of pro potential.
For a long-player, the kid can move! If you find yourself at Schneider Arena in Providence, keep an eye out for the tall kid effortlessly outskating opponents. His long strides make him deceptively fast. A great trick you can still play on opponents in transition well into your NHL career. Hell, Taylor Hall still manages to catch opponents sleeping while nonchalantly gliding along, 11-years into his career, and is only six-foot-one!
Being drafted straight out of prep school leaves him very green with a long road to The Show. The hometown kid has a noted work ethic that will be crucial to his development. A trait like that may accelerate his progress as he faces off and gains experience against stiff Hockey East competition.
Trevor Kuntar – C/LW – Boston College
Last but certainly not least, I present to you the Bruins’ 2020 third-round draft pick, Trevor Kuntar from Buffalo, New York. Standing six feet tall and a tick over 200-pounds, the 20-year-old Kuntar is prepping for his sophomore season with the Boston College Eagles. Of the three players on this list, he undoubtedly has the highest ceiling and expectations for the Bruins organization.
Kuntar has an NHL-ready body. The stocky forward lines up at Center but can also be moved over to the Left-Wing. He uses his size along the boards to dig out pucks and keep the offensive pressure moving. Not just a physical player, Kuntar wields a cannon of a shot that he has confidence and the ability to take from any position in the offensive zone. A physical power-forward playing a 200-foot game is precisely the style of player Bruins’ fans drool over.
Kuntar was on the ice at Warrior Ice Arena for rookie camp and will continue to develop under BC head coach Jerry York. He is due for an increased role and ice time this year for the Eagles. Another year of Hockey East experience will fine-tune an already impressive game that had some scouts projecting him as a second-round pick out of the USHL. Expect to hear more on Kuntar as he should become one of the more talked about Bruins prospects over the next few years.
Please keep coming back to BlackNGoldHockey.com for more Bruins collegiate prospect breakdowns as we will continue down the list of nine NCAA skaters in the organization.