Bruins Draft and Offseason Notes

About a month late to the party, but between the NHL Draft and now there hasn't been much action for the Bruins. Let's get to the draft recap and minor moves so far.

Round 1 - John Beecher - Center - A 6'3" 212 pound force up the middle, John Beecher is a solid all-around pick for Bruins at the end of round one. With his size, you would expect Beecher to be slower with his skating. Wrong. Scouts say his speed is one of his strengths, noting that he can play in all areas of the ice. In fact, when you search for weaknesses in his game, they are few and far between. Beecher's hockey IQ and physical presence are praised repeatedly, painting a picture of a prospect with a high floor in the NHL. A third line center for the USNTDP, scouts say Beecher was buried on the depth chart due to a loaded roster. If they are correct and there is untapped offensive potential, Beecher could be a top six player in Boston in just a few short seasons. Although some are a bit concerned that this a reaction to being outplayed and overpowered in the Stanley Cup Final, Beecher is still a few years off from making an impact at the next level. Beecher is slated to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

"Sticks up for himself and his teammates. I expect this to play up more at higher levels" Ryan Wagman, McKeen's Hockey

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Round 2 - Boston sent this pick to New Jersey for winger Marcus Johansson (signed with Buffalo for 2 years in July 2019).

Round 3 - Quinn Olson - Left Wing - A University of Minnesota-Duluth commit, Olson is a 5'10" 170 left shot, left wing from the Alberta Junior Hockey League. When gathering info on Olson, it was clear that he plays with energy and a certain edge in his game. Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston likened him to Brad Marchand. Probably a bit early to go that route, but Olson seemingly brings the

snarl needed to be an undersized but physical player in the NHL. Olson put up points for his AJHL team, but level of competition has to be noted here. This was not the WHL, OHL or QMJHL, so he needs to prove that he can maintain his offensive production when he suits up for Minnesota-Duluth. "Olson was also quite familiar with the penalty box (John Fischer)". This can be taken two different ways. First, playing an energetic and physical game will get you into trouble in the NHL today. On the other hand, racking up penalty minutes can signal immaturity and lack of control. Olson is going to have learn how to deal with playing a clean, physical game. Going the NCAA route, Olson is a few years off at the earliest.

Round 4 - Boston sent this pick to Chicago for winger Tommy Wingels in 2018.

Round 5 - Roman Bychkov - Defenseman - A left shot, undersized defenseman (sound familiar?), Roman Bychkov comes from the Russian junior program. At 5'11'' and 160 pounds, his size comparison for a current Bruin would be fellow left shot defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. The Russian D-man is consistently praised for his hockey sense and high IQ. If there are things to improve, it seems as if Bychkov could work on his shot and his physical presence. As a puck mover at the next level, physicality will take a backseat to his shot. If he can become a bit more effective on the offensive end, his special teams value will rise. Bychkov fits the mold of what the Bruins have had on their roster in recent years (Krug/Gryz). It remains to be seen what the next step is for Bychkov, and it is also a risk drafting Russian players. Hopefully the Bruins can get him to come play in Providence within the next few years.

Round 6 - Matias Mantykivi - Center - Boston seemingly covered all their bases in this draft. They grabbed a couple of U.S. players, and then one from Canada, Russia and Finland. One from Sweden would have nailed some sort of NHL draft bingo for the B's. The later you get into the draft, the harder it is to dig up info on prospects. Enter Matias Mantykivi, a Finnish center with a set of statistics from SaiPa (Finnish league) and the Finnish Junior club. As an 18 year old playing for a U20 team, Mantykivi tallied 36 points in 34 games. Judging from reports, Mantykivi fits the bill of the typical Finnish prospect. His skill level is on the higher end, has some playmaking ability to his game but lacks physicality. Boston will wait and see with Mantykivi, as he is likely a long-term project with the organization. He plans to play in Finland next season with no firm timeline on coming to play in North America.

Round 7 - Jake Schmaltz - Left Wing - A product of the USHL's Chicago Steel, Jake Schmaltz is a 6'0" 170 pound left wing. According to McKeen's Hockey, Schmaltz is slated to attend the University of North Dakota in 2020-2021. Right off the bat, this is a prospect to keep an eye on very far down the road. Schmaltz will probably attend multiple development camps and hopefully he can show enough to stick. With 18 points in 60 games with Chicago, there seems to not be too much offense in his game. If he were to travel the long and winding road to the NHL, it seems like Schmaltz would be a bottom six winger at best. Boston has created jobs for hard working and relentless fourth liners before, so keep an eye on Schmaltz in about 2024.

Free Agent notes:

-Noel Acciari - Signed with Florida. Excelled in his role on the fourth line. Acciari was not a point producer, but he effected the game with his open ice hits and relentless forecheck. He is someone you loved having in the lineup if you were in for a heavier game. The Florida Panthers get a solid guy in their bottom six, but I am all set with the Bruins not extending themselves for Acciari.

Marcus Johansson - Signed with Buffalo. One of those deals (2 years, 9 million) where you wish the Bruins weren't so tight against the cap so they could keep a player who fit perfectly in the lineup. It is frustrating to lose a player to a division rival, and even more frustrating that the money wasn't too bad. Johansson was a great trade deadline pickup, and he would have been nice to have in black and gold for a few more seasons. He doesn't come without health concerns though, as he has been concussed a few times. Without the proper cap space, Johansson returning was a long shot either way.

UFA Signed:

-Brett Ritchie - Right Wing - I was wrong on Matt Beleskey. I was wrong on David Backes even though I think he contributes more than people think. I am not saying Ritchie comes in with the expectations of those two players. Time and time again I have fell in love with the rugged winger brought to Boston to raise a little hell. This time, I am not falling so easy. Ritchie is going to have to prove his worth to me and the Bruins staff. He largely struggled in Dallas, so perhaps Boston will be the fresh start he needs. If he can start off here on the right foot, Boston fans will love him. If not, he will fall off like the others have before him.

Nuccio DiNuzzo-USA TODAY Sports
Nuccio DiNuzzo-USA TODAY Sports

-Brendan Gaunce - Left Wing - Only 25 and a former first rounder, Gaunce is slightly intriguing to me. It seems like Boston will rotate Ritchie and Gaunce on their fourth line to replace Noel Acciari. Since they play different styles. However, this leaves Kuraly, Nordstrom, Ritchie and Gaunce (possibly Par Lindholm too). With Kuraly being a lock, two spots could be up for grabs. Trent Frederic can't be counted out either. The fourth line debate will be fascinating to follow.

-Par Lindholm - Interested to see how he performs in camp, spent last year with Toronto and Winnipeg. He is 27, but only has one NHL season under his belt. Have a feeling he will push Nordstrom for a spot on the club.

-Maxime Lagace - Goalie - Due to the need of shedding some cap space, Lagace could be the backup to Rask sooner than later. With Rask making 7 million and Halak at 2.75 million, there is an ideal opportunity to shed money. Lagace taking over for Halak would be a step down, but Boston may not have a choice. With Kyle Keyser, Dan Vladar and Jeremy Swayman years away, Lagace could be the one to give Rask a breather every now and then.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Contract Extensions:

-Connor Clifton - Signed a 3-year, 3 million dollar extension with the club. Clifton signing this deal could mean the end for Kevan Miller, largely because they play a similar role on the bottom pair. Boston could certainly use the cap space that trading Miller would create, but he is coming off another injury.

-Steven Kampfer - Signed a 2-year extension with the team. Boston seems to like what Kampfer can bring when he is forced into the lineup as the 7th defensemen. Ideally, you would like to see some of the younger D in Providence make the jump next year, but Kampfer is good to have in a pinch.

-Danton Heinen - Signed a 2 year, 5.6 million dollar extension with Boston. Some people have issues with this signing, but I think it is mostly due to timing. Now that Heinen is signed, there is extremely limited space to sign RFA's McAvoy and Carlo. There will be moves to come, because Boston is keeping both guys. Heinen signing was necessary, and it just happened to come first. He bounces up and down the lineup, providing support all over the top nine. Personally, I think Heinen has been getting better. He stumbled in the playoffs, but I am excited to watch what he can do next year.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports