Bruins Prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson To Return To Sweden

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(Photo: Brian Babineau / NHL Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that forward prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (JFK) will return to Sweden next season, intending to sign a contract with Vaxjo of the Swedish Hockey League.

“Jakob will continue his professional hockey career and development in the SHL and we support his decision to be closer to his family at this time in his life,” Sweeney said as he addressed the media. Sweeney also noted that JFK has stated that he “fully intends to resume playing for the Bruins, but right now he feels playing at home in Sweden is what is best for him.”

JFK has suited up in 29 games for the Bruins, 28 of which came this season. During his time with the big club, the Stockholm native registered three goals and six assists for nine points. The 22-year-old’s NHL debut came during the season finale in 2016-17 versus the Washington Capitals.

The 45th-overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, JFK spent the majority of the last two seasons with Boston’s AHL-Affiliate, the Providence Bruins. In 86 total games, JFK notched 22-26-48 totals for the P-Bruins.

The 6-foot-1, 184-pound forward spent two seasons at Boston University before signing his entry-level deal with the Bruins, serving as an alternate captain during his sophomore season with 14-19-33 numbers and a plus-11 rating. As a freshman, the centerman was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team after tallying 10 goals, 20 assists, and 30 points with a plus-four rating.

Bruins Sign Oskar Steen To Entry-Level Contract

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( Photo Credit: BostonHerald.com)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the Bruins have inked forward prospect Oskar Steen to a three-year entry-level contract. The deal runs through the 2020-21 season, carrying an annual NHL cap hit of $809,167.

Steen, who was drafted in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, has spent the last three seasons playing for Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League. This season, the 21-year-old had a career year, tallying 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points in 47 games to go along with a plus-17 rating. His 37 points were good enough for second on his team and 10th in the SHL. In 14 playoff games this year, Steen recored 2-5-7 numbers.

Last season, Steen registered four goals and two assists for a total of six points through 45 games. In 2016-17, the 5-foot-9, 186-pound forward recorded five goals and six assists (11 points) in eighteen games for Sweden Junior’s Farjestad Jr. in addition to four games for Sweden 2’s MoDo. Also, Steen had a goal and an assist in one game for Sweden 3’s Forshaga in the ’16-17 season.

The Karlstad, Sweden native represented his country at the 2018 World Junior Championships, where he won a silver medal after registering two goals (both coming as game-winners), two assists, and a plus-five rating in seven games. In 2016, Steen won a silver medal at the U18 World Junior Championships as he notched 1-1-3 in seven games.

It is not yet confirmed whether or not Steen will make the jump to North American hockey next season, although it would make sense for him to join the Providence Bruins to become acclimated to the smaller ice and different style of play.

Bruins Prospect Steen Is Having Career Year In SHL

( Photo Credit: BostonHerald.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins could add one of their better European prospects to the developmental levels as soon as next season. 2016 sixth-round selection Oskar Steen who plays overseas with the Farjestad BK club in the Swedish Hockey League is having a big year and getting heavy praise. Providence Journal Bruins beat writer Mark Divver tweeted out that Steen is heavily considered to represent Team Sweden for this year’s World Championships being played in the cities of Bratislava and Kosice in Slovakia which would be a fantastic experience for the developing forward.

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The 20-year-old Karlstad, Sweden native is currently having a career season thus far with 17-20-37 numbers in 44 games and is playing in the last year of his contract with the SHL’s Farjestad club. As Divver mentioned in his above tweet, the 5′-9″ 187-pound forward could sign an entry-level deal during the offseason and place him in the American Hockey League as soon as the 2019-20 season to get him acclimated to the North American game and tighter playing surface.

Steen had seven points in his last three games including a 2-1-3 offensive effort in an 8-3 win on Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, 8-3 win against the visiting Mora IK club and contributed two assists today in a Farjestad 4-1 victory over Brynas. To begin the 2018-19 campaign, Oskar had 6-5-11 totals in the first 22 games and after a five-game absence from December 6th, 2018 to December 26th, 2018, the speedy forward has 11-15-26 numbers in his last 20 games.

Below, thedraftanalyst.com’s website founder Steve Kournianos had these words to say about Bruins prospect Oskar Steen in his 2016 Pre NHL Draft Rankings Top 500 Final Rankings article where Steve had him at #80. Check out The Draft Analysts other rankings from the same year in these monthly rankings –> December 2015 Top 250 Steen Ranked #74,  January 2016 Top 250 Steen Ranked #96, February 2016 Top 250 Steen Ranked #84, March 2016 Top 250 Steen Ranked #86, April 2016 Top 250 Steen Ranked #80 Not bad numbers in my opinion for a sixth rounder.

Steady climber who exploded at the most recent U18 Five Nations in Switzerland. The book is still out on him, but the more he out-produces his peers in best-on-best competitions, the more visible he’ll appear on the draft radar. Steen isn’t a gazelle, but he’s hard to handle during zone entries and cycles. He can also bring a quick and accurate shot.

Now I’m no expert when it comes to evaluating players, but if my opinion is wanted here, we go. Fast forward that protects the puck well in stride which makes him effective all over the ice even in the dirty areas for the undersized player. His speed alone is something to watch especially on the forecheck with his puck tracking capabilities.  If Steen can translate the difference in game style from across the pond, he’ll be a solid addition to an already fast developing core down in Providence under the tutelage of Head Coach Jay Leach.

Oskar is the type of player that I can easily see moving up and down the top nine of the AHL Bruins lineup or at the NHL level a solid fourth liner that not only has speed but adds a little bit of grit and in-your-face forechecking. He has a decent pair of hands that have been on display thus far this season but also has an insanely accurate shot either a quick snapshot or winding up in stride blasting one home.  His creativity in tight spaces I hear was a big reason former NHL Boston player, and now B’s European amateur scout PJ Axelsson was his selling point to B’s management in several pre-draft meetings.

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Steen is ranked 7th in the SHL is overall points and has four remaining games in this regular season before playoffs. The Farjastads BK team has a record of 27-13-6-4 and currently sit second in the league as the 50 game SHL regular season has come to an end. Oskar’s arrival in North America is currently on hold at this point and all going to depend on his efforts and teams success in the attempt to capture a league championship with the playoffs starting shortly.

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Providence Bruins Sign Defenseman Cumiskey

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per Providence Journal’s Bruins beat writer Mark Divver, yesterday the Providence Bruins organization signed veteran defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to a one-year American Hockey League contract. The 32-year-old British Columbia, Canada native, has certainly made the rounds when talking about his hockey career spending a considerable amount of time playing in North America and even spent time playing in Europe when he couldn’t find work in his home continent.

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After playing in 12 games in the Swedish Hockey League in the 2016-17 season with the Skelleftea AIK club and completely missing the 2017-18 hockey season altogether, the former 2015 Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks made his way back to North America to keep the dream of playing alive. To start his 2018-19 season, the AHL Toronto Marlies came calling with a professional tryout agreement but after one game with the Marlies the top minor-pro affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs he was demoted to the new ECHL franchise with the Newfoundland Growlers where he appeared in 11 games. Cumiskey was loaned to the Providence Bruins on November 18th, 2018, where he agreed on a PTO while showing the AHL Providence club that he belongs at this level. Producing six points in 11 games with the Rhode Island franchise his play and leadership alone was enough for the team to lock him up for the remainder of the season.

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Cumiskey’s hockey career, particularly in North America, has been an up and down adventure. In 139 career NHL games, he has 9-26-35 numbers, but in the lower levels of minor-pro hockey, he’s produced 23-89-112 in 236 games in the AHL and nine assists in 11 games in the ECHL. His addition to the Providence team has been important because of the constant movement the team has seen with key injuries to the parent NHL Boston Bruins team, especially on defense. The 5′-11″ 181-pound blueliner tied a 2018-19 season-high last night when it comes to multi-point games with two assists in last nights 4-3 overtime loss to the hands of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. With last night’s two assists Kyle is now on a season-high two-game point streak.

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The 11-11-5-0 Providence Bruins are back at it tonight when the visiting 11-13-0-2 Hershey Bears come to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The Bruins currently sit sixth in the Atlantic Division with 27 points and are in the 11th spot when looking at the Eastern Conference rankings. The Providence club is 5-3-2 in their last ten games and winless in the last four with a 0-3-1 record. The B’s have had a tough time creating any consistency since starting the 2018-19 campaign but have shown signs of life in December as they’ve trended in year’s past the other way to make a strong second half effort and march into a playoff position. Cumiskey has certainly played well enough to be a catalyst on the backend of this B’s team, and his leadership could be an important factor moving forward with younger developing players all working towards the same goal.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

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2018 Bruins Prospect Development Camp Provides The Potential For Optimism And Excitement

(06/26/2018- Boston, MA) Oskar Steen takes a shot at the Boston Bruins development camp at Warrior Arena on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Staff Photo by Matt West(Photo Credit: Matt West)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Days one through three provided plenty of great hockey and excitement for all in attendance, including myself. Development camp is an awesome opportunity for those who attend to see Bruins prospects and camp invitees, as some are unable to watch them play during their respective seasons much or at all. This is of course on top of the opportunities for growth and recognition it provides for the players in attendance across the camps of all 31 NHL teams.

The crop of young players in attendance at Warrior Ice Arena was one that didn’t disappoint and brought players from all over, including but not limited to the NCAA, OHL, QMJHL, SHL, and OJHL. The main standouts for me were Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Jakub Lauko, Jeremy Swayman, and Curtis Hall, amongst a few others. This doesn’t mean that any players not included were bad or didn’t stand out to me.

Oskar Steen

The speedy Swede, Oskar Steen, stood out yet again, just like last year at camp. His quickness and speed allow him to evade defenders and create space to unleash his impressive wrist shot. The 2016 sixth-round pick arsenal was put on display at the 2018 World Junior Championships as well, with two goals and two assists in seven games en route to a silver medal with Team Sweden.

His speed and desire to have the puck on his stick could lead to him being an effective penalty killer at the pro level. Steen is still just 20-years-old as well, so the room to grow as a player and mature physically in his pursuit of an NHL job is certainly there.

Jack Studnicka

Stud is in his last name, folks. A 2017 Bruins second-round pick, Studnicka killed it at camp after an impressive 2017-2018 campaign with Oshawa Generals. The 19-year-old Canadian kid has his sights set on an NHL gig for the 2018-2019 season, and for good reason. His competitiveness, playmaking skills, and smooth skating make him a tough player to contain.

His 22-50-72 stat line in 66 games was good for a spot in the top-30 OHL scorers at number 27 on the list in the company of high-end prospects like Owen Tippett and Robert Thomas, to name a couple. 2018 second overall pick Andrei Svechnikov was in that range as well. But, he only played just 44 games, compared to everyone around him on the leaderboard being in the 50’s and high 60’s in games played.

There is a chance Riley Nash isn’t back with the Bruins in the near future, as he is an unrestricted free-agent come July 1. The Bruins’ third line center void is up for grabs if Nash goes elsewhere, with players such as Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Trent Frederic, and one of the new guys Martin Bakos also amongst the group that will vie for that third-line ice-time. With that being said, cracking the roster will not be easy for Studnicka. If he doesn’t make the NHL roster, he will need to go back to Oshawa in the OHL per the NHL/CHL Player Agreement, which would prohibit him from going to the AHL due to the fact that he is under the age of 20.

Jack Studnicka watch is on.

Jakub Lauko

A new talented Czech in Jakub Lauko joined the fold when he surprisingly fell in the Bruins’ collective lap at 77th overall. Lauko is a first-round talent in the eyes of some, and I am onboard with that. Just look at what Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley had to say after drafting Lauko:

“We had him on our list as a first-round pick. We’re ecstatic to get a player like this at that point in the draft.”

Getting a first-round talent late in the first-round certainly makes the Bruins brass feel better about not having a first-round pick this year. What sticks out past his dynamic skill set, and speed is his confidence in himself as a player and desire to make teams regret passing on him. This drive and determination alone should have Bruins fans on the edge of their seats eagerly waiting to see what Jakub Lauko can do at the NHL level.

After being drafted, Lauko had this to say about how he felt about his draft position, “I expected to be higher,” said Lauko (6 feet, 179 pounds), a left-shot who can play center or wing. “But now I can prove to everyone that I am one of the biggest steals in the draft.”

How can one not love that confident mindset and positional versatility? Fast forward to day two of development camp where he did his best Anze Kopitar vs. Tim Thomas impression against Kyle Keyser and succeeded in doing so.

 

From my perspective, I think it’s fair to say that Jakub Lauko was one of the best, if not the best player on the ice for much of the duration of the first three days of camp.

The offensive instincts are there on top of his bulldog mentality and willingness to work in the gritty areas and play physically. I can’t think of anything that worries me with Jakub Lauko as a player. He just has the makings of a successful NHL player with time to improve even more past development camp, get stronger and to mature.

Lauko said after the draft in the video above that he is willing to take on any challenge and talks about his appreciation of fellow Czech’s within the organization in David Pastrnak, David Krejci, and prospect Daniel Bukac – who Jakub has known since he was around seven-eight-years-old. On top of his offensive prowess, Jakub is confident that he is one of the fastest players in the draft, he’ll block shots, and he doesn’t shy away from going at it with players that are bigger than him. How did he fall into the late third-round of the draft?!

Lastly, I’ve said it on Twitter, so I’ll stress it again here.

There is plenty of room on the ‘Laukomotive’.

Curtis Hall

First and foremost, Curtis Hall’s hair. My goodness, what a mane.

Curtis Hall comes to Bruins development camp with a playstyle reminiscent of current Bruin David Backes, who Hall models his game after.

Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports on Twitter) of the New England Hockey Journal, wrote the following about Hall this past January, “Hall, who has spent some time playing right wing in international competition, feels more comfortable at center. He tries to emulate Boston Bruins versatile forward David Backes, who also plays center and right wing.” Positional versatility and buzzsaw on the wing or down the middle like David Backes? I’d take that.

Throughout days one to three of development camp, Hall used his large 6-foot-3, 196-pound frame fight for puck possession and score in close proximity to the net, or with his sweet wrist shot. Another thing that stands out is his work ethic, which goes hand-in-hand with his willingness to fight for pucks and create an offensive flow for himself and/or those around him.

Yale University will be an excellent place for Hall to grow as a player and a person in the NCAA’s Big Ten. Adding more strength to his already impressive frame will make him a nightmare to play against, especially in the physical game at the next level.

Pavel Shen

The Russian centerman Pavel Shen rounded out the 2018 draft class for the Boston Bruins at 212th overall. What stood out to me with Pavel Shen was his smooth skating ability, puck skills, and how it looked as though he wasn’t overcomplicating how he handled himself on the ice. It is understandable for players to be nervous in their first go at an NHL development camp, Pavel Shen didn’t seem nervous to me, he looked pretty comfortable to me out there.

The ‘Shensation’ as I now like to call him, looks to hold solid value as a seventh-round pick near the very conclusion of the draft. Below is a video that I found to very cool, take a look.

Whether it was the first Bruins 1-on-1 in Russian or not, it was very cool to see something like this in an interview with two young players – Pavel Shen is 18-years-old, Philip Lagunov is 19-years-old.

Martin Bakos

The oldest player in the group, Martin Bakos comes to camp as the oldest player from Slovakia and the Czech pro league. The Bruins signed Martin Bakos to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 back on June 14, shortly after, he was invited to development camp at age 28. An interesting start to his Bruins career to say the least.

Unsurprisingly, he looked comfortable right from the get-go as a 28-year-old veteran in a sense. His confidence with the puck is very present whenever he is on the ice and he clearly has a very solid hockey IQ in the offensive and defensive parts of his game.

As mentioned earlier, if Riley Nash does, in fact, move on from the Bruins in free-agency, Bakos is certainly a candidate for the third-line center position. It will be very interesting to see how he progresses over the summer and into the regular season. Keep an eye out for Martin Bakos.

Martin Bakos, certified surgeon with those hands.

Karson Kuhlman

Karson Kuhlman is a player that myself amongst a growing amount of people are starting to believe can contribute at the NHL level. This isn’t to say that if not, Providence would be a step-down, but rather it is a statement that he is making a name for himself early in his career as a Bruin.

He was definitely a leader as a 22-year-old at camp with many guys who are younger than him – he would help warm up the goalies at times during camp and anyone who looked closely could see his vocal nature on the ice. Not to mention, he works extremely hard whenever he is on the ice and the desire to be a difference maker is very much present in how he operates as a hockey player.

A high character kid with speed and a great shot to go with experience as a winner at the University of Minnesota Duluth – particularly the two National Championship appearances, including one National Championship title in which he won MVP.

The Goalies: Jeremy Swayman, Kyle Keyser, and Daniel Vladar

Jeremy Swayman

Honestly, all three goalies put solid performances forward in the first three days, but Jeremy Swayman with his athleticism and quickness, in particular, stole the show in my eyes, in a sense.

Swayman made great strides throughout his freshman year as a University of Maine Black Bear. Swayman put forward a great freshman season at UMaine – after 31 appearances, yes 31 appearances as a freshman, Swayman finished the season with a 2.72 goals against average and .921 save percentage. That’s not something to glance over and forget about, that is seriously impressive.

Kyle Keyser

Kyle Keyser’s aggressiveness and quickness in the crease are impressive attributes within his arsenal. He had a consistently solid first three days and is the youngest of these three goalies. On day three, Keyser made an incredible save on a 2-on-1 chance from Jack Becker. A teammate of fellow Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka this past season, Keyser will look to continue his progression in Oshawa for a three season. The 19-year-old goaltender from Coral Springs, Florida, has amassed 73 appearances over two seasons in Oshawa – with 47 of them coming last year.

That’s a pretty tough save to make in a high-pressure situation.

Daniel Vladar

Three things that Daniel Vladar likes are the hit TV series ‘The Office’, hockey, and modeling his game after Bruins starting goalie Tuukka Rask (6-foot-3), as well as Nashville Predators veteran goalie, Pekka Rinne (6-foot-5) – two large goalies, like Daniel. His movement in the crease is impressive for someone of his size, like Rask and Rinne and with a keen eye, one can definitely see similarities in their playing styles. Just ask BNG team member Thomas Nystrom (@nahstrom on Twitter) or Boston Sports Journal Bruins writer Anthony Gulizia, as he wrote about Vladar, Rask, and Rinne not too long ago.

The oldest of the goalie group, Vladar is well-spoken with a giant goaltending frame with good crease awareness and vision to go along with it who will look to build on his development in Providence this upcoming season.

Camp Invitees: Stephen Baylis, Henry Bowlby, and Teemu Kivilhalme

Stephen Baylis

Stephen Baylis, Henry Bowlby, and Teemu Kivilhalme stood out to me amongst the solid group of camp invitees at camp. Although they may never join the Bruins organization, their solid performances at camp certainly helped their chances of landing a spot in professional hockey someday, whether that is within the Bruins organization or not.

Stephen Baylis is a 23-year-old forward from Bowling Green State University. He showed solid hands, a good skating stride, and he played heads-up hockey.

Baylis will head back to Bowling Green State University for his senior year this fall to continue to his developmental path.

Henry Bowlby

Henry Bowlby is an incoming sophomore at Harvard University from one of Minnesota’s hockey hotbeds in the city of Edina. As a freshman at Harvard, he scored eight goals and added as many assists, good for 16 points in 24 games. Not too shabby for a freshman. Bowlby’s quickness, soft hands, and shooting ability were on display at camp and really caught my eye.

Bowlby can be found in the video below displaying his quickness and skills with the puck on his stick in tight below wearing number 75.

Henry Bowlby is definitely a player that I will continue to monitor. If he progresses nicely at Harvard and Bruins management keeps an eye on him, maybe he could land a contract in Boston someday and join Harvard teammate and current Bruin, Ryan Donato in the organization.

Teemu Kivilhalme

Now here is a player with an interesting background that led him to Boston for development camp – Teemu Kivilhalme. Teemu was drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL draft by the Nashville Predators, played three seasons at Colorado College, left college a year early to play for Kärpät in Finland and never signed with Nashville. The next step? Prospect development camp with the Boston Bruins.

On day one of camp skated towards a barrier on the blue line, stumbled right in front of the barrier on a zone-entry drill and recovered very quickly to evade the barrier and plant a wrist-shot in the top-left corner of the net. Some may not have noticed it, but his quick recovery and impressive finish made me watch him closer as camp went on. He is a smooth skater with a quick shot. He wasn’t overly flashy with anything, but showed a structured and calm playing style throughout the first three days.

Kivihalme is set to play for Kärpät again next year and is most definitely a player to monitor for me due to his skill set and his interesting path to get where he is today.

Be optimistic and get excited if you somehow aren’t already – because outside of the NHL and AHL rosters that are in pretty good shape, there is plenty of depth in the Bruins’ prospect core. Plus, there is the possibility of one, if not multiple of the camp invitees in attendance becoming members of the Bruins organization someday.

Bruins Sign Slovakian Martin Bakos

Photo Credit: MICHAEL ERICHSEN / BILDBYRÅN

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per 98.5 The Sports Hubs Bruins beat writer Ty Anderson, the Boston Bruins have signed 28-year-old Slovakian forward Martin Bakos to a one-year, two-way contract for the upcoming 2018-19 hockey season. Likely a depth signing to add to the developing depth and may be a solution for current “restricted” and “unrestricted” free agents in Providence of the American Hockey League if their services are no longer needed.

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The 6′-2″ 198-pound versatile forward has spent his entire hockey career overseas for and had 14-26-40 numbers during the 2017-18 regular season appearing in 52 games for the Bili Tygri Liberec Clu in the Czech pro-league. In 146 career games in the Czech league, he has 43-56-99 numbers and 19-19-38 totals when playing in the Kontinental Hockey League in 102 games.

The right-shooting Bakos originally signed to play in the Swedish Hockey League for the upcoming season but seemed to have a change of heart when the Boston Bruins came calling to bring another player over for a taste of North American hockey.  As mentioned above, this could be a signing for players potentially departing the organization to seek jobs elsewhere in hockey. With names like Austin Czarnik, Justin Hickman, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh’s futures up in the air, this is a great time to get depth players from Europe and other areas of the world into the system given enough time to get adjusted to the smaller rinks and what’s expected in terms of training from the B’s organization.

Below Are A Few Videos Showing The Skill-Set Of The Recently Signed Bruins Forward

Former Bruin Daniel Paille’s Career Likely Over

bb161118bb160-1024x576Photo credit: Bildbyrån

By Jacob Albrecht | Follow me on Twitter @bruinsfan3725

Former Boston Bruin Daniel Paille is likely going to hang up his skates following a nasty blindsided hit to the head he suffered early last November while playing for the SHL’s Brynäs IF Club. Paille had suffered previous head injuries during his career in the NHL with the Bruins, but none of this magnitude. Here’s the hit he took which looks all too familiar to Bruins fans:

It’s tough to watch anyone suffer such a vicious hit and the aftermath has proven fatal to the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion’s hockey career. He has not played since the incident, an absence from the ice of about 7 months. As of earlier this week it was revealed that Paille suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the blindside hit.

The offender, German Thomas Larkin was handed a fairly light punishment which Paille responded to, saying, “It is obvious that players’ safety and the integrity of sports are not something they prioritize. I want this player to be held liable and punished for his actions.” Words such as these coming from a former player, especially one with a significant history of head injuries, are very heavy. Players must be better protected from dangerous hits such as this one across all levels and leagues of hockey.

It is a shame to see a beloved former Bruin’s career end in such a painful and violent way, but Paille will always be known as one-third of “The Merlot Line,” with the other two being Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. He played the game with consistent high intensity and energy, which quickly endeared him in the hearts of Boston’s craziest fans. Nobody will be quick to forget Paille’s contributions from the 2009-2010 season up through 2014-2015, especially his incredible skating and sneaky goal-scoring ability. Least forgettable is his strong work ethic, willingness to block shots and take a hit during the 2011 playoff run which saw the Bruins bring home the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years.

116746408.0.jpgPhoto credit: Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

Paille totaled 50 goals and 45 assists for 95 points in 365 games with the Bruins. He was a monster on the penalty kill, using his speed and skating ability to outrun his opponents and score a total of 8 short-handed goals during his Bruins career. Paille was never a guy to be flashy, or show up on the highlight reels and the stats sheets, but without his contributions, things could’ve gone quite different for the boys in the Spoked-B.

Here’s a clip of one of Paille’s most memorable and significant moments as a Bruin, scoring the game-winning goal in double-overtime in game 2 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks:

The hope is that Paille can return to the ice one day, in some capacity, and most importantly that he fully recovers from this scary injury.

He may not be on the ice anymore, but his name will forever be engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Once a Bruin, always a Bruin. Get well soon, Danny.

What If The Bruins Had A First-Round Pick In 2018?

Photo Credit:  American Airlines Center

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The two-day seven-round National Hockey League Entry Draft is set to begin on Friday, June 22, 2018, from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. As many Boston Bruins fans know, the first selection of the B’s in this year’s draft was dealt away in a 2017-18 trade deadline deal to acquire forward Rick Nash from the New York Rangers. Boston General Manager Don Sweeney said last week from the NHL Combine in Buffalo, New York that the B’s are in discussions about bringing the 33-year-old veteran back if an extension can be agreed on.

Sweeney said on a June 1st  article written by NESN’s Lauren Campbell “We’re going to have follow up conversations this week. I plan to talk to (Nash’s camp) again and have a, hopefully, have a clear understanding of where (his playing future) necessarily lands,” Sweeney said, via a team-provided transcript. “Rick indicated when he came to Boston that he was excited about the opportunity. He wants to win. He wants an opportunity to win.”

One question often brought to my attention after the B’s were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second-round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, is what did the team give up when the Bruins added the 2018 first-round pick talent to acquire Nash who may walk to free agency on July 1st? Listen, I’m not going to hammer or discredit Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney for the price he paid for what’s lining up to be a pure rental at this moment. Instead, I’d like to dive into a research project to what the B’s could’ve had if they, in fact, kept the 26th selection in this years draft.

With the help from NHL Draft specialists such as FutureConsiderations.ca, HockeyProspects.com, isshockey.com, TheDraftAnalyst.com, and the NHL.com’s 2018 Central Scouting Final Rankings, I’ve come up with a list in no particular order of players the Bruins could’ve added and who the New York Rangers could potentially target below.

Rasmus Sandin – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

Photo Credit: Brian Kelly/The Sault Star/Postmedia Network

Date of Birth: March 7, 2000

Position: Left Defense

Height:  5′-11″

Weight:  190-pounds

Shoots:  Left

When it comes down to mid-late first-round draft selections in a 2018 draft front-loaded with defensive talent, a player like Sandin isn’t hard to gravitate to when giving a personal evaluation after reading and watching video on the young talent. As a Bruins fan, the importance of properly developing a left shot blueliner wouldn’t be a bad idea to add to the developing depth of the organization. Rasmus has a strong two-way game and his hockey intelligence cannot be denied. His mobility on the ice and quick hands make him a threat no matter where on the 200-foot sheet of ice he may be.

I’m a huge fan of his tape-to-tape stretch passes and vision up ice for a fast transition out of his defensive zone. Definitely, a threat on the powerplay with an uncanny ability to jump in offensively with his will to sneak down low unmolested. The 18-year-old Uppsala, Sweden native, could bulk up a little more and improve his skating when it comes to the speed department, but he did have a good first season of North American hockey when it came to playing with the Greyhounds last season. Changing his game from the big international ice of his home country to posting 12-33-45 numbers in the smaller rinks of the Ontario Hockey League was most impressive to me.

Here’s What The Scouts Are Saying About Sandin’s Game

In terms of puck poise, Sandin’s one of the calmest teenage defensemen you’ll see get drafted this year. He played alongside Adam Boqvist at the Hlinka and I thought he was just as good. He’s a very good skater but his puck distributing and one-on-one play is what should make him an NHL mainstay for at least a decade. – Steve Kournianos – The Draft Analyst

Sandin is a gifted two-way defenseman…a skilled puck-handler who has the confidence to attempt long stretch passes up the middle of the ice or to skate it himself…his hands are an asset in corralling the puck off a hard pass or making a slick deke…although a decent skater with adequate speed, his edgework isn’t as crisp as it could be and it affects him when moving laterally or changing directions…lowering his center of gravity and using longer leg pushes in each stride could also increase his speed…he isn’t afraid to carry the puck through the neutral zone himself, and is shifty and creative with the puck on his stick…strong at fending off forecheckers in his own zone, as he can outwait physical contact and absorb a hit before skating the puck out of trouble or dishing it to a teammate…he has very good defensive awareness, particularly when switching checks or choosing when to pressure opponents below the goal line…not afraid to play the body to close off an opponent along the boards…has some impressive potential as a puck-mover who can also be effective in his own zone. – Future Considerations

Jett Woo – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Photo Credit: Marc Smith / Discover Moosejaw

Date of Birth: July 27, 2000

Position: Right Defense

Height: 6′-0″

Weight: 205-pounds

Shoots: Right

Probably one of the more realistic thoughts of mine if the Bruins had the 26th pick in this year’s draft over the above mentioned Sandin, Woo is one of my favorites coming out of the Western Hockey League. Jett’s size and defensive game are very attractive when it comes to his mobility and offensive intelligence.  He plays a good two-way game and doesn’t shy away from the physicality either along the boards or an open ice hit when an opponent pressures offensively.

The 2017-18 season was Jett’s second year in the WHL posting 9-16-25 numbers in 44  games. A tad better than he did in his rookie season where he amassed 22 points in 65 games. Last season the 18-year-old Woo missed parts of the year with multiple upper-body injuries but managed to recover quickly enough to come back to be a productive member of the Warriors backend in a top-four role. Regardless of where he’s selected and by what team, Jett is a particularly exciting player when it comes to absorbing information about the game and is always eager to learn more and do what it takes for that next step in his development. Not bad traits to have when adding to the prospect pool in my opinion.

Here’s What The Scouts Are Saying About Woo’s Game

Woo is a highly- intelligent, mobile two-way defender…has great skating ability and an efficient stride…proficiently in any direction…has puck-rushing ability because of his smarts, puck skills, and elusive edge work…has a pro demeanor with the puck on his stick, never seems limited to just one option on a play…thinks at a high level and is a high-end game manager…skilled with the puck on his stick, and will not shy away from carrying it himself if an open outlet pass doesn’t present itself…buzzes the offensive zone, using a series of agile moves and feigns with the puck to open up space…an opportunistic shooter that relied heavily on the wrist shot…has a quick whip on his shot and pass, showing zero hesitation once he gains a look at his target…has the skating to recover from calculated risks and get back quickly…always looking to foil an attack and will instinctively step up to do so…forces oncoming attackers to the outside lane…digs in his heels during physical confrontations…an exciting player to watch…plays big minutes…has top-four two-way NHL upside. Future Considerations

Ryan McLeod – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Photo Credit: Graig Abel/Getty Images

Date of Birth: September 21, 1999

Position: Center

Height:  6′-2″

Weight: 200-pounds

Shoots:  Left

Ryan is a player if been paying attention to for a couple of seasons now. The Mississauga, Ontario native had a decent start to his Ontario Hockey League career in his first two seasons with his Steelheads team. In his rookie year (2015-16), he posted 7-13-20 numbers in 62 games but followed that up with a better sophomore year (2016-17) offensively where he contributed 9-33-42 stats in 68 games. The 2017-18 season was McLeod’s third in the league and by far his best where he posted 70 points (26-44-70) in 68 games.

McLeod has improved his skills every year of his development and is not even close to his ceiling when it comes to his upside. One of my favorite attributes is his 200-foot two-way game and his passing ability while often times reminding me of former Bruins forward Marc Savard’s game. His vision and hands have certainly upgraded to make him an offensive threat in the past two seasons, but his puck control and possession with the ability to make good things happen in tight areas has been impressive to watch.

The 18-year-old McLeod does all the right things when it comes to an aspiring National Hockey League player, and if I had to compare to a player, particularly in the Bruins organization, he reminds me of Trent Frederic with his frame and NHL release. He has a cannon of a shot and the ability to snipe when it comes to one-timers creeping down low. He’s also not afraid when it comes to selfless acts for the betterment of the team with his shot-blocking capabilities.

Here’s What The Scouts Had To Say About McLeod’s Game

McLeod is a big forward with offensive skills who also has a good two-way drive…good skater…not the fastest when moving north-south, but is quick and agile in short bursts and able to deceive opposition with quick changes of direction or pace…has decent hand-skill one-on-one and is able to dig pucks out of corners and get around opposing players with possession in tight spaces…protects the puck well with his body and likes to drive the net from the wing and does so by dropping his shoulder and leaning on defenders…a really tough player to stop when he uses his size and strength…dangerous in tight…illustrates good passing skill and the ability to set up linemates…great vision…has a decent shot that is most effective in and around the slot…has an endless motor and is hard to outwork…doesn’t stop competing and he uses his strength to win space and possession of the puck…effective defensively, and works hard at both ends…knows what his responsibilities are and how to fulfill his duties in his own zone…has upside as a top-six two-way NHL center. – Future Considerations

Dominik Bokk – Vaxjo Lakers U20 (SuperElit)

Photo Credit: Olivier Brajon/Deutscher Eishockey-Bund – Bokk Is Player On Right

Date of Birth: February 3, 2000

Position: Left Wing / Right Wing

Height: 6′-1″

Weight: 180-pounds

Shoots: Right

This is an intriguing player for me because Dominik is from Germany and hat nation has produced an outstanding generation of talent recently. The Plethora of talent out of the German country can be traced back to the tutelage of former Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm as he worked his way up the coaching ranks since retiring from the game in January 2014.  Now there’s no direct connection of Sturm ever coaching Bokk that I could find, but Marco’s influence and the way to properly develop the countries youth is evident since he accepted the role of head coach and general manager of their National Team.

Dominik’s game is a must watch when it comes to breaking down the video after his teams play. Could be a reliable depth addition at 26th for the Rangers but also on the Bruins if they kept the pick. The 18-year-old is a big strong winger that can play both left and right sides with explosive speed. He has excellent hands in tight situations and is creative with his hockey IQ and vision in all three zones. He’s at the perfect age to take that next step in his training to prepare for the North American game whenever both sides are ready to make that transition from the international level to the pro ranks in organizations minor-pro developmental system.

Last season with the SuperElit J20 Leagues Vaxjo Lakers hockey club he posted 14-27-41 numbers in 35 games. He also played in 15 games at the higher Lakers club in the Sweden Hockey League with a mix of older players only to contribute two points. Even as a first-round projection I can see a player like this returning overseas to play another year, but listed as a European Skater he’s also eligible if any team wanted to use his skills and take an aggressive approach in his development by placing him immediately in the American Hockey League.

Here’s What The Scouts Are Saying About Bokk’s Game

A powerful skater with a deadly shot who is the top German-born draft prospect since Leon Draisaitl went in the Top-10 in 2013. A recent import pick of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, Bokk is a goal-scoring winger with soft hands and an excellent release. He assumed top-line duties for Kolner, and also for Germany at several international events, including last April’s Division 1B U18 World Championship where he led the tournament in goals. Bokk is a pure goal scorer who can deke or dangle his way into prime shooting areas, and he has the size, puck control and balance to ward off harassment. His plays hard in all three zones and will drop down below his own goal line to lend support but is smart enough to sniff a possession change and dart into open ice for a counterattack.  The Draft Analyst  

Bruins: A Midseason Look At The 2018 NHL Draft

rasmus-dahlin-against-russia

Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/Canadian Press

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                           Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

The world of prospects is in full swing. With the World Juniors ending last week in Buffalo, and the World Under-18s taking place in the same timeframe, I felt it might be time to start talking about the next wave of NHL prospects, and how the Boston Bruins can continue to add to their already deep pool of youngsters. The B’s have 6 picks in the 2018 draft, all their own. They have their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th round draft picks (they relinquished their 5th rounder in the Drew Stafford deal at the deadline last year). I’m not going to pretend to know enough about the entire crop of draft eligibles to give you exactly who should be taken and where, or to compile an extensive list ranking each player. For that, I suggest you visit thedraftanalyst.com. Steve Kournianos does a tremendous job, and will likely have the information you are looking for. But, for argument’s sake, I think giving you some guys that the B’s can and should look to add throughout the draft, as well as give you my thoughts on the top prospects available this June.

Without further ado, here are (in my opinion) the top prospects available in the 2018 NHL Draft:

1) Rasmus Dahlin, D (Frolunda HC, SHL)

Hockeyprospect.com: #1

ISS: #1

Future Considerations: #1

McKeen’s: #1

What else can really be said about Dahlin? He is easily the most dynamic and complete defenseman we have seen enter the draft in years. He’s been playing in the Swedish Elite League since the age of 16 and can dazzle any time he has the puck on his stick. The thing that really stands out to me though is that he is not a one-trick pony. Erik Karlsson comparisons aside, he is quite adept in his own end and loves to throw the body. I see much more Brian Leetch in him than Karlsson, but I think he is probably a more physical player than Leetch ever was.

2) Andrei Svechnikov, W (Barrie Colts, OHL)

Hockeyprospect.com: #2

ISS: #3

Future Considerations: #2

McKeen’s: #2

Andrei_Svechnikov

Photo Credit: Michael Caples/MiHockey

Although Svechnikov didn’t get a tremendous role to play in the World Juniors, that he was included on the roster at all is a testimate to his skill level, as Russia has a long history of heavily favoring 19-year-olds in that tournament. He also missed more than a month with a broken hand just before the tournament. What he HAS done when healthy this year is shred the Ontario Hockey League as a rookie. In 20 games this year with Barrie, who selected him with the 1st pick in the most recent CHL Import Draft, he has 16 goals and 26 points. Last year as a 16-year-old he demolished the USHL, racking up 29 goals and 58 points in 48 games with Muskegon. His release is tremendous, and his playmaking ability is severely underrated. He has the raw scoring ability to be a consistent 40 goal scorer in the NHL within two or three years.

3) Filip Zadina, W (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)

Hockeyprospect.com: #4

ISS: #4

Future Considerations: #5

McKeen’s: #3

Halifax Mooseheads v Blainville-Boisbriand Armada

Photo Credit: Minas Panagiotakis

If Svechnikov is the goal scoring master, Zadina is the slick, uber-skilled sniper to go along side him. He does things with the puck that should be illegal. He has adapted to the QMJHL with ease this year and was far and away the best forward on a Czech team that had several high-end offensive players at this year’s World Junior’s. He has the ability to take over an entire game in a single shift. Before leaving Halifax for the World Junior’s, he had 27 goals and 51 points in 34 games for the Mooseheads as a rookie. He has made the adjustment from European hockey to the North American game without any problems, and I see him as a high-end Top 6 force for the next decade-plus.

4) Brady Tkachuk, C/W (Boston University Terriers, Hockey East)

Hockeyprospect.com: #5

ISS: #2

Future Considerations: #4

McKeen’s: #6

brady_tkachuk

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

I didn’t think there could be a player who enjoys being a pest more than his brother Matthew, but Brady might actually be that guy. He spent the entire World Junior’s tournament trolling his opponents – and shredding them offensively. He has a higher offensive ceiling than his brother, and might even be more of a pain. Think a bigger Brad Marchand with less of a conscience. He’s had 16 points in 21 games as a Freshman at BU and was disappointed in his production. Yeah, he’s gonna be fine.

5) Ty Smith, D (Spokane, WHL)

Hockeyprospect.com: #11

ISS: #10

Future Considerations: #8

McKeen’s: #8

SRX CHIEFS TY SMITH 2

Photo Credit: Dan Pelle

Ty Smith is the steady guy in your arsenal. Except, he skates beautifully. And can run a powerplay. And make a stellar first pass. Basically, he does everything really well. He is potentially the best defender in his own end in this entire draft, and he has the ability to eat minutes for eternity. He’s the safest pick on the back end this side of Dahlin. At worst, he’s a good, two-way, 2nd pairing guy. At best? An elite #1 defender in the mold of a Justin Faulk.

6) Adam Boqvist, D (Brynas J20, Superelit)

Hockeyprospect.com: #3

ISS: #8

Future Considerations: #3

McKeen’s: #4

Ice Hockey, CHL, Quarter-Final, Brynäs - Ocelari Trinec

Photo Credit: Simon Hastegard

Boqvist is the most dynamic offensive defenseman in a draft that also has Rasmus Dahlin, Quinn Hughes, and Ryan Merkley. What separates him from his fellow countryman in Dahlin is in his own end. He still has to get better at anticipating plays in his own zone, but as soon as the puck is on his stick, look out. Bar none the best first pass in the draft. He could be a dynamic forward if he were asked to play there. Despite his struggles and inconsistency in his own zone, I like his play in the neutral zone, which indicates a high level of confidence in his own ability. Like what I see quite a bit, but probably needs a year of pro hockey before making an impact at the NHL level, as he hasn’t been able to stick in the SHL like Dahlin has.

7) Quinn Hughes, D (Michigan Wolverines, Big-10)

Hockeyprospect.com: #6

ISS: #7

Future Considerations: #6

McKeen’s: #5

Hughes_2

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

There is not a ton that separates Boqvist and Hughes. In terms of skillset, Boqvist is more of a dynamic player in terms of “wow” factor, but Hughes has much higher hockey IQ. He’s a tremendous powerplay quarterback, and thinks the game 2, 3, even 4 plays ahead of the opposition. He’s a little undersized for a guy you’d think of as a surefire top pairing d-man, but that stereotype should really now be moot. Think a bigger Torey Krug.

8) Oliver Wahlstrom, W (USNTDP, USHL)

Hockeyprospect.com: #8

ISS: #5

Future Considerations: #9

McKeen’s: #7

USA8293

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

This one is a bit personal. Wahlstrom played with many of my friends growing up, because he often played 2-3 years above his age group. And still dominated. He was a 1st Liner scoring over a point per game at North Yarmouth Academy AS AN 8TH GRADER. Also, he did this…

And also this…

Since then, he’s done nothing but score, shredding the opposition for the famed Shattuck St. Mary’s program, and becoming a key cog for the US National Development Program this year. He has brilliant hockey sense, and is a threat to put the puck in the back of the net any time he touches it. Committed to Harvard for next year after being the youngest person to commit to play college hockey (Maine at age 13), he probably needs a little work in his own zone, but not a ton. More NHL ready than you’d think, especially with a later birthday making him one of the younger players in this draft class.

9) Joe Veleno, C (Drummondville, QMJHL)

Hockeyprospect.com: #25

ISS: #12

Future Considerations: #7

McKeen’s: #13

Joe-Veleno-Saint-John-Sea-Dogs

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell

From one player with hype generated at a younger age to another. Veleno was just the 5th player granted exceptional status to jump into the CHL a year early at 15, and the first to be granted it in the QMJHL (the previous 4 all played in the OHL). John Tavares, Connor McDavid, and Aaron Ekblad all went 1st Overall in their respective draft year. Sean Day was a 3rd Round pick of the New York Rangers last year. Veleno is by far the least dynamic of the group, but he is smooth and consistent. He does most everything pretty well, and offers a lot of leadership ability. That said, he has not shown the elite offensive ability he flashed to be granted exceptional status yet, so he will have to rely on his two-way game to carry him to the next level.

10) Joel Farabee, W (USNTDP, USHL)

Hockeyprospect.com: #7

ISS: #14

Future Considerations: #17

McKeen’s: #12

USA15932

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

Farabee, yet another high end Boston University commit, is the other offensive catalyst for the USNTDP this year alongside his runningmate Oliver Wahlstrom. He is dangerous with the puck, and uses his speed to be reliable and competitive in all 3 zones. I like his hockey IQ a lot, and he would do well to use his shot more often, but the potential is certainly there.

 

 

Here are some guys that I think B’s fans would be prudent to keep an eye on as we approach the draft:

Philip Kurashev, C (Quebec Remparts, QMJHL)

Quebec-center-Philipp-Kurashev-trying-to-make-a-play-with-the-puck-photo-courtesy-of-Jonathan-LHeureux-of-infoaportquebec

Photo Credit: Jonathan L’Heureux/infosportquebec

The Swiss import has done well in the Q, offering a high level of offensive skill to any team. Probably a late 1st or early 2nd Round pick.

Rasmus Sandin, D (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL)

blogg-rasmus-sandin

Photo Credit: Frederik Sten/JuniorHockey.se

Sandin is yet another European import in the CHL, but one who has the rare ability to slow a game down with the puck on his stick. He makes the right play 9 times out of 10 and has shown the ability to be a good complement to high-flying offensive d-men after being the long-time d-partner for Adam Boqvist in international play. Late 2nd or Early 3rd is likely.

Jachym Kondelik, C/W (Muskegon Lumberjacks, USHL)

DOh9x4TW0AAueqd

Photo Credit: Twitter.com/Jachym Kondelik

Has yet to put up the ridiculous offensive numbers of fellow European teenagers in the USHL, but the size (6’7″, 218 lbs) and skating ability have me intrigued. He projects as a likely 3rd Round target and is committed to the University of Connecticut for next fall.

Mikhail Bitsadze, C (HK MVD, MHL)

moscow-russia-august-17-2017-dynamo-moscows-mikhail-bitsadze-spartak-JY5EGA

Photo Credit: Sergei Bobylev/TASS

Bitsadze has been hurt much of this year, and if he were healthy, he probably would be a Top 20 pick. Regarding raw offensive ability, there are few better in this class. However, he’s Russian, he’s been hurt much of the year, and he’s small (5’10”, 165 lbs.). However, he’s seen action in the KHL already as an 18-year-old, something that not many have the opportunity to do. Mid-round option with plenty of upside.

Mathias-Emilio Pettersen, C (Muskegon Lumberjacks, USHL)

A youngster out of the hockey hotbed of Norway. All jabs aside, he’s been in the US for several years now and is committed to Denver for next year. I like his speed with and without the puck, and his creativity in the offensive zone. Needs to find a little consistency. Mid-rounder in the mold of a smaller Danton Heinen.

David Levin, W (Sudbury Wolves, OHL)

David-Levin-Claus-Andersen

Photo Credit: Claus Andersen

This is a tremendous story. Levin, born in Israel, has been in Canada for the last 6 years. After only playing roller hockey until making the move, he became the number one pick in the 2015 OHL priority draft after only starting to play organized hockey at the age of 12. He’s got a good shot and plenty of upside for someone still technically learning the game. This is a long-term investment, but one with potentially the highest upside in the entire draft. 3rd or 4th rounder in all likelihood.

Patrick Khodorenko, C (Michigan State Spartans, Big-10)

31874197841_60ec4c7862_o.0

Photo Credit: James Coller/MGoBlog

Khodorenko is one of a few overagers I think it would be smart to take later in the draft. A sophomore at Michigan State, he already has outscored his output as a freshman. He’s not going to wow you in the offensive zone, but he is an excellent two-way guy with some offensive upside. Why not in the 5th or 6th round?

Zach Solow, C (Northeastern Huskies, Hockey East)

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Photo Credit: Hickling Images

The Florida-born Solow fell to the curse of size in his initial draft year. At only 5’9″, teams generally only give guys a look if they are ridiculously productive in high-level leagues. Well, Solow played his draft year in the USHL with Dubuque and put up 69 points in 56 games. Great, but not eye disintegrating numbers in a league that historically does not get a lot of coverage for prospects. However, he has been spectacular as a freshman centering Northeastern’s top line, being the 3rd cog between Dylan Sikura and Adam Gaudette, two of the nation’s top collegiate players. Solow has the profile of a late-bloomer, and could (potentially) end up in the mold of a Tyler Johnson or Brayden Point.

Samuel Bucek, W (Chicago Steel, USHL)

Samuel-Bucek-2018WM20

Photo Credit: Mark Zambonin, HHOF/IIHF

Bucek was Slovakia’s best skater at the World Juniors this year, and he had a point on all three goals the Slovaks scored in the 302 upset over the host United States. He knows how to use his size to his advantage, and has a tremendous net-front presence. He’s taken an odd career path to this point, which may keep him lower on some draft boards, as he came over to the USHL late in the 2015-16 season from Slovakia, then transitioned to Shawinigan of the QMJHL in his draft year. This season, he’s back to the Chicago Steel of the USHL, and the lower production level is a bit concerning. There is enough raw ability here to keep me intrigued.

Scott Perunovich, D (Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, NCHC)

MINN DULUTH DENVER MPUX

Photo Credit: Clint Austin/Duluth News Tribune

Perunovich won the “Who the heck is that” award this year at the World Juniors, making the US roster as an overage draft-eligible. He’s been passed over twice already, but there is a simple explanation for that. In his first draft year, he was still playing Minnesota High School hockey (68 points in 25 games is still absurd production at that level for a defenseman). Last year, he played 56 games for a below-average Cedar Rapids squad in the USHL. However, he has embraced his late-bloomer tag as a freshman with the UMD Bulldogs this year, with 19 points in 20 games already to his name. He is an excellent skater, and, although a little undersized, is dynamic in the offensive zone. He’s a younger Matt Grzelcyk, who needs a lot more work in his own end.

Yegor Sharangovich, C (Dinamo Minsk, KHL)

Sharangovich

Photo Credit: Screenshot via RDS

The best player (in my opinion) at the World Junior’s this year who was never talked about, Sharangovich was one of the money-makers for a Belarusian team that was in nearly every game they played this year despite being relegated once again. He led the tournament at times in shots taken, and played in the World Junior’s as a underager in 2015-16, the last time Belarus was in the 1st tier tourney. He’s a regular this year with Dinamo Minsk in the KHL as a 19-year-old and has 10 points in 42 games, excellent production for someone of his age. I like his shot and offensive upside, and he has the potential and raw skill to end up as more of an Artemi Panarin than a Vadim Shipachyov.

 

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PuckNerd’s Bruins’ Prospect Pyramid – Part 2

Jeremy Lauzon, one of the Bruins’ more underrated prospects, was stellar at the 2017 World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto for Canada. Photo Credits: NHL.com

 

By: Spencer Fascetta                        Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

Last week, I started my 2017-18 Bruins’ prospect pyramid project (say that 5 times fast…) with a resounding bang. You can find Part 1 here. Granted, the bang was literally a piece only on Charlie McAvoy (spoilers!), but I digress. For Tier 2, I looked at players who don’t project as the elite game-breaker that McAvoy does, but still have the potential to be above average to good NHL players one day. As there are significantly more of them, I scaled back the analysis a bit. I hope you enjoy, and, again, I look forward to your feedback!

 

Tier 2

LW/C Anders Bjork, Notre Dame University (NCAA)

Acquired: 2014 NHL Draft (5th Round, 146th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 39 GP, 21 G, 31 A, 52 P, 16 PIM

NHL Projection: Offensively Dynamic Top 6 Winger

NHL Comparable: Dylan Larkin

NHL ETA: 2017-18

Bjork is the most likely of this second group to make his NHL debut this season. In fact, I currently have him projected as a winger in the Top 9. The 2014 5th Round Pick absolutely shredded the NCAA this season, and is blazingly fast, both on his feet and with his hands. I see a lot of Detroit’s Dylan Larkin in Bjork – the USNTDP roots withstanding, both make plays with their feet consistently. I see Bjork developing into a consistent offensive threat for the B’s Top 6 in a few years.

 

LW/RW Peter Cehlarik, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft (3rd Round, 90th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 49 GP, 20 G, 18 A, 38 P, 20 PIM

NHL Projection: Top 6 Two-Way Winger

NHL Comparable: Anze Kopitar

NHL ETA: 2017-18

Cehlarik showed tremendous chemistry in limited time with David Krejci and David Pastrnak this past season and has been a consistent producer at the AHL level for the past two years. He is a versatile winger (able to play both sides proficiently) who has elite Hockey IQ. He doesn’t have the quickest release, he’s not the fastest skater, but he is good in most aspects of the game. He is NOT going to be Anze Kopitar. The style of play, however, is eerily similar. Expect Cehlarik to spend more time in Boston this year than Providence.

 

C Ryan Donato, Harvard University (NCAA)

Acquired: 2014 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 56th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 36 G, 21 G, 19 A, 40 P, 25 PIM

NHL Projection: 2nd Line Playmaking Center

NHL Comparable: Ryan Spooner

NHL ETA: 2019-20

Don’t let the Ryan Spooner comparison scare you. Donato is significantly more responsible in his own end than Spooner, and his compete level is off the charts. He averaged more than 5 shots a game this past season for Harvard, a ridiculous clip for a player more known for his ability to dish the puck than rip it. He will be able to run a power play at the NHL level with pinpoint accuracy and is an ideal replacement for David Krejci down the line. One could even say Donato is the David Krejci to JFK’s Patrice Bergeron. He won’t leave school early-who would, he’s getting an Ivy League education, and his father is his head coach-but he will likely need minimal seasoning in Providence once he graduates.

 

C Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Boston University (NCAA)

Acquired: 2015 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 45th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 39 GP, 14 G, 19 A, 33 P, 32 PIM

NHL Projection: 2nd/3rd Line Two-Way Center

NHL Comparable: Frans Nielsen (Detroit)

NHL ETA: 2017-18

For JFK, I look back to another Detroit centerman in Frans Nielsen. In his prime, Nielsen was quite productive offensively, and although his offensive production has dipped in the last year or two, he is still on of the elite defensive forwards in the entire league. I think the Bergeron comparisons are a bit far-fetched, but JFK is tremendously mature and poised for his age. He plays an excellent two-way game and has the ability to dazzle offensively when he wants to. Because of his defensive game, I think he could make an appearance at some point this year in the Bruins’ lineup, especially considering the lack of dynamic center prospects in the pipeline for Boston.

 

RW Zach Senyshyn, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

Acquired: 2015 NHL Draft (1st Round, 15th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 59 GP, 42 G, 23 A, 65 P, 31 PIM

NHL Projection: Top 6 Scoring Winger

NHL Comparable: Phil Kessel

NHL ETA: 2018-19

All Senyshyn does is score. He is a burner, and the release he carries on his shot is easily one of the best in the Bruins’ system. While he isn’t as dynamic of a shooter as Kessel was coming out of college, he still flashes that speed and releases needed to become an elite goal scorer at the next level. He will need to work on his defensive game a bit, and the lack of assists is a little concerning, but I think that is a matter of circumstance rather than ability. He will make his pro debut this season and is likely to spend the majority of the season as a go-to scorer in Providence.

 

C/RW Oskar Steen, Farjestad BK (SHL)

Acquired: 2016 NHL Draft (6th Round, 165th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 47 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 P, 8 PIM

NHL Projection: Speedy Top 6 Sniping Winger

NHL Comparable: Cam Atkinson (Columbus)

NHL ETA: 2020-21

Steen is small, shifty, and one of the most dynamic players in his age group. He dazzled his offensive ability at the World Junior Summer Showcase this summer in Plymouth, Michigan, and is talented enough to have spent the entire season with Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League. Not the junior league, the men’s league, often considered the 3rd best in the world after the NHL and KHL. Steen will probably have to add a little muscle to his frame, and his defensive game needs a bit of work, but the offensive upside that he presents is too great to ignore. He looks like an absolute steal in the 6th Round of the 2016 draft, and hopefully, he continues along his current developmental path.

 

D Jeremy Lauzon, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)

Acquired: 2015 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 52nd Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 39 GP, 5 G, 23 A, 28 P, 50 PIM

NHL Projection: 2nd Pairing Offensive Defenseman

NHL Comparable: Dennis Wideman

NHL ETA: 2018-19

Lauzon is an offensively gifted d-man with a penchant for the nasty. He is more than willing to mix it up physically and throw his weight around when necessary. He has shown a steady progression trend since his draft year, as he has slowly been able to fill out what was a wirey frame just two years ago. He looked impressive on a good Canadian WJC squad in the winter and should make his pro-debut this season with Providence. He is probably a year or two away from making an impact at the NHL level, as he needs to work on his decision making in all 3 zones, and his discipline can go awry from time to time. Regardless, I see him as an impact Top 4 d-man on this roster, and as a perfect complement to someone like fellow 2015 2nd Rounder Brandon Carlo in the future.

 

All Statistics courtesy of EliteProspects.com

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