The next five Bruins prospects ready to jump in and help
The next five Bruins prospects ready to jump in and help
While the flood of young talent into the Bruins' ranks this season was impressive, with Brandon Carlo’s regular-season work and Charlie McAvoy’s impressive playoff debut leading the way, there is more to come for the Black and Gold.
With 11 picks in the first or second round in each of the past three drafts, there are several more waves of B’s prospects on the way, with McAvoy and David Pastrnak as the true gems within the draft/development machine.
Still, there is more youthful talent on the way, with the next five prospects expected to make a difference. Here are the five Spoked-B prospects closest to breaking through next season as the next wave of baby B’s cubs ready for action:
The 2015 first-round pick spent his first full professional season in Providence this year and continued to get better as things went along. The 20-year-old finished with 19 goals and 49 points in 72 regular-season games and was a force in the second half of the season, driving the Providence offense and generating scoring chances every night. DeBrusk has added four more goals in the playoffs for the P-Bruins and just happens to be a natural left wing for a team that needs help up front on the left side. The jury is out on the 14th overall pick as to whether he’s a future third-liner in the NHL or potential top-six material that could be capable of skating on a line with a David Krejci-type playmaking center, but there’s little doubt that DeBrusk will be in the mix for that spot next season. The biggest thing DeBrusk will have to work on in the NHL is finding ways to impact the game when he’s not putting pucks, past goalies, as he’s not the biggest, fastest or strongest prospect that Boston has up front. But he’s got a great shot, knows how to move without the puck to find seams in the offensive zone and has the kind of hockey IQ you’d expect from the son of former NHL player Louie DeBrusk. He should be in Boston next season and will push Frank Vatrano as a similar-type player.
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
Yes, he played one game at the end of the season for the Bruins. But it was an inauspicious NHL debut for a player that just finished his sophomore season at Boston University. Forsbacka Karlsson clearly wasn’t ready for the playoff pressure cooker after suiting up for the Black and Gold and it was unfortunate that he wasn’t able to parachute in with the P-Bruins after he signed and played a game in Boston. Clearly, he left BU because the NHL is beckoning quickly and the book on the 2015 second-round pick is that he’s a Patrice Bergeron-type player with good two-way abilities, good size, good instincts and the kind of player that could very comfortably slide in behind Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci as a worthy third-line center. It’s the kind of play in all zones and all situations the Bruins feel like has been lacking on the third line the past couple of seasons. It remains to be seen how ready Forsbacka Karlsson is going to be right off the bat next season in training camp, but 14 goals and 33 points in 39 games in Hockey East was a pretty solid showing before going pro. Forsbacka Karlsson may not crack NHL camp with the Bruins unless he shows some real progress over the summer, but he will be in Boston at some point next season. It could be sooner than later.
The 20-year-old was a controversial pick as the 15th overall selection back in 2015 and may continue to be, depending on how Travis Konecny, Kyle Connor and Mathew Barzal develop in the NHL. But the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder has certainly shown his own worth the past two seasons of junior hockey with a pair of 40-plus goal seasons for the Soo Greyhounds before being one of the last cuts from Canada’s World Junior entry last winter. He has rangy size, burning speed and a natural goal-scorer’s ability that evoked some comparisons to Chris Kreider because of his size/speed combo, but it remains uncertain if he ever has the same edge to his game that Kreider has for the Rangers. Either way, it looks like he’s going to be a fast, high-scoring right wing with a lot of upside for the Bruins, but might need some development time in the AHL before he’s ready in Boston. Senyshyn is the poster boy for the new Bruins built on youth and up-tempo speed and there’s no reason to think he won’t end up hitting big with the Black and Gold sometime over the next two seasons. Imagining Senyshyn on the right side with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has to make you wonder what he’ll be capable once he’s rounded out his pro game.
The 20-year-old Zboril had a nice bounce-back junior season in Saint John with nine goals and 41 points, along with a plus-18 rating, and straightened out some of the conditioning and inconsistency issues that dogged him last season. He’s also a high-end left shot D-man, which is exactly what the Bruins need long term as a possible D-partner with Charlie McAvoy. Zboril is another player that may need some time in the AHL. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder still has some raw edges to his game, but the talent is there. It could be that Zboril ends up as a valued trade piece for the Bruins if they manage to deal for a young NHL veteran left-shot defenseman next season. But that would make him no less of a valued prospect after being the “next” defenseman taken in 2015 after Noah Hanifin, Zach Werenski and Ivan Provorov. Zboril has been a little slower-developing than those three D-men, but that was something the Bruins expected when they selected him in the middle of the first round. Zboril isn’t likely to make the B’s in NHL camp this coming fall, but he could turn into a potentially good fall-back option next season if Sweeney can’t land the top-four defenseman he’s targeted this summer.
The 20-year-old Lauzon is another big, skilled defenseman with some rawness to his game who has a bright future in Boston. His 6-foot-3, 202-pound frame is ideal for the NHL and the production at the junior level for Rouyne-Noranda has been good, even if there have been some injuries mixed in there, too. The five goals and 28 points in 39 games were pretty solid, but not up to the 10 goals and 50 points he posted last season before a freak skate-blade incident knocked him out for part of the Memorial Cup playoffs. Speaking of the playoffs, Lauzon again stepped up with five goals and 14 points in 13 playoff games for his team and has a reputation for really stepping up his game in the big moments. Like Zboril, the expectation is that the lefty-shooting Lauzon is going to start the season in Providence. Perhaps one of those two D-men is going to pop in this training camp as Carlo did last season when he basically made the jump from junior hockey to the NHL. You can see with Boston’s D-men prospects that the Bruins are going to have one of the best back ends in the NHL a couple of years down the line and Lauzon is expected to be a big part of that as a do-it-all defenseman.