The Boston Bruins have the NHL's best record at 32-4-4. In fact, they are on pace to set the single-season records for the most points and wins in a regular season.
Boston's hot start has made the Original Six franchise the favorite to win the 2023 Stanley Cup at the halfway point of the campaign.
Will these good times last well into the future?
Well, if you look at the state of the Bruins' prospect pool, there's not a ton to be excited about.
Pastrnak poised to have best offensive season for Bruins in 30 years
The Athletic's Scott Wheeler has been unveiling his new prospect pool rankings this week, and the Bruins come in at No. 30. Only the Colorado Avalanche (No. 32) and Tampa Bay Lightning (No. 31) rank lower. The B's were 27th in Wheeler's 2022 rankings, so they've dropped three spots over the last year.
The Bruins haven't drafted very well over the last five years. It also doesn't help that they've traded away three of their last five first-round picks. Boston didn't pick in Round 1 in 2018, 2021 and 2022. The Bruins also didn't pick in Round 2 in 2019 and 2021. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has been very active at the trade deadline in recent years, including last season when he dealt a 2022 first-round pick, plus 2023 and 2024 second-round picks as part of the deal to acquire defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks.
NHL trade rumors: Latest update on Canucks star Bo Horvat's situation
The Bruins' top prospect on Wheeler's list is, unsurprisingly, right wing Fabian Lysell. The 2020 first-round pick played awesome for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL last season and has made a smooth transition to the bigger and stronger AHL in 2022-23. Lysell has tallied 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 20 games for the Providence Bruins. Mason Lohrei, a well-rounded defenseman in his sophomore season at Ohio State, is the No. 2 ranked B's prospect according to Wheeler. After Lysell and Lohrei, the talent level in Boston's system really starts to drop off.
Lysell could potentially make his NHL debut during the 2022-23 season, but unless injuries really hit the Bruins' roster hard, it makes more sense for him to get an opportunity in 2023-24. Lohrei is probably a few years away.
The Bruins have avoided some of the consequences of poor drafting because several of their best veteran players, including Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, have played at such a high level for so long. But at some point, Boston's lack of talent coming through the ranks will be a real problem unless it is fixed.