Looking Back At The 2014 NHL Draft

( Photo Crediut: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )

By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

When it comes to drafting, it can be very hit or miss in the National Hockey League. Scouts and general managers do extensive scouting and research on players that they feel can make an impact on their club in the near future.

When we as Bruins fans mention a draft a few years back, everyone points to the 2015 draft and how much of a “failure” that was. I personally believe it is still too early to call that a failure as Zach Senyshyn and Jakub Zboril still has the skill and have made impacts in Providence. However, it is a tough pill to swallow watching guys like Matt Barzal, Travis Konecny, and Kyle Connor making considerable contributions to their respective teams.

The reason I want to take a look back at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft is that the Bruins had a sneaky good draft for what was considered a “weaker” draft. Let’s look at the first round in general first. The first round produced only four all-stars to this point. The 2015 first-round had TEN all-stars to this point. So it is safe to say that 2014 was on the weaker end.

With the Bruin’s first-round pick, they took none other than David Pastrnak, and I can speak for everyone in saying that this pick turned out pretty good. He is arguably the best player in this draft, competing with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for that honor.

( Photo Credit: John Tlumacki / Globe Staff Sports )

So yes, the Bruins stole a great player with pick number 25 in the first round, but they didn’t just stop there. In the second round, they drafted Ryan Donato, who made some contributions for the Bruins and got traded with a fifth-round pick for Charlie Coyle. I would be confident in saying that it is another successful pick.

Even in the later rounds, they found players who have made contributions in the NHL when even some of the first-round picks like Michael Dal Colle, Conner Bleackley, Nikita Scherbak, etc. have failed to make meaningful contributions in the big leagues. The Bruins selected Danton Heinen with their fourth-round pick and Anders Bjork with their fifth-round pick. They selected Emil Johansson with their seventh-round pick, and he has yet to make an NHL start. The Bruins also didn’t have a third and sixth-round pick.

( Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports )

All in all, they had a great draft. Four out of their five draft picks made NHL appearances for the Boston Bruins. David Pastrnak is a superstar, and there is no other way to say it. They nailed the first-round pick. They now have Charlie Coyle from Ryan Donato, and that is continuing to work well. Danton Heinen was a great two-way player for the Bruins until he was traded to Anaheim for Nick Ritchie. As far as the draft is concerned, that is a great pick. Anders Bjork is still with the Bruins, and even though he has yet to find his offensive game consistently, he is a great two-way player with great skill. As far as I am concerned, that is a fantastic fifth-round pick.

So while people can look so negatively on the 2015 draft, I like to look at the positives and say they had a stellar draft the year before. Can you imagine the Bruins without David Pastrnak? I sure can’t.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-21-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Bruins’ Free Agent Options If Torey Krug Does Not Re-Sign

(Photo Credit: Radio | Radio.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh

The National Hockey Leagues’ free-agent market is scheduled to open on October 9th at noon ET, or at least seven days after finishing the Stanley Cup Finals, whichever happens first. The Boston Bruins’ General Manager Don Sweeney, has his work cut out for him this off-season, and his most significant task is deciding on re-signing Torey Krug, or let him walk and use that extra cap space on other free agents.

According to Cap Friendly, the Bruins have roughly $15M available in cap space, but Sweeney may want to leave around $2M-$3M leftover if injuries occur. With that being said, the Bruins will have approximately $13M available for re-signing players like Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara, and Matt Grzelcyk.

Krug spoke to media recently and stated he is not interested in a one-year deal and wants to cash in on his value by signing a long-term contract. I predict the Bruins have a chance to sign Krug to a 5+year deal worth $7M-$7.5M per year, but the defenseman knows his value is worth more than that. If Krug doesn’t believe what the Bruins offer (if they even do) is enough, he will walk and get anywhere between $8M-$9.5M per year from another team.

As of this moment, there are a plethora amount of UFA and RFA players the Bruins could look at, many big names and even more depth-pieces. I’m not sure if Sweeney is looking to continue building by adding a few depth-pieces or make a big signing whether it be a forward or defenseman to replace Krug. For a complete list of all 31 teams’ UFA and RFA players, Sporting News has it covered here. Here are some free-agent options for the Bruins if Krug decides to walk.

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Evgenii Dadonov (F/UFA)

(Photo Credit: The Rat Trick | therattrick.com)

Evgenii Dadonov has shined the past three seasons with the Florida Panthers. Over the past three years, Dadonov has played 225 games, contributing 81-101-182 numbers, 25 power-play goals, and 47 power-play points.

The 31-year-old forward is set to become a UFA, and his last contract was a three-year deal worth $4M per season. I’m not an expert on predicting a player’s value in terms of AAV (average annual value), but the Bruins could make an offer worth $5M-$5.5M per season. Although he may be worth more in the open market, I do not see the Bruins over-spending on any player.

The Bruins could use Dadonov on the power-play and David Krejci’s’ or Charlie Coyles’ right-wing. Ondrej Kase began to create solid chemistry with Krejci and Jake DeBrusk during the Carolina Hurricanes series. Still, he is often injured and, before arriving in Boston, had only played a career-high 66 games back in 2017-2018. DeBrusk has also shown many potentials but has not shown consistency in his offense, so a player like Dadonov could help spark any of those lines.

Mark Borowiecki (D/UFA)

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Mark Borowiecki could be a reasonable defensive option for the Bruins. If Krug decides to leave, I imagine Grzelcyk will pair with Brandon Carlo and split power-play duties with Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins’ third defensive-pairing isn’t solidified, but Borowiecki could be an option to consider along with Connor Clifton, John Moore, or Jeremy Lauzon. His last contract was a two-year deal worth $1.2M AAV, so he would not be a massive cap casualty to the Bruins.

The 6’1, 207-pound defenseman plays a very physical brand of hockey and isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates. These are player attributes Sweeney has been looking for and was hoping Brett or Nick Ritchie could be that player, but they have not worked out so far.

Borowiecki also had offensive career-highs this past season, scoring seven goals and 18 points in 53 games played. He also averages over 200 hits per season, and just last season had a career-high 120 blocks. I believe he is a reliable option for the Bruins if Sweeney deems it necessary to sign additional depth defensemen.

Conor Sheary (F/UFA)

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Conor Sheary would be a reliable forward option that could spark the bottom-six. The Winchester, MA native, first suited up in the NHL for 44 games during the 2015-2016 season and contributed enough to help lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to capture the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. He also eclipsed his career-highs during the 2016-2017 season, scoring 23 goals and 50 points with a +24 rating.

The 5’8, 175-pound forward has a lot of speed to his game and could fit in well with either Coyle or Kuraly. Sheary just finished a three-year deal worth $3M AAV and is set to become a UFA.

$3M+ per year is most likely too steep for the Bruins, especially for a bottom-six forward, but he can also be utilized on the second line with Krejci in case DeBrusk doesn’t stay consistent. After achieving 20+goals just a few seasons ago, Sheary has shown the potential to be a productive middle-six/bottom-six forward.

Vladislav Namestnikov (F/UFA)

(Photo Credit: The Athletic | theathletic.com)

Vladislav Namestnikov is another forward the Bruins could consider in the free-agency. The 27-year-old forward is trying to find his offensive consistency and a team to grow with long-term. This past season, Namestinikov suited up for three different teams (NYR, OTT, COL), playing 65 games and contributing 17 goals and 31 points.

Namestnikov ended the season with the Colorado Avalanche and is set to become a UFA. He is finishing up a two-year deal worth $4M AAV. For a forward who has yet to hit the 50 point mark in his career, anywhere near $4M AAV is well out of the Bruins price range. If Sweeney could get Namestnikov to take a reasonable discount on a prove-yourself contract, we could see Namestnikov possibly reach his full potential.

Not only could Namestnikov be slotted onto any of the Bruins’ lines, but the team can also use him on the power-play and the penalty-kill unit. This past season, he also led the league in short-handed goals (four).

Brenden Dillon (D/UFA)

(Photo Credit: NHL Player Association | nhlpa.com)

Last but not least, if Krug does not re-sign with the Bruins, Brenden Dillon would be a reliable option to beef up the blue-line. The 6’4, 225-pound defenseman uses his size to his advantage and makes it very difficult to play against, especially in a playoff series. Dillon was traded to the Washington Capitals shortly before the 2019-2020 season paused, but is now set to become a UFA. His last contract was a five-year deal worth $3.27M AAV.

Dillon suited up for 69 games this past season, contributing 14 points, 74 blocks, and 194 hits. Before the trade deadline this past season, the Bruins were linked to having considerable interest in Dillon, so now that he is set to hit the open market, Sweeney will have his chance once again.

It’s important to note that Dillon is 29-years-old and may be looking to cash in on his value at full. Sweeney may not be keen on paying more than $3M+ per season but could use the winning culture argument to sign Dillon on a discount.

Overall, there are a plethora of options the Bruins could consider. There are also a lot of players who are RFAs that may not sign with their current team, giving the Bruins even more options. I also predict Sweeney will be attempting to make trades during the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. With that being said, the Bruins’ future is up in the air, but that is not necessarily a negative thing. I’m very excited to see what Sweeneys’ plan is to improve this team.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 193 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher

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Bruins Sign Forward Matt Filipe To Entry-Level Deal

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(Source: Northeastern University Athletics)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Sunday, August 16, that the team has signed forward Matt Filipe to a two-year, entry-level contract.

“Thrilled to sign my first NHL contract with the team I grew up idolizing. Huge thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point!” Filipe said in an Instagram post. The Lynnfield, Mass., native was originally drafted in the third round (67th overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Filipe spent the last four seasons at Northeastern University, where he recorded 31 goals and 44 assists for 75 points in 136 collegiate games to go along with a plus-25 rating and 109 penalty minutes. The 22-year-old served as an assistant captain during the 2019-20 season, where he recorded 9-13-22 totals in 30 games, all career-highs. While with the Huskies, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward helped the team to three-straight Beanpot titles, two NCAA tournament appearances, and a Hockey East Championship.

Prior to his collegiate career, Filipe notched 19-17-36 numbers to go along with a plus-five rating and 99 penalty minutes in 56 regular season games with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League (USHL) during the 2015-16 season. In high school, Filipe registered 25-25-50 totals in 58 games over three seasons with Malden Catholic High School, serving as an assistant captain in 2014-15 and helping the team to two MIAA Division 1A, or “Super Eight,” Championships.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 189 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

User 568316199 · 189: The Bruins Winless In The Round-Robin Games And Get Set To Play Carolina In Round One

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Five Players You Forgot Played For The Bruins: Part Three

(Photo Credit: Boston | archive.boston.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

It’s always fun to look back at Bruins’ history and notice players you had no idea played for the team. Sometimes, you recognize that name and suddenly remember the short time they did have with the Bruins. Regardless, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some players you probably forgot played with the Bruins. You can view part one and part two of this series here.

Dominic Moore

(Photo Credit: Metro US | metro.us)

Dominic Moore had more than a cup of coffee with the Bruins and even played all 82 games during the 2016-2017 season. Although Moore was on the Bruins in recent years, he is a name that you forget wore a Bruins uniform at some point during his career. During the 2016-2017 season with Boston, the forward produced 11 goals and 25 points.

Moore began his National Hockey League journey in 2003-2004 with the New York Rangers when he appeared in his first five contests. He became quite the journeyman in the league, suiting up with ten different teams during his 13-year tenure in the NHL. After his deal expired with the Bruins in 2017, Moore played his final year in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, suiting up for 50 games and producing 12 points. After his NHL career, Moore signed a contract with ZSC (Swiss) as a free agent in 2019.

Throughout his 13-year career in the NHL, Moore suited up for 897 games while contributing 106-176-282 numbers. He also won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2013-2014.

Colton Orr

(Photo Credit: Getty Images | gettyimages.com)

One of the most feared enforcers, Colton Orr, started his career in the NHL with the Boston Bruins after signing as a free agent in 2001. He split his time between the Providence Bruins and Boston, but mostly spent his time with Providence, amassing 543 PIM in 126 games during that time. He got his first piece of National Hockey League action when he made his debut in 2003-2004, but only went on to play just one game with Boston that season. He played just 20 games with the Bruins in 2005 before being claimed on waivers by the New York Rangers.

The 6’3, 222-pound forward played for the New York Rangers from 2005-2009, suiting up in 224 games while producing 11 points and 522 PIM. After his time in New York, Orr signed to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2009. He continued to play for the Maple Leafs for the remainder of his career while making occasional visits to their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, until 2015. Orr played 232 games for the Maple Leafs while contributing 13 points and amassing 637 PIM.

Throughout his 11-year career in the NHL, Orr posted 12-12-24 numbers with 1,186 PIM. Although no longer actively playing, Orr has taken the role of a coach. In 2019, he was named head coach of the Connecticut Whale in the National Women’s Hockey League.

Dave Andreychuk

(Photo Credit: Twitter/Boston Bruins | Twitter.com/bruinsnhl)

As weird as it is, Dave Andreychuk wore the Spoked-B at some point in his career. He spent a short time with the Bruins during the 1999-2000 season after signing as a free agent. During that time, he played 63 games with the Bruins. He posted 19-14-33 numbers before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche with Raymond Bourque in a blockbuster trade, sending Brian Rolston, Martin Greiner, Samuel Pahlsson, and a 1st round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft to the Bruins.

Andreychuk had a phenomenal career in the NHL that I could not sum up in one paragraph, but I remember him fondly while growing up in Tampa, FL, especially when he won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. He played for six different teams throughout his career and currently holds the record for most power-play goals in the NHL (274).

Throughout his 23-year career in the NHL, Andreychuk played in 1,639 games while contributing an astounding 640-698-1,338 numbers with 1,121 PIM. He became a Stanley Cup Champion before the end of his career and was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2017.

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Sergei Gonchar

(Photo Credit: Unleash The Fury | unleashthefury.weebly.com)

Sergei Gonchar is a name you don’t often see in Bruins’ history, but he is an alumnus through the 15 games he played for the Boston Bruins. The defenseman was traded to the Bruins by the Washington Capitals before the trade deadline in 2004. Gonchar collected four goals and nine points with the Bruins before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins the next season.

Gonchar began his NHL career with the Washington capitals and played with the team from 1994-2004 before being traded to Boston. After his time in Boston quickly expired, he went on to play for Pittsburgh from 2005-2010, suiting up for 322 games, contributing 54-205-259 numbers, and winning the Stanley Cup with the team in 2009. From 2010-2015, Gonchar went on to play for the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, and then finished his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens.

Throughout his 20-year NHL career, Gonchar appeared in 1,301 games while posting 220-591-811 numbers and 981 PIM. After retiring from his playing career, he became an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017 and is still serving as one of their assistant coaches.

Brett Connolly

(Photo Credit: Puck Prose | puckprose.com)

Brett Connolly suited up for the Bruins in recent years, first appearing in five games in 2015 after being traded by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Connolly continued his journey in Boston for most of the 2015-2016 season, suiting up in 71 games and producing 9-16-25 numbers. After his season in Boston, the forward hit the free-agent market in 2016 and was immediately picked up by the Washington Capitals.

Connolly began his NHL career playing for Tampa Bay from 2011-2015, appearing in 134 games and posting 18-14-32 numbers. After playing in Boston, Connolly signed with Washington as a free agent and played for the team from 2016-2019, suiting up for 217 games, contributing 52-44-96 numbers, and winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. After his time in Washington expired, Connolly signed the Florida Panthers as a free agent in 2019 and is ready to help his team for a playoff run starting August 1st. Throughout his nine-year NHL career so far, Connolly has played in 496 games and contributed 98-90-188 numbers.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 185 that we recorded below on 7-12-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Bruins Prospect Has Options With NCAA Ivy League Season In Question

( Photo Credit: WEEI Sports / weei.com )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On Friday, July 10th, 2020, the uscho.com website staff wrote up an article about the cancelation of the Ivy League fall sports and how that decision could impact the start of the 2020-21 ECAC hockey regular season. Rumors have the Ivy League Winter sports schedules starting in January, even as far as March 0f 2021.

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With potential late starts of upcoming sports seasons in the NCAA, hockey players may be the most fortunate with options to play elsewhere. I wrote an article in late May of this year about former 2018 first-round selection John Beecher possibly defecting from the University of Michigan. Beecher’s Canadian Hockey League rights belong to the Ontario Hockey League Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and if the Wolverines start late, that could be a destination for the 6′-3″ 210-pound versatile forward.

Another Boston Bruins prospect drafted with Beecher in 2018 and currently playing in the NCAA may follow that same path to the CHL if the Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the United States. This could also be an opportunity for the player below to join a developing club closer to where he grew up.

Curtis Hall

( Photo Credit: Nina Lindberg / Yale Athletics )

Yale University forward Curtis Hall ended his second year of NCAA hockey, taking a huge step in his development. Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign down, the 6′-3″ 196-pound center notched 17-10-27 numbers in 28 games for the Bulldogs. A lot better than his freshman year numbers of 5-6-11, he got after spending two full seasons in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms, where he had career 20-32-53 totals in 113 games.

In another uscho.com article this time written by staff member Mark Divver, Hall explained how much of a transition it was going from a rookie in the NCAA to playing a different role in his sophomore campaign. He also talked about how listening to his coaches was never more important while accepting new challenges.

“The players I was with, there’s something to learn from all of them. There’s a lot of skill on that team, so I had to play a different role than I have been here this year at Yale. I learned a lot from the coaches, as well. Overall, it was a great experience,’’ he said.

“I’ve had a good year from a goal standpoint. With Joe Snively leaving last year, he was a big goal-scorer for us, so we needed to fill that spot. Everybody’s doing their best to do that. The goals – it’s hard to say why – but they’ve been going in,’’ said Hall.

In my opinion, besides the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins have done a pretty good job stockpiling the prospect pool, and Hall’s addition to the organization fits important timelines concerning his arrival to professional hockey. Whether he rides his NCAA eligibility until he graduates from Yale or starts his pro career with the Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins, the organization has faith in him no matter what. Again pulling from Divver’s USCHO article from above, AHL Bruins General Manager John Ferguson Jr. provided some insight of that mentioned faith in his quote below.

“Give credit to Curtis for wanting to make himself better and doing everything he needs to do to do that,’’ said John Ferguson Jr., Boston’s executive director of player personnel. “His attentiveness to details, to off-ice preparation, to a willingness to go hard to the dirty areas in straight lines and do something positive when he gets there, those are all great attributes.’’

Potential Ontario Hockey League Placement For Hall

Although the former fourth-round selection of the Boston Bruins chose to go the USHL route on his way to playing in the NCAA, he was also selected in the 10th round of the 2016 OHL Priority draft by the Flint Firebirds. With the growing Coronavirus concerns growing every day and the NCAA and ECAC protocols moving forward and delaying the upcoming season, he does have the option to seek to play elsewhere. Now assuming the Covid-19 numbers are declining in the state of Michigan, a move to the second American team in the CHL and closer to his birth state of Ohio could be an enticing thought.

When it comes to family influence, a move to the CHL may come with a little push back from family more notably by his father Mike Hall, who spent four seasons playing for the NCAA Bowling Green club from 1992-93 to the 1995-96 seasons. Father Mike was also born in Ontario, and I’m sure he’s well versed in what type of development the OHL is so, either way, the parental influence, and former player guidance will go a long way with the best interest of Curtis in mind. Father Mike played several seasons of minor pro hockey after leaving Bowling Green and even made a stop in Providence, Rhode Island, for 18 games contributing 3-5-8 numbers during the 2000-01 season.

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Before the pandemic canceled the remainder of the OHL season, the Firebirds were having their best campaign since joining the league in 2015-16 after taking over the defunct Plymouth Whalers franchise. After a 16-46-6 38 point season in 2018-19, Flint would go onto post a franchise record of 40-21-1-1 in 63 games played before Covid-19 ruined everything.

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Nobody really knows how the Firebirds are going to play next season. With 2020 draft hopeful Yevgeni Oksentyuk and Dallas Stars prospect Ty Dellandrea returning or not, it should be a decent year for a team seemingly on the uprise. Regardless of record, points, and league standings, this is still a sold place for Curtis to play if he, family, and Bruins organization see a solid fit for his development. I know this is pretty much a long-shot idea but with his rights belonging to OHL Flint, it’s certainly not out of the realm of exploring all options to keep his development going and on time like normal seasons instead of waiting for the next calendar year to get going and break start time consistency.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 185 that we recorded below on 7-12-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

NHL, NHLPA Ratify RTP; Bruins’ Playoff Schedule Released

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Yahoo Sports)

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

It’s official – hockey is coming back. Today, July 10th, 2020, the NHL and NHLPA officially ratified the Return-To-Play/CBA Extension following a 502-135 vote (nearly 79% in favor) that has taken place over the last couple days.

In addition to confirming the Return-To-Play plans, more details have emerged on the deadline for players to opt-out of the festivities. Players will have until 5 p.m. EST on Monday, July 13th to opt-out of the 2019-2020 summer training camp as well as the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs without a penalty. Players must do so in writing to keep records of who decided to participate and who opted-out.

It was largely expected that the results would be in favor of hockey returning to decide a 2020 Stanley Cup Champion, but we also heard the news today of the schedule for the games and for Bruins fans, when we will see the boys in Black and Gold back on the ice for their three Round Robin games.

As of right now, only the qualifying round exact schedule has been released as further details will be released as the play-in rounds and round-robin conclude. Below is the full, 10-day schedule for every one of the 24 teams participating:

The Boston Bruins will begin their road to the 2020 Stanley Cup on Sunday, August 2nd against the Philadelphia Flyers followed by the dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, August 5th, and finally the Washington Capitals on Saturday, August 8th. From there, the seeding will be formed for the remainder of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Re-seeding will take place after each round ends, meaning a 1st seed position has more value.

Toronto, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta are the official hub cities. The National Hockey League confirmed that the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals will be held in Edmonton. According to Sportsnet Stats on Twitter, this is the first time since 1925 that the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be held in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup over the Hamilton Tigers due to a player strike in that 1924-25 season.

Below are some of the key dates for the National Hockey League starting at Training Camp courtesy of NHL Public Relations:

July 13th – Training Camps Open

July 26th – Teams Travel to Hub City

July 28-30th – Exhibition Games

August 1st – Stanley Cup Qualifiers Begin

August 10th* – Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

August 11th – 1st Round Begins

August 25th* – Second Round Begins

September 8th* – Conference Finals Begin

September 22nd* – Stanley Cup Final Begins

October 4th* – Last Possible Day of Final

October 9-10th* – 2020 NHL Entry Draft

*Tentative Date

For the latest on the NHL’s Return-To-Play as well as everything in the Boston Bruins organization, make sure to check back to blackngoldhockey.com and follow me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Five Players You Forgot Played For The Bruins: Part Two

(Photo Credit: Game Worn Auctions | gamewornauctions.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

It’s always fun to look back at Bruins’ history and notice players you had no idea played for the team. Sometimes, you recognize that name and suddenly remember the short time they did have with the Bruins. Regardless, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some players you probably forgot played with the Bruins. You can view part one of this series here.

Marty Turco

(Photo Credit: Times Union | timesunion.com)

Yes, Marty Turco wore the bright gold leg pads for the Bruins during the 2011-2012 season. The netminder signed with the Bruins as a free agent on March 5th, 2012. He only appeared with the Bruins for five games and won two of those.

Turco began his career with the Dallas Stars and played with the team throughout most of his career. His rookie season from 2000-2001, led the league with 1.90 GAA and .925% save percentage. He led the league again in 2002-2003 with 1.73 GAA and .932% save percentage. He played with Dallas from 2000-2010 until his contract expired and decided to hit the free-agent market. He was then picked up by the Chicago Blackhawks during the offseason and played until the end of the season, then signed to the Bruins as a free agent in 2012.

Throughout his 11-year NHL career, Turco played in 543 games and won 216 of them, averaging 2.36 GAA and a .910% save percentage. He officially announced his retirement from the hockey world on January 17th, 2013.

Chris Nilan

(Photo Credit: Stanley Cup of Chowder | stanleycupofchowder.com)

To me, Nilan wearing the Spoked-B has never felt right. The Boston-native was traded to the Bruins by the New York Rangers in 1990 and played for them until Montreal claimed him on waivers in 1992. He appeared in 80 games with Boston while producing 11-14-25 numbers with 463 PIM.

He began his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens in 1979 and played with them until 1988 when he was traded to the New York Rangers. During his time as a Canadien, he played in 523 games while posting 88-87-175 numbers with a whopping 2,248 PIM. He led the league in penalty minutes two seasons in a row from 1983-1984 (338 PIM) and 1984-1985 (358 PIM).

After his time with Montreal, he spent the next few seasons with the New York Rangers before being traded to the Bruins. Throughout his 13-year NHL career, Nilan played in 688 games while posting 110-115-225 numbers with an astounding 3,043 PIM.

Brian Gionta

(Photo Credit: Stanley Cup of Chowder | stanleycupofchowder.com)

Oddly enough, Gionta did have a short stint with the Bruins, and it was just two years ago back in 2018. His time in Boston lasted only 20 games during the 2017-2018 season and shortly retired after the season ended. The 5’7, 175-pound forward, had a memorable career though.

Gionta spent most of his career with the New Jersey Devils from 2001-2009, appearing in 473 games while producing 152-160-312 numbers with a +62 rating. He also became a Stanley Cup champion during his second year in the NHL after the New Jersey Devils won in 2003. After his contract expired in 2009, he signed to the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent and played with the team until 2014. His contract had expired during the off-season and was signed by the Buffalo Sabres. He played for Buffalo from 2014-2017, then was signed late in the 2017-2018 season by the Bruins.

The Stanley Cup champion announced his retirement from professional hockey on September 18th, 2018. Throughout his 16-year NHL career, he appeared in 1,026 games while producing 291-304-595 numbers with a +35 rating.

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Jarome Iginla

(Photo Credit: Black N’ Gold Hockey | blackngoldhockey.com)

If you’ve always been a fan of Iginla, how could you ever forget the one season with the Bruins? Iginla signed with the Bruins as a free agent in 2013 and suited up for 78 games while contributing 30-31-61 numbers with a +34 rating. Unfortunately, this would be the only season the power-forward plays with Boston.

Iginla spent most of his career as the captain for the Calgary Flames from 1996-2013, playing in 1,219 games and posting 525-570-1,095 numbers. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013 for Kenny Agonisto, Ben Hanowski, and a first-round pick (Morgan Klimchuk) in 2013 NHL Entry Draft. That following season, he inked a deal with the Bruins and did a tremendous job. Unfortunately, Iginla wanted to keep his options open and signed a contract with the Colorado Avalanche in 2014.

The 6’1, 210-pound forward played for Colorado until being traded in 2017 to the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round conditional pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. After finishing the season with the Kings, Iginla decided to hang them up and officially retire from the hockey world.

Throughout his 20-year NHL career, Iginla suited up for 1,554 games and posted 625-675-1,300 numbers. As of yesterday, the NHL announced Iginla to be apart of the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame and fellow Black N’ Gold writer, Lucas Pearson, wrote about it and can check it out here. Congratulations on an astounding career, Jarome Iginla!

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Zac Rinaldo

(Photo Credit: The Hockey News | thehockeynews.com)

Tough guy, Zac Rinaldo, was traded to the Bruins during the 2015 off-season for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He played for just one season, appearing in 52 games and scoring three points with 83 PIM.

He spent half of his NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers from 2011-2015, suiting up in 223 games while producing 8-16-24 numbers with 572 PIM. After his time in Philadelphia, he has become an NHL journeyman, spending the last five seasons between four NHL teams and several American Hockey League (AHL) teams.

This past season, he played with the Calgary Flames but will most likely be hitting the free-agent market this off-season. Throughout his eight-year NHL career so far, he has played in 370 games while producing 18-24-42 numbers and racking up 753 PIM.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Five Players You Forgot Played For The Bruins: Part One

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

It’s always fun to look back at Bruins’ history and notice players you had no idea played for the team. Sometimes, you recognize that name and suddenly remember the short time they did have with the Bruins. Regardless, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some players you probably forgot played with the Bruins.

Simon Gagne

(Photo Credit: Toronto Star | thestar.com)

That’s right, Simon Gagne was a Bruin back in the 2014-2015 season and appeared in 23 games wearing a Bruins jersey while collecting three goals and four points before retiring from the National Hockey League. Although his career was about finished by the time he arrived in Boston, he has had quite the NHL career.

The 6’1, 195-pound forward, began playing for the Philadelphia Flyers from 1999-2010, playing in a total of 691 games and posting 264-271-535 with a +140 rating. On July 19th, 2010, Gagne was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Gagne spent the season with Tampa Bay before signing with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent. That year, Gagne was used more as a depth forward, especially after missing most of the season due to a head injury. Regardless, he played four playoff games, and the Kings ended up winning the Stanley Cup in 2012, making Gagne a Stanley Cup champion.

He appeared in 11 games with the Kings that next season before being traded back to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick. After that season, he played impressively at the Boston Bruins training camp and inked a one-year deal. Although his time spent in Boston was cut short, it would’ve been great to have had a prime Gagne at one point in the lineup.

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Drew Stafford

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Drew Stafford had a quick cup of coffee with the Bruins after being traded by Winnipeg for a sixth-round pick on March 1st, 2017. He suited up in a Bruins uniform 18 times that year and produced four goals and eight points with a +8 rating.

Stafford began his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres in 2006 and played from 2006-2015, playing in 563 games while producing 145-177-322 numbers, before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets. After spending a full season with Winnipeg, the following year, he was traded to the Bruins, then in 2017 signed to the New Jersey Devils as a free agent. He played his final two years in the NHL with New Jersey, suiting up for 116 games and posting 13-15-28 numbers.

Throughout his 13-year NHL career, Stafford played for four teams, appearing in a total of 841 games while posting 196-232-428 numbers before retiring from the NHL.

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Blake Wheeler

(Photo Credit: Zimbio | zimbio.com)

For those that don’t know, Blake Wheeler was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes as the fifth-overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, but signed to the Boston Bruins as a free agent in 2008 and began his NHL career in a Bruins jersey. He had a successful rookie campaign with Boston from 2008-2009, racking up 21 goals and 45 points with a +36 rating in 81 games.

He continued to play with Boston for the next two seasons until being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers on February 18th, 2011, with Mark Stuart going to Atlanta in exchange for Rich Peverly and Boris Valabik. The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

Wheeler suited up in a Thrashers jersey for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season before being transferred to the Winnipeg Jets after the Atlanta franchise relocated. Wheeler has been a top-notch winger for Winnipeg ever since. So far, he has appeared in 687 games with Winnipeg and has produced 207-427-634 numbers with a +58 rating. The 33-year-old forward is currently signed to Winnipeg until 2024, with a current cap hit of $8.25M.

Rick Tocchet

(Photo Credit: Game Worn Auctions | gamewornauctions.com)

Rick Tocchet spent a short amount of time with the Bruins from 1996-1997 after being traded to the Bruins by the Los Angeles Kings for Kevin Stevens. During the 1995-1996 season, Tocchet appeared in 27 games with the Bruins and contributed 16-8-24 numbers.

The following season, the power-forward played 40 more games with the Bruins, producing 16-14-30 numbers before being traded to the Washington Capitals. He was traded along with Bill Ranford and Adam Oates in exchange for Jim Carey, Anson Carter, Jason Allison, and a third-round pick (Lee Goren) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. After his time with the Bruins, Tocchet finished his career playing with Washington, Phoenix Coyotes, and the Philadelphia Flyers from 1997-2002.

Throughout his 18-year career in the NHL, Tocchet played in 1,144 games while posting 440-512-952 numbers with 1,815 PIM. He is now the current head coach for the Arizona Coyotes.

Maxime Talbot

(Photo by Jana Chytilova | Freestyle Photography | Getty Images| nationalpost.com)

The former Pittsburgh Penguins grinder ended up in Boston at the tail-end of his career from 2014-2016. The Bruins saw grit and leadership that could help the team, especially during playoffs. During his tenure with the Bruins, he suited up for 56 games while producing just ten points while spending time with the Providence Bruins (AHL) as well.

Talbot began his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2005-2011, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 while playing in 338 games and posting 52-56-108 numbers. He was then signed to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011 as a free agent and then was traded a few years later in 2013 to the Colorado Avalanche. He was then traded to the Bruins in 2015, where he finished the rest of his NHL career.

Later, he signed with Avangard Omsk (Russia) in 2018 to continue his playing career. Throughout his 11-year NHL career, he became a Stanley Cup champion, and played a total of 704 games with 91-113-204 numbers.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins’ NCAA Prospects

( Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin|USA TODAY Sports )

By James Slater | Follow Me On Twitter @WhatsJamesBruin


With the 30th pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft the Boston Bruins selected forward John Beecher from the USDP (United Stated Development Program). Beecher, a University of Michigan commit at the time, is just one of many prospects the Bruins selected recently who decided to take their hockey careers through the NCAA. He is also one of the focus points in this article, but more on that later. 

Though the Bruins have had clear success drafting in other areas of the world, see Bruins recent success with Czech players. Still it’s safe to say the original 6 hockey club enjoys drafting prospects who are taking a route that gives a bit more time before contracts need to be handed out.

While there are many of these players throughout the organization, both in the NHL and the AHL (Charlie McAvoy, Trent Frederic etc), the focus here is on the  prospects who will eventually be returning to college for another season. So, just who are these higher-learners? (please note players are listed alphabetically by last name) 

Jack Becker

( Photo Credit: Michigan Athletics / mgoblue.com )

Jack Becker – not to be confused with University of Michigan teammate John Beecher – was selected in the 7th round of the infamous 2015 entry draft. The 22 year old from Dellwood, Minnesota will be returning to the University of Michigan for his senior year, with the hopes of making a big leap. 

This past season Becker saw a minor drop off in total points posting 8-4-12 through 32 games, though he did tie his NCAA career high in goals. Still the 6’3” 190lbs right winger will be looking to prove himself as a consistent scorer before he makes the pro leap. According to NESN’s Logan Mullen, Becker knows his main areas  of improvement are his skating ability and filling out that 6’3” frame. If he can make himself a bit less lanky and add power behind the bulk he’s looking for, it could change his game just enough to see the points start racking up. His senior year could prove to be one of the most significant seasons in his young career.   

John Beecher

( Photo Credit: Daryl Marshke / Michigan Athletics )

Unlike many of the others mentioned in this article there is actually a chance Beecher does not return to college to play. Instead he could exploit a loophole that allows him to play in the CHL this upcoming season. This could be especially enticing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as the NCAA may take a much longer time to start their season. But with Beecher having just completed a freshman year where he came out of the gates hot with 4 points in his first 5 games he may decide to stick around and see where the Wolverines can take his development.

Though Beecher did not keep up the .80 points per game pace for the rest of the season, the Elmira, NY native did finish tied for second in goals for the Wolverines with 9. His point total through 31 games was 9-7-16. The 6’3” 210lbs center was also second on the team in PIMs, after having served a one game suspension for headbutting during a game on February 1st.  

Probably the most disappointing part of the year for Beecher was his performance in the World Junior Championship U20 tournament, where he played for team USA. Beecher had 0 points and was -3 through 5 games. Though in the World Junior Summer Showcase Beecher did have much more success.

At his worst Beecher is a dynamic skating, tenacious player who doesn’t mind getting physical when the points aren’t flowing in. But at his ceiling, Beecher is a new-age power forward with blazing speed to match his size and strength. If he can make even remote progress in his development, he could prove to be too much to contain for the younger players of the NCAA or CHL. 

Curtis Hall

( Photo Credit: Yale University / yalebulldogs.com )

Sticking to the power forward theme with their NCAA draft picks the Bruins selected Curits Hall in the 4th round of the 2018 draft. Hall, a 6’3” 200lbs right shot center, was considered a long shot to make the USA World Junior U20 team but did. While on the team he contributed 1 goal in 5 games with a +2 rating.

Hall also enjoyed career highs in goals, assist, total points, PIMS and +/- with Yale this past season. Though he only had his freshman year stats to beat, Hall clearly made the sophomore jump, leading Yale in both goals and points, scoring 17-10-27 through 28 games played. Hall’s tremendous leap, scoring more than double his previous 11 points, was met with some well deserved accolades. Not only was Hall a Hobey Baker Award Nominee, but according to his Yale Hockey bio, the Ohio born power forward ended the season with Second Team All Sec and Second Team All Ivy League honors AND led the NCAA’s division 1 in game winning goals. In any sport, clutch is never a bad skill to have. 

Hall’s ceiling may not be as high as the dynamic skating, and WJC-20 teammate, John Beecher, but he’s a big strong kid who gets to the front of the net. As most hockey fans know, and as Hall’s points attest, the front of the net is where the goals are scored. Hall’s skill may not be as flashy as a lot of high end prospects but he is self described as “hard working” and has a great two-way style that Boston fans love to see.  As his game develops, Bruins fans can hope he starts drawing comparisons to the likes of Charlie Coyle or maybe even a less high end Ryan Getzlaf. 

Dustyn McFaul

( Photo Credit: Clarkson Athletics / clarksonathletics.com )

In 2018 two rounds after selecting Curtis Hall, the Bruins selected defenseman Dustyn McFaul, a Waterdown Ontario native, 181st overall. After spending the 2018-2019 in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, McFaul enrolled in Clarkson University. Mcfaul, a 19 year old during his entire Freshman year, went 1-6-7 through 31 games with a +7 rating. One goal may not scream “offensive-defenseman!” and though McFaul’s point totals thus far have attested to his stay-at-home nature, he has compared himself to the two-way style of Chicago’s Brent Seabrook.  Taking a closer look at his loan freshman year goal, we can see there is some serious skill to back up that two-way play style. 

In case you’re wondering, not many defensemen find themselves below the opposing team’s goal to even attempt a wrap around. But once the puck hit McFaul’s stick in stride, there was little anyone could do to stop him. The left shot D-man stands at a decent size of 6’2 185lbs and clearly has a motor on him. He too will be looking to make a significant sophomore leap. But if his development keeps up, he could find himself competing for spots at the next few development camps. 

Quinn Olson

( Photo Credit: UMD Bulldogs Athletics / umdbulldogs.com )

After John Beecher was selected as the Bruins 1st round pick in 2019, Quinn Olson became the Bruins next forward selected. Taking the 5’11” 170lbs left wing in the 3rd round. Olson had just come off a decent 2018-2019 season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League going 20-46-66 with 75 PIMs in 54 games. For his freshman season, Olson played for the UMD Bulldogs and had a decent rookie showing, 7-8-15 in 31 games. 

(Olson’s goal is within the first 30 seconds)

Olson is often referred to as a hardworking player and has made significant jumps each year. Bruins fans should be familiar with hardworking UMD products, as Karson Kuhlman has made his presence known all throughout Boston. If Olson can continue his end of improving each year, his sophomore campaign at UMD should turn some heads.  While there is certainly no way to know what Olson’s future holds, wouldn’t it be something to see the Bruins have another feisty left wing come up the pipes? In a world still aching for sports, dreaming will have to suffice for now.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins’ Top 5 Underrated Draft Picks Of The Decade

(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

Every year, one of the most significant events in the National Hockey League occurs; the Entry Level Draft. Draft picks play an incredibly important role in a General Manager’s Strategy to improve his hockey team. Some picks carry high expectations from the start, and others become well over-looked. The Boston Bruins are well known for having three straight 1st round draft picks in 2015 and only one so far being a full-time NHLer. But, they have had other selections even in later rounds that ended up becoming a hidden gem for the organization that nobody would’ve predicted right away, or at all.

Many of these young talents boast so much potential, and others fly right under the radar of discussion. Today, I will be diving deep in the debate on who I believe are the most underrated draft picks for the Bruins this past decade (2010-2019). Please note, these are in no particular order.

Jakub Lauko (F) 3rd Round, 77th Overall Pick – 2018 Draft

(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

Jakub Lauko is a versatile forward that brings a lot of energy and momentum to his game. After being drafted, he reported to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and played for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) as an 18-year-old forward. The 6’0, 195-pound forward suited up for 44 games and posted 21-20-41 numbers with a whopping +34 rating from 2018-2019.

Lauko played a significant role for the Huskies (QMJHL) during their playoff run, contributing 6-7-13 numbers with a +10 rating in 19 games played, helping the team to win the President’s Cup in 2019. The Huskies went on to compete for the Canadian Hockey League’s championship, the Memorial Cup. They ended up winning the championship with Lauko taking home the CHL Ed Chynoweth Award for most points in the memorial cup (2-6-8 numbers in five games). With such an impressive rookie season, the Bruins decided to call him up to the Providence Bruins for further player development.

Most Bruins fans really caught a glimpse of Lauko’s work ethic and scoring potential during the 2019 NHL pre-season when he scored a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers. Since then, the forward has spent little time with Providence for the 2019-2020 season due to suffering back to back concussion and knee injuries. Lauko had battled back and returned with Providence for some games before the unprecedented pandemic ended the American Hockey League (AHL) season. He finished his first AHL season with 5-4-9 numbers with a +3 rating in 22 games played.

I believe Lauko has a massive up-side to his potential; he has an incredible work ethic, scoring ability, and isn’t afraid to be a physical player either. In a few years, Lauko could develop to be a very reliable mid-six forward for the Bruins in the near future.

Jeremy Swayman (G) 4th Round, 111th Overall Pick – 2017 Draft

(Photo Credit: News Break | newsbreak.com)

Swayman was a 4th round gem for the Bruins and could be a starter/backup for the Bruins in the next season or two. The 6’3, 185-pound goaltender has spent the past few seasons with the University of Maine and has found tremendous success. Swayman was named to the NCAA (East) All-Rookie Team in 2017-2018 after finishing the season with 2.72 GAA and a .921% save percentage.

This past season, Swayman had his most stellar year yet, playing 34 games and contributing a 2.07 GAA and a whopping .939% save percentage, ultimately winning the Hobey Baker Award (player of the year). He also won the 2020 Walter Brown Award as a top American-Collegiate college hockey player in New England, NCAA Goaltender of the Year, NCAA Top Collegiate Goalie (Mike Ritcher Award), NCAA (Hockey East) Player of the Year, and NCAA (New England) Most Valuable Player. With Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak entering the final year of their contracts, Swayman could be looking to make a significant impact within the organization sooner rather than later.

Swayman decided to forgo his senior year at Maine and signed his entry-level contract with the Bruins. Maxime Legace and Daniel Vladar both have expiring deals, so I imagine Swayman will be playing with whomever Don Sweeney ends up re-signing in Providence. The quiet 4th round selection might end up being part of the long-term solution for the Bruins’ future goaltending.

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Anders Bjork (F) 5th Round, 146th Overall Pick – 2014 Draft

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Bjork is a speedy and creative player that has the potential to be a mid-six forward for the Bruins, in my opinion. After being drafted, Bjork committed to the University of Notre Dame and played from 2014-2017 but surrendered his senior year to ink his entry-level deal with the Bruins. Bjork had his most impressive campaign during his last year with Notre Dame, contributing 21-31-52 numbers with a +17 rating in 39 games played. Since then, Bjork was one of the Bruins’ most promising rookies but became plagued with season-ending injuries from 2017-2019, limiting his ice-time with Providence and Boston.

Bjork was finally able to showcase his talent at the NHL level this season, to manage a full-time position in line-up throughout most of the 2019-2020 season, suiting up for 58 games and posting 9-19-19 numbers with a +5 rating. He began to become a healthy scratch for stretches near the end of the season due to inconsistencies, but the left-winger has shown to be a difference-maker at the NHL level.

I hope that the Bruins can come to terms with Bjork this upcoming off-season, and they choose to protect him during the 2021-2022 expansion draft as well. For a 5th round selection, Bjork was an absolute steal for the Bruins.

Trent Frederic (F) 1st Round, 29th Overall Pick – 2016 Draft

(Photo credit: ESPN | espn.com)

Even though Frederic is a 1st round selection, I believe he is an underrated pick that deserves a lot more credit, especially after a strong 2019-2020 campaign with the Providence Bruins. Frederic is a diverse player and can spark his team in a lot of different ways. The 6’2, 203-pound forward, provides a lot of physicality to the line-up and led the AHL in penalty minutes (148) during the 2019-2020 campaign. Although many Bruins fans know Fredric for his rookie game with the Bruins that involved a fight with Winnipeg Jets’ Brandon Tanev, he has the potential to be a strong two-way player through development with Providence.

Before the AHL season ended due to the unprecedented pandemic, Frederic suited up for 59 games and contributed 8-24-32 numbers with a +10 rating. Although the forward has been placed on the wing with the Bruins more often than as a center, either position he can play well as long as he is not shy, isn’t afraid to be physical and uses his large frame to his advantage.

Even though Frederic has played a total of 17 games at the NHL level without yet producing a point, he has improved substantially and could be looking to crack the bottom-six line-up for the Bruins in the next season or two. Frederic has one year remaining on his Entry-Level Contract and will use this upcoming season to prove himself worthy of this thriving organization.

Matthew Grzelcyk (D) 3rd Round, 85th Overall – 2012 Draft

(Photo credit: Bleacher Report | bleacherreport.com)

Although this underrated category is in no particular order, I can safely say that Matthew Grzelyck turned out to be one of the Bruins’ most underrated draft picks of this decade, in my opinion. Not only has Grzelyck cracked the line-up the past few seasons as a full-time NHLer, but the undersized defenseman proved much of the hockey world wrong.

After being drafted, the 5’9, 175-pound defender committed to Boston University and played from 2013-2016, appearing in a total of 87 games and contributing 23-67-89 numbers with an astounding +61 rating. He also scored the game-winning goal for Boston University to win the Beanpot Championship in 2015.

Bruins’ fans can be relentless in their opinions about Grzelcyk because of his physical stature and the fact that he doesn’t hit everything on site. Still, fans undermine his puck-moving and scoring abilities. If Krug chose not to re-sign with the Bruins this off-season, then Grzelyck would be one of the best options for the central power-play unit unless Bruce Cassidy decides to use five forwards. His skating ability also does not grow on trees by any means. When watching him play, he becomes elusive around other forwards pressuring him. He’s able to get out of tight space situations and break out the defensive zone without giving up the puck.

In the past three seasons, Grzelyck has appeared in 195 games and posted 10-44-54 numbers with a +45 rating while managing an average of 18:07 on-ice time. During the 2019 playoffs, Grzelyck produced four goals, eight points, and 17 blocks in 20 games. The defender is continually improving year after year, and with his contract expiring at the end of this season, the Bruins should focus on re-signing him.

Unfortunately, if Grzelyck were to re-sign for at least two more years, he would most likely become exposed during the 2021-2022 expansion draft. Grzelyck holds more value than most people perceive, and I believe he can become a franchise defenseman for the Bruins if he keeps up his production.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!