One thing is for certain, the Boston Bruins are very prospect rich. You can say what you want regarding some of his trades but Don Sweeney and company have done a really good job at refilling the prospect cupboard. And because of that some very good players were left off of our very own BostonPucks.com Top 10 Bruins prospects list.
It just goes to show just how good some of these players could be. A WHL star like Jesse Gabrielle was left off this list but who knows, he could end up having a bigger impact on the Bruins franchise than anyone we anticipated. Regardless, a Top 10 like this couldn’t have reached even five players just two years ago
Our list is very heavy with 1st and 2nd round picks from the past two drafts. But keep in mind that the 2015 draft, where the Bruins had 6 picks in the first two rounds, could turn into the best draft in Bruins history. All 6 of the picks are projected to make it to the NHL. It is unheard of in the NHL draft to hit on 6 players in one draft.
We have already seen one of those 2015 picks already have a major impact on the Bruins in Brandon Carlo. It would be an amazing feat if the Bruins had 5, 6 or 7 players from the same draft make it to the NHL.
So without further ado, here are BostonPucks.com’s Top 10 Bruins prospects:
10. Zane McIntyre, G, Providence Bruins – AHL (6th Round pick, 165th overall in 2010)
The artist formally known as Gothberg has had a huge rebound in his second year as a pro. His first season he struggled in the AHL. After a stellar career at the NHL factory, also known as the University of North Dakota, he fell on hard times in Providence with a .898 save percentage and a 2.67 goals against average.
Fast forward to this season and McIntyre has shown in a short stint he can even hang in the NHL. In both of his NHL starts he was up against some of the cream of the NHL crop in the high scoring New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. In the Montreal game he gave up a late goal to lose a chance at his first NHL victory.
McIntyre has been dominating the AHL with a perfect 8-0 record, 1.28 GAA, and a .956 save percentage. Currently he’s carrying the load down in Providence over the higher drafted Malcolm Subban. And as if he hasn’t impressed enough, McIntyre currently leads the AHL in goals aainst average and save percentage. He could climb this prospect list pretty quickly in the next few months. With Anton Khudobin struggling a bit McIntyre could be a viable option to back Tuukka up in the near future.
9. Danton Heinen, F, Providence Bruins – AHL (4th Round pick, 116th overall in 2014)
Heinen, the University of Denver product, has enjoyed a couple cups of coffee with the big Bruins in Boston already. When he is playing with the Providence Bruins he is about a point per game player with 7 goals and 8 assists in 17 AHL games. Heinen has looked good at times when he gets called up but he’s also not a flashy player and he can go unnoticed at times even when he does a lot of little things pretty well. He just needs to get more adjusted to the pro game despite having an NHL caliber shot. He will most likely be on the Boston-Providence shuttle all season but could be a full time NHLer by next season.
8. Trent Frederic, C, University of Wisconsin – NCAA (1st Round pick, 29th overall in 2016)
The Bruins selected Frederic with the 29th overall pick in the 2016 Draft. Again this pick was looked at as a reach as Frederic was ranked much lower on all the draft analysts boards. All Frederic has done since the draft is have a stellar freshman season at Wisconsin.
Frederic has been one of the most surprising prospect this season. He has missed 6 games with injury but has played in 10, racking up 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists). Frederic is a big 6’2″, 205 pounder who is excellent at faceoffs and hard to play against. It was a surprise to this blogger that Frederic was left off the Team USA roster for the upcoming World Junior Championships
7. Jake Debrusk, LW, Providence Bruins – AHL (1st Round pick, 14th overall in 2015)
Debrusk is playing in this first professional season in Providence. He had a real strong training camp with the Bruins and looked like he had a legit shot to make the opening night roster but was wisely sent down. Debrusk then had a slow start in the AHL (just 3 goals in 25 games) but has since scored 3 goals in his last 4 games. He now has 6 goals and 8 assists for 14 points in 29 games.
The former 1st round pick by the Bruins looks like he could crack the Bruins lineup in the near future as a bottom 6 left wing. Playing this year in the AHL will benefit him when he is more capable of making a bigger impact with the big Bruins.
6. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, C, Boston University – NCAA (2nd Round pick, 45th overall in 2015)
JFK is considered by some a Patrice Bergeron clone due to his style of play. In some respects this is really an unfair comparison and expectation for the young Swedish center.
JFK did not go the typical European route to the NHL by playing in the USHL and now playing at Boston University. As a sophomore he has impressively been named an assistant captain on a loaded with NHL talent BU club. He has good size at 6’1″ and a 192 lbs and so far this season is 4th on BU in scoring with 15 points (3 goals and 12 assists) in 17 games.
When I am evaluating highly regarded NCAA players I like to see them be around a point per game, or above, and that is just what JFK is doing this season. Providence could start getting crowded as it is expected that JFK could sign with the Bruins at the conclusion of this collegiate season.
5. Zach Senyshyn, RW, Sault St. Marie – OHL (1st Round pick, 15th overall in 2015)
It has been well documented that Zach Senyshyn had a hellish summer which caused him to have a slow start with the Soo Greyhounds. He was invited to Team Canada’s World Junior Team camp, but missed the cut when he was one of the last players let go. In the two games since his heartbreak with Team Canada he has a goal and an assist. On the season he now has 17 goals and 11 assist for 28 points in 25 games.
Although it is a great measuring stick when a prospect plays at the WJC there have been plenty of NHL stars who never played for their country in the event, such as Tyler Seguin. It is not the end all be all to play at the WJC, but with the 1st round pedigree it would have been nice to see. To me, this does not change anything about him as a prospect.
4. Jeremy Lauzon, D, Rouyn-Noranda – QMJHL (2nd Round pick, 52nd overall in 2015)
Unlike Zach Senyshyn, Jeremy Lauzon got the good news of making Team Canada for the World Junior Championship that is being held in his native Canada (Toronto and Montreal). The Bruins took three defenseman in their first six picks in the 2015 draft (Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, and Brandon Carlo) and remarkably some scouts say Lauzon could have the highest ceiling of them all. We have already seen the impact that Carlo is having on the blue line and this could mean the Bruins are quickly on their way to a very deep and talented defensive group in the next few years.
What’s more, Lauzon is a skilled offensive defenseman. In 13 games this season Lauzon has 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points. He missed a considerable amount of time with a concussion earlier in the season but he was able to recover in time to make Team Canada.
3. Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John – QMJHL (1st Round pick, 13th overall in 2015)
Zboril was the top pick for the Bruins in the 2015 draft. The rugged do-it-all defenseman has improved his focus on the game since he was drafted and was much improved in this year’s training camp from last season. There is no denying his talent and the guy plays on the edge with a nasty side to his game. This season he was suspended for 5 games due to a check to the head. He is a shoe in to represent the Czech Republic at the WJC next week as well.
This season for Saint John he has 18 points (6 goals and 12 assists) in 20 games. The Czech Republic is in Team Canada and Team USA’s pool in this years WJC so fans will be able to get a look at Zboril on the NHL Network when the games are televised. WJC games start on December 26th.
2. Anders Bjork, F, Notre Dame – NCAA (5th Round pick, 146th overall in 2014)
Bjork, the junior forward at Notre Dame, has had a monster NCAA season so far. It seems like every time I look at a Notre Dame boxscore Bjork’s name is in it with either a goal or an assist. He now has scored 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points in just 17 games. Rumor has it the Bruins are going to try really hard to sign Bjork once his college season has completed.
Bjork could have an immediate impact for the Bruins this season just like Chris Kreider did with the Rangers in 2011 – 2012 when he left Boston College after his junior season. There are also distant rumors that Bjork could go the Jimmy Vesey route and not sign with the Bruins in order to become a free agent. Hopefully the Bruins can convince him to sign because he has turned into a very promising prospect.
1. Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston University – NCAA (1st Round pick, 15th overall in 2016)
I truly believe that McAvoy will turn pro at the end of this Boston University season and will be a full time NHLer next year. McAvoy was the youngest player in NCAA Division 1 his freshman season since he went to college a year early just like Jack Eichel did his draft year. McAvoy is a smooth skater and can play with an edge, as you can see him below light up Lawson Crouse of the Arizona Coyotes over the summer. He definitely does not shy away from the physical stuff:
McAvoy will be quarterbacking the Bruins powerplay for years to come while being a true top 4 defenseman. Coach Claude Julien has shown this year he is not afraid to play rookies on defense and I expect McAvoy gets the same treatment being a Bruin next year. He also was just named an assistant captain for Team USA for the U20 World Junior Championship.