It’s still pretty close back in the rear-view mirror and it remains to be seen exactly what the NHL is going to do for the 2020 NHL Draft, but a year later, the Bruins' yield from last June’s draft still looks pretty promising.
John Beecher looks like a prime NHL prospect who will be playing in Boston just a couple of years from now, and some of the B's lower-round picks look like prospects who could become useful NHL players with some time and development.
There don’t appear to be any busts in this group even if there’s no real ETA on when the Bruins' fifth round pick from Russia will end up making his way to Boston for the first time.
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Here’s a pick-by-pick look back at the B’s 2019 NHL Draft:
1. John Beecher (1st round, 30th overall) — The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder wowed people at Bruins development camp last summer with his obvious size and strength combined with a powerful, fast skating stride that stood out during the scrimmage with the other prospects. It was clear that other areas of his game were still raw, but the tools added up to a prospect who could be very effective as a top-6 premium center with size, strength, speed and offensive ability along with everything else.
The 19-year-old followed that up with a solid freshman season at the University of Michigan where he posted nine goals and 16 points along with a plus-7 in 31 games for the Wolverines. Beecher also racked up a suspension for boarding a Team Finland player during the World Junior tournament as a member of Team USA and later earned a one-game suspension for head-butting an Ohio State player about a month later. So he’s showed a bit of his nasty side on the ice thus far as well.
For a Bruins team looking for more size and strength, a bit more nasty and an eventual heir apparent at center for an aging Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, Beecher checks all kinds of boxes for a Bruins prospect at a time when Boston needed more organizational depth when it comes to high-end centers. Here are some highlights of the gifted Beecher from international play. Grade: A
2. Quinn Olson (3rd round, 92nd overall) — The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Olson was an interesting pick in the third round as a left winger with offensive ability who also played with a bit of an edge to his game. After a couple of strong seasons in the AJHL, Olson posted seven goals and 15 points in 31 games along with a minus-2 for the University of Minnesota-Duluth this season as an 18-year-old freshman forward.
He’d also amassed 24 penalty minutes in those 31 games continuing to show some bite to his overall game, even at the NCAA level. Here’s a clip of Olson’s playmaking from his junior hockey days that shows off the hands and hockey IQ that went into the B’s selecting him in the third round. Olson hasn’t developed into anything beyond a good prospect at this point, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Grade: B
3. Roman Bychkov (5th round, 154th overall) — A Russian, lefty-shooting defenseman prospect who is playing in the Russian junior ranks and didn’t make it over to North America for Bruins development camp, it’s difficult to get a read on Bychkov. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is said to have very good offensive and skating skills, and here’s a clip of him showing off his strong shot from the point that set up a goal for his team.
It’s tough to get a read on a player who's spent zero time with the Bruins organization to date, but he did post seven goals and 26 points along with a plus-29 in 62 games for Loko Yaroslavl this season. His absence last summer doesn’t make it all that encouraging that the Bruins are going to get anything out of him as a player anytime soon. Who knows at this point? That is part of the risk with drafting Russian hockey players in the first place, though it’s clear there is some upside to Bychkov if the Bruins can get him to come to Boston. Grade: C-
4. Matias Mantykivi (6th round, 185th overall) — The left winger is listed at 5-foot-10, 143-pounds and posted three goals and six points in 42 games for the top Finnish League’s SaiPa Lappeenranta this season after starting as a point-per-game player at the Finnish junior level. Mantykivi was a combined minus-14 for the two Finnish teams as well, so there may be some development to his defensive game that’s going to be required.
Clearly Mantykivi still has some physical development to do as well before he’d be ready for the pro game in North America given his size/strength limitations when he was drafted last summer. But he shows in this video that his hands, on-ice vision, two-way play and passing ability all stand out to scouts who watched him prior to being drafted. Grade: B-
5. Jake Schmaltz (7th round, 192nd overall) — The 6-foot-1, 178-pound left winger finished with 13 goals and 32 points in 47 games along with a plus-5 rating this season for the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. It was a nice progression from his first USHL season with the Chicago Steel as he played in his native Wisconsin and showed some nice progression offensively.
Schmaltz is the cousin of Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz, and Blues forward Jordan Schmaltz, and is headed for the University of North Dakota beginning next season and is primed to be a nice, long-range pro project for the Bruins who could end up being a middle-6 forward based on his bloodlines and projectible skills. The jury is way out on Schmaltz given that he’s just beginning his NCAA journey as a 19-year-old, but this could turn out to be a pretty good seventh round pick. Grade: B+