By: Kevin Perry | Follow Me on Twitter @Kevperry_
The Boston Bruins came into day two of the NHL Entry Draft with five selections and had a common theme and purpose for each of their selections. The theme of the Bruins’ draft was drafting players with size, as the smallest selection stands at 6’1″.
The Bruins also Identified a need at the center position using their first three picks on players who could help bolster the center position in the future. Below are each of the 2023 Boston Bruins draft selections.
Third Round Selection (#92) Christopher Pelosi, Center, USHL Sioux Falls Stampede
The Boston Bruins used pick number 92 to select 6’2″ Christopher Pelosi. Pelosi, who split time last season between the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League and the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, had 36 points in 67 games between the two leagues.
At 6’2″, Pelosi can be someone the Bruins look at as a project down the line, as he can hopefully continue to grow as he develops to be a big-bodied center in the future. The Bruins may see him like their 2019 first-round pick John Beecher, another big left-handed center. The thing with Pelosi is he is physically gifted at working out front of the net. Physicality and net-front presence are noted as major strengths of his game.
Pelosi is a native of Sewell, New Jersey but played high school hockey locally in Rhode Island at Mount Saint Charles from 2020 to 2022 before jumping to junior hockey this past season. Pelosi was the 127th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He will be attending Quinnipiac University this fall.
Fourth Round Selection (#124) Beckett Hendrickson, Forward, USNTDP
The Bruins continued their draft by selecting another 6’2″ forward. Beckett Hendrickson is as solid as they come in all aspects of his game. He is a player with solid offensive instincts who can create separation to make plays but also is not afraid to shoot when given the opportunity. Hendrickson finished last season with 34 points in 52 games (13 goals, 21 assists) with the USNTDP U-18 team and 16 points in 21 games (7 goals, nine assists) with the USNTDP team that competes in the USHL. He was also a gold medal-winning USA team member at this past year’s U-18 World Junior Championship, where he had two assists in seven games.
He is the son of former NHL player and current Minnesota Wild assistant coach Darby Hendrickson so his hockey background is as strong as they come. From all accounts, he is a rink rat which is great for a player who will need to develop moving forward. This also helo his versatility as he has played center and wing at the USNTDP.
Hockeywriters.com contributes to his need to grow physically as an area of improvement. “Another area that may have hampered Hendrickson’s production is his lack of size, which could certainly benefit from adding some bulk to his 170-pound frame. That will also benefit him at the next level, complementing his tenacious forechecking ability.”
This can be fixed moving forward, as Hendrickson will grow into his body as all 18-year-olds eventually do. He was the 67th-ranked North American skater in the final central scouting rankings, moving up thirty spots from the previous rankings in January. Hendrickson will spend next season in juniors and enroll at the University of Minnesota in 2024.
Sixth Round Selection (#188) Ryan Walsh, Center, USHL Cedar Rapids Rough Riders
The Bruins drafted their third American so far, selecting Ryan Walsh. Walsh is a 6’1″ right-handed center who has shown the ability to put the puck in the back of the net at the junior level. He was one of only 13 players in the league to score over 30 goals, while he finished second in the USHL in scoring with 79 points behind one of next year’s projected top picks Mack Celebrini.
This was Walsh’s third year being draft eligible as he played high school hockey at the Salsbury School in Connecticut last year, where he scored 16 goals and had 23 assists in 36 games. While Walsh set the single-season scoring mark for the Rough Riders last year, he also was named to the USHL’s first-team all-league.
The first thing about Walsh is his ability to shoot the puck. He utilized his lethal one-timer this past year, scoring twelve power-play goals from the spot so many right-handed shooters have made famous.
Ryan Walsh is a swing-for-the-fences type of pick from the Bruins, as they’re taking a shot on an overage draftee that could pay off. Walsh will head home to New York next year to attend Cornell University. Bruins fans everywhere should keep an eye out for moving forward.
Seventh Round Selection (#214) Casper Nässén, Right Wing, Västerås IK J20
The Bruins move across the Atlantic for this pick as they select Casper Nässén from Västerås IK J20. The Swede, who stands at a massive 6’4″ and well over two hundred pounds, is another player who was draft eligible in years past.
He is the 138th-ranked European skater, and the fascinating thing about him is even on the Olympic-sized ice that European leagues use, he was still able to score a goal every other game, which is a testament to his offensive ability. Nässén will attend the University of Miami next season.
Seventh Round Selection (#220) Kristian Kostadinski, Defenseman, Frölunda HC J20
The second Swede drafted by the Bruins and the only defenseman drafted is Kristian Kostadinski. This is a pick where the Bruins are rolling the dice on a massive defenseman.
At 6’5″, Kostadinski is a left-handed defenseman who scored twice and had eight assists in games at the Junior 20 level last year while scoring one goal and nine assists in 15 games at the Junior 18 level. He played 22 games junior games representing Sweden internationally, recording two assists.