For the first time since the 2006-07 season, the Boston Bruins found themselves on the outside looking in at the NHL playoffs despite a 41-27-14 record and 96-point finish. While the Bruins still had a chance to make the playoffs during the final days of the season, missing the party was enough for the team to pull the trigger on many changes within the organization. The biggest was at the general manager position, where former Bruins defenseman Don Sweeney replaced Peter Chiarielli, who departed to take the same job with the Edmonton Oilers.
Now that 2015 NHL Draft has come and gone, it has become quite clear that Sweeney’s main objective is to get his team back into the playoffs. He wasted no time putting his stamp on the organization before Friday’s draft even started. The team sent defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames in exchange for three draft picks after Hamilton reportedly turned down a six-year contract extension from the team worth over $33 million. Sweeney didn’t stop there. He then dealt fan favorite and longtime Bruins forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goaltender Martin Jones, prospect Colin Miller and another first round draft pick.
Adding these draft day deals to the fact the team also traded Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche for another pick on Thursday, Boston was sure to scoop up a bunch of talented young prospects over the weekend as the organization found itself with picks 13 through 15 in the first round, marking the first time a team has ever managed to lineup three straight selections in the opening round.
“We certainly identified a defenseman that we wanted, that we coveted and wanted to select, and the wingers gave us some speed and some scoring ability,” said Sweeney.
With such a large haul, the team has a lot to look forward to in the future.
Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
1st Round, 13th Overall
Height: 6-1 Weight: 184 lbs
The Bruins wasted little time in adding to the pipeline on the blueline, selecting defenceman Jakub Zboril of the Saint John Sea Dogs. With the premier defencemen in the draft already taken, including Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov and Zach Werenski, Zboril still brings a fair degree of skill and ability to the Bruins. He has a smooth stride, and he knows how to find open teammates. His shot is also consistent and accurate, which is why the young Czech was ranked 2nd overall by International Scouting Services (ISS).
Zboril will undoubtedly have a shot at cracking the team’s opening day roster come October, particularly because of Dougie Hamilton’s departure. Zboril credits his strength and conditioning coach for helping him get to the next level.
“He was always there, he was helping me a lot,” he said.
Zboril considers himself to be more of an offensive defenceman, which is something the Bruins need now that Hamilton is gone and Zdeno Chara’s best days are likely in the past.
Zboril took part in the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine in early June, with some of his comments from that event being captured in this Hockey’s Future video.
Jake DeBrusk, LW, Swift Current Broncos, (WHL)
1st Round, 14th Overall
Height: 6-0 Weight: 177 lbs
Former Edmonton Oilers fan favorite Louie DeBrusk wasn’t exactly known for his speed or skill, but he did manage to translate toughness and a grind ’em out attitude into a 13-year professional career spanning the NHL, AHL and the now defunct IHL.
Louie’s son Jake likely won’t have to wait as long as his dad to play in the NHL, but he is probably two or three years away from making an impact with the Bruins. His quickness and two-way sensibility will afford him staying power in the pros, but DeBrusk recognizes the importance of getting stronger in the future.
“The last two years I worked really hard and saw big improvements. I really know what it takes to do it in the gym. I’m ready to do it and can’t wait to get started,” he said.
DeBrusk credits Edmonton’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2006 for inspiring him to pursue the dream of becoming a professional hockey player. If things work out the way he and the Bruins hope, DeBrusk will be contributing to a postseason-bound team soon enough.
Following his selection by the Bruins, DeBrusk met with the media at the draft, with some of his comments being captured in this HF video.
Zachary Senyshyn, RW, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
1st Round, 15th Overall
Height: 6-1 Weight: 194 lbs
The Bruins really surprised people with their third selection of the opening round in Zachary Senyshyn. ISS did not have Senyshyn being picked until midway through the second round, but it’s obvious the Bruins saw potential in a young man who has starred in just 70 career regular season games at the major junior level.
“He did have a breakout year. He’s a player that I saw play a couple of years ago up in the Soo. His game was really loose. He’s got offensive instincts, he’s got a good shot,” said Sweeney.
Senyshyn credits former Greyhounds bench boss Sheldon Keefe for his development.
“Being able to take my game to the next level and really learning from him was the best for my development and I really can’t thank him enough,” Senyshyn said.
“I play with a lot of pace and a lot of speed and I think I can really take it to the net like him (Kreider),” he said.
The 18-year-old was surprised to be picked in the first round and knows he has a long way to go in his development, but he could be a catalyst on one of the Bruins’ top two lines someday.