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Top 10 prospects in Bruins organization entering 2020-21 NHL season

The Boston Bruins have an older veteran core that could probably make one or two more runs at a Stanley Cup title. But what happens after that championship window closes?

The best teams replace aging veterans with talented prospects who rise up through the organization and become impact players. Many of these prospects are acquired in the draft.

The Bruins' prospect pool is not loaded with high-end talent. However, there are a few players in the system with really exciting skill sets and a bright future.

Let's take a look at the Bruins' top 10 prospects entering the 2020-21 season.
BY   - 
23H AGO
USA TODAY SPORTS
 
 

10Jeremy Swayman

 

Jeremy Swayman

Getty Images
1 / 10

Position: Goaltender
Age: 21
2019-20 Stats: 18-11-5, .939 SV%, 1.79 GAA (Univ. of Maine)

Swayman is coming off a brilliant season for the University of Maine. He won the Richter Award as the nation's top goaltender and also was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. 

09Curtis Hall

 

Curtis Hall

Getty Images
2 / 10

Position: Center
Age: 20
2019-20 Stats: 28 GP, 17 G, 10 A, 27 P (Yale University)

Hall is an offensively gifted center with good size (6-foot-3 and 197 pounds) and impressive speed. He led Yale in scoring with 27 points, and his 17 goals were 12 more than he scored as a freshman the season before. Hall was a fourth-round pick (119th overall) of the Bruins in 2018.

Oskar Steen

 

Oskar Steen

Getty Images
3 / 10

Position: Center
Age: 22
2019-20 Stats: 60 GP, 7 G, 16 A, 23 P (AHL's Providence Bruins)

Steen was a sixth-round pick (165th overall) of the Bruins in 2016 who recently completed his first season with the Providence Bruins. He has the potential to be a useful bottom-six forward at the NHL level with a quick shot and crafty hands. He's currently playing in Sweden, where he's scored four goals in his first six games for Bjorkloven IF.

 

Jakub Zboril

 

Jakub Zboril

 

Position: Defenseman
Age: 23
2019-20 Stats: 58 GP, 3 G, 16 A, 19 P (AHL's Providence Bruins)

Zboril was the first of three first-round picks made by the Bruins in the 2015 draft. He was projected to be a smooth-skating defenseman who would generate consistent offensive production at 5-on-5 and the power play. But unfortunately for the Bruins, Zboril has been unable to carve out a regular role at the NHL level. He's only played in two games for Boston during that span and he's yet to crack the 20-point mark in three AHL seasons. The Bruins recently signed him to a two-year contract, and the expectation is he'll compete for a spot on the third pairing during training camp.

 
Contract details for Zboril's new deal

06Dan Vladar

 

Dan Vladar

 

Position: Goaltender
Age: 23
2019-20 Stats: 14-7-1, .936 SV%, 1.79 GAA (AHL's Providence Bruins)

Vladar showed tremendous improvement for the Providence Bruins last season -- his second full campaign in the AHL. The 2015 third-round draft pick could be the Bruins' backup goaltender fairly soon, depending on what happens with current No. 1 netminder Tuukka Rask. Rask has one more year left on his contract before free agency.

05Jakub Lauko

 

Jakub Lauko

 
6 / 10

Position: Left wing
Age: 20
2019-20 Stats: 22 GP, 5 G, 4 A, 9 P (AHL's Providence Bruins)

Lauko showed promise during his debut season in the AHL, nearly hitting the 0.5 points per game mark. He recently went back home to the Czech Republic, where he is playing for HC Energie Karlovy Vary. The ideal scenario the Bruins is that he can continue to develop his intriguing offensive game overseas before the next AHL season commences.

 

04Trent Frederic

 

Trent Frederic

USA TODAY Sports
7 / 10

Position: Center
Age: 22
2019-20 Stats: 59 GP, 8 G, 24 A, 32 P (AHL's Providence Bruins)

Frederic projects to be a bottom-six forward at the NHL level. He's already capable of bringing a physical edge to the ice and isn't afraid to drop the gloves and fight if needed. The hope for the Bruins is the 2016 first-round pick continues to develop into a reliable third line scorer. The upcoming season will be huge for his development as he battles for a spot on the NHL roster.

John Beecher

 

Position: Center
Age: 19
2019-20 Stats: 31 GP, 9 G, 7 A, 16 P (Univ. of Michigan)

Beecher is an exciting prospect with an impressive blend of offensive skill, speed and size (6-foot-3 and 210 pounds). The 2019 first-round pick will be a sophomore at the University of Michigan during the upcoming season.

Urho Vaakanainen

Urho Vaakanainen

 
9 / 10

Position: Defenseman
Age: 21
2019-20 Stats: 54 GP, 5 G, 9 A, 14 P (AHL's Providence Bruins)

Vaakanainen projects to be a top-four defenseman at the NHL level with his two-way skill set and excellent skating ability. After playing in the AHL the last two years, the 2017 first-round pick should be able to impress enough in training camp/preseason to earn a third-pairing role to begin the 2020-21 campaign.

ins in free agency?
ADRTISEMENT

01Jack Studnicka

 

Jack Studnicka

 
10 / 10

Position: Center
Age: 21
2019-20 Stats: 60 GP, 23 G, 26 A, 49 P (AHL's Providence Bruins)

Studnicka is the Bruins' top prospect and the one with the best chance to make a meaningful impact for Boston next season. He led the P-Bruins in goals, assists and points in his first full AHL season in 2019-20.

His quick shot, smooth skating and versatility -- he can play at center and on the wing -- should help him earn a consistent NHL role pretty quickly. In fact, if first-line wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are unable to play on Opening Night due to injuries, Studnicka is a candidate to slot in alongside Patrice Bergeron to start the season.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

P-Bruins sign WHL’s Eli Zummack to a two-year contract

 
 

While the Bruins have plenty to think about at the NHL level, they still need to focus on building out the rest of their organization as well.

 

To that end, the Providence Bruins announced a new signing yesterday, as former Spokane Chiefs forward Eli Zummack was signed to a two-year contract.

 

The deal is an AHL contract, so don’t expect to see Zummack at the NHL level unless his deal is restructured into a two-way deal.

 

 

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Still, Zummack projects to bring some scoring punch to a Providence Bruins lineup that will certainly need it, as Paul Carey has departed for Sweden and there’s a chance that guys like Jack Studnicka could compete for NHL time.

 

Zummack turned 21 back in March and was never drafted.

 

The 5’ 9”, 179-lb forward has spent parts of the last five seasons with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League, where he put up some impressive numbers.

 

Zummack was particularly impressive over the past three seasons, where he put up 46 goals, 130 assists, and 176 points in 146 regular season games.

 

Zummack is a right-shot center.

In a press release, P-Bruins GM John Ferguson had this to say about Zummack:

“Eli improved each year as a playmaking center for the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. We are excited to have him in Providence and look forward to watching his growth and development this season.”

You can catch a glimpse of his game in the highlight reel below (though it was from a couple of seasons ago):

Video player from: YouTube (Privacy Policy, Terms)

Welcome to the organization, kid!

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  • 6 months later...

 

The Boston Bruins remain a top contender in the Eastern Conference after a flurry of free agent signings added plenty of depth to the NHL roster

 

A boost of young talent is needed, though. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they don't have any A-list prospects ready to break into the NHL.

Boston's prospect pool was ranked dead last in The Athletic's February rankings. Before the 2020-21 season, ESPN ranked Boston's system 30th out of 31 teams.

The Bruins' prospect pool has certainly improved since December when that ESPN ranking was released, and a strong 2021 draft last month certainly helped in that regard.

Here's an updated list of the top 10 prospects in the Bruins organization.

1. Fabian Lysell, LW

The Bruins injected some much-needed elite-level offensive talent into their prospect pool with the selection of Lysell in the first round (No. 21 overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft.


 

"I think I’m a dynamic player," Lysell said on a Zoom call with reporters the night he was drafted. "I like to challenge opponents with pace. I try to use my skating to create separation from myself and to be in those dangerous scoring areas. That’s what I think."

 
 

Lysell projects to be a top-six forward at the NHL level. His speed, shot and offensive awareness are all impressive. He consistently creates offense for himself and teammates. Expectations are rightfully high with Lysell given his talent and potential.

2. Mason Lohrei, D

Lohrei is a fast-rising prospect who enjoyed an excellent 2020-21 season for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. The 2020 second-round draft pick tallied 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) in 48 games. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds at age 20, Lohrei has ideal size for someone who projects to be a quality NHL defenseman. His two-way game is impressive, and there's little doubt he's the top defenseman prospect in Boston's system. Don't be surprised if he becomes the Bruins' top prospect regardless of position in the near future.

Lohrei is headed to Ohio State in the fall.

3. Jack Studnicka, C

The 2020-21 season was a bit disappointing for Studnicka, who was expected to play a larger role for the Bruins than he did. Studnicka played 20 games in Boston and tallied just three points (one goal, two assists). He failed to score a goal in 11 games for the Providence Bruins, but did post seven assists. 

David Krejci's departure has opened up a massive opportunity for Studnicka entering training camp. Ice time will be up for grabs this season and he needs to earn a chunk of it, whether that's playing center or on the wing. Studnicka is a very good playmaker and skates well. He has the offensive skill set the B's need, and now it's about being a consistent player against NHL competition.

4. John Beecher, C

Injury (and shoulder surgery in February) derailed Beecher's sophomore season at Michigan, although he still managed to tally eight points (four goals, four assists) in 16 games. He's returning to the Wolverines for his junior season, and it's a huge year for him. Beecher has an opportunity to be a top player and a leader for a Michigan team that's absolutely loaded with elite talent (four picks in the top five of the 2021 draft, including No. 1 selection Owen Power). Beecher has excellent size (6-foot-3 and 210 pounds) and the type of speed NHL coaches covet. The Bruins need prospects with top-six center potential following David Krejci's recent departure and Patrice Bergeron turning 36 years old last month.

 

ð¥ #NHLBruins forward prospect John Beecher on his recovery from shoulder surgery: "Just knocking some of the rust off still. Iâve still only had five or six actual skates since my surgery. Iâm coming along. But itâs just another step in the process to get back for the season." pic.twitter.com/ruS8tGv7Zu

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 2, 2021

5. Jakub Lauko, LW

Lauko has excellent speed, which could make him a valuable NHL forward at some point. He also plays with a high hockey IQ. Lauko took a huge step offensively last season, tallying 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 23 games for the Providence Bruins -- an improvement from nine points in 22 games the previous year. It wouldn't be crazy if Lauko made his NHL debut in 2021-22.

6. Urho Vaakanainen, D

It's time for Vaakanainen to earn a regular role at the NHL level. He has yet to make an impact for the Bruins despite being a first-round pick (18th overall) back in 2017. The Finnish defenseman is a smart, quality skater with a good two-way skill set. He's not going to light up the stat sheet with crazy scoring numbers but he plays a poised, fundamentally strong game.

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The ideal scenario for the Bruins is Vaakanainen giving them valuable depth as a consistent third-pairing guy next season. Four years after being drafted, it's time for his skill set to finally translate to the NHL level.

7. Jack Achan, D

Achan doesn't have tremendous size (5-foot-8 and 178 pounds) but he certainly plays like someone well over six feet. He brings plenty of physicality to the ice and doesn't shy away from puck battles in the dirty areas. His offensive game is impressive as well, and he tallied 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 19 games for the the Providence Bruins last season.

Achan played three games in Boston in 2020-21 and could get a larger look this coming season, especially if he has a good training camp/preseason.

8. Brett Harrison, C

The Bruins needed to add center depth in the 2021 draft, so the selection of Brett Harrison in the third round made a lot of sense. He tallied 37 points (21 goals, 16 assists) in 58 games for the OHL's Oshawa Generals in 2019-20 before the pandemic wiped out the 2020-21 OHL campaign. At 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds as an 18-years-old forward, Harrison has ideal size at a premium position. His speed is not incredible, but his goal scoring ability makes him an exciting prospect.

9. Curtis Hall, C

The Ivy League didn't have a 2020-21 season amid the pandemic, so Hall did not play his junior season at Yale. Instead, he turned pro and signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins in March. Hall played 13 games for the Providence Bruins last season and should get plenty of run in the AHL during the 2021-22 campaign. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds with a powerful shot, Hall is an intriguing talent with plenty of motivation.

ð¥ #NHLBruins forward prospect Curtis Hall on transitioning from Yale to the @AHLBruins last season: "Itâs quicker, faster, guys are stronger. Really been doing my best to work on my footwork and my speed, as well as getting stronger." pic.twitter.com/Hiif9z80IA

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 3, 2021

10. Kyle Keyser, G

Keyser could be the No. 1 goalie for the AHL's Providence Bruins with Jeremy Swayman likely spending all or most of the upcoming season at the NHL level and Dan Vladar being traded to the Calgary Flames. It's a huge opportunity for Keyser to establish himself as a valuable prospect in the system. He posted a 3-1-1 record with a .913 save percentage for the P-Bruins last year, and that's a good foundation to build on entering the new season.

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  • 1 month later...

Bruin’s Prospects Look to Take Home Hardware

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Many have looked down upon the Boston Bruins prospect pool and laughed as recent draft picks that have not developed at the rate that many expect these days. While this is true, it’s also essential to remain patient as good things come to those that wait; at least, we hope so in Boston. A lot of the Bruins prospect pool is the age range of 19-22 leaving a lot of hope that these players need a few more years to fill out physically improve certain aspects of their game that will thrust them forward to the next echelon of skilled hockey players that are in the NHL. Time and patience are the keys to wavering the storm that our prospects are busts and allowing them to develop into the players the organization envisioned they would be when they were drafted. 

Ty Gallagher Named to Hockey East All-Rookie Team

When many started to think the state of the Bruins prospect pool was looking bleak besides Mason Lohrei and Fabian Lysell, a new name is appearing thanks to his strong performance in his rookie year in none other than Beantown. That’s right, the young defenseman Ty Gallagher who has been putting up a solid first year at Boston University just got recognized for it. The 19-year-old right-shot Bruins defensemen prospect just received notice that he was selected to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. This comes as no surprise as Gallagher has been anchoring a Terriers team that he just helped win the historic Bean Pot last month.

On the season, Gallagher put up stats of five goals, 11 assists for 16 points across 33 games for Boston University, where he also led all Hockey East rookies with 44 blocked shots. Gallagher, who was selected in the seventh round during the 2021 draft, has looked solid so far in his young career and has been awarded for it not just with the All-Rookie team but also by being named Hockey East Rookie of the week twice, once on October 25th and the other time on January 10th. Gallagher also took home Hockey East Defender of the week back on December 13th to top it all off. The Michigan Native who is listed at 6’0″ and 187 lbs. is showing promise as he continues to grow and build his game up in one of the best College Hockey Conferences in the US, leaving a lot of hope for the future when it comes time to promote him the big leagues.

Mason Lohrei Finalist for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

Already one of the two top prospects in the Bruins organization, Mason Lohrei continues to make a name for himself and show why he was the right decision when the Bruins drafted him 58th overall in the second round of the 2020 draft. After three years of playing juniors in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers, Lohrei has taken his talents to the NCAA, where the 21-year-old now suits up for Ohio State University. In his first season for the Buckeyes, the freshmen Lohrei already finds himself being named a finalist for the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award thanks to his ability to use that massive 6-foot-4 frame and strong puck-moving skills that have separated him from others in his young career. Lohrei’s ability to move the puck has led to 25 assists, leading the Buckeyes and helping put Lohrei top ten in the Big Ten for points and assists. Lohrei is also cementing himself in Buckeyes history during year one by becoming just the 11th player in team history to have registered a plus-5 rating in a game since the 1999 season. Keep an eye out for whether Mason Lohrei wins Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as the results will be announced on Tuesday, March 15th, so stay tuned.

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Breaking News: Bruins Sign Defenseman Michael Callahan to Two Year Entry-Level Deal

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On Monday, the Boston Bruins announced the signing of Providence College defenseman Michael Callahan to a two-year entry-level contract. The rights to Callahan were acquired from Arizona for a seventh-round pick on February 22nd.

 

The 22-year-old Callahan is a senior captain at Providence and is a native of Franklin, Massachusetts. The 6’2” 200, pounds left-shot defenseman has totaled 13 goals and 53 assists in 138 games in college. The former 5th round pick of the Coyotes in 2018 was a Hockey East All-Star in 2020.

 

The terms of the contract are two years at a cap hit of $883,750. Callahan will report to The Providence Bruins of the AHL this season and will be on an amateur tryout next season when his NHL contract begins.

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Breaking News: Boston Bruins Sign Boston College Star Marc McLaughlin To Two-Year Entry-Level Contract

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On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced the signing of Boston College forward Marc McLaughlin to a two-year entry-level contract. The 22-year-old two-year captain scored 21 goals this season at The Heights and attended Bruins Development Camp last summer.

The North Billerica, Massachusetts native, is a lifelong Bruins fan and played for Team USA in the Winter Olympics in Beijing. At 6’0” 210 pounds, McLaughlin is a right-shot center who is regarded as one of the top available free agent college players in the nation.

This is the second Hockey East player to sign with Boston in the last week. The Bruins have also signed Providence College defenseman Michael Callahan.

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Report: Don Sweeney Confident Fabian Lysell is Ready for a Promotion to Boston

  
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Now that the 2022 NHL trade deadline has come and gone, the Bruins can adjust their sights and focus solely on one thing and one thing only, winning the Stanley Cup. Don Sweeney was Don Sweeney at the trade deadline as he made one massive move as he did in the previous year, followed by a more minor, less impactful trade.

 

Sweeney addressed one of the three significant question marks surrounding this year’s team as retooled the defense and only the defense with the likes of top-four defenseman Hampus Lindholm and bottom pairing defenseman Josh Brown. Yes, acquiring Hampus Lindholm and then signing him to an eight-year extension with a $6.5 million AAV was a home run for Don Sweeney.

 

But not addressing a second-line center, denying Jake Debrusk his trade request at the deadline, and upgrading that top-line right winger spot after being connected to so many players in different trades was a disappointment. Don Sweeney’s words after the trade deadline passed sparked some excitement in the hearts of Bruins fans all over as he discussed top prospect and 2021 first-round draft pick Fabian Lysell.

Fabian Lysell So Far this Season

Lysell is a 19-year-old Swedish winger with so much skill and talent that he reminds folks of David Pastrnak. Besides his silky-smooth hands and puck control, Lysell has received comparisons from his head coach in the WHL about his speed and explosiveness rivaling the likes of Connor McDavid, which shows the talent and upside this young man has.

 

Lysell is currently playing hockey for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey league, where he has tallied 20 goals 31 assists for 51 points as he puts on a show every time he steps on the ice. The WHL regular season is set to run through April 17, which would leave seven games remaining in the regular season for the Bruins if they wish to call up the young winger to see what he can do on the big stage.

 

Besides his known skillset, what makes him even more exciting for the Bruins is that he’s a right-shot right-winger. This is precisely what the Bruins are looking for on that top line next to Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Who are two players that could help mentor and guide a 19-year-old into the league as they teach him the ropes, settle his nerves, and elevate his game to heights Lysell has never experienced.

Why a Promotion to Boston Actually Isn’t a Crazy Idea

This idea is not far-fetched at all as GM Don Sweeney is the one who initially brought up the idea during his post-trade deadline press conference as he uttered the words “He could Join either club, to tell you the honest truth,” referring to Lysell playing in Providence or Boston at the conclusion of the WHL season. This wouldn’t be the first time we saw the Bruins call up their top prospect at the beginning of a playoff run as we witnessed in 2017 during the Eastern Conference first-round series against Ottawa a young Charlie McAvoy made his NHL debut in game one of that series and never look back.

 

Sweeney is certainly not worried about the right winger’s skill set as he went on to include in the presser, “From a skill standpoint, talent standpoint, Fabian has a lot of things we’re excited about.” What is also encouraging about the situation is that this won’t be Lysell’s first time adjusting against playing grown men as he played 26 games in the Swedish Hockey League last year and knows the required adjustments needed to play at this level against older opponents.

 

Stay tuned and pay close attention in the coming weeks as Lysell’s WHL season ends. The possibility of promotion becomes more and more of a reality that Sweeney may not be able to resist showing everyone just what his top prospect is capable of doing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Boston Bruins Sign Georgii Merkulov To Three-Year Entry-Level Contract

The 21-year-old forward led Ohio State with 20 goals this season

by Boston Bruins @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins
 10:11 AM
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BOSTON - Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, April 9, that the team has signed forward Georgii Merkulov to a three-year entry-level contract beginning next season with an annual NHL cap hit of $925,000.

 

Merkulov, 21, spent the 2021-22 season at Ohio State University. The 5-foot-11, 181-pound forward appeared in 36 games with the Buckeyes, leading the team in scoring with 20 goals and 14 assists for 34 points with a plus-18 rating.

 

Prior to his freshman season at Ohio State, Merkulov spent two seasons in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms. The Ryazan, Russia native appeared in 74 games for the Phantoms, recording 20 goals and 53 assists for 73 points.

 

Merkulov will report to Providence on an ATO for the remainder of the 2021-22 AHL season.

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Report: Boston Bruins Sign 2019 First Round Pick Johnny Beecher To ATO

  
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The Boston Bruins announced Wednesday the signing of 2019 first-round pick Johnny Beecher to an Amateur Tryout (ATO) for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. Beecher will play the remainder of the season with the Bruins’ American Hockey League affiliate Providence Bruins.

 

The 30th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Beecher just completed his third year with the University of Michigan. In 81 games with the Wolverines, the 6’3”, 210 pound forward scored 19 goals and had 39 assists. The Elmira, New York native, was a highly touted prospect and played two seasons for the United States National Development Team Program.

 

Beecher will report to Providence immediately. Meanwhile, Beecher’s agent and Don Sweeney will continue to work on an entry-level contract to be signed at a later date.

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Three Bruins Prospects Debut in Providence Bruins’ Win

  
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The Boston Bruins signed several college prospects to either amateur tryouts or entry-level deals as the college hockey season ended. Three newly signed pros debuted Saturday night for Bruins’ American Hockey League affiliate Providence Bruins. The game works provided a glimpse into what the Bruins saw in each of them.

The Providence Bruins defeated the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night in Providence. But that was not the big story of the night. Three Bruins prospects made their debut, and Bruins fans were not disappointed. Georgii Merkulov, who just completed his freshman year at Ohio State University, stole the show. The 21-year-old winger, who was signed April 9th to a three-year entry-level contract by Boston, assisted on the first two goals and scored a nifty shootout goal that proved to be the game-winner. Merkulov displayed some offensive skills that helped produce 20 goals with the Buckeyes.

The Baby Bruins also welcomed 2019 first-round pick Johnny Beecher, into the fold. Beecher signed an Amateur Tryout (ATO) with Boston four days after Merkulov’s, following three seasons with the University of Michigan. The 30th overall pick in 2019 showed top-level speed for his big frame (6’3”, 210 pounds) and led the team in shots with four in the win.

And then there was goaltender Brandon Bussi from Western Michigan University, who signed a one-year entry-level on March 30th with the Bruins. The 6’5”, 220-pound netminder just completed three seasons with Western Michigan and led the team to their first NCAA tournament win this past season. In his first action with Providence, Bussi made 28 saves, including all three in the shootout, to earn his first professional win.

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  • 2 months later...

Bruins Prospect Profile: Mason Lohrei

  
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Mason-Lohrei-GettyImages-1238275682.jpeg
Photo Credit: NBC Sports/Getty Images

The Bruins are looking down the barrel of a rebuild that may start as early as this season. Their foundation is solid, and they already have three young stars that will hopefully fast-track them to being a contender again. Other rebuilding/retooling franchises aren’t lucky enough to start with a Pastrnak, McAvoy, and Swayman. Poor drafting in recent years has left them with one of the worst prospect pools in the NHL, but there are a few bright spots.

 

Fabian Lysell looks pretty promising, and although he is young, he shows the most promise of any of their forward prospects. Despite their bad drafting record over the last few years, they managed to get a steal in 2017 by picking up their future in goal; Jeremy Swayman. As for defenseman, recent picks like Vaakanainen, who didn’t work out, and Zboril, who has yet to prove himself, leave a lot to be desired. Mason Lohrei seems like he has more upside to me, despite being picked later than the other two.

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Credit to EliteProspects.com

Lohrei was a standout for the Green Bay Gamblers two years ago, posting 59 points in just 48 games. Those stats are very good for a defenseman, and he managed to lead the team in scoring to boot. This year he transitioned to the NCAA, and he made it look easy. He finished the year at nearly a point per game with 29 points in 31 games and led the OSU Buckeyes in assists. Those stats are pretty impressive for a freshman defenseman, and I think he made the right choice for his development by committing to another year in college.

Credit to@BruinsNetwork on Twitter

His transition game is impressive, to say the least, and he draws comparisons in my eyes to a young Victor Hedman. That is a lofty comparison, to say the least, but he is already NHL-sized, standing 6’4 and 200 lbs. Now I’m not saying that he is going to win Norris trophies any time soon, but he is a big body who skates and handles the puck like a smaller defenseman. Eliteprospects.com had this to say about Lohrei prior to his draft in 2020, “Where Lohrei stood out was as a puck-carrier. He’s got a snappy wrist shot, with good form and an ability to generate a lot of power with very little movement, suggestive of a really strong upper body.”

Going back to OSU this season will give him a chance to show his chops, and he should raise his stock with the Bruins organization. With Owen Power heading to Buffalo and Luke Hughes potentially going to Jersey, there is a chance that Lohrei could prove himself to be the best defenseman in college hockey. The Bruins’ depth could use a large, highly skilled point-producing defenseman, and it looks like Lohrei could be that guy.

Credit to @OhioStateMHKY on Twitter

He is still a few years away right now, so let’s not give our hopes up too soon. He has, however, received a few accolades in his young career. This year he made the NCAA All-Rookie team, and last year he won the USHL Defenceman of the Year and was a First Team All-Star. Last year he also led the USHL in goals, assists, and points as a defenseman.

 

It’s very important to measure your expectations when it comes to a player like this, as nothing is guaranteed. Lohrei isn’t a high pick like a Makar or a Hedman, so the same expectations shouldn’t apply to him. In my eyes, he has the skills and promise to pop into the Bruins lineup as soon as two years from now. It’s hard to say what his ceiling is, as he hasn’t played against men in the AHL just yet. This coming year is going to show if this season was just a flash in the pan for him or if Mason Lohrei could be next in line for a roster spot with the Boston Bruins

 

 

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