Bruins’ Prospect Beecher Shined At World Juniors Summer Showcase

John-Beecher

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

By: Ian Frazier | Follow Me On Twitter @ifrazier95

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

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

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

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

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

NCAA Bruins Prospects Playing In New England In 2018-19

( Photo Credit:  NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a Writer/CEO/Founder here at the Black N’ Gold Productions team, it’s important for me and some of my great teammates to focus on the lower levels of the Boston Bruins organization and prospects scattered all over the world. Now, I can’t just warm up the BNG private jet and fly over to Russia to watch 2017 National Hockey League seventh-round draft pick Pavel Shen, but living in New England certainly has its benefits to catch some B’s prospects throughout the six-state region.

As a proponent of the “old eye-test,” I enjoy taking the time and the opportunity to see the Bruins developing youth as I start to track their progress the day they were selected. I live in the northeastern part of Massachusetts and reap the benefits of the highways such as Interstate 95 and Interstate 495 when going out on a local scouting mission with a prospect in the area. Also, a huge fan of MBTA public transportation and Uber/Lyft when a vehicle is not available and a trip is needed to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island to cover the B’s top-minor pro affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Below are two Boston Bruins prospects that are set to play for their respected University’s in the upcoming 2018-19 Mens Division 1 seasons and places throughout New England where fans can go and watch.  This is a great way to see the young Bruins stars of tomorrow before they hit the pro ranks in the AHL or NHL.

Curtis Hall  –  Yale University

( Photo Credit:   NewsLocker )

The 6′-3″ 196-pound Princeton, New Jersey native was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry draft and is committed to play at Yale as a freshman. Before being selected by the B’s, the skilled center played in the United States Hockey League with the Youngstown, Phantoms and posted 31 points in 54 games in his second year in the league. Hall was invited to the Team USA’s World Junior Summer Showcase camp which is being held this year in Kamloops, British Columbia to prepare for the upcoming 2019 World Junior Championships from Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos had this to say about Hall’s game in his March 3, 2018, scouting report article.

Strong, powerful two-way center with speed who can finish in a variety of ways. It feels like you can count on Hall to get at least one breakaway per game in addition to the three or four odd-man rushes he initiates. His overall puck skills are good for a kid who is willing to play physical, and most of his shifts are spent buzzing opposing defenders who are looking to break out. Hall, who is committed to Yale, is more of a finisher than a playmaking pivot, but his size, instincts, and speed make him valuable on both the penalty kill and late in games.

Check out Hall and his Yale Bulldogs team play at these New England locations in the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Friday, October 26, 2018, Away against the Brown University Bears- Meehan Auditorium 225 Hope St, Providence, RI 02912   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 9,2018, Home vs. Harvard University – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 10, 2018, Home vs. Dartmouth College Big Green – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, December 7, 2018, Home vs. the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers- Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, December 8, 2018, Home vs. the Union College Dutchmen – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Tuesday, December 11, 2018, Away against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen – Mullins Center 200 Commonwealth Ave, Amherst, MA 01003   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, December 31, 2018, Home vs. the University of Connecticut Huskies – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 5, 2019, Away against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats – Whittemore Cente 128 Main St, Durham, NH 03824   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, January 7, 2019, vs. the University of Maine Black Bears – Cross Insurance Arena 1 Civic Center Square, Portland, ME 04101   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 12, 2019,  Home vs. the Sacred Heart Pioneers – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, January 18, 2019, Home vs. the Clarkson Golden Knights – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 19, 2019, Home vs. the St. Lawrence University Saints – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 2, 2019, Home vs. the Brown University Bears – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 8, 2019, Away against the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – People’s United Center 305 Sherman Ave, Hamden, CT 06518   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 15, 2019, Home vs. the Colgate University Raiders – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 16, 2019, Home vs. the Cornell University Big Red -Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 22, 2019, Away against the Dartmouth College Big Green – Rupert C. Thompson Arena 4 Summer St, Hanover, NH 03755    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 23, 2019, Away against the Harvard University Crimson – The Bright-Landry Hockey Center 65 N Harvard St, Boston, MA 02163   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, March 1, 2019, Home vs. the Princeton University Tigers -Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, March 2, 2019, Home vs. the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Jeremy Swayman – University of Maine

( Photo Credit:  GoBlackBears.com )

Swayman certainly surprised many as a fourth-round selection of the B’s in 2017. The 6′-2″ 187-pound goaltender joined the Black Bears last season and pretty much won the starting job from the get-go to start the 2017-18 season as a freshman. Jeremy went on to start his NCAA hockey career with a season one record of 15-12-3, a 2.90 Goals-Against-Average, and .914 Save Percentage. The 19-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native was 28 stops away from a one-thousand save season in 32 games played in 2017-18. After talking to him at this year’s Bruins development camp from the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts he mentioned that this offseason he was going to work harder with his weight room workouts and on-ice training regiment.

Sid Osmond of Dobber Prospects had this to say about Swaymans game in an article revision in July of 2018.

Most freshmen goalies in the NCAA either serve as a backup with limited ice time or platoon with the established starter. Swayman walked into Orono and with hard work and solid play stole the starter job for the University of Maine. Against older and more mature competition, in a division including the Hockey East powerhouses that are Boston University and Boston College, Providence, and Northeastern, Swayman improved his GAA from his draft year to 2.72. He also improved his save percentage, finishing his freshman season with a .921. His first year at college, his club lacked goal scoring, but Swayman held his own. He will more than likely remain at Maine next season to continue developing on a squad with a lot of returning players.

Check out Swayman and his Maine Black Bears team play at these New England locations in the upcoming  2018-19 season.

Friday, October 12, 2018, Home vs. the St. Lawrence University Saints –  Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, October 12, 2018, Home vs. the St. Lawrence University Saints  – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, October 26, 2018,  Away against the University of Connecticut Huskies – XL Center One Civic Center Plaza Hartford, CT 06103   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, October 27, 2018, Away against the University of Connecticut Huskies – XL Center One Civic Center Plaza Hartford, CT 06103   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 2, 2018, Home vs. the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 3, 2018, Home vs. the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 16, 2018, Away against the Boston University Terriers – Agganis Arena 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215     Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 17, 2018, Away against the Boston University Terriers – Agganis Arena 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215     Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 23, 2018, Home vs. the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 24, 2018, Home vs. the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 30, 2018, Away against the University of Vermont Catamounts – Guterson Fieldhouse 147 Spear St. Burlington VT 05405  Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, December 1, 2018, Away against the University of Vermont Catamounts – Guterson Fieldhouse 147 Spear St. Burlington VT 05405  Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Wednesday, January 2, 2019,  Home vs. the Colorado College Tigers – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, January 7, 2019, vs. the Yale University Bulldogs – Cross Insurance Arena 1 Civic Center Square, Portland, ME 04101   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, January 11, 2019, Home vs. the Northeastern University Huskies – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 12, 2019, Home vs. the Northeastern University Huskies – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Thursday, January 17, 2019, Away against the Boston College Eagles – Kelley Rink at Conte Forum 140 Common Wealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, January 21, 2019, Home vs. the University of New Hampshire Wildcats -Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, January 25, 2019, Home vs. the University of Massachusetts Minutemen -Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 26, 2019, Home vs. the University of Massachusetts Minutemen -Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 1, 2019, Away against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats – Whittemore Cente 128 Main St, Durham, NH 03824   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 2, 2019, Away against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats – Whittemore Cente 128 Main St, Durham, NH 03824   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 8, 2019, Home vs. the Providence College Friars – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 9, 2019,  Home vs. the Providence College Friars – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 15, 2019, Away against the Merrimack College Warriors –  Lawler Rink 315 Turnpike St. North Andover, MA 01845    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 16, 2019, Away against the Merrimack College Warriors –  Lawler Rink 315 Turnpike St. North Andover, MA 01845    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 22, 2019, Home vs. the Boston College Eagles – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 23, 2019, Home vs. the Boston College Eagles – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, March 2, 2019, Away against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen -Mullins Center 200 Commonwealth Ave, Amherst, MA 01003   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, March 9, 2019, Home vs. the Boston University Terriers- Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Bruins Prospect Curtis Hall; High Ceiling, Great Flow

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 12.29.02 PM

(Photo credit: Boston Bruins)

By Jacob Albrecht | Follow me on Twitter @bruinsfan3725

With their late 4th round pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, the Bruins selected center Curtis Hall, a Princeton, New Jersey native currently playing in the USHL at 119th overall. At only 18 years of age, Hall has a man’s body, coming in at 6’2″ and 200 pounds. Here are Hall’s first words as a Boston Bruins draft pick:

Hall has committed to Yale for the coming school year, which in of itself shows that he’s a smart kid with a strong work ethic off the ice. It is a very convenient situation for the Bruins to have Hall playing right in their backyard as well. It’ll be interesting to see how he competes and the numbers he can put up at the college level. This past season he put up 13 goals and 18 assists for a total of 31 points in 54 games with the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms. Those numbers are a significant improvement over his 7 goals, 14 assists, and 21 points in 59 games the year before in 2016-2017.

Hall won’t be seen as an incredibly highly skilled player which his numbers reflect, however he chips in strongly on offense, but focuses mainly on playing a consistent, 200-foot game. After being drafted, the American described himself by saying, “I’m a hard working two-way centerman. Coaches can rely on me in all areas of the game. I have offensive ability, but I can play really good defense as well. I’m a 200-foot forward.” That description is very comparable to many other current and former Bruins centers. His ceiling likely isn’t as high as that of Patrice Bergeron’s, but his game is clearly reminiscent of the the 4-time Selke Trophy winner’s. Curtis Hall could also be compared to a guy like Rich Peverley, strong in his own end and can chip in offensively at the same time without compromising defense. Hall looks to have a ceiling of a very strong 3rd line center, and very likely could be a top 6 center behind Bergeron if his development goes well. Regardless of his skill and ceiling, his lettuce is absolutely unreal. as is evidenced below in exhibits A, B, C and D:

Hall impressed quite a bit at the Bruins Development Camp this past week. He was able to effectively use his frame to create space for himself and his teammates, including in the dirty areas in front of the net. With that size, he should be able to push a lot of other guys around at the NHL level when he’s given a chance. He’s a guy that wants to get in there to make a difference in a game, and as our favorite Bruins broadcast team Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley would say, “he’s got jam.” Another of Hall’s strengths is his skating, and he knows it. He knows what his strengths are and how to properly use them to his advantage to best his opponent. He seems to have a strong shot from what could be seen throughout the on-ice sessions of development camp, and he especially showcased it during the scrimmage on Friday:

Not only is the shot itself impressive, being from a very tight angle, top shelf and the puck being positioned on the outside, but so is the work required to get the opportunity. He uses his size, speed and agility to beat the defender on a spin move which creates the space he needs to drive towards the net. His quick acceleration on a few strides from a slow speed affords him that scoring chance. Some guys in this same situation would’ve backed off and stayed on the boards or rotated out to the point, but not Hall. It could be guessed that Hall wouldn’t always shoot that puck if he had a man open right in front of the crease. Despite him scoring on a beautiful finish on this play, the most critical part is the decisions he makes leading up to that finish. It shows Hall has a strong hockey IQ that can be improved and heightened on his journey through professional hockey.

After day 2 of development camp Hall gave the interview above, and there’s a lot to like about it. He’s confident in his game and the way he plays, which is huge in professional sports of any kind. Having that good head on his shoulders gives him a great chance of success at the NHL level. He’s calm, cool and collected, he’s respectful with the media and wants to jump right in and communicate well with the organization and his teammates. These are all good signs to see from a young guy less than a week after being drafted. The strongest sign I saw during camp was his work ethic. On that third day of camp, he was one of the last few guys off the ice. He stayed out there to get those extra few shots, strides and stickhandling in. Being one of the last off shows that extra dedication and want to improve.

Hall is committed to improving his game, and that has to make the Bruins management and coaching staff very happy with their 119th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The Bruins might have a long-term top 9, hopefully, top 6 center on their hands in Curtis Hall. He’s got the heart, work ethic, strong body/head, and he’s got some unreal, majestic flow. Welcome to Boston, Curtis!

Recapping the Bruins’ 2018 NHL Draft

2018_Draft_Announcement_665x374-ce56a0a168

Photo Credit: NHL.com

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow Me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

The Boston Bruins came away with 5 players in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, all selected on Day 2. The reactions were… mixed, to say the least. What did I think? Read on to find out:

2nd Round, 57th Overall – D Axel Andersson, Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)

Andersson Johan Sahlen

Photo Credit: Johan Sahlen

I’m going, to be honest – with the players left on the board here, I was not a fan of this pick. The organization has a ridiculous number of defensemen in the pipeline, and there were better forwards available. Regardless, I don’t think it was a complete whiff. I will refer you to the scouting report compiled by CanucksArmy, who is one of the best names in public player analysis. Andersson appears to be several years away from making an impact but could be a lesser, right-handed version of Urho Vaakanainen.

PuckNerd’s Grade: C+

3rd Round, 77th Overall – C/W Jakub Lauko, Pirati Chomutov (Czech)

Lauko Piratichomutov.cz

Photo Credit: Piratichomutov.cz

This was an absolute steal at this point of the draft. Lauko has the speed for days. He broke into the Czech Extraliga at age 16 and has yet to look out of place. He can sometimes find himself with a bit of Michael Grabner syndrome (speed, no finish), but he is slowly working the kinks out in that respect. I think the upside is probably a less-skilled version of Jake DeBrusk, who has better wheels than the 2015 1st Rounder. Excellent value here in the 3rd Round, and a definitive upgrade over Frank Vatrano, for whom the Bruins acquired this selection. For reference, Lauko ALSO appeared in CanucksArmy’s Top 100.

PuckNerd’s Grade: A-

4th Round, 119th Overall – C Curtis Hall, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

Curtis Hall USHL

Photo Credit: USHL

Hall is never going to wow you with pure skill, but I like his hockey IQ, and he is another burner in the speed department. The Yale commit was a little quiet offensively in the USHL, and I’m not sure if he has offensive upside at the NHL level, but this is a solid bottom-six forward for a decade if he pans out.

PuckNerd’s Grade: B-

6th Round, 181st Overall – D Dustyn McFaul, Pickering Panthers (OJHL)

McFaul Pickering Panthers.jpg

Photo Credit: Pickering Panthers

Yeah, I have to be honest – I have literally never heard of Dustyn McFaul. He couldn’t crack the Kingston Frontenacs’ roster last year, so he went to a very, very bad Pickering squad and helped them slowly improve over the last two seasons. The Clarkson commit has a bit of NHL upside but is definitely a long-term project. Decent mobility and instincts, needs to improve his shot and one on one defense, but he also won’t enroll at Clarkson until at least the fall of 2019, so this is not a pick Boston fans should expect to see in the spoked-B any time soon.

PuckNerd’s Grade: C-

7th Round, 212th Overall – C Pavel Shen, Mamonty Yugry (MHL)

Pavel Shen KHL

Photo Credit: KHL

When was the last time the Bruins took an overage KHL player? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Shen was passed over last year, despite being a point per game player in the Russian junior leagues, and, despite some injuries, this past season, continued to produce at a similar pace. He’s an overager but is a mid-August birthday, so he only was eligible for last year’s draft by about a month. He is signed to a contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL for next season, so I don’t expect him to come to North America any time soon, but there is dynamic skill there. Needs a little work on his skating, but he is a decent size (6’1″, 185 lbs), has a great shot, and plays a North American style of game. This is a good sleeper pick by Don Sweeney – uncharacteristically taking a flier on a high-upside guy in the 7th Round is a great strategy. Time will tell if it works out for Boston.

PuckNerd’s Grade: A+

Some risky picks, some great ones, some less than stellar ones; probably about on par for what you would expect from a draft. What do YOU think about this class? Let me know in the comments below, and please follow me on Twitter (found above) to get more analysis moving forward!