Welcome to our 2019 Boston Bruins draft guide.
Our guide will get you ready for everything that could happen at the NHL Draft in Vancouver. From history to a brief season recap and from full previews to draft pick predictions, you will be thoroughly prepared for what the Bruins could do.
Last season, the Bruins didn’t have a first-round draft pick. It was the cost of business for making a deep playoff run that season as the team would move on from multiple assets to acquire Rick Nash in an attempt to reach their ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well as they’d have hoped and they fell short of the mark.
This past season, the Bruins would be a little more calculated in their transactions and kept their first-round draft pick while actually going further into the playoffs, coming up just shy of the Stanley Cup, losing in Game 7 to the St. Louis Blues.
That’s good news for the Bruins, especially considering they managed to find a player they’re very high on in Jakub Lauko who was selected in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
This season, the Bruins have five selections for the second consecutive year. Those picks come in the first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds of the draft.
They are without their second-round as a result of the Marcus Johansson trade, their fourth-round pick as a result of the Tommy Wingels trade from a season prior as well as their own seventh-round pick as a result of the Nash trade. The Bruins do have the Rangers seventh-round pick, however, as a result of the trade that saw them trade Adam McQuaid and acquire Steven Kampfer.
As a result, the Bruins are scheduled to pick 30th, 92nd, 154th, 185th and 192nd in the draft barring any other trades.
The Bruins have made six first and second-round selections over the last four years and can operate with only five picks this season if need be. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team try and make a move either up or down the draft board if the right opportunity presents itself.
History of Pick 30
With the Bruins set to make their first selection with the 30th pick this season, it seems appropriate to look back at the history of that selection and recent NHL players who have come out of the 30th spot since the year 2000.
It’s hard to evaluate any of Nick Merkely, Sam Steel, Eeli Tolvanen or Joe Veleno who were taken 30th overall from 2015 to 2018 respectively as they haven’t yet found their way to the NHL. Going back further, though, and it’s certainly a roller-coaster of potential NHL players coming from that spot.
Players like Rickard Rakell and Brock Nelson have found great success coming out of the 30th overall spot. Other players like Tanner Pearson, Ryan Hartman and even Simon Despres have also contributed in the NHL to varying degrees. In general, though, it would appear (even going back further than the year 2000) that the 30th selection has very rarely found high-end NHL talent, though Veleno and Tolvanen both look like steals at that selection in the last two drafts.
Making the Case for Trading the Pick
Because the Bruins have made so many first and second-round picks in recent years, there’s an argument to be made about finding talent to help this team win now. The core proved they can get to the Stanley Cup Final and play for each other as if they’re truly a family. Packaging this pick to get legitimate help now has to be in the back of general manager Don Sweeney’s mind.
This is especially true given the results of the 30th pick in history as mentioned.
Alternatively, the Bruins could also look at moving up to acquire a higher pick if they have their eyes on any particular prospect they feel is can’t-miss for the value.
It’s not uncommon to see general managers and scouts fall in love with certain prospects based on their play, interviews and the like. In the past, the Bruins have also been inclined to get the player they like rather than the player the draft rankings suggest.
It’s the Bill Belichick-special.
While Sweeney seemed reluctant to move the first-round pick for talent ahead of the deadline, he also made it clear that there was no hard-and-fast rule about trading it to acquire talent. If a player that Sweeney wants is available at the draft, he’ll definitely inquire and the first-round pick shouldn’t be untouchable if those conversations intensify.
With an aging core, the clock is ticking on this balancing act between the present and future.
Who Will Boston Pick 30th?
When the Bruins are up to select at 30th overall, it’s possible that a player of Tolvanen or Veleno’s talent will slide to them as it has in the last two seasons for the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings respectively. Realistically, though, it’s hard to account for that type of luck happening.
One realistic option for the Bruins this year could be right-shot winger Bobby Brink who’s being projected to go anywhere from the 20th-pick all the way to the second-round.
Part of the concern regarding Brink has to do with his size at only 5 foot 8 and 165 pounds.
Despite his small stature, there’s no denying the skill that Brink possesses with his lethal shot, elite vision and high hockey-IQ. He’ll get a chance to work on gaining some muscle while playing at Denver over the next few seasons but the talent may be too hard to pass up on for the Bruins if he’s available for them at 30th overall.
With his combination of size, speed and a very keen hockey mind, Wise just makes sense for the Bruins as a potential fit.
The Bruins biggest needs come at both right-shot defenders and right-shot wingers to replenish their prospect pool, but it’s hard to draft for need rather than value in the NHL. This is especially true at the 30th pick. For that reason, they may look elsewhere if they use this pick.
Other players who should be in the mix for the 30th pick include:
- Arthur Kaliyev (Left-Shot Winger)
- Nils Hoglander (Left-Shot Winger)
- Spencer Knight (Goaltender)
- Egor Afanasyev (Left-Shot Winger)
Who Will Boston Pick 92nd?
The Bruins feel like they hit big with their third-round pick from the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, their second pick overall. This year, they’ll look to do the same and the perfect option for them here could be Simon Lundmark.
Though his offense may be underrated due to his limited production in the SHL, including just three assists in 28 games with Linkoping HC, he’s proven that he can hang at the SHL level while producing points at a high level at the J20 level, scoring two goals and 17 points in 25 games last season.
If the Bruins want a 6-foot-2, 201-pound right-shot defender they can draft and develop over the next four seasons, Lundmark is as perfect a fit as it gets.
Other players who should be in the mix for the 92nd pick include:
- Trevor Janicke (Right-Shot Center)
- Drew Helleson (Right Shot Defender)
- Mikhail Abramov (Left Shot Center)
Who Will Boston Pick 154th?
With the 154th pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Bruins could look at picking a close-to-home talent in Marc Del Gaizo. An overager at 19 years old who’s currently playing for UMass Amherst in the NCAA, the Bruins could continue their trend of drafting players with ties to Boston schools.
At 5 foot 9 and 170 pounds, Del Gaizo is definitely on the smaller side. With that said, he’s proven to be a very solid two-way defender with a knack for goal-scoring at every level he’s played, including the USHL and the NCAA. In 41 games with UMass last season, Del Gaizo scored 13 goals and 29 points.
With the pipeline already including multiple left-shot defenders, Del Gaizo will have more than enough time to continue developing in college before ever having to make the jump to the AHL/NHL.
Other players who should be in the mix for the 154th pick include:
- Martin Hugo Has (Right Shot Defender)
- Xavier Simoneau (Left Shot Center/Winger)
- Nikola Pasic (Left Shot Center)
- Max Crozier (Right-Shot Defender)
Who Will Boston Pick 185th and 192nd?
With the 185th and 192nd picks, the Bruins should look at grabbing Aku Raty and Max Wahlgren respectively.
With these picks, the Bruins would be taking a shot at some high-upside players from Finland and Sweden respectively who fill out needs at right-shot winger and a versatile left-shot center/winger.
In Raty, the Bruins would get a 6-foot right-winger who has a scoring touch. With the Karpat U20 team in the Junior league in Finland, Raty scored 19 goals and 45 points in 52 games this past season. He’d also score three goals and nine points in 11 playoff games. He’d also get a chance to play internationally with Finland, showing his scoring touch in that realm as well.
For Wahlgren, the Bruins would be getting a 6 -foot forward (whose twin is also eligible to be drafted this season) who could very possibly be off the board by the time the Bruins are on the clock at 192. At this point in the draft, it’s almost impossible to figure out which way teams have their own internal rankings ordered.
A season ago, the Bruins drafted Pavel Shen with the 212th pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. While he’d still only scored two goals and three points in 49 games over the last two seasons in the KHL, including just one assist in 20 games this past season, he was a high-upside player who could produce in the long-term for the Bruins.
Related: Free 2019 NHL Draft Guide
With these two picks, the Bruins are swinging for the fences once again with players who also have experience playing in two of the best hockey countries in the world.
Other players who should be in the mix for the 185th and 192nd picks include:
- Rhett Pitlick (Left Shot Winger)
- Judd Caulfield (Right Shot Winger)
- Trevor Kuntar (Left Shot Center)
- Josh Nodler (Right Shot Center)
- Nick Abruzzese (Left Shot Forward)
The Bruins have options for the 2019 Draft and what they actually opt to do could be entirely different than what anybody could predict. That’s part of the fun as this Stanley Cup Contender looks to fill their prospect pool with even more players.