Friday, August 3, 2018

Top prospects for Boston Bruins

1. Ryan Donato, F
How acquired: Selected with No. 56 pick in 2014 NHL Draft
Last season: Boston: 12 GP, 5-4-9; Harvard (NCAA): 29 GP, 26-17-43
Donato burst onto the scene with a goal and two assists in his NHL debut, a 5-4 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 19. He played well for the Bruins down the stretch, with nine points (five goals, four assists) in 12 games, but played three games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That fact has the 22-year-old motivated for the upcoming season, when he'll be a candidate for an open top-six right wing spot. 
With the experience Donato (6-foot, 181 pounds) got in the NHL -- in addition to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics with the United States -- he believes he's ready to make an impact with the Bruins this season.
Projected NHL arrival: This season
2. Urho Vaakanainen, D
How acquired: Selected with No. 18 pick in 2017 NHL Draft
Last season: SaiPa (Liiga): 43 GP, 4-7-11
With the Bruins deep at defenseman, Vaakanainen's arrival in Boston might be a bit delayed, but the 19-year-old from the Finnish Elite League is definitely in the plans. He is expected to start the season with Providence in the American Hockey League as he transitions to North American hockey.
Vaakanainen (6-foot-1, 185) projects as a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman with room to grow his offensive game, and is among three left-shot defensemen (Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon) in the pipeline.
Projected NHL arrival: Next season
3. Trent Frederic, F
How acquired: Selected with No. 29 pick in 2016 NHL Draft
Last season: Providence (AHL): 13 GP, 5-3-8; University of Wisconsin (NCAA): 36 GP, 17-15-32
At the time Frederic was picked, he was a bit of a controversial choice, with the Bruins mentioning a future as a third-line center. But the 20-year-old has since proven to have a potentially higher ceiling after two strong seasons at the University of Wisconsin before jumping to Providence last season.
Frederic (6-foot-2, 203) isn't the greatest skater, but he has an offensive touch that should translate to the NHL and the grit and toughness the Bruins often prize. He also was impressive at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, scoring five goals in seven games, and should be a candidate for Boston's open third-line center position.
Projected NHL arrival: This season
4. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, C
How acquired: Selected with No. 45 pick in 2015 NHL Draft
Last season: Providence (AHL): 58 GP, 15-17-32
The two-way forward has been compared to Bruins top-line center Patrice Bergeron and, in Boston, that's about as high a compliment as can be given. Forsbacka Karlsson played last season for Providence and had 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) after two seasons with Boston University.
Like Frederic and prospect Jack Studnicka, Forsbacka Karlsson (6-foot-1, 184) will get a look for the third-line center position, which opened after free agent Riley Nash signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 1.
Projected NHL arrival: Next season
5. Jack Studnicka, C
How acquired: Selected with No. 53 pick in 2017 NHL Draft
Last season: Providence (AHL), 5 GP, 1-4-5; Oshawa (OHL): 66 GP, 22-50-72
Studnicka had an excellent season in Oshawa, demonstrating his abilities as a playmaker with 50 assists in 66 games, and followed that up with his debut in the AHL with five games in Providence. The 19-year-old said at development camp that he's hoping to make the NHL this season and he'll get the opportunity to audition at training camp. 
The Bruins like Studnicka's (6-foot-1, 171) leadership and attitude but believe he needs to get stronger and continue improving his shot to be ready for the NHL.
Projected NHL arrival: 2019-20

No comments: