Bruins European Prospects That Are Set To Start Regular Seasons This Fall

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

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

While the National Hockey League remains on pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic and awaiting the final word from Health Officials to proceed with the 2020 summer Stanley Cup Playoff 24-team Tournament, other hockey leagues worldwide are setting their 2020/21 regular-season schedules. The Boston Bruins have four prospects that are under contract and set to get back to work in their respected European Leagues. The Swedish Allsvenskan, the Finnish SM-Liiga, and Swedish Hockey Leagues 2020/21 regular-season campaigns prepare to get back on the ice this fall as their countries seem to have acceptable numbers for team play and possibly without fans in attendance.

Below are a few Boston prospects that could return to Europe after the upcoming and unscheduled training camps prior to the 20/21 regular-season start. With the uncertainty of hockey at the professional leagues in North America at this point and what the NHL Bruins already have in the system, the mentioned players underneath may benefit greatly with staying exactly where they are. Now I’m not saying these players mentioned are terrible prospects and don’t have the potential of cracking an American Hockey League or ECHL roster, but to me, it’s almost a guaranteed start of an overseas campaign without the day-to-day changes we’re going through here in North America. If you look at the pipeline and seemingly bottleneck it just makes sense to have these players mentioned stew a bit longer in their respective countries’ professional leagues another year.

Swedish Hockey League

Linus Arnesson

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Linus is set to return to playing as the SHL is set to kick off in mid-September Drafted in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey with Boston’s 60th overall selection. More of a defensive-minded shutdown guy in the SHL with a few pro teams in his native Sweden, Arnesson, a 25-year-old left-shooting blueliner has had a solid career playing overseas but when called upon in higher world leagues the 6’1″ 198-pound defenseman seemingly struggled in the smaller North American rinks.

Linus did spend a significant amount of time with the NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins appearing in 79 games and posting 1-9-10 numbers in that timeframe. I believe his inconsistencies at the AHL level had both sides seeing a benefit in his forward development by sending back overseas. Since leaving Providence after two full seasons and 69 games the Stockholm, Sweden native has played for two SHL clubs since appearing in 93 games for the Orebro HK club posting 5-10-15 numbers to having his SHL career year offensively with a new team with the Farjestads BK Karlstad club where he dressed for 52 games posting 6-7-13 numbers.

Arnesson is still Boston Bruins property although he remains unsigned. Not being an expert on this player but seeing a few of his games (via web Stream) year by year and his point production slowly rising he still has a ton of potential to come back to Providence. Then again we have to also consider that Linus is comfortable playing in his home country and might continue to accept qualifying offers to wade out his decision to fully turn pro as the B’s have his rights for two more seasons. His pro contract in Sweden, on the other hand, is valid for the upcoming 2020/21 season so he could re-sign to stay in Sweden or come back to Providence if space is available. If he did, in fact, come back to North America he’d be out of the NHL entry-level window being 25-year-old where a players one-year eligibility for an ELC runs out at 24-years of age.

Scouting Report:

DobberProspects.com website writer Chris Mazza had this to say about Arnesson below and the full article can be read HERE.

March 2020 – Arnesson’s calling card is his strong defensive play. He has good lateral mobility which allows him to hold the zone offensively and defend well off the rush. At 25 years old, he has played 79 total AHL games in Providence with minimal offensive production. He has spent the majority of his hockey career in Sweden, including the last three years in the SHL. He doesn’t hold much fantasy value offensively, but can contribute with ice time, plus/minus and blocked shots if he were to return to North America. The Bruins hold Arnesson’s NHL rights until the 2022 off-season.

Swedish Hockey League

Emil Johansson

( Photo Credit: Zimbio )

Drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Emil has had an interesting path to professional hockey that’s seen a few twists and turns. Predominately rising up the HV71 program from the Allsvenskan, SuperElit, and now SHL, the 24-year-old stay-at-home defenseman plays an impactful yet comfortable game throughout his international play.

Emil is far from a draft bust for a late round selection but has taken a lot longer to develop seemingly being passed over by higher ranked Boston Bruins depth blueliners. Regardless of his decline in the prospect depth charts, the 6′-0″ 1295-pound left-shooting defenseman continues to be an ace in the hole and may get another chance at North American hockey very soon. Although Johansson’s first North American tour which lasted two seasons from 2017-18 to the 2018-19 wasn’t such a great success appearing in 118 games posting 5-15-20 numbers, it was better for both sides to go back to Sweden to continue to work on his attributes.

As we’ve seen with prospects from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, some younger players need more seasoning in the lower leagues around the world. I believe when first-year Bruins European Scout and former NHL’er with Boston PJ Axelsson had the goods on Emil he saw something special that remains to be a Boston asset no matter where he plays worldwide. With upward movement of Boston defensive prospects upward to the NHL, Emil is a solid option to fill a roster spot in Providence if needed.

As a 24-year-old he remains unsigned but can be locked up on a one-year entry-level during this offseason. Anytime after his 24-years of age, the entry-level window closes but can still sign a standard two-way contract thereafter or a one-year AHL only contract which is highly unlikely. Emil Has one more full year under contract via the HV71 team and is free to return to the AHL if he chooses after. A two-way contract could inside Emil to return but if he’s offered an AHL only deal he might stay put in Europe.

SM-Liiga – Finnish League

Matias Mantykivi

( Photo Credit: SaiPa.fi )

Mantykivi was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and is currently under contract playing in his native Finland. The now 18-year-old Matias has been rising through the SaiPa developmental system landing his first full campaign in the Finnish Professional Liiga League where he appeared in 42 games posting 3-3-6 numbers. His best season to date playing in the SaiPa system was in the 2018-19 regular season where he notched 12-24-36 totals in 34 games in the lower U20 SM-sarja league. Later that year after his commitment was over for the year, Mantykivi got into six games in the Liiga league before getting full pro time this season.

The 5′-11″ 161-pound center has the tools and speed to be an effective pro in leagues over in North America but as a young man has plenty of time to work on this attributes and muscle mass. As mentioned above, these European prospect such as Arnesson and Johansson have got a taste of what it’s like to play in the AHL but didn’t exactly blow the minds of Bruins management and scouts to stay so it’s hard to see Mantyviki’s projection to smaller ice overseas.

Fifth-year Boston Bruins Finnish Scout Erkki Rajamaki had to see something special about Matias to convince Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney and staff to take a late-round gamble on him. Mantykivi is a speedy forward with some North American upside but he’s yet to prove that in the smaller rinks. It’s not traditional, but maybe the smaller ice surface could spark better reaction times and creativity to make a player like Matias be that late-round gem who others had no idea his potential capabilities. All is a roll of the dice or a spin of the wheel when it comes to selecting younger talent and where they end up in the future and plans of an NHL organization. Mantykivi is under contract with his Liiga SaiPa team for the 2020/21 season so Erikki and others such as cross border Scout PJ Axelsson can collaborate further projecting where he fits in the NHL Bruins organization.

Scouting Report:

Former DobberProspects.com website writer Lassi Alanen now working for EliteProspects.com as a Finnish Scout had this to say about the Boston Bruins prospect below in his article about Mantykivi that can be read in full HERE.

June 2019 – Mäntykivi was SaiPa’s U20 team’s top forward this season, putting up 36 points in 34 regular-season games. He was loaned to Mestis team Ketterä in January and played in a decent role with the team that eventually won the championship.

Mäntykivi is a skilled playmaker who played center at the U20 level and on the wing in Mestis. He has very good hands and is able to dangle in tight spaces. Mäntykivi has very good vision and he is able to utilize his passing skills and stick-handling to create offense for himself and his linemates. He is also dangerous as a passer on the power play. His stride is pretty heavy and he doesn’t have very good speed. If he can work on his skating, he could be a player because Mäntykivi certainly has some upside. 

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!

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Bruins Sign D Prospect Victor Berglund To ELC

 

(Source: Allehanda.se)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

This afternoon Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that the team has signed Swedish defense prospect Victor Berglund to a three-year, entry-level contract (ELC). Per CapFriendly, the deal carries an average annual value (AAV) of $850,833 and a cap hit of $818,333.

The 20-year-old is coming off a season with MODO Hockey of the Swedish professional league, Allsvenskan, that saw him post career-highs in games played (52), goals (10), assists (12), points (22), plus-minus (plus-18), and penalty minutes (28). In two playoff games, Berglund was a plus-one with two penalty minutes.

Last season, the 6-foot, 180-pound defenseman registered four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 50 games with MODO. A native of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden Berglund notched 15-28-43 totals in 151 career Allsvenskan contests over four seasons.

Boston selected the Berglund with the 195th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2018-19 season, the right-shot blueliner suited up in four games for the Providence Bruins, posting a goal and an assist.

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Rumor: Amidst NHL Shutdown, Work Doesn’t Stop For Bruins Scouting Staff

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By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

First and foremost I want to speak for everyone here at the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast and tremendous website staff in saying we as fans understand the sudden stoppage of our beloved sport and it sucks but it’s also a time to think about yourselves and families. By doing our due diligence, humanity and daily routines will return including Boston Bruins hockey. We want to thank everyone for the continued support but also want to show gratitude in saying we’re thinking about you as well. I hope you enjoy this related article as others including myself provide any means of diverting world issue attention to something positive and hockey related.

Heavy Interest In Swedish Hockey Leagues Sandin

With the National Hockey League pausing the 2019-20 regular-season due to the coronavirus pandemic I’m hearing its work as usual with addressing future needs at the forward position even if it’s evaluating from a safer Boston office. Per source, Bruins management had scouts in the Swedish Hockey League under the advisement of local scout and former Bruins forward P.J. Axelsson. The rumor out of the SHL is the Boston organization has taken heavy interest in Linus Sandin a 23-year-old right-winger. The 6′-1″ 209-pound right-shooting forward is currently playing for the SHL’s HV71 club and has contributed offensively with SHL career-high 19-17-36 numbers this season in 51 games. The Swedish native has played in 143 games in the SHL with 38-28-66 totals and is the older brother of defenseman Rasmus Sandin currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.

Sandin’s current contract is very interesting when you look into the details.  He has one more full season after this year with the HV71 club and if the idea of bringing him in this season I’m hearing with his no “NHL” out clause he’d have to pass through waivers to make his way to the National League. His last season of 2020-21 would be the ideal time to take advantage without the waiver process. With the work that General Manager Don Sweeney has in front of him this offseason pertaining to contract negotiations, it remains to be seen where Linus could fit. Would a player like Sandin who’d presumably be under a short-term “show me first” contract want to play in the American Hockey League to start while cap space and a roster spot open up at the NHL Bruins level in the future?

Sandin is playing on an impressive HV71 team that includes former Boston Bruins prospects Anthony Camara and Jonathan Sigalet. Also playing on this team is New York Rangers forward prospect, Lias Andersson, who’s holding out from playing in the NHL for the time being. The HV71 season regular season has come to an end and this unfortunate coronavirus has postponed the SHL’s playoffs so this is putting these continued scouting missions at a standstill and the idea of a North American appearance no matter what level is on pause. It’s important to know that Linus is being looked at by several NHL organizations as his SHL contract is on the backend and seemingly more attractive for a low-risk high reward gamble per the player’s terms of course.

The Boston Bruins owned the rights of former forward Carl Soderberg who came to the Boston club via a trade with the St. Louis Blues for what many thought would be a promising goaltender Hannu Toivonen. Soderberg who was a national star in the SHL accepted qualified offers for several seasons but stood firm on not coming to North America without starting in the NHL refusing time with the top minor-pro Providence Bruins organization. Sandin is a very good player when it comes to the international style of the game and his family name is well known so that success in the pro level in his home country might be more appealing over minor-pro duties.

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Obviously, former Bruin turned scout PJ Axelsson had something to do with Linus being invited to the 2019 B’s Development Camp at the Warrior Ice Arena and put on a good showing in front of the Bruins brass and media members such as myself who were covering the multi-day event. Before his 2019-20 hockey season was paused before moving onto the SHL’s postseason, the undrafted winger had six points in his last ten games in his best pro year at the highest level in Sweden. Keeping tabs on players you’ve had previous evaluation opportunities with isn’t a bad idea but it remains to be seen if the Bruins actually pull the trigger to get him here with other NHL franchises looming above like turkey vultures waiting to pounce grasping pro contracts.

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If Linus is in fact interested in leaving his native Swedish country to pursue a professional career in North America and accepts duties in the AHL with Providence, he’d certainly add to an already lethal offensive scoring punch. The Rhode Island team already has Jack Studnicka leading the way in goals and points and Captain Paul Carey not far behind. With a victory on Wednesday night on the road against the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Providence club leads the AHL’s Eastern Conference by one point and was on a 12-game point streak which had the team produce an 11-game winning streak in that timeframe before the shutdown of the regular season. Could a Calder Cup Playoff run with a potential front-running Providence team be tempting enough for Sandin to accept a role in the minors? At this point who knows what both sides are considering with so much confusion of when the AHL, NHL, and SHL are going to get back to playing after the virus ordeal.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 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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Boston’s Unknown Talent: Par Lindholm

( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

July 1, 2019, marked the first day of NHL free agency. NHL fans across the nation have hopes and dreams of their team signing the most attractive named talents. Unfortunately, the NHL salary cap limits numerous teams in who they can sign. Most General Managers will sign for needs rather than wants. The Bruins’ General Manager (Don Sweeney) had $12 million in cap space when free agency began, with three restricted free agents awaiting new deals: Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen, and Brandon Carlo.

Most fans and analysts were convinced Sweeney would have to trade a current roster player in order to sign all three. Thankfully, he was able to sign all three to team-friendly deals and had a few extra million dollars leftover. Noel Acciari had been a staple on Boston’s fourth line but received a hefty raise from the Florida Panthers in the off-season. The Bruins found themselves with a need for trustworthy bottom-six talent. With the leftover cap room, Sweeney signed a few inexpensive role players: Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm.

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Par Lindholm entered the league as an undrafted free agent, signing his first NHL deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018. The 26-year-old Swedish forward played in the Swedish Elite League from 2014 through 2017, racking up 148 points and a plus 42 rating in 193 games. He has the ability to play both left-wing and center, which is a coveted trait amongst NHL players. He featured in 61 games with the Leafs, before being traded to Winnipeg at the deadline for Nicolas Petan. Lindholm only played 4 games with the Jets and became a free agent in 2019.

The contract with Boston is a low-risk, high-reward situation. They aren’t investing much into Lindholm, but if he can help in small areas it will pay dividends for the team down the road. Elliotte Friedman (Canadian Sportsnet journalist) writes a weekly article called “31 Thoughts” explaining league news and his reaction to all NHL stories. In his latest article, he gave Lindholm an unexpected but warranted praise: “There is one player in the NHL with more than 100 minutes of ice-time who has not been scored against. It is Boston’ Par Lindholm. Jinx!” Unfortunately, this accolade was broken when the Capitals defeated the Bruins on November 16, but it highlights and recognizes his contributions that go unnoticed. It’s great to watch highlight-reel goals and tic-tac-toe passing, but the ability to resist the offense from scoring is equally as important and endearing.

This type of play is no surprise to Sweeney since he had done his homework on Par before signing him. “We only had one left-shot centerman, (Lindholm is) very good on faceoffs, also kills penalties, certainly in his previous years in Sweden he had 18 goals,” I don’t believe he’ll score just one.” Seventeen games into the season, Lindholm has scored that one goal and fittingly enough, it came against his former team.

Thankfully, he wasn’t signed for his offensive game; but instead for stats that never seem to gain the recognition it deserves. His NHL career has just begun but he has yet to post a total season’s negative stat in the plus/minus column. He’s logging an average of 11:08 of ice team a year, which is normal for a bottom-six forward. If he can give the Bruins 11 shutout minutes a night, this can catapult his teammates in situations that allow them to win the game.

Face-offs are also incredibly important to a team’s success. If a team cannot win the necessary face-offs, it could be the difference between a win or a loss. An example of a key situation is when a team (say the Capitals for argument sake) trail the Bruins and pull the goalie for an extra attacker. The strategy in these situations for a head coach starts with the grouping he wants to deploy. Normally, a coach will deploy a group that tends to kill penalties because the Capitals extra attacker is a man-advantage situation. The head coach also ensures his lineup consists of more than one center-man in case his number one center is thrown out of the face-off dot for a violation.

Patrice Bergeron is, unfortunately, a repeat offender of these violations (deservedly so or not), so Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will want a player like David Krejci or Par Lindholm on the ice for his replacement for the key defensive zone draw. If Bergeron, Krejci, or Lindholm cannot win the defensive zone face-off, the Capitals could get a quality scoring opportunity. Successful teams do the little things right and these successful plays often come from under-the-radar players. Lindholm is a career 49.3% face-off winner, which is a necessary and trait for a bottom-six forward especially on special teams. The best players generally have a face-off percentage of 52% for the year.

Lindholm will certainly not be winning any awards in the near future or be featured on the NHL Network’s Top 5 Goals of the Week. But, he will be doing all of the little things that don’t show up on the score sheet. He was able to work third line duties while the Bruins recover from the injury bug, so there’s an opportunity for him to build on other areas in his game. He has returned to fourth-line duties. Regardless of the line, he plays on, Lindholm has won face-offs, denied scoring opportunities, and kills penalties; which is exactly the reason Sweeney called him on July 1.

Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode that we recorded on December 4th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Donnelly: Top-10 Bruins Prospects

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By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Last month, Black ‘N Gold colleague Mike Cratty approached our team with the idea of coming up with our own lists ranking the Bruins 10 best prospects; you can find Mike’s article here.

One of the stipulations for the list is that the players had to be either unsigned or on entry-level contracts (ELC’s), so guys like Cooper Zech will not be included. Also, players such as Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman will not be ranked as Bjork has played over 50 games and Kuhlman seems like he has firmly established himself by now.

The Bruins’ prospect pool remains in good shape and is stronger after a solid draft class this summer. So, without further ado, here are my top-10 Bruins prospects:

10. Zach Senyshyn

The much-maligned 16th-overall pick in the 2016 draft, Senyshyn has not been able to make a meaningful impact in the NHL yet, but he was very impressive in his NHL debut last spring. He has not dazzled anyone on the scoresheet in the AHL after he lit up the OHL, but he has still been solid nonetheless. The 6-foot-1 winger has an incredible ability to shoot the puck and his blazing speed easily makes him one of the fastest skaters in the  Bruins’ system. The 22-year-old will push for a roster spot come training camp.

9. Trent Frederic

Frederic’s low ranking on this list is not necessarily a knock on him despite how it appears on the surface. The bruising center did well in his first full season with the Providence Bruins and wowed Bruins fans in his NHL debut where he beat the wheels off of Brandon Tanev. However, the rest of his stint with the varsity club was just ho-hum as he failed to produce much of anything on offense. The Wisconsin product definitely still has top-nine NHL potential and maybe even top-six, but Jack Studnicka’s continued progression as well as the addition of John Beecher have lowered his stock for me.

8. Jeremy Lauzon

Lauzon was certainly impressive in his brief stint with the big club last season and showed us a sneak peak of what could be down the road. A sound defensive player, Lauzon’s playmaking instincts in the offensive zone is another part of his game that stands out, especially when taking into account all the assists he racked up playing juniors (95 total). The 22-year-old certainly has the makings of a future top-four defenseman in my opinion, but the plethora of defensemen in the Bruins’ system will likely keep him out of a full-time NHL gig this season.

7. Kyle Keyser

Since signing with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent, Keyser has been extremely impressive with his progression, shooting up the prospect pool rankings. After an impressive career with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL (highlighted by a .915 save percentage last season), Keyser will likely make the jump to the pro ranks this season with either Providence or Atlanta (ECHL). The 20-year-old has a knack for coming up with big saves.

6. Oskar Steen

Steen had a career season in the SHL last year as he transitioned from wing to center full-time. A sixth round draft pick in the 2016 Entry Draft, Steen ranked tenth in total scoring in the SHL with 37 points in 47 games. The speedy forward is a crafty player with a blistering shot that looks NHL-caliber already and was easily the most impressive skater at the Bruins’ latest Development Camp earlier this summer. It looks as if Steen will transition to the North American ice this season and play with Providence, which will serve him well in his adjustment to a slightly different style of play, considering his smaller frame.

5. Axel Andersson

Andersson has all the tools to be a successful defenseman in today’s NHL between his skating and puck-moving abilities. A shifty player on the backend, Andersson still has some developing to do, considering his small-ish frame (6-feet, 179 pounds). If he plays for Moncton of the QMJHL this season, a full year of experiencing the North American game will do him a world of good.

4. Jakub Lauko

Lauko has the tools of the trade to become a top-six winger down the road. After a strong showing in training camp and pre-season last fall, the winger went on to have a strong year in the QMJHL. Lauko’s shot, speed, and ability to control the puck while at full speed are the shining elements of his game. He’ll look to build on his success with another strong showing at camp this fall.

3. John Beecher

The Bruins’ first round pick this year, Beecher boasts gobs of potential. The thing that stands out the most for Beecher is his speed; he can skate like the wind. Not to mention the fact that he has size and knows how to use it, playing a powerful, heavy style of play. The Elmira, New York native is committed to play at the University of Michigan this season where he’ll get to work on his offensive creativity and scoring touch, which he did not flash off on a consistent basis.

2. Jack Studnicka

After lighting up the OHL over the last few seasons, Studnicka will make the jump to the pro game full-time this season. The center will likely begin with AHL Providence in my opinion, but you never know, especially given the Bruins’ situation at right wing, which the former second round pick can also play.

Studnicka boasts top-notch, high-end skill in all three zones and looks as if he has the potential to be a future top-six center in the NHL. The crafty Windsor, Ontario native has had his sights set on a spot on an NHL roster spot each time he’s been to training camp, and his goal will be no different this year.

1. Urho Vaakanainen

The 18th-overall pick in 2017, Vaakanainen is far and away the Bruins’ best defense prospect, and good enough to take the top spot on my list. The left-shot defender is not going to “wow” anyone with gaudy offensive numbers; however, his strong skating ability and the way he is able to move the puck up ice with ease is what intrigues me the most about Vaakanainen.

The 20-year-old Finn will push hard for a spot on the opening night roster after an impressive year in Providence (although it was somewhat derailed after he sustained a concussion in his second NHL game after being called up). The only thing standing between Vaakanainen and a spot on the NHL roster is the logjam the Bruins currently have on defense; top-four potential is there for sure, maybe even top-two.

Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Oskar Steen

Steen

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By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Oskar Steen was drafted in the sixth round, 165th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. When drafted, he was seen as a tough-nosed, gritty, undersized forward who had lots of scoring potential. Since being drafted, the native of Sweden has taken his lumps, despite that his stock has risen as fast any prospect over the past year. The 21-year-old has shown that he possesses great offensive ability that should translate well to the North American game. Let’s dive in and see what Steen has done since being drafted by the Boston Bruins.

2016-17 was Oskar Steen’s first full year in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) with Farjestad BK. The SHL is Sweden’s top league and boasts a lot of talented players. It can take young players a year or two to adjust to the league and really make an impact. This seemed to be the case for Steen, who had an up and down season for Farjestad BK. In 47 games, the Sweden native found the back of the net one time and dished out two assists for three total points and a plus/minus rating of -5. The young forward would also play in the teams seven playoff games not recording a point. Despite the low point total for the season, Steen did show flashes of why he was drafted.

The 2017-18 season was better for Steen, but still wasn’t quite what he wanted it to be. Despite this, the native of Sweden would show off his gritty play and unrelenting motor. In 45 games with Farjestad BK, the young center netted four goals and dished out two assists for six total points and a plus/minus rating of 0. In the team’s five playoff games he failed to register a point and had a plus/minus of -2. It’s positive that Steen was able to score more in this season that he was in his previous season. Overall, the season in the SHL was still not a bad one. Showing progress each year is what you expect from young prospects.

The young forward was also chosen to play for Sweden in the World Junior Championships. In seven games for Sweden, he netted two goals and dished out two assists for four points and a plus/minus of +5 helping lead Sweden to a silver medal. Steen looked good on the North American ice. This could actually be a better indicator of how his game transitions to the AHL or NHL because, in the SHL, they use International ice which is actually larger than North American ice. During the World Junior Championships, they played on the smaller North American ice. A style of play that is successful on the smaller ice, may not always translate to the bigger ice.

The 2018-19 season was a coming-out party for Oskar Steen. He had his best offensive season to date. The young forward’s development is exactly what you want to see from year to year from a prospect. Especially one drafted in the sixth round. In 46 games with Farjestad BK, he netted 17 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 37 total points and a plus/minus of +17. In the team’s 14 playoff games he found the back of the net two times and dished out five assists for seven total points and a plus/minus of +3. He ended up in the top 10 in the SHL in scoring. That’s a special season for a player at such a young age. Steen’s offensive ability is through the roof and he has potential to get even better. After this stellar season, he signed a three-year entry-level contract and will play in Providence.

Moving forward, I think we can expect a lot from Oskar Steen. I really like his game. He’s tenacious, hardworking and he’s willing to work for position against guys. The Bruins feel that his style of play will translate even better here than it did in Sweden. If this holds true, then the AHL and NHL will have their hands full trying to stop Steen. I think realistically the native of Sweden ends up being a very good second or third-line forward for the Boston Bruins. He may make is debut in Boston this season, but I’d expect him to play the full season in Providence. There is no need to rush him to the NHL roster before he’s potentially ready. Steen will definitely be a player to watch going forward! Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter, and as always Go, Bs, Go!

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Pearson: Top-10 Bruins Prospects

VICTORIA , BC - DECEMBER 21: Jack Studnicka #23 of Team Canada raises his stick to salute the fans following a game versus Team Slovakia at the IIHF World Junior Championships at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on December 21, 2018 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)

(Kevin Light/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

Recently fellow Black N’ Gold writer Mike Cratty had an idea to simply rank the Bruins prospects and suggested that we all take a stab at ranking the Bs farm system. His rules were simply that there were no players on AHL only deals (like Cooper Zech) and that Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman weren’t eligible for the list. Make sure you read Mike’s article here, but without further ado, here’s my list.

10. Jakub Zboril

Just because the Bruins may have missed out on players like Thomas Chabot and Matthew Barzal doesn’t mean they did not get anything of value with those picks in that infamous 2015 draft. With the ridiculous amounts of injuries that plagued the Bruins defense, we all got to see Zboril in a little NHL action. He looked pretty good in his two games with the big club and after back to back solid years in the AHL, it’s not time to give up on this promising young Czech man.

9. Zach Senyshyn

From one criticized pick to another, Senyshyn is not a bust just yet. While he hasn’t had the most outstanding numbers in the AHL (with 50 points in 132 games) but was a two-time 40 goal scorer in the OHL. We saw a glimpse of the Ottawa native in a couple of games to end the season, and he looked far from out of place in Boston. It will be very interesting to see how Senyshyn will play with his first true shot at cracking the top 9 in Boston.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Boston Bruins

(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

8. Trent Frederic

Unlike the previous two players, we got to have an extended look at Trent Frederic in the NHL. He was far from dominant in his 15 game stint, failing to register a point in all 15 games, but showed that he had the grit and work ethic of an NHL player. I think Frederic will 100% become a regular NHLer but whether that is in the top or bottom six has yet to be seen. A full year of top-six minutes in the AHL would do wonders for Frederic’s game.

7. Kyle Keyser

I’m a huge fan of Keyser. Last year with the Oshawa Generals he boasted the second-best save percentage (.915) in all of the OHL and was even better in the playoffs where he posted a .925 save percentage in the Generals 15 game playoff run. Keyser was able to make the World Junior Championships with the US and start their first two games but was unfortunately struck with an illness before the team’s third game and didn’t play again in the tournament due to teammate Cayden Primeau’s stellar play. At just 20 years old, Keyser has a real chance to take the reigns from Tuukka Rask a few years down the line if he continues to impress in his development.

(Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

6. Oskar Steen

After a year in the SHL where he had a grand total of six points in 45 games, Steen had a breakout season in the for Farjestad BK where he was able to notch 17 goals and 37 points in 46 games, good for 10th in the SHL. What was even more impressive about that season was that the nine players above Steen had an average age of 30, the youngest being 26 while Steen is still just 21. With his speed and agility, I’d lookout for the young Swede to be an under the radar fit for the Bruins big league roster this year.

5. Jeremy Lauzon

In his short stay in the NHL, this season Lauzon impressed a lot of people. He isn’t the flashiest player, but is really solid in his own end and showed a lot of playmaking ability in his years in the QMJHL, tallying 40 assists in 46 games during his final season. If the Bruins didn’t have such a logjam at defense, Lauzon would certainly be on the Bruins roster this year.

(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

4. Jakub Lauko

Lauko continues to look more and more like a steal as we continue to see him grow. Originally projected to go in the middle of the second round, Lauko fell to the Bruins in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft. The 19-year-old notched 41 points in 44 games and helped the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies win the President’s Cup this past year. His blazing speed and hockey IQ sets him apart from most of the competition and should set him up to be a really solid NHL player.

3. John Beecher

I’m not going to lie, when I saw that Arthur Kaliyev dropped all the way to pick 30, I really wanted the Bruins to hop all over him. When I learned that the Bruins drafted yet another player that was expected to go later in the draft I was honestly pretty disappointed but man, every single day I learn more about Beecher I continue to love this pick more and more. Beecher was overshadowed heavily by players like Jack Hughes, Cole Caufield, and Alex Turcotte but still put together a solid season playing outside of the top six in the US developmental program, putting up 43 points in 63 games. Most recently Beecher has raised a lot of eyebrows at the World Junior Summer Showcase where he has displayed his speed, agility and two-way prowess while impressing many people.

Urho Vaakanainen

(Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

2. Urho Vaakanainen

It really is a shame that Vaakanainen had to get cheap shot early in just his second NHL game because we didn’t get to truly see what the young Fin had in store, but there’s no question that the Bruins have something in store with this defenseman. The 18th overall pick in the 2017 draft is a strong skater and is very reliable in his own zone with the ability to move the puck very well. Vaakanainen is already a two-time gold medalist, winning the U-18 and U-20 championships with team Finland.

1. Jack Studnicka

I thought for a while on who deserved the top spot on this list, but ultimately, I chose Studnicka. Last season Studnicka began his season with the Oshawa Generals, averaging above a point per game but really stepped up when he was traded mid-season to the Niagra IceDogs where he was able to light the lamp 24 times and add 25 assists in just 30 games. Even when he was on team Canada at World Juniors with players like Morgan Frost, Cody Glass and Barret Hayton, he was able to stand out and catch the eye of everyone. Bob McKenzie said following a game that “It was pretty obvious that Jack Studnicka was the best player on the ice,” quite the praise for a guy that wasn’t playing top minutes on the team. A year after missing out on the 3rd line center position, Studnicka will once again look to crack the Bruins roster and make his mark in the NHL.

Honorable Mentions: Axel Andersson, Pavel Shen, Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Jeremy Swayman

Bruins Extend Qualifying Offers To Six Players

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty)

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

As July 1st, or better known as the start of NHL Free Agency Frenzy, gets closer and closer, teams around the NHL are looking to re-sign the players that are going to be around for a long time. Boston has some key players within the system that are going to become free agents, however, the biggest names – Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen – are all restricted free agents (RFA).

In order to retain negotiating rights on these RFAs and others within the Bruins organization, Boston had to extend qualifying offers to six players. For a brief description on what exactly a qualifying offer is, below is a statement from CapFriendly.

  • A qualifying offer is an official Standard Player Contract (SPC) offer which shall be 1 year in length, and which can be subject to salary arbitration should the player be eligible.

  • Clubs have until the later of June 25th or the first Monday after the Entry Draft to submit Qualifying Offers.

  • Qualifying Offers apply to Group 2 and Group 4 free agents.

  • Submitting a Qualifying Offers gives the prior club the right of first refusal to match any offer sheet submitted, or receive draft pick compensation.

  • If the player rejects the qualifying offer, they remain an RFA and their rights are retained by the team.

  • If a player does not receive a qualifying offer, the player becomes a UFA. – CapFriendly.com

As mentioned above, if the player decides to reject the offer, then he remains an RFA and can negotiate a new deal with the team. For the players that did not receive an offer at all, then they will enter the free agent market as a UFA and teams can no longer receive draft compensation in return.

Here are the six players that the Boston Bruins extended a qualifying offer to:

The qualifying offer depends on the salary that the player made in the previous season with their respective club. More on that from CapFriendly below:

  • The qualifying offer is calculated from the players base salary (NHL salary minus signing bonus), and at minimum must meet the seasons minimum salary requirements:

    • 110% of the base salary if the base salary is less than or equal to $660,000

    • 105% of the base salary if the base salary is greater than $660,000 or less than $1,000,000. However, this qualifying offer cannot exceed $1,000,000.

    • 100% of the base salary if the base salary is equal to or greater than $1,000,000.

    • CBA Reference 10.2 (a) (ii) – CapFriendly.com

On their website, there is a tool that allows you to select a player that is currently an RFA and what exactly their qualifying offer is worth. Here are the results of that. It should be noted as well that all qualifying offers are only one year in length.

  • D Charlie McAvoy – $874,125
  • D Brandon Carlo – $874,125
  • F Peter Cehlarik – $735,000
  • F Ryan Fitzgerald – $787,500
  • F Danton Heinen – $874,125
  • F Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson – $874,125

Players can choose to accept the contract if the salary works for them in hopes for earning a larger deal once the one year expires. Forwards Ryan Fitzgerald and Peter Cehlarik will most likely agree to the qualifying offer that has been presented to them.

Evidentally, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen will decline the qualifying offer as they are proven NHL players and will get a large payday very soon. By declining the offer, they remain RFAs and the Bruins do indeed keep their rights within the system.

Another player that will likely decline this qualifying offer is forward Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson who announced in May of this year that he has signed a contract with Vaxjo of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the 2019-20 campaign. GM Don Sweeney said in a press release that Forsbacka Karlsson wishes to be closer to his family while continuing his hockey development. This declining of the qualifying offer means that Boston will hold onto his rights for the time being.

Within the entire Boston Bruins organization, only one player did not receive a qualifying offer and that is forward Gemel Smith who skated in 47 games with the Providence Bruins, putting up 16-24-40 numbers. Smith will enter the 2019 Free Agent class as an unrestricted free agent.

July 1st is less than one week away and the free agency frenzy is only getting more and more interesting. Make sure to stay locked on Black N’ Gold Hockey for the latest on the Boston Bruins.

Check out this week’s Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast Episode 132 below!!

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.