Bruins

Bruins prospects 2023: Updated stats, highlights of Boston's top players

Bruins

The Boston Bruins have been historically good to begin the 2022-23 NHL season with a league-best 21-3-1 record in their first 25 games.

While it's exciting for Bruins fans that the current roster is performing so well, it's important not to lose sight of the future. Boston's prospect pool ranks near the bottom of the league in terms of high-end talent, but there are several players in the system with exciting potential.

Here's an update on the Bruins' top five prospects and how they've played to begin the season.

5. Johnny Beecher, C

Age: 21

2022-23 Team: Providence Bruins (AHL)

2022-23 Stats: 3 G, 4 A in 21 GP

Beecher's offensive production has not been as high as expected. After tallying five points in his first nine games as an AHL player last season, Beecher has posted just seven in the first 21 games of the P-Bruins' 2022-23 campaign. He scored three goals in those nine games in 2021-22, and that's exactly how many he has in 21 games this season.

Beecher has improved his skating over the last year, and he's become a more physical player, a reliable penalty killer and a good faceoff center. He just needs to be a more consistent offensive player to earn a call up to the NHL at some point.

4. Georgii Merkulov, LW

Age: 22

2022-23 Team: Providence Bruins (AHL)

2022-23 Stats: 4 G, 10 A in 19 GP

 

Merkulov is a talented playmaker whose impressive patience and passing ability allow him to create quality scoring chances for teammates. His 10 assists rank second on the P-Bruins this season.

However, Merkulov should be a little more selfish in looking to score himself. He has an accurate shot, but he's only tallied 27 shots on goal in 27 games, which is among the lowest for any Providence forward who's played a majority of the team's games in 2022-23. Sometimes the best decision is letting it rip instead of being too cute and looking for the perfect play.

Once Merkulov balances creating for teammates while looking for his own offense, he'll be a prime candidate for an NHL opportunity.

3. Brett Harrison, C

Age: 19

2022-23 Team: Oshawa Generals (OHL)

2022-23 Stats: 15 G, 7 A in 22 GP

Harrison is having an excellent year in Canadian junior hockey. He has scored 0.75 goals per game, up from 0.41 per game last season. 

Earlier this week, Harrison notched his first OHL hat trick, and he's currently on pace to score close to 50 goals for Oshawa. Harrison has scored nine goals in his last seven games, including an active four-game goal streak.

The Bruins are pretty weak at center throughout their organization. This is a position they haven't drafted and developed well enough in over the last 10 years. Harrison, however, has real promise. The 2021 third-round pick has real potential to be a useful NHL player, and it's pretty encouraging for the Bruins that he's off to such a strong start this season. Centers who score as well as he does are not easy to find.

2. Mason Lohrei, D

Age: 21

2022-23 Team: Ohio State (NCAA)

2022-23 Stats: 0 G, 13 A in 18 GP

There's no question Lohrei is the most talented and most exciting defenseman prospect in Boston's system. He has tremendous size at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, along with a rapidly improving offensive skill set. 

Lohrei has seven points in his last eight games, including a two-assist effort in a 4-3 Buckeyes win over Penn State last Saturday.

His playmaking ability, especially on the power play, is quite impressive.

Given the fact the B's have strong depth on the blue line at the NHL level, they can take their time with Lohrei and ensure he develops at the proper pace. He has the potential to be a legit top-four defenseman in the NHL.

1. Fabian Lysell, RW

Age: 19

2022-23 Team: Providence Bruins (AHL)

2022-23 Stats: 5 G, 9 A in 17 GP

Lysell is off to a good start with 14 points in his first 17 games as an AHL player. He has tallied three points in his last four games.

The 2020 first-round pick is the Bruins' most offensive skilled prospect, complete with excellent speed, good playmaking ability and a powerful, accurate shot. He attacks opponents with his pace and has a flair for the game that few wingers his age possess. He has legit top-six forward potential as an NHL player.

Lysell will soon leave the P-Bruins temporarily to join Sweden at the World Junior Championships in Canada. It will be a good experience for Lysell to play against other elite players his age.

 

Lysell performed well (six points in seven games) at the 2022 WJC when Sweden won the bronze medal.