The Boston Bruins did not make any blockbuster deals at the NHL Draft or in the days following like last season moving Tyler Seguin to Dallas, but Boston did make several interesting selections in Philadelphia.
The Bruins selected a local product, Ryan Donato, for the third consecutive year. The Bruins selected three NCAA bound players and two European players and appear to be moving away from the CHL players in Canada. The Bruins had previously stayed away from European players, but with Keith Gretzky now in charge of scouting the Bruins have been selecting players that are playing in Sweden.
David Pastrnak, RW, Södertälje (Allsvenskan)
1st round, 25th overall
Height: 6-0 Weight: 167 lbs
The Czech Republic native played last season in the Allsvenskan, in Sweden, scoring 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 36 games. Pastrnak impressed Bruins development camp this summer, using his speed to split the defense in drills. At only 167 pounds, though, he still needs to fill out his frame and put on more weight. Pastrnak is very talented offensively with great stick skills and hockey sense.
“(When Pastrnak) cuts across the middle of the ice some defenseman are going to lick (their) chops, and he’s going to pick up his helmet sideways probably at some point in time,” Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney said. “But that doesn’t mean that he’s not going to try it again, and I like that about him.”
Pastrnak has a ton of skill on the ice, but off the ice he always has a smile on his face. He is known for his personality and love of the game. He brings that up-tempo personality into his style of play.
“He’s got some charisma to him on the ice and I think that flare shows up as well,” Sweeney said. “He has a bit of a flare on and off the ice and I like the excitement, I think it’s infectious for everybody, and we’re excited to have him as part of the organization.”
Pastrnak is expected to return to Sweden for 2014-15, but, because of the Bruins salary cap troubles, he could get a cup of coffee in the NHL to start the season.
Pastrnak talked about being chosen by the Bruins following his selection, with some of his comments being captured in this HF video.
Ryan Donato, C, Dexter School (Massachusetts Prep)
2nd round, 56th overall
Height: 6-0 Weight: 174 lbs
Like Pastrnak, Donato needs to fill out his frame and add some weight. Donato will have plenty of time to do that, though, as he heads to Harvard for the 2015-16 season. Next year, he will either return to Dexter or head to Omaha in the USHL. The USHL would appear like the more likely route, as he has nothing left to prove at the prep school level. With Dexter last season, he scored 78 points (37 goals, 41 assists) in 30 games. At the USHL he will be challenged a lot more against a much superior competition.
“After (development camp), I’ll have a clear mind (of where I want to play),” Donato said. “I’ve talked to the coaches at Omaha and Dexter.”
He’s a creative offensive player, but he is also responsible in the defensive end. Although, he is probably five years or so from turning pro, Donato is probably Boston’s safest prospect from the draft. Even if he can not transition his offensive game into the NHL level, his defensive talents could at least land him a fourth line spot. His ceiling is much higher than the fourth line, though.
“My best asset is my playmaking abilities and scoring,” Donato said. “(I’m versatile), but I’m most comfortable at center. I can play left wing too.”
Although there is no timetable for Donato to turn pro, he did not rule out leaving college early if it was in his best interest.
Donato spoke with the media about being drafted by his hometown, with his comments being included in this HF video.
Danton Heinen, C, Surrey Eagles (BCHL)
4th round, 116th overall
Height: 6-0 Weight: 165 lbs
Heinen will be a freshman at the University of Denver next season, and he is already on campus taking classes. Last season with the Surrey Eagles in the BCHL, Heinen produced at over a point-per-game pace with 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists) in 57 games.
Because of his class schedule and NCAA rules, Heinen could not attend the Bruins Development Camp this summer.
Anders Bjork, LW, USNTDP
5th round, 146th overall
Height: 5-11, Weight: 182 lbs
The plan is for Bjork is to head to Notre Dame next season, as long as he finishes his summer classes and graduates from high school. He spent last season on the US Development Team’s second line.
“It was a great experience because they really know how to develop players,” Bjork said about the US Development program. “It was a really good place to evolve. Playing college games was great because it gets you ready to take your game to the next level.”
Bjork is a two-way forward that can chip in at both ends of the ice. Last season, splitting the season between the USHL schedule, college games, and other exhibition games, he scored 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists) in 61 games. His two-way ability also comes from his strong hockey sense.
“Making plays, thinking the game and knowing that I have to be responsible in all areas of the ice,” Bjork said is something that he does well. “I’m a two-way forward with a pretty good amount of offensive ability and skills.”
Bjork played in the U18 WJC this past season scoring two goals in seven games. One he has for this season is to make the U20 WJC team. He has the try-out in August.
Emil Johansson, D, HV71 J20 (SuperElit)
7th round, 206th overall
Height: 6-0 Weight: 194 lbs
Playing in the SuperElit this season, Johansson scored nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 42 games. He is strong in the defensive end, but also skates and moves the puck well. Johansson is expected to return to Europe this season where he will captain the HV71 junior squad.
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