With Bruins Development Camp in the rearview mirror and the dog days of summer approaching, Black N’ Gold Hockey decided it would be a good idea to rank the top ten prospects in the Boston Bruins system. We will spotlight a new entry on this list until training camp begins on Wednesday, September 20th, at Warrior Ice Arena. To qualify as a ‘prospect,’ each skater must be under 25 and cannot have spent more than 20 games with the Bruins. With those details in mind, it’s time to kick things off. Coming in at number ten is Frederic Brunet.
The Bruins selected Brunet in the 5th round of the 2022 NHL Draft after spending two-and-a-half years in the QJMHL with the Rimouski Oceanic. One of the most promising things about Brunet’s time in the Q has been his steady increase in production. Brunet finished his first season with only nine points in the 2020-21 season and 46 points in the 2021-22 season. Brunet exploded after being drafted by the Bruins, posting an impressive 16 goals, 57 assists, and 73 points last year, good for second-most points among QMJHL defensemen.
Brunet is a gifted and smooth skater who thrives on the puck’s offensive side. He uses his mobility to ignite his team on the breakout and has a knack for joining the offense and generating transition. He’s a galvanizing force when he has the puck in stride, accelerating out of his zone and changing speed effortlessly to adjust to the pace of the rush.
When in transition, Brunet has the patience to wait for passing lanes to open up and the foresight to move without the puck into open spaces. On the flip side, Brunet’s agility allows him to easily change pace and quickly transition from offense to defense when the opposition breaks out.
Brunet is the type of skater that can start a breakout, join the forwards, and get back on defense without compromising himself. An unsung part of his game is his ability to retrieve pucks from his zone and elude forecheckers. He can quickly recover and corral pucks off the boards and either make the first forechecker miss or move the puck quickly enough to counter the pressure.
His offensive awareness and hockey IQ are what separates him from his peers. Brunet was born to quarterback an NHL power-play and has the rare ability to use his eyes, shoulders, and hips to move defenders and subtly create shooting lanes for himself. He consistently puts low, tippable shots on the net through traffic and can quickly gather and shoot the puck.
He’s a solid passer, albeit with some questionable decisions mixed in, able to find sticks in traffic and open teammates in scoring positions. The Quebec native effortlessly walks the blue line, showcasing his impressive lateral mobility. Whether on his strong side or weak, Brunet can gather pucks off the wall and utilize his edges to stop-and-start, hip swivel, hesitate, or accelerate around checkers to create room for himself to get off a pass or shot.
Brunet recently attended Bruins development camp and was a standout by many accounts. The 5th-round pick shined among his peers and even managed to steal the spotlight away from fellow prospects Fabian Lysell, Mason Lohrei, and Matthew Poitras in some instances:
I’ve seen some experts knock Brunet’s play in his zone, and although he has room to grow, he has the tools to be an NHL defender. He has a solid frame at 6’2″ and 185 pounds, and his skating, as mentioned earlier, helps him keep up with quicker skaters. One thing that stands out is his active stick, which he uses skillfully to poke away pucks in transition and disrupt the in-zone offense. He could stand to add a bit of sandpaper to his game and add a bit of strength so he doesn’t get pushed around by power forwards at the next level.
Brunet is in an exciting spot regarding where he’ll play next season. The Bruins can promote the puck-moving defenseman to Providence or send him back to the QMJHL. In early July, Bruins Player Development Coordinator and old friend Adam McQuaid told Patrick Donnelly (Boston Sports Journal ) and other reporters that he hopes Frederic Brunet turns pro rather than return to the QMJHL, but nothing is definitive. Brunet skated in only one for Providence last season following his run in the QMJHL and immediately made an impact, registering two assists for the AHL affiliate in his only action.
Frederic Brunet is the ultimate high-ceiling, high-floor player. At worst, he’s a puck-moving defenseman who can work on the power play and an adequate defender. Based on the leaps he took each year, Brunet has the potential to be a fringe top-four defender and reliable power-play quarterback at the NHL level.
Return next week to see who comes in at number nine on our Bruins prospect ranking.