( Photo by Andy Marlin / NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Sam Minton | Follow Me on Twitter @sam_minton22

Life hasn’t been easy for Jakub Zboril. The defenseman is a part of the infamous 2015 NHL Draft, and with that comes high expectations, but lately, Zboril has been showing that he can be an NHL-caliber player.

Zboril was one of three first-round picks in the 2015 draft. He was highly touted coming out of the QMJHL, where he tallied 28 goals and 66 assists in three seasons.

But it took a while for Zboril to develop. He spent two seasons in the AHL before getting his first taste of NHL hockey in the 2018-19 season. Only getting two starts, Zboril wasn’t able to make an impact.

He would get another chance in the 2020-21 season and once again struggled at times to adjust to the pace and style of play in the NHL. In 42 games, the 24-year-old only recorded nine assists.

Bruins fans were starting to lose their patience with the defenseman and started wondering if he had what it took to play with the big boys. This year, Zboril has answered the bell.

In recent games, the defenseman has looked much more comfortable playing with his Bruins teammates. Against the Montreal Canadians, Zboril made a great pass to kick start a play that ended with Boston putting the puck in the back of the net.

Recently, Zboril opened up about the struggles that he had in the first couple of years of his career. Once again, fans are reminded that players are humans, too, so it’s best not to constantly trash members of your team when they are going through a rough patch.

As a former first-round pick himself, Bruce Cassidy mentioned that he can relate to Zboril’s struggles. He even added that with social media, the pressure has only increased.

“I lived it,” he said. “You can’t help but hear it. Especially nowadays with all the social media and the chatter. You can’t block everything out.”

It seemed as though Zboril was a temporary fix while Mike Reilly was healthy scratched, but now it seems like the defenseman has earned Cassidy’s trust. The head coach stated that while Reilly will be returning to the starting lineup, Zboril won’t be going anywhere.

With how Clifton has been playing, this is a smart decision by Cassidy. He needs to change things up, and hopefully, this will give Clifton the kick in the pants he needs to start playing better.

But it has been nice to see Zboril playing well. It looks like he will be paired with Reilly, as Cassidy said that the 24-year-old could slot in on the right side.

With Derek Forbort also not playing amazing hockey at the moment, the thought of a McAvoy and Zboril pairing seems quite interesting. If Zboril can play well on the bottom-pairing, imagine what he might be capable of on the top?

So Bruins fans should be glad to see Zboril finding his footing. Now hopefully, they will lay off on social media and let Cassidy and his staff do the coaching.