Bruins’ Prospect Beecher Shined At World Juniors Summer Showcase

John-Beecher

( Photo credit Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images )

By: Ian Frazier | Follow Me On Twitter @ifrazier95

Boston Bruins fans must be feeling pretty good right now after reading the reports and watching recent YouTube videos about the team’s 2019 National Hockey League first-round draft selection John Beecher. The 18-year-old Elmira, New York native was labeled as a draft steal to some experts when he was selected 30th in late Junes NHL Entry Draft from Vancouver, British Columbia. The jury is still out on him, but with the way Beecher played in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase held at the Team USA Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, the B’s scouting staff certainly got this one right when addressing future needs.

Beecher looked like an absolute beast compared to other prospects his age. As shown in the video above, he was able to win puck battles on the boards as well as score a couple goals down low. He also battled hard on faceoffs and generated a nice breakaway goal that was made possible by his fast acceleration down the ice beating two defenders. During his time at WJSS, he developed great chemistry alongside fellow Bruins’ prospect Curtis Hall showing their nice one-two punch that was on display during the domination of Finland 7-1. One of his biggest attributes on display was his overall team awareness. He knew exactly where his teammates were and was able to make crisp passes or be able to skate in and help contain the puck near the crease. From what he has shown so far, many hockey insiders believe his style of play is very similar to Sean Couturier with additional speed and size.

With Beecher showing flashes of top six potential, this should be great news for Bruins center David Krejci going forward. Krejci has had seasons where he struggled to have consistent scoring due to the lack of explosiveness on his right side and someone like Beecher could bring that explosiveness to the black and gold and could fill the much-needed position soon. The Bruins had a few prospects the last few seasons try out there with Jackob Forsbaka Karlsson being the most recent. JFK, however, decided to go back to Sweeden to help his development. In the meantime they found a solid replacement with Bruins forward Karson Kuhlman to hold down the fort until someone like Beecher is ready to be called up. Beecher is scheduled to transfer to the University of Michigan where he will play for the Wolverines during the 2019-20 NCAA season.

Over the past few seasons, players like this have been a much-needed asset for many teams and Beecher may be the next in line that fits that mold. One thing is for sure though, Bruins fans should be excited about him, and they should be happy knowing that Sweeney may have found a future solution at second-line right wing. We still don’t know for sure if Beecher is a long-time solution for the club down the road, but the future looks bright for this young man. Time will tell!

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

Allred: Top-10 Bruins Prospects

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan, I also pay close attention to the organization’s prospects in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins and lower levels of developmental hockey around the world. I believe it’s important for B’s fans to not only be up to date with what’s going on with the National Hockey League team in Boston but also who’s standing out in the prospect pool and about to cross the threshold of future NHL professional careers.

These top-ten ranking below are my thoughts on where I see these prospects in the B’s developing depth with minimal if no games in the NHL. This was a great idea from our Senior writer Mike Cratty who came to our writing team of 17 members for that offseason content and to keep the B’s conversation going. Check out the two previous prospect ranking articles from Mike Cratty HERE, and writer Lucas Pearson’s rankings Here to see the difference in opinions when it comes to this offseason topic. Without further ado, here are my Top-10 Boston Bruins Prospect Rankings.

10) Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Sometimes first-round NHL drafted players don’t get to the highest level in the world after leaving the draft podium, but with NHL contracted players ahead of Zboril it gives time to properly develop. The now 22-year-old two-way defenseman has one-year remaining on his current entry-level contract before becoming a restricted free agent. Jakub will most likely spend another season with the Providence Bruins where he’s played in 124 career games posting 8-30-38 numbers. In two career NHL games during his callups from the AHL, Zboril went pointless but did get a taste of the NHL which could drive him to seriously compete for a spot at training camp in September.

9) Zach Senyshyn

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Another young player with tremendous upside when he was selected in the first round in 2015 along with the aforementioned Zboril. In my opinion, Senyshyn has the attributes to be an NHL’er, but the pipeline ahead of him hasn’t been easy to crack the code to be a regular. With one-year remaining on his entry-level deal Zach is going to have to work harder than ever to get the attention of the Bruins brass high above to address a serious need on the right side of the B’s forward core.

In 132 career AHL games with Providence, the 22-year-old has 26-24-50 numbers and in two games during the 2018-19 campaign got his first career NHL goal when he was called up and played in a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. I can see Senyshyn playing a majority of next year in Providence, but he could also get more looks during this upcoming 2019-20 NHL season.

8) Jeremy Lauzon

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Jeremy is another prospect that is being hindered by the bottlenecking factor of this Bruins organization, especially for a depth defenseman. Lauzon is on the last year of his entry-level deal and overly not sure of his NHL timeline with the core ahead of him. I’d expect he’s going to have a solid camp and will impress those who are constructing a winner in the next regular season campaign but another season in Providence developing is what I see in my crystal ball. Lauzon did play in 16 games at the NHL level during the 2018-19 season and thought he played well earning his first and only NHL goal in that timeframe. With Providence appearing in 81 games the former 2015 second-round selection posted 2-12-14 numbers in his career thus far in the AHL.

7) Trent Frederic

( Photo Credit: Team Shred Photography )

By far, one of my favorite prospects in the Bruins system. Frederic has speed and creativity, but above all, he plays with that edge that can get him into the NHL Bruins lineup no matter what forward line. He has good speed with or without the puck, and his strength in the faceoff circle is another tremendous attribute when winning draws in critical situations.

The 2018-19 season was Frederics first full season of AHL hockey and as a rookie in the league contributed offensively with 14-11-25 numbers. I still believe that Trent’s game can only get better with his time developing in Providence but did have a few good looks in his first career NHL games in the 2018-19 season where he spent 15 games with the Boston club failing to register a point.  Frederic is another big kid with serious upside as a 21-year-old and can definitely see his offensive numbers getting better with the upcoming season with two more full seasons under his current entry-level contract.

6) Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: TheAHL.com / NBCSports.com )

Signed to an entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent back in October of 2017 after losing former Bruins prospect netminder Malcolm Subban via the waiver process to the Vegas Golden Knights. Since Keyser’s addition to the future plans of the Bruins crease, the Coral Springs, Florida native has really impressed me and continues to pass other goaltending prospects that were drafted in previous years.

Keyser is a 20-year-old netminder who’s eligible for the AHL action in the upcoming season. With Zane McIntyre out of the picture and the Bruins signing Maxime Legace to a one-year deal to add to the netminding depth there are rumors he could start his minor-pro career in the ECHL. The AHL full time is not out of the realm depending on what the B’s want to do with goaltender Dan Vladar. Kyle had a career year last season playing for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals where he tied his career-high in games played with 47 and a record of 32-8-0 with a 2.45 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage.

5) Axel Andersson

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

One of the more intriguing defensive prospects, in my opinion.  Drafted in the second round in 2018, Andersson was quickly signed to an entry-level contract after the close of the teams annual Development Camp. The 6′-0″ 180-pound defenseman has impeccable skating abilities along with impressive edge work. He has a high hockey IQ and the ability to snap tape to tape stretch passes for quick transition offensively.

Andersson is not a point-producing blueliner, but that part of his game could be incorporated with his time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Moncton Wildcats a team who selected him in the 2019 CHL Import Draft where he went 30th overall in the first round. From the folks I talk to in the Moncton, New Brunswick Canada area is that he’s going to be heavily relied on the backend and could see top-line minutes in all situations.

4) Jakub Lauko

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Probably one of the most exciting prospects when it comes to raw talent. Lauko’s speed and puck control in full speed has been a pleasure to watch in his first development camp and his games in the “Q” with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. After he was selected in the third round of the 2018 NHL draft, he joined the Huskies club a year later as the Rouyn-Noranda club had his rights from drafting him in the CHL import draft. Lauko and the Huskies would go onto have one of the best seasons known to be with the team being the best in the QMJHL during the regular season, capturing the Presidents Trophy in the playoffs, and marching into Halifax, Nova Scotia to take home the Memorial Cup,

In 44 games for the Huskies, Lauko contributed with 21-20-41 numbers and 6-7-13 totals in the postseason. He’s definitely a work in progress and will be in the pro ranks soon enough, but I’m a firm believer in properly developing players and could see him back with the Huskies for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The AHL is another possibility but like I said another solid year in the QMJHL defending the outstanding President Trophy and Memorial Cup-winning year wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3) John Beecher

( Photo Credit: by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images )

Beecher is a 2019 first-round draft pick that has intimidating size and speed for an 18-year-old that’s about to start his NCAA hockey career at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019. With players like Studnicka, Lauko, and Keyser excused from the 2019 Bruins Development Camp festivities, Beecher had the spotlight on him as the new kind in the system. His power forward mentality and creativity for a bigger player has been something to watch that’s for sure. His tremendous upside was on full display in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase held in Plymouth, Michigan where he was in the top-six of the tournament scoring for earning 4-1-5 numbers in five games played.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this type of player he becomes at Michigan in his first year of collegiate hockey. If he can earn five points in five games on a team highlighted with names like Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev, and Joel Farabee, the young Beecher could see an increased role with the NCAA Wolverines in a top-six powerhouse role under the tutelage of Head Coach Melvin Pearson and play with fellow B’s prospect Jack Becker.

2) Urho Vaakanainen

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports )

If any prospect defenseman is ready to cross the threshold of a long NHL Bruins career, it’s former first-rounder Vaakanainen. Due to an unfortunate head injury to start the 2018-19 NHL regular season, Urho would come back to the game later after recovering from a concussion to play the remaining games of the year with the Providence Bruins. The 20-year-old Vaakanainen started his pro career with Providence and was called up in October of 2018 due to injuries at the NHL level.

After only two NHL games and zero points, Urho suffered a concussion and didn’t return to the game for two months. When he did return to the game, he was placed in Providence where he played the remainder of the 2018-19 AHL season. Vaakanainen’s return would be in mid-January of 2019 and in 30 games to close the regular season Urho posted 4-10-14 numbers. As mentioned above a few times, current NHL contracts in Boston could hinder Vaakanainen from an NHL return for the upcoming season but the rumors of B’s defenseman going on the LTIR to start the year, Urho could easily make a return to the NHL lineup without a doubt.

Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Drafted in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Studnicka has worked extremely hard the last couple of seasons trying to make the NHL out of training camp. This year he could very well be in the mix for a forward position, but with the current depth up the middle, jack very well could see time on the wing if needed. The 6′-1″ 172-pound natural center has spent the last four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and last season posting 12-22-34 numbers in 30 games for the Oshawa Generals before being shipped to the Niagara Icedogs via trade where he posted 24-25-49 numbers in 30 games played.

Between Oshawa where Captain Jack played three seasons prior and Niagara for a 30 game stint, Studnicka had his best offensive numbers posting 36-47-83 totals for his best OHL career season surpassing his previous career-high of 72 points in the 2017-18 campaign. As a person that like to see Bruins prospects properly develop, I’d like to see Studnicka play at least a full season in the AHL because if the B’s organization is seriously considering moving him to a wing position, he should learn that transition in Providence with what’s looking like a very impressive lineup for the upcoming season.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

How The Bruins Stack Up In The East For 2019-20 Campaign?

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer – Getty Images)

By: Ian Frazier  |  Follow Me On Twitter @ifrazier95

With the offseason in full gear, teams around the league have started preparations for the 2019-2020 season. The Bruins, while having a quiet offseason so far, have made a couple of minor moves to help their depth out like bringing back Steve Kampfer and Connor Clifton as well as signing free agent Brett Ritchie and Par Lidholm. While we await the news on both McAvoy and Carlo lets take a look at how the Bruins match up with the rest of the eastern conference as of today.

Atlantic Divison 

The Bruins’ division so far this offseason have made upgrades and has some question marks too. The Tampa Bay lightning are the favorites to win the division again, and it would be silly to think the Bruins are on their level after the last regular season’s finish. While the Lightning did lose a key defenseman in Stralman, they added a decent defenseman in Luke Schenn as well as Nolan Foote in the draft. They also signed ex-Hurricane goalie Curtis McElhinney and ex-Devil Scott Wedgewood. They still have the rest of the original gang from last season returning with the question mark being Point and how much will Tampa Bay pay him and for how many years? As it stands right now, the Bruins goaltending duo of Rask and Halak is right on par with Tampa’s, but Tampa still has better forwards up and down the roster, and their defense is a bit stronger than the Bruins so don’t expect the Bruins to pass them for the division crown this year.

The Bruins’ other closest opponent the Maple Leafs right now is a bit of a question mark team. Their additions of Kerfoot and Barrie give them a much-needed boost on both offense and defense, however, they lose Kadri and are still waiting for the shoe to drop on Mitch Marner who seems to want to get a huge payday. Berrie provides a nice offensive game to the Leafs defense and skates well, but with the loss of Zaitsev to Ottawa and the failure to address their back end this offseason, the Leafs defense is once again hit or miss. Expect the Bruins to take advantage of this as the Leafs will have to rely on offense (again) to carry them which will help the Bruins slip past them in the standings as the Leafs drop some important games down the stretch due to a weaker than average defense.

As far as the rest of the division goes, nobody knows. Buffalo, Ottawa, and Detriot are not in the same stratosphere as the Bruins right now, and while Florida has signed Bobvrosky, they still have many holes which won’t be enough to catch the Bruins, but maybe could sneak them into a wildcard spot. We will have to wait and see.

Metropolitan Division

The Metro is where things get dicey in the east. New Jersey went on a spending spree adding Wayne Simmonds and P.K Subban to go along with Taylor Hall and Travis Zajac. They buffed their depth with taking a special talent Jack Hughes with the first overall pick. Expect New Jersey to be right in the mix along with the Bruins as their offense just became more dynamic, and their defense became stronger with the addition of Subban. The Washington Capitals, as we know, have been the Bruins’ biggest kryptonite the past few seasons and will once again be in the mix for a top seed along with the Bruins. It is imperative the Bruins solve Holtby this year, which is a tall task for them, but it can go a long way with later down the line when the Bruins have to play for seeding. The New York Rangers also became a bigger threat after drafting Kappo Kako and sign Panarin. With Lundqvist still in the cage, the Rangers are no slouches to contend for a wildcard spot. Bruins have more depth and firepower than the Rangers but expect them to be right in the thick of things.

The rest of the division is a toss-up. In honesty, every single team in the Metro could make the playoffs this year, and the Bruins have separated themselves from half the division, they still have to keep two sets of eyes on it just to make sure no one is sneaking up behind them or they have an early playoff matchup with one of the teams.

It’s hard to exactly judge where the Bruins will stand towards the end of the season, but as of right now they are still a top 5 team in the east, but they need to make sure the Carlo and McAvoy contracts get done if they want to stay that way. Look for Boston to be right in the playoff mix by midseason again with basically the same core and goaltending duo.

Potential Trade Targets For The Bruins This Offseason

(Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

By: Lucus Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

With free agency just around the corner, the Bruins will continue to look for additions to their roster. While the cap is certainly still an issue, I thought up of a few players whose names have been around the news and could fit in well in black and gold.

Chris Kreider

The Boxford Massachusetts native Kreider has been linked to the Bruins for a while now and would certainly fit well with the Bruins. The biggest issue for the UFA to be is that neither he or Bruins current second line left winger Jake DeBrusk can really play on the right side. We saw Debrusk a few times at right wing and he didn’t look very comfortable there. With that being said, Kreider is still a bonafide top-six winger that the Bruins could really use. If the price is right (which is key because there will be multiple teams chomping at the bit for this forward) the Bruins should try to pull the trigger on Kreider.

(Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Jimmy Vesey

Yet another New York Ranger from Massachusetts. Boston was a major contender in the Vesey sweepstakes a few years ago, but he elected to sign in New York instead. Regardless, with the addition of youngsters Kappo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov, the Rangers are looking to move a forward and Vesey seems to be one of the guys they’d like to move. He would be a relatively cheap asset to acquire that would fit into the Bruins middle-six very well. He’s a big body at 6’3, can play both wings, and has hit the 16 goal mark in each of his three seasons in the NHL. Maybe a couple mid-round draft picks, and a decent prospect like Peter Cehlarik could get a deal done.

Jason Zucker

Zucker sits at #2 on the TSN Trade Bait board at the moment, so it seems like there’s a very good chance he gets dealt and the Bruins look to be one of the teams going after him. Zucker has failed to hit 20 goals in a season just once since he became a full-time NHLer in 2014. After a breakout season in the 2017-18 where Zucker was able to light the lamp 33 times, Zucker had a bit of a down year, totaling just 42 points throughout the campaign. Unlike Kreider who will be a UFA at the end of the season, Zucker is locked up for another four years at a respectable $5.5 million per year. With the Wild looking to get younger, the Bruins 2020 1st round pick or some of the many NHL ready prospects the Bs boast could certainly be used to acquire Zucker.

Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi wants to be traded, per a report from TSN.

(Photo Credit: Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports)

Jesse Puljujarvi

Darren Dreger has recently reported that the 21-year-old wants out of Edmonton and it seems like a perfect “buy low” opportunity for the Bruins. The 2016 4th overall pick hasn’t had much success with the Oilers, totaling just 37 points and a -10 rating in 139 games, but didn’t get a ton of ice time playing primarily 3rd line minutes with minimal use on the powerplay. It’s been rumored the Oilers could move him if they got a top nine forward back in return so whether the Bruins are willing to give up a solid roster player for a question mark like Puljujarvi is yet to be seen, but if they can turn around the young Fin’s career, he would be a perfect fit on David Krejci’s right with his 6’4 frame.

Nikolaj Ehlers

This last player hasn’t been linked to the Bruins at all, but man would he look good in black and gold. His name has been thrown around in a lot of rumors throughout the league. He was locked up long term in 2017 and is entering the second year of his seven-year, $42 million deal. He is still very young at 23 years old, and despite a down year this year, he looks to be a potential star in the making with two 60 point seasons already under his belt. Now Ehlers would cost more than the rest of the players on this list but is definitely the best fit long term. With the Jets trading Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers heading to free agency, Winnipeg would more than likely look for a right-handed defenseman in return. The only problem for the Bruins is that their two most attractive options (Charlie Mcavoy and Brandon Carlo) look to be major pieces for the Bruins future. Maybe the Bruins can figure out something, but it’s more than likely that the Jets will find a better fit than the Bruins, still an interesting thought though.

Bruins Select John Beecher 30th Overall In The 2019 NHL Entry Draft

Beecher.0.jpg

(Photo: Rena Laverty / USA Hockey)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The Boston Bruins have selected center John Beecher with the 30th-overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The Elmira, New York native is a product of the United States National Development Team Program, where he spent the last two seasons.

Last season, the 18-year-old posted 43 points (15 goals and 28 assists) in 63 games for the U.S. National U18 team last season as well as 6-14-20 totals in 27 games for the USNTDP Juniors (USHL)–all the while playing behind the likes of guys like Jack Hughes and Alex Turcotte. Beecher posted three goals and one assist for four points in seven games with Team USA at the World Junior Championships en route to a bronze medal.

In 2017-18 the 6-foot-3, 209-pound forward tallied 17 goals, 24 assists, and 41 points in 60 games while playing with the U.S. National U17 Team. Beecher also registered nine goals and 16 assists in 34 games for the USNTDP Juniors. While playing for Salisbury School (USHS-Prep) in Connecticut in 2016-17, Beecher racked up 24 points (12 goals and 12 assists), skating in 30 games.

A University of Michigan recruit for the 2019-20 season, Beecher is a very strong skater, especially considering his size, with a good shot and nice instincts. He has room to grow offensively, especially in terms of his creativity, but is a strong forechecker and penalty killer; playing in the NCAA at Michigan will serve him well.

Five Potential Fits For The Bruins With The 30th Overall Pick

Image result for connor mcmichael

(Photo Credit: MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

The 2019 NHL Entry Draft will get underway this Friday, a long-awaited day for many hockey fans. Who will go first? Jack Hughes? Kaapo Kakko? Who will go third after those two? Those questions and many more will be answered.

Don Sweeney’s time to shine for the Bruins will come much later in the first round and beyond than those decisions in relation to top prospects like Hughes and Kakko.

The Bruins hold the 30th overall pick in the first round. Below you will find five players that I believe would be great fits for the Bruins near the end of the first round. I will save my number one guy for last, although some of you probably already know who it is.

Albin Grewe – C/RW – Djurgårdens IF J20 – SuperElit

Amongst many questions that this Swedish forward fielded at the NHL Draft Combine, one of them was to say who a player he likes was. His answer? Bruins forward Brad Marchand. Grewe spoke to 23 of the 31 NHL teams at the combine. When you watch Grewe play, you’ll see the similarities to him and Marchand.

Their frames are very similar, Grewe is slightly taller than Marchand, and their both tenacious, shifty wingers who are tough to knock off the puck. If you look at his profile on eliteprospects.com, you’ll see things like this:

“He’s a strong skater, who’s relentless on the forecheck, and a serious trash talker who gets under the skin of his opponents each night, EPrinkside.com 2019

“He is at the top of the food chain, a t-rex, eats everything and thinks everything is under him, Robert Ohlsson (Coach) 2018

Getting under the skin of his opponents is certainly similar to Marchand, but what I like the most is what his coach, Robert Ohlsson had to say. What an epic way to be described. My first thought when first evaluating Grewe as a player was that he plays like a junkyard dog, but being the top of the food chain and being a t-rex are perfect descriptions. Grewe earns his space and isn’t afraid of much, and when he finds a scoring chance, he has good vision and a very quick release.

Last season with Djurgårdens IF J20 of the SuperElit league, Grewe was over a point-per-game player with 34 points (13-21-34) in 25 regular season games. He can also play both center and right wing. Who doesn’t love versatility? In my eyes, Grewe would be a perfect fit with the style of play that the Bruins bring to the table as a whole. Below you can find highlights of Grewe playing internationally for Team Sweden from this past year.

(Video Credit: bigwhite06 on YouTube)

Philip Tomasino – C – Niagara IceDogs – OHL

This one is sort of unlikely, but the draft can be unpredictable. I say this because there is a good chance that Philip Tomasino will not be on the board at pick 30. But if he is, Don Sweeney and crew should totally consider drafting him.

Fun fact about Tomasino, for a brief time this past season he was a teammate of Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka. This was after Studnicka was traded from the Oshawa Generals to the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. Studnicka gave Tomasino some pointers before the combine. Tomasino spoke to 30 teams at the combine

Tomasino: NHL combine interview (Audio provided by @markscheig on Twitter):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fl7pi6tmryvn715/Philip%20Tomasino.m4a?dl=0

Another fun fact, Tomasino is still only 17-years-old, and will be until July 28. What strikes me the most about Tomasino is his skating ability. His stride is not only smooth, but his speed is effortless it seems, and he has a soft set of hands to boot.

Last season was a breakout season for Tomasino, tripling his 24 points from the year before with 72 (34-38-72) in 67 games.

His combination of being a prolific skater and puck handler makes him very hard to knock off the puck, making life tough for opposing players. The Bruins’ prospect core could use another top center prospect to go with Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic, and Tomasino would be a great pick if available at 30th overall.

(Video Credit: HSD Prospects on YouTube)

Nathan Légaré – RW – Baie-Comeau Drakkar – QMJHL

Nathan Légaré is another player who may not be available at 30th overall, but could be on the Bruins radar if he drops that far. He is a pure sniper, who was second in the QMJHL in goal scoring this season with 45 goals, only trailing the newest Providence Bruin Samuel Asselin who had 48 goals.

Like Tomasino, Légaré tripled his point total from the year before, going from 29 points to 87 (45-42-87) in 68 games and established himself as a deadly CHL scorer. The way he skates, shoots, and handles the puck is reminiscent of Colorado Avalanche star forward Nathan MacKinnon. This is not me saying Légaré is going to be as good as MacKinnon, but I definitely see similarities in their skill sets.

Légaré would give the Bruins a top-flight young scorer on the right side, something they could certainly use along with right-wing prospects like Zachary Senyshyn and Oskar Steen.

(Video Credit: Hockey Prospects Center on YouTube)

Bobby Brink – RW – Sioux City Musketeers – USHL

Like Tomasino, Bobby Brink is also still 17-years-old, but until July 8. As the trend continues, there is a solid chance that Brink is not on the board at 30th overall. But, if he is, it would be a no-brainer for Don Sweeney to take such an electric young winger.

Brink was one of the top players in the USHL this season. With 35 goals, 33 assists, and 68 points in 45 games, Brink’s goal totals were good for second in the league, top-20 in assists, and fourth in points. Lastly, his impressive 1.58 points-per-game was third in the league behind Alex Turcotte and Jack Hughes, who are both top-5 prospects in the draft.

He is a small, shifty winger who is a threat to score every time he touches the puck thanks to a very quick release and hard shot. Two seasons from now, he will take his talents to Denver to play for the perennial Frozen Four-bound Denver Pioneers in the NCAA. Whichever team drafts Brink is drafting a polarizing, young scorer who is only going to improve over time.

(Video Credit: Hockey Prospects Center on YouTube)

Connor McMichael – C – London Knights – OHL

Here’s my guy, my ideal fit for the Bruins at 30th overall, Connor McMichael. Playing mainly third line minutes for the London Knights last season, McMichael managed to post a scoring line of 36-36-72 in 67 games — that’s pretty impressive. He spoke to 29 teams at the combine.

McMichael: NHL combine interview (Audio provided by @markscheig on Twitter):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t0n2s2ben21d4q4/Connor%20McMichael.m4a?dl=0

McMichael possesses high-end skating ability, hands, and explosiveness that makes him extremely hard to contain. When asked at the combine who some players he models his game after are, he mentioned Sean Monahan, Bo Horvat, and Auston Matthews. I see the Auston Matthews in his game the most out of the three. Again, this is not me saying McMichael is going to be as good as Matthews, but I definitely see similarities in the way McMichael skates, shoots, and carries the puck.

On top of his offensive prowess, McMichael can handle himself well in all three zones, making him a threat wherever he is on the ice. His high hockey IQ not only allows him to score a lot, but also find his linemates and create high danger scoring chances. He holds the potential to be a legitimate threat in all three zones, which will make him a tough player to gameplan for. All of these things make McMichael a potential can’t miss guy for Sweeney if he drops to 30th overall.

(Video Credit: Hockey Prospects Center on YouTube)

Sweeney and crew could go for one of these guys at 30th overall, or go totally off the board. If he goes with one of these five guys, I’ll be thrilled, and I think you should be too. It will surely be interesting to see how things pan out this weekend in Vancouver. It’s going to be an exciting two days.

Bruins Offensive Draft Possibilities Per The Draft Analyst

( Photo Credit: Amazon.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan one of my favorite times of the year is the National Hockey League Entry Draft. This summers festivities are set to kick off from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia with the first round on Friday night June 21st and wrapping up rounds two through seven on Saturday, June 22nd. The B’s have five of seven selections in this years event losing the second-round pick to the New Jersey Devils in the Marcus Johansson 2019 trade deadline deal and the fourth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 deadline deal that brought former Bruins Tommy Wingels to Boston.

So as of right now with under a week to go until Bruins Manager Don Sweeney and other members of his staff step to the podium with their first-round pick at number 30, the B’s will go into day two from Vancouver selecting in the third-round (#92), the fifth-round (#154), the sixth-round (#185) and ending the two-day trip to the West Coast of Canada picking in the seventh-round (#192) a pick from the New York Rangers in the Adam McQuaid trade in September of 2018.

Now, not being an NHL Entry Draft expert myself, I enjoy following and reading those who do extensive amounts of research to properly form an opinion about a player and add personal rankings to their work. The Draft Analyst Steve KournianosThe Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos has been doing his own personal hockey prospect ranking for the last four years and does a fantastic job. In this years 2019 rankings I found his Bruins draft possibilities very interesting and wanted to do a write up of the players he mentioned.

To purchase your own copy of The Draft Analyst 2019 Draft Report for a low cost of $5, please go to thedraftanalyst.com website All information in BOLD in this article does not belong to myself or BNG team and is shared with permission from The Draft Analyst website owner Steve Kournianos.

Below are The Draft Analyst Bruins offensive draft possibilities and opinions of what this team needs when it comes to future assets lining up with potential departures of current roster players.  Hope you all Enjoy!

Forwards

The Draft Analyst said in his draft report that this 2019 NHL Entry Draft is going to be loaded with power play specialists. He mentions the Bruins are riddled at the center depth outside of 2017 second-round pick Jack Studnicka and could always use another two-way forward with goal scoring capabilities or plays with a pass first mentality. Have a look at these players as TDA thinks they’d be solid additions the the Bruins future needs.

Ryder Donovan

( Photo Credit: DuluthNewsTribune.com )

TDA Player Rank: 56th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 6’-3” 184-pound versatile forward from Duluth, Minnesota. Check out this prospect and many others from TDA Report HERE. Last season the 18-year-old Donavan played in 23 games for Duluth East High School posting 12-25-37 numbers. After his commitment was over with his high school team he appeared in nine games in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints only producing one assist.  Donavan is committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2019-20 NCAA Division 1 season.

A jersey-flapping winger with size and a massive reach, Donovan is a smart playmaker with excellent puck-protection skills. He played on the top line and first units for both the power play and penalty kill. He puts forth a consistent effort every shift, and the intensity of his forecheck can at times mistake him for a depth-line checker than an offensive force. All areas of Donovan’s skating are outstanding — his first-step quickness, ability, balance, lateral movements and edge work work in concert to get him a least a stride or two out of an opponent’s reach. Donovan’s vision and passing abilities are advanced, and he is more than capable of turning any shift into a scoring opportunity. He times his backdoor or cross-ice passes perfectly, and he can stick fake an opening from a clogged lane. Donovan can play physical and finish his checks with authority, plus sacrifice his body in efforts to hunt down pucks. The only concern was when you consider his size, Donovan was not as dominant as one would have thought, especially in the state tournament. Still, the skill, speed and size combine for a tantalizing option that might be enough to sneak him into the late first round.

John Farinacci

( Photo Credit: New England Hockey Journal )

TDA Player Rank: 45th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 5’-11” 185-pound center from Red Bank, New Jersey. You can see this prospect and other fantastic TDA Reports HERE. Last Season the 18-year-old forward had 12-21-33 numbers for Dexter Prep School in Brookline, Massachusetts. Farinacci is committed to play at Harvard University for the 2019-20 NCAA season.

A poised, cerebral playmaker with excellent vision and strong hockey sense, Farinacci is a New Jersey native headed to Harvard in the fall. He’s an outstanding stickhandler through neutral zone traffic, but he’s also capable of speeding his way into open ice and making high-percentage plays. Farinacci was Team USA’s top-line center and power-play facilitator at the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament, and being an alternate add for the NTDP makes him used to the spotlight. He handles pressure extremely well and is counted on to take (and win) big faceoffs or match up against opposing top lines. Farinacci is a very good penalty killer who keeps his stick active and seems confident in making risky reads that break up cross-point passes. His straight-line speed is above average but he’s shifty and quick in tight spaces, and is proficient at snapping off quick, accurate shots through traffic. It’s cliché to say a Harvard-bound kid thinks the game at a high level, but Farinacci is consistent in his effort in all three zones, and his choices with positioning usually are on the money.

Connor McMichael

( Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images )

TDA Player Rank: 25th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 5’-11” 174-pound center from Ajax, Ontario Canada. Check out this prospect and so many other 2019 NHL Draft eligible players from TDA HERE. Last season the 18-year-old center played in his second season in the OHL and his first with the London Knights where he posted 36-36-72 numbers in 67 games.

McMichael is an intelligent two-way puck magnet who serves a dual-threat inside the offensive zone thanks to his outstanding vision and knack for creating turnovers that lead to quality scoring chances. Hamilton made him the 11th overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection and was the centerpiece in the trade that brought Robert Thomas over from London. The stats may say he has been more of a finisher this season than a playmaker, but his ability to turn seemingly harmless possessions in the offensive zone into high-danger opportunities is something that keeps opponents honest. Still, his 36 goals (26 at ES/SH) were second only to Arthur Kaliyev in terms of OHL first-year draft eligibles and tied for the London team lead with 2019 NHL first rounder Liam Foudy. McMichael has great hands and roofs the puck from in tight, and he can pick the corners with his wrister. He makes a lot of touch, backdoor or no-look passes, and his jukes and gear shifting while keeping his head up is similar to a point guard crossing over a weak-ankled defender. There’s a lot of Marc Savard to his game, and he likely puts up bigger numbers once his role is expanded.

Antti Saarela

( Photo Credit: Iltalehti.fi )

TDA Player Rank: 67th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 5’-11” 183-pound center from Laitila, Finland. This is the fourth annual TDA Report so go and check out Steve’s archived reports HERE. Last season the 17-year-old forward had 7-8-15 numbers for the U20 Jr. “A” SM-Liiga Lukko club in 21 games and in the same year jumped up a level to play in the Lukko Pro team in the Finnish Liiga league contributing 2-8-10 in 24 games.

A thick, sturdy two-way center with top-six potential for the way he impacts the game at multiple levels. For starters, Saarela is a physical pivot; one who uses strength and power to separate bigger players off the puck. He likes to deliver hard hits anywhere at any time, to the point where he can come across as a heat-seeking missile. Playing with this type of physicality doesn’t hide his contributions as a top-line center who can create chances or finish from in close. Saarela plays a similar game to his brother Antti, who was a third-round pick of the Rangers in 2015. He has very good speed, strong balance with a quick first step, plus he can accelerate through traffic in the neutral zone. He enters the zone clean and controlled, and although defenders have to respect his outside speed, Saarela also has a penchant for fearlessly taking the puck strong to the net. He has a firm grasp of his duties a center and does not tip his hand during odd-man rushes. Saarela having soft hands and good vision comes in handy in those situations.
Saarela is one of the better 200-foot centers in the draft. He is an excellent penalty killer who is very good on faceoffs and keeps his feet moving throughout the duration of the kill. His hard work while down a man leads to shorthanded chances, but he’s also a tenacious forechecker who is comfortable gunning for big hits without giving away much in positioning.

A huge amount of thanks again goes out to The Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos for his continued efforts to educate interested fans that want to learn more about the NHL’s next ones. Please consider giving him a follow on Twitter using the hyperlink above and bookmark his thedraftanalyst.com website. Also, check out his fantastic The Draft Analyst Podcast that can be found on worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Bruins Defensive Draft Possibilities Per The Draft Analyst

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )


By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan one of my favorite times of the year is the National Hockey League Entry Draft. This summers festivities are set to kick off from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia with the first round on Friday night June 21st and wrapping up rounds two through seven on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019. The B’s have five of seven selections in this years event losing the second-round pick to the New Jersey Devils in the Marcus Johansson 2019 trade deadline deal and the fourth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 deadline deal that brought former Bruin Tommy Wingels to Boston.

So as of right now with under a week to go until Bruins Manager Don Sweeney and other members of his staff step to the podium with their first-round pick at number 30, the B’s will go into day two from Vancouver selecting in the third-round (#92), the fifth-round (#154), the sixth-round (#185) and ending the two-day trip to the West Coast of Canada picking in the seventh-round (#192) a pick from the New York Rangers in the Adam McQuaid trade in September of 2018.

Now, not being an NHL Entry Draft expert myself, I enjoy following and reading those who do extensive amounts of research to properly form an opinion about a player and add personal rankings to their work. The Draft Analyst Steve KournianosThe Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos has been doing his own personal hockey prospect ranking for the last four years and does a fantastic job. In this years 2019 rankings I found his Bruins draft possibilities very interesting and wanted to do a write up of the players he mentioned.

To purchase your own copy of The Draft Analyst 2019 Draft Report for a low cost of $5, please go to thedraftanalyst.com website All information in BOLD in this article does not belong to myself or BNG team and is shared with permission from The Draft Analyst website owner Steve KournianosSteve Kournianos.

Below are The Draft Analyst Bruins defensive draft possibilities and opinions of what this team needs when it comes to future assets lining up with potential departures of current roster players.  Hope you all Enjoy!

Defensemen

The first area the Bruins could address is the ever important “power play quarterback” with the uncertain future of mobile defenseman Torey Krug. Per CapFriendly.com the 28-year-old Krug has one full season remaining under contract and with the bottleneck of B’s defensive prospects in the next year or two, adding another mobile blue liner with offensive capabilities is never a bad idea.

Tobias Bjornfot

( Photos Credit: Last Word On Hockey / Youtube Screen grab )

TDA Player Rank: 26th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst said about the 6’-0” 202-pound left handed defenseman from Upplands Vasby, Sweden which you can see on his website HERE. Last season the 18-year-old Bjornfot posted 11-11-22 numbers in 39 games playing for his Djugardens J20 Superelit club.

The top defensemen for Djugardens J20 and for Team Sweden at several international tournaments, Bjornfot is an excellent skater with or without the puck who contributes in all situations. He can run a power play by using quick thinking and staying in motion, and he owns a heavy slapshot with a massive backswing. He is a significant goal-scoring threat from the blue line. Bjornfot’s wrist shot seems to be his preferred weapon of choice, probably since he can beat goalies clean from any distance inside the the offensive zone. Bjornfot is a clean, crisp passer but isn’t all that creative or one to be classified as a playmaker. He does, however, generate offense with his wheels and quick- strike mentality — several times a game he catches opponents in a line change by whipping turnaround passes up ice or exploding into an opening for an end-to-end rush. He’s a very good 1-on- 1 defender, sometimes dominant but also at times far too respectful of opposing speed. When he’s engaged, Bjornfot has shown to stick to puck carriers like Velcro, and he usually makes the right reads if he sees a dangerous play developing. He wins a lot of foot races and is willing to take a hit in the corner to move it cleanly. Bjornfot’s thick frame comes in handy when he battles along the boards, but his quick stick and powerful one-armed shoves can force an opponent to lose his will to keep possession.

Thomas Harley

( Photo Credit: Craig Abel / Getty Images )

TDA Player Rank: 33rd

Here’s what  The Draft Analyst said about the 6’-3” 188-pound left handed defenseman from Syracuse, New York. You can also view his words about this player and hundreds of other NHL Entry Draft eligible players HERE. Last season the 18-year-old Harley posted 11-47-58 numbers with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL in 68 games played.

Easily one of the best passers among defensemen in the draft, Harley is a cool-as-a-cucumber puck distributor with a smooth, effortless skating style and strong hockey sense – at least on his side of the red line. Harley earned his role as a top-pairing defender to help exploit the strengths of the Steelheads’ many talented forwards. The first thing you notice about his game is his composure with the puck during the attack — Harley rarely gets rattled and appears very confident while distributing the puck in all directions. His vision and pass accuracy are both incredibly advanced for a teenager, and he doesn’t hesitate with his decisions. Harley is an upright skater who uses quick bursts and sharp pivots to buy himself time and space and attack deep into the opposing zone. He also is a fine backskater with very good closing speed, and he displays solid edgework when he is forced to take the puck around his net. Harley can run a power play and owns a low, booming shot, but he is not very active during the man-advantage, which could be explained by the experienced forwards he shares the ice with. Still, he knows how to find or create open lane.
His play on defense comes across as nonchalant, as Harley affords puck carriers too much room at his line and doesn’t play physical enough considering he’s an elite North American draft eligible on a top pairing in the OHL. A native of Syracuse who has dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship, Harley ran Canada’s top power-play unit at the under-18 world championship with acceptable results.

Anttoni Honka

( Photo Credit: Jiri Halttunen / JYP )

TDA Player Rank: 40th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst said about the 5’-10” 179-pound right handed defenseman from Jyvaskyla, Finland. You can also take a look at TDA full website HERE. Last season the 19-year-old Honka posted 3-5-8 numbers in 27 games played for his Jukurit club in the Liiga league.

Swift-skating puck rusher who knows how to handle the puck and has the kind of mobility that keeps forecheckers honest. Anttoni, whose older brother Julius currently plays defense for the Dallas Stars, is the most offensively-gifted among the handful of top-tier Finnish rearguards eligible for the 2019 draft. He’s a gambler with or without the puck, and his ability to anticipate danger before utilizing his top-end skating helps tighten the gap between the opposing puck career and him. Honka’s positional play in his own end is above average, as he makes an effort to stay as close to the slot as possible until possession changes hands. He is far from physical, but he stands up at the blue line and isn’t rattled at the sight of a bigger, faster forward barreling his way. His puck management is relatively sound, although he can look a little nonchalant and be the culprit behind unforced turnovers and errant passes. He was criticized (and ultimately benched) for some sloppy play at the under-20 world junior championship, but the potential improvement and exceeding the standards for the average puck mover remains incredibly high.
Honka keeps his feet moving at all times and is a threat once he drops down into the circles. He owns an average yet accurate shot which he uses with confidence, but he’s agile enough to pump fake and glide into a better look at the net. Honka is a hard, crisp passer with soft hands who beats pressure with authoritative stretch passes, subtle banks or well-timed saucers. Although his shot is average, he can run a power play from the top of the umbrella or remaining active from either point.

Lassi Thomson

( Photo Credit: Marissa Becker / Kelowna Rockets )

TDA Player Rank: 43rd

Here’s what The Draft Analyst said about the 6’-0” 190-pound right handed defenseman from Tampere, Finland. You can get this info below and a ton more draft nuggets HERE. Last season the 19-year-old Thomson posted 17-24-41 numbers in 63 games for Kelowna in the WHL.

Smooth-skating Finnish rearguard who typifies what offensive defensemen are expected to do with the puck on their stick and a full sheet of ice before them. Thomson may be a bit of a risk taker while controlling the puck, with an occasional sloppy pass or unforced error. But the common end-result is that pressure is applied on opposing schemes designed to slow him down. He loves to initiate breakouts with his wheels and drive deep into the offensive zone, but his consistent pass accuracy to teammates in stride also stretches out the neutral zone and allows friendly puck carriers to gain time and space. The kid loves to shoot the puck, and for good reason – he owns an excellent shot with a quick release and requires little backswing to generate power. Thomson quarterbacks the top power play unit and is a shooting threat thanks to a very hard and accurate shot, but he also keeps his feet moving and will jump into openings below the circles. There are moments where he’ll fight for positioning and play physical, but those instances are few and far between. A lack of consistency in his slot/crease coverage, plus the way he overcommits when defending odd-man rushes are things that should be improved upon for the future. His time in Kelowna, as successful as it was, may be short lived, as Thomson is reportedly heading back to his native Finland to play for Ilves next season.

A huge amount of thanks again goes out to The Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos for his continued efforts to educate interested fans that want to learn more about the NHL’s next ones. Please consider giving him a follow on Twitter using the hyperlink above and bookmark his thedraftanalyst.com website. Also, check out his fantastic The Draft Analyst Podcast that can be found on worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Stay tuned for my release of the offensive possibilities for the Boston Bruins in the upcoming Entry Draft and another tremendous assist from the aforementioned Mr. Kournianos.

Point(s) Taken: New Way To Look At Bruins Recent Draft History

Image result for boston bruins draft(Photo Credit: USA Today Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

With all the recent hubbub in the Hub of Hockey on how the Bruins’ youth movement is moving forward (or backward?), especially considering the season-long influx of Providence talent being showcased in Beantown, I thought the timing of a recent article from The Athletic concerning Boston’s recent draft history was quite interesting, fortuitous, and even eye-opening. Here’s the tweet that proved to be a head-turner/knee-jerker upon seeing it — then reading it:

So, the Bruins’ draft picks in the 21st century thus far have produced the most points out of every NHL franchise? Let me cue a universal Black N’ Gold reaction:

Image result for bruins gif really?(GIF: NHL.com)

“Huh?” is exactly right. But, then I started thinking about it… or more accurately more astute journalistic minds starting thinking about it, and commenting on my social media about it, which in turn turned my thoughts about it to have an about face.

A valid point, indeed! Sure, the B’s have seen some of their top draft picks since 2003 — the first year of this draft study — score the majority of their NHL points for another franchise, namely Phil we’re-no-longer-thrilled Kessel & Tyler traded-too-soon Seguin. But, it’s still pretty impressive when you actually sit back and reflect on it, especially considering just how mercilessly the city, the media and the fans scrutinized Boston’s 21st-century GM’s for their lack of “draft success” on the whole (yes, we’re referring to you Mike O’Connell and Peter Chiarelli — and to more recent effect Dealin’ Donny Sweeney).

 

Yet, for all the “misses” over the last sixteen years for the Bruins (let’s not even bring up one name from 2007, where a combined 6 draftees combined for 5 career NHL points), there are some names that will forever make the aforementioned points breakdown truly worthwhile. And here they are, ranked in descending order, based on how many points they’ve banked for the B’s (and still CONTINUE to produce for them):

David Pastrnak – 280 Points (2014)

Image result for bruins draft david pastrnak (Photo Credit: FanSided)

To order up a serving of “Pasta” every time No. 88 scores a goal or notches an assist would be akin to heart failure. Thankfully, the deliciously nicknamed David Pastrnak impacts our ticker in many other ways — specifically, making it race with excitement & adrenaline whenever he touches the puck or skillfully skates around a deft defender. To wit: the B’s most recent “W” against the Rangers in which he had as many points as the number one star credit he was given postgame. Love or hate the recently unemployed “Chia” pet up in Edmonton, but you’ve got to give him credit (or at least his scouting team) for Pasta. Let’s keep those 5-point games on the menu!

Brad Marchand – 556 Points (2006)

He’s the most productive pest in modern-day NHL history and he’s as big of a character as you’ll ever find in B’s history — and that’s saying something! He’s Brad Marchand and he’s only just begun, to paraphrase a Carpenter’s classic (not to be confused with former Bruin Bobby Carpenter–another point-filled pugilist). And to think both Kessel and Milan Lucic preceded him in 2006 when interim GM Jeff Gorton was doing his damnedest to pry Nicklas Backstrom away from the Caps for every pick the B’s had! Would “Marchy” have been on that potential list? Who bleepin’ cares now is what I say. And to think… Twitter and Instagram weren’t even a part of Marchand’s life yet!!!

David Krejci – 637 Points (2004)

The above video says it all: when you have a highlight reel gone viral because you had the most points in the postseason for your Stanley Cup-winning team, then you deserve plenty an accolade. Ironically, all David Krejci deserves right now is a 2nd-line winger who can consistently score ala David Pastrnak! Or, did we just see that recently? I digress. But, while on the subject of scoring, let’s not overlook just how invaluable the Czech center has been for the B’s since he was drafted more than a decade ago — ironman status included starting last season. Just think: if he keeps producing and playing alongside another popular B’s draft pick (Jake DeBrusk), then this point-filled list is going to need an update real soon!

Patrice Bergeron – 811 Points (2003)

Image result for patrice bergeron bruins draft(Photo Credit: Barstool Sports)

Trying to describe just how much Patrice Bergeron means to the Bruins organization, the franchise, the fandom… well, it’s an impossible task because you literally can’t say enough about him as a player and as a person. Thankfully, BN’G colleague @phonymahoney did that for us shortly after “Bergy” celebrated his 1,000th game in a Bruins’ jersey:

There’s a quiet grace about Patrice Bergeron that makes people forget exactly how good a player he is, and it’s unbelievable how long he’s been an important fixture in the Bruins’ lineup. One of the best players in the world, Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club (World Junior Championship, Olympics, and Stanley Cup), and a four-time Selke Trophy winner, as the National Hockey League’s best defensive forward. This is a player who is so consistently effective night in and night out, that the only reason any of the milestones he’s achieved as a Bruin have been remotely surprising is because it’s so easy to forget he’s been with the team for 15 years.

Not bad for a second round pick sandwiched between Mark Stuart (93 career NHL points) and Masi Marjamaki (goose egg) way back in ’03! And as we just discovered all but a game ago, No. 37 in his 15th season with the B’s just eclipsed yet another earmarked milestone alongside his inspired linemate on this list:

Talk about a solid three years of drafting in the early oughts for the B’s! So, do you now measure the success of the Bruins’ modern draft machine a bit differently considering all of the above? Do also believe the team is only going to add to these impressive totals what with all the young scoring talent yet to emerge (aka on the cusp)? You do! Well, good.

Point taken!

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Four Boston Bruins Players That Could Win The 7th Player Award

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Every year, the New England Sports Network, better known as NESN, releases a fan vote where fans of the Boston Bruins can vote for who they think should be awarded with the annual 7th Player Award. The 7th Player Award is awarded to the Boston Bruin who “has performed above and beyond expectations”. In years past, the team honour is handed out at the end of March, so the countdown is on for the winner.

Before we get into who should win the award for the 2018-19 season, let’s take a quick look at the past winners of the last decade. Information regarding this is courtesy of Ice Hockey Fandom.com. 

  • 2008-09 David Krejci
  • 2009-10 Tuukka Rask
  • 2010-11 Brad Marchand
  • 2011-12 Tyler Seguin
  • 2012-13 Dougie Hamilton
  • 2013-14 Reilly Smith
  • 2014-15 David Pastrnak
  • 2015-16 Brad Marchand
  • 2016-17 David Pastrnak
  • 2017-18 Charlie McAvoy

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are the most recent winners of the award and for good reason. Marchand exploded three years ago with a 37 goals and a new career-high in points with 61. David Pastrnak also had a great year when he won it back in 2016-17, scoring 34-36-70 numbers from his 26 the year prior. Finally, last year, Charlie McAvoy scored 32 points in his debut NHL season and truly came out as one of the best young offensive d-men in the league.

In the past, the award has been handed out at the end of March, just ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April. We are already over a week into the third month of the new calendar year, so now is the perfect time to take a look at some of the players who can with the 2018-19 7th Player Award.

Jaroslav Halak -> 18-10-4, 2.33 GAA, .924 SV%, 4 Shutouts

When Anton Khudobin did not agree to a new contract with the Boston Bruins following the 2017-18 season, the concern came as to who the Bruins were going to fall on for the role of the backup goaltender position. Ideas of younger, prospect goaltenders from either the Providence Bruins or other affiliate teams were thrown around, but it was the free-agent market that would provide the solution for this new-found problem.

Boston signed journeyman goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract with an annual average salary of $2.75 million. Last season, Halak finished up his fourth season with the New York Islanders, the fourth NHL team of his 13-year career. Halak finished last season with a 20-26-6 record, a 3.19 GAA, and a .908 save percentage – not great numbers.

Lucky for Bruins fans and himself, Halak turned a new leaf while wearing the Spoked-B sweater and is showing glimpses of top-level play, the type of play that we saw from him during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Early on this season, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on his game. He was struggling in net and was losing more often than he was winning. However, Jaro Halak made an appearance and took over the show in the meantime, keeping the Bruins afloat in the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff race.

jaroslav-halak

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned the fact that he may look to split the number of games that Rask and Halak play down the final stretch and that shows that Halak has done enough to earn starts when it matters. When the original signing was made, many people, including myself was not a fan mainly due to his performance in the previous season but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations and should be a favourite for the 7th Player Award because, without him, Boston may not be second in the Atlantic division.

Chris Wagner -> 66GP, 12G – 6A – 18P, 4th Liner

Chris Wagner never once scored ten goals in his five-year NHL career. In fact, he never scored more than 15 points in a single season, a mark he once hit in 64 games with the Anaheim Ducks last year in 2017-18.

When the Bruins signed Wagner, the Walpole, Massachusetts native to a two-year deal on the opening day of free agency, the signing of Joakim Nordstrom and the hope that the young, up-and-coming players within the Bruins organization will get more NHL minutes, it seemed like Wagner was going to be a spare tire – a depth piece for injuries or for a replacement for a player who is struggling but no, Wagner has become a near-permanent member of the 2018-19 Bruins.

Part of the reason for his success is the help of his linemates, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari, who have helped bolster the game of Wagner to a level never seen before in the NHL. The trio has brought a high level of intensity and energy to the bottom-six while being able to add in a few goals here and there. Additionally, Wagner leads the Bruins with 226 hits, a stat that ties him for 6th most in the National Hockey League.

In today’s NHL, all four lines of any team need to have the ability to score goals when they are so required to do so, yet provide a level of physicality and defence that can keep them in the thick of things. Chris Wagner has been a big reason for the success of that line and he deserves to be in the conversation for the 7th Player Award. No one expected the performance of Wagner to be this solid and a brief stroll in past Twitter comments will highlight that.

David Krejci -> 69GP, 19G – 41A – 60P, +3 Rating

Without a doubt, David Krejci is one of the best second-line centres in the NHL and is one of the best playmakers in the league for the past few seasons. It may seem hard for a player of that stature to win an award that presents the player that has exceeded expectations, but he needs to be in the conversation.

Since putting up 17-46-63 numbers in the 2015-2016 campaign, Krejci seemed to be on a decline for point production. In 2016-17, Krejci scored 54 points in a full 82-game season followed by a 44-point year last year in only 64 games played. However, with the growing chemistry with left-winger Jake DeBrusk, Krejci is on pace for just over 71 points this season. That total would be the second-highest single-season point total for Krejci since his 22-51-73 effort back in 2008-09 – ten seasons ago.

In that 2008-09 season, Krejci averaged 0.89 points-per-game. In comparison, Krejci is averaging 0.87 points-per-game, the third-highest PPG average in his 13-year NHL career. Krejci has found 15 of his points on the man-advantage, meaning the bulk of his numbers have come from five-on-five play, a huge attribute to take into consideration.

Throughout the past few seasons, the Sternberk, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) native has been on the receiving end of hard criticism but quite clearly, he has used that as motivation for his success this season. The 32-year-old has three game-winning goals this season, including the overtime goal in the 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 5th. Linemate Jake DeBrusk said the following about his chemistry with Krejci right after the game versus Carolina.

“I think when you play with a guy for almost 2 years now, you generate that w just games played & different things like that. He’s been playing great all year. He’s the biggest reason why I’ve had success personally as well. To have a guy like that in my corner is something that I don’t take for granted.” – Quote from Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon on Twitter)

David Krejci exceeded the expectations that were placed on him back in September before the puck dropped to begin the regular season. His name is back in the minds of teams across the league if they so happened to forget about him and he has been a factor for the success of the Bruins.

Sean Kuraly -> 66GP, 6G – 11A – 17P, 4th Liner

Sean Kuraly joins linemate Chris Wagner on this four-player list because, in a way, they have to be. Kuraly and Wagner, with the inclusion of Acciari, have surprised most Bruins fans and hockey fans throughout the league with their energy, tenacity, and offensive capabilities while throwing in the occasional hit or fight.

Sean Kuraly came to Boston on June 30th, 2015 in a trade with the San Jose Sharks that sent goaltender Martin Jones off to California and Kuraly with a 2016 1st Rounder (Trent Frederic) to Boston. Martin Jones was acquired by the B’s from the L.A. Kings in exchange for beloved Bruin, Milan Lucic only a few days prior.

Kuraly didn’t play with Boston until 2016-17, skating in eight games, scoring a single point. Kuraly was given an opportunity in the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Ottawa Senators and he earned his way into the hearts of Bruins fans all over with two massive goals, one of which in the second overtime session in Game 5 of that series, forcing a Game 6.

After that remarkable game for Kuraly, he ended up playing 75 games during the 2017-18 season, scoring six goals and eight assists for a total of 14 points. In the offseason of this past year, Kuraly signed on the dotted line to a three-year, $3,825,000 contract extension, securing himself a position on the NHL roster for the time being.

Kuraly has done that and more. The Dublin, Ohio, USA native has matched his career-high in goals (6) and set a new career-high in points (17) and has played in twelve less games than in last year’s season. The threat of the fourth-line could be courtesy of the always hard-working Sean Kuraly. Kuraly still possesses that clutch goal-scoring talent, scoring two game-winning goals so far in 2018-19 – both coming in back-to-back games against the Sabres on December 29th and the Blackhawks in the Winter Classic on January 1st.

Kuraly has been one of those quite but deadly pieces to the puzzle that is the 2018-19 Boston Bruins – which can come across as a pleasant surprise for him, the management, and the fanbase.

My Winner: Chris Wagner

It seems like when the Bruins are down a goal late in the hockey game, scrambling to find their legs and score the tying goal or even the winning goal, Chris Wagner is inadvertently in the thick of things when the goal eventually crosses the red line. Wagner has scored the game-tying goal on three different occasions, two of which in the third and final period. Also, in each of those games where he scored the tying marker, the Bruins went on to either win the game or lose in a shootout.

I’ll be 110% honest here – I was fully anticipating Chris Wagner to be scratched for more games than he played and to see limited ice time when he is indeed in the lineup. Losing out on Tavares and Kovalchuk in free agency, at the time, it appeared as though Sweeney and the rest of the B’s management staff had no one else and wanted to go for depth. Tim Schaller, the now Vancouver Canuck, did not re-sign, but it looked like Nordstrom would replace him. Instead, the Bruins have a physical, gritty fourth-liner that has been big when scoring meaningful goals this season.

Chris Wagner is my personal pick to win this year’s 7th Player Award, who do you think wins the annual accolade? Was it one of the players I listed or does another player come to mind? Let me know via Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) or on FaceBook comments!

Side Note: In the poll above, I listed D Brandon Carlo as an option, yet he is not on my list. I personally expected Carlo to be good this year, so he did not necessarily ‘exceed’ my expectations, but he has been great.

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