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Prospect Pool Overview: Boston Bruins

Your prospect pool can wind up being fairly bleak when you’re a competitive team for a couple of decades. Tony Ferrari looks at the Boston Bruins' future, and which players you need to keep an eye on.
Oskar Steen

Your prospect pool can wind up being fairly bleak when you’re a competitive team for much of the last 15 years. 

It’s hard to draft high-end prospects when you are drafting towards the end of round one, and that’s in years when you don’t trade your first-round pick away. When you draft quality prospects, you often trade them away for immediate help. 

This is the predicament that the Bruins find themselves in.

The Bruins’ prospect pool isn’t devoid of talent by any means, but they do lack a star or two that give them high hopes for the future after the current core moves on. Fabian Lysell and Brett Harrison have talent and skill, projecting as NHL top-six forwards if their ceilings are met. Lysell, in particular, could provide great after going 21st overall at the 2021 NHL draft.

Center John Beecher and stout defender Mason Lohrei could find themselves as middle-of-the-lineup contributors who play the Bruins’ brand of hockey. Matthew Poitras and Cole Spicer are two skilled forwards who were added at the draft and could be contributors in the long run. Jeremy Swayman, 23, looks to be the future in net, but Reid Dyck and Brandon Bussi look like possible NHLers down the road in goal, too.

The top-end talent isn’t there but the Bruins are trying to win now - as has been the case for the last 15 years - so it’s not shocking that their pipeline is a bit less impressive than some others around the league.

2022 NHL Draft Class
Round 2 (54 Overall) - Matthew Poitras, C, Guelph Storm [OHL]
Round 4 (117 Overall) - Cole Spicer, C, U.S. National Development Team [USHL]
Round 4 (119 Overall) - Dans Ločmelis, C, Lulea HF Jr. [J20 Nationell]
Round 5 (132 Overall) - Frederic Brunet, D, Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL]
Round 6 (183 Overall) - Reid Dyck, G, Swift Current Broncos [WHL]
Round 7 (200 Overall) - Jackson Edward, D, London Knights [OHL]

Boston's 2022 NHL draft was eventful in quantity but lacked a first-round pick after trading it to Anaheim for defenseman Hampus Lindholm. With only one pick (54th overall) before the fourth round, the Bruins were throwing a lot of darts at the board in the mid-late rounds.

In the second round, The Bruins started their draft off taking high-energy forward Matthew Poitras from the OHL’s Guelph Storm. An aggressive forechecker with some crafty puck theft ability and some shiftiness once he gets the puck on his stick, Poitras is a good distributor and a good shooter who doesn’t use his shot enough. His upside is a question, but some pro-level tendencies could lead to a solid middle-six career in the NHL.

Cole Spicer built his game around being a sound defensive forward with the USNTDP who can chip in offensively when given the opportunity to. Spicer will finish a check and work hard to get the puck back for his squad. Dans Ločmelis is in the same mold as a forward who uses positioning and intelligent habits at both ends of the ice to excel. 

Dyck is an interesting swing on a goaltender with some nice athleticism. Dyck showed an ability to stand out in big moments at times this year and even though his numbers with Swift Current aren’t phenomenal, he has the size and tools that have been on display more than enough to justify his selection.

Strengths

The Bruins have one of the weaker prospect pools as a whole in the NHL but they do boast some very good wingers. Fabian Lysell is one of the more speed-driven prospects in hockey with the ability to blaze by opponents and attack on the rush with the best of prospects in the game. His hands are beginning to catch up to his feet and he’s flashed absolute offensive brilliance at times. He also plays with vigor in all three zones as a high-effort defensive presence in his own zone that could be a well-above-average defensive forward with some coaching.

Brett Harrison has played both center and on the wing, but could be a very high-end finisher at the NHL level as a winger. His pace could be an issue if asked to drive play, but his shot is legit, and he has some very good passing ability in the offensive zone. Smart and skilled, Harrison could provide the quality secondary scoring that the best Bruins teams are known for at the next level. Add in some intriguing depth-scoring wingers such as Jakub Lauko, Oskar Steen, and possible Matthew Poitras if he moves from center ice and the Bruins’ wing depth looks solid moving forward.

Weaknesses

Boston could use some help just on the backend, but they do a decent job of developing blueliners. Down the middle, the Bruins have struggled to find answers beyond their long-time stalwart Patrice Bergeron, specifically in terms of home-grown talent. John Beecher looks promising and screams “Boston Bruin” stylistically but projects as a third-line center at the NHL level unless he can really boost his offensive production. He showed well at the AHL level, but his NCAA track record wasn’t anything to ride home about. Beyond the Michigan product, there are a lot of question marks.

Next Man Up: RW Oskar Steen

The Bruins need cheap scoring depth thanks to being right up against the salary cap and Steen may wind up being the player to provide it. The 24-year-old Swede is an undersized skill player who could thrive in a top-nine role if given the opportunity as an offensive weapon. He is a playmaker by trade who can thread the needle after opening up space with his shiftiness on his feet through the offensive zone. The Bruins aren’t likely to give their top prospects a look this year as they are a year or two away from contributing at the NHL level so Steen could look to solidify his role on the NHL roster this year so that when those players arrive next year, he won’t have to worry about being the odd man out.

Prospect Depth Chart Notables

LW: Brett Harrison, Jakub Lauko
C: John Beecher, Matthew Poitras
RW: Fabian Lysell, Oskar Steen
LD: Mason Lohrei, Frédéric Brunet, Jack Ahcan
RD:Victor Berglund
G: Reid Dyck, Brandon Bussi

For a deeper dive into the prospect pool with player rankings, check out the Yearbook and Future Watch editions of the Hockey News print edition

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