Yesterday I wrote about how the last weeks transactions were underwhelming. The same can be said for the Bruins selections at the draft.
Without much sizzle amongst the prospects leaguewide the Bruins rightfully played it safe. One quote I saw regarding the B’s selections said “the Bruins were satisfied by hitting singles instead of extra base hits”.
Now that’s not to say they didn’t get any good players, because they did. I do not think any of them would crack our Bruins Top 10 Prospects list, but in the end you never know. It’s too early to tell.
Overall the Bruins picked up three kids who play in the CHL (1 from each league), one going to the NCAA, and two who play professionally in Europe.
Lets take a look at who the B’s picked up and added to their prospect cupboard:
1st Round, 18th Overall: Urho Vaakanainen – Defense
Vaakanainen has good size and skates well, which is something you can say about most of the prospects the Bruins picked up over the weekend. Vaakanainen’s offensive game isn’t there yet, but there is still plenty of room for growth in that department. Some NHL scouts had him going in the second round, but others had him ranked right about where he went.
The end result of the Vaakanainen pick is it might allow Don Sweeney to move out one of the other left shot defenseman prospects that they already have in a trade to help out the current roster. Vaakanainen has decent size at 6’1″ and has played professionally in Finland for the past two seasons. And for what it’s worth drafting Finish players was the sexy trend in the first round and plenty of legit defenseman have come from that region over the years. Vaakanainen is still probably a year away from coming to North America.
Personally, I did not expect the Bruins to take a defenseman in the first round. I do believe the Bruins need to start thinking about a plan for when Patrice Bergeron is no longer the number 1 center. That leads me to have preferred the Bruins take Ryan Poehling from St. Cloud State instead. This isn’t a slight to Vaakanainen as a player, I just think the Bruins long term need at center may have made more sense. Poehling was the youngest player in the NCAA this past year, just like Charlie McAvoy was the year prior. Poehling also has potential to be a 1st or 2nd line center. Instead, he ended going to Montreal at 25. Then he mistakenly said he was drafted by Toronto in an interview.
2nd Round, 53rd Overall: Jack Studnicka – Center
In my opinion this was the best pick by the Bruins. Studnicka (you can start the “Stud” nicknames now) has shown the ability to step up when it mattered most. In the OHL playoffs Studnicka was over a point per game player with 5 goals an 10 assists in 11 games for the Oshawa Generals. In the U18 World Junior Championship Studnicka scored 3 goals in 3 games played.
Studnicka’s offense should improve next season from his 52 points (18 goals and 34 assists) he scored this year. He plays a full 200 foot game and sounds like a Bruins type of player.
3rd round pick: Just kidding, Sweeney traded this pick in 2015 for Zac Rinaldo. Neat!
4th Round, 111th Overall: Jeremy Swayman – Goalie
It was understood that the Bruins would likely take a goalie at some point in this draft. Did the Bruins draft their goalie of the future? Maybe. Swayman will be a freshman at the University of Maine next season. And if you didn’t know Maine is Goaltender U. They have turned out current NHL starting goalies Jimmy Howard, Ben Bishop, and Scott Darling.
Swayman played in the USHL for a bad Sioux Falls team and still put up decent stats, 2.90 GAA and .914 save percentage.
I actually like this pick. Swayman can go to Maine and develop there for 3 years, much like Zane McIntyre did at North Dakota, and then turn pro. Swayman might not ever make it to the NHL but using a 4th round pick on a goalie is not a bad way to go about the draft.
5th round pick: I see you, John-Michael Liles trade.
6th Round, 173rd Overall: Cedric Pare – Center
Pare played on a loaded St. John Sea Dogs team that won the QMJHL and played for the Memorial Cup. He was teammates there with current Bruins first round prospect Jakub Zboril. Pare played bottom six minutes for St. John. The thought here is his offense will increase just by getting top six minutes next season. It will not take much for Pare to top his 5 goals and 11 assists he registered this past season.
Pare does not seem like a player that will have the skill to make it to the NHL. High end offensive players end up being 4th liners in the NHL and Pare is far from that. Pare has a long way to go in his development, so we will have to wait and see. I am assuming there were other players with more skill available still in the 6th round.
7th Round, 195th Overall: Victor Berglund – Defense
Berglund is a smaller skilled defenseman. The Bruins’ European scouts supposedly where “pounding the table” for this guy. The main trait in all the defenseman that the Bruins picked is they skate well and Berglund is no exception. Since he was the 7th round pick this is extremely low risk, high reward return. Berglund is the only “extra base hit” the Bruins maybe hit in this draft. This guy might take a while, but taking a flyer on him the the 7th round is worth it.
7th Round, 204th Overall: Daniel Bukac – Defense
Bukac played in the WHL for the Brandon Wheat Kings. He was a teammate of 2nd overall pick Nolan Patrick. The big (6’4″) defenseman skates well for his size. Bruins Assistant GM Scott Bradley said he was a “project” and he is “raw.” Dukac is from the Czech Republic and this was his first season in North America.
This is another low risk, high reward pick for the Bruins. As Bukac gets more comfortable in North America most likely his game will improve. Just like Victor Berglund the Bruins can be patient with Bukac and bring him along slowly. If you can hit on a 7th round pick, although luck is involved, you are doing well. It does not matter how deep the draft is.
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