By: Ryan Ellis | Follow Ryan on Twitter @_RyEllis_
In our third and final look at the Boston Bruins prospects playing this season in the NCAA, we find a few of the more talked about youngsters in the organization. These three 20-year-old NHL hopefuls have high expectations. It would be worth your while as a Bruins fan to familiarize yourself with their names and their games. It won’t be long until you begin hearing more and more about them, if you haven’t already.
Quinn Olson – LW/C – University of Minnesota-Duluth
The lesser-known of this trio, we have Quinn Olson entering his junior year as a member of the Bulldogs. The 2019 third-round pick is hoping for a bounceback season. He put up only 11 points in his Sophomore campaign compared to the 15 he posted as a true Freshman. Despite a slide offensively, he improved his overall game by working on his neutral zone and defensive skills.
The Calgary native cut his teeth in the Alberta Junior Hockey League before joining an esteemed NCAA program like UMD. He lit up the AJHL, a league on the rise, before making the jump to the Bulldogs. He is a shifty and speedy left-wing who can win puck battles along the boards and set up linemates for scoring chances. Olson projects as a bottom-six check forward that could be useful throughout the lineup. High energy and undersized at 5′-11″, 170-pounds (for now) has Bruins fan favorite written all over it.
It will be a few years until his name’s called in Providence and potentially Boston. Playing in one of the more competitive conferences in the NCAA under Head Coach Scott Sandelin will be great for his development. If he can pack on some pounds, he could carve out a niche playing style that can catapult him to an NHL career.
Mason Lohrei – D – Ohio State University
Now we are getting to the meat and potatoes. Mason Lohrei, a product of Madison, Wisconsin, stands at 6′-4″ and a tick over 200-pounds. In the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, he was a second-round selection by the Boston Bruins, who did not own a first-round pick. Lohrei enters his first year as a Badger under Head Coach Steve Rohlik.
With an NHL-ready frame, Boston’s brass is looking more at his mechanics in the defensive zone. Just a few years ago, Mason was a forward at Culver Military Academy. It would appear that he has adapted nicely to the blueline, earning the USHL’s Defenseman of the Year honors last season with the Green Bay Gamblers.
Despite his offensive gifts, he takes a lot of pride in his defensive abilities and considers himself a two-way defenseman. Mason shows off his hockey IQ by playing a balanced game that will continue to frustrate opponents. A skilled puck-mover that knows when to hang back and snap a clean breakout pass will make him an instant threat in transition as his opponents can only guess which route he’ll take. With Mason Lohrei, it’s less of “if” we will see him in a Boston Bruins sweater and more of “when.”
John Beecher – C/LW – University of Michigan
The 6′-3″, 210-pound forward out of Elmira, New York, is heading back to Ann Arbor for his Junior year. And who could blame him? Beecher re-joins his Wolverine teammates as one of seven first-round draft picks! Playing alongside this caliber of talent will do nothing but good things for his game.
Looking the part of an NHL-ready player is one thing. Playing like one is another, and Beecher does. He wields a heavy shot and protects the puck playing a strong, possession game as a power-forward. What Beecher lacks in puck handling, he makes up for with his straight-line speed. If he has an open lane, he is a runaway freight train the opposition does not want to see.
Beecher doesn’t appear to be the type of forward that the offense will flow through, but given his size and hard shot, he could be a menace with the right line combinations. Outside of Jack Studnicka, the Bruins’ high-ceiling depth at the center position is lacking. John Beecher could be an excellent addition to the bottom six after more time in Ann Arbor or Providence.
So there you have it, Bruins fans. Three parts and nine players later, you should have enough ammunition to win your next prospect argument. Keep coming back to BlackNGoldHockey.com as we check in on how each player’s season unfolds.