2015 draftees set to supplant NHL-ready Boston Bruins prospects

By Jack Choros

Photo: David Pastrnak’s 27 points in 46 games last season was the second-highest total among all players selected at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. (Courtesy of Harry How/Getty Images)

Photo: David Pastrnak’s 27 points in 46 games last season was the second-highest total among all players selected at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. (Courtesy of Harry How/Getty Images)


10. (NR) Jake DeBrusk, LW, 7.5 C
Drafted 1st round, 14th overall, 2015

DeBrusk is to his dad Louie what Max Domi is to his dad Tie. He is a speedy winger with some skill who can play both sides of the puck—fathered by a player who was known for his toughness and pugilism. His offensive upside is not on the same level as some of the players that went after him in the draft this past summer, but the fact that he has a well-rounded game and can take care of his defensive responsibilities makes DeBrusk the most NHL-ready winger that the Bruins have who isn’t already in the show.

Last season, he scored 81 points in 72 games with the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. DeBrusk will have to really impress in training camp to make the Bruins, but he will definitely have a legitimate shot at cracking the lineup.

9. (3) Alexander Khokhlachev, C, 7.5 C
Drafted 2nd round, 56th overall 2014

With 15 goals, 28 assists and 43 points last season for Providence, Khokhlachev earned an appearance in the AHL All-Star game. Standing at just 5’11, it’s clear that his main asset is offensive ability. He is definitely a speed and skill-type player. His defensive game on the other hand, like a lot of young players, still leaves much to be desired.

The challenge for Khokhlachev is that the Bruins are stacked at the center ice position with Spooner, Chris Kelly and Joonas Kemppainen trying to lock up spots on the third and fourth lines. Since Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, that likely means Khokhlachev will start the 2015-16 season in the minors again. His future projects as a regular NHLer, but that simply won’t be possible this year and possibly not next year either.

8. (NR) Brandon Carlo, D, 7.0 B
Drafted 2nd round, 37th overall, 2015

One of many early-round picks in the draft last year, Carlo managed just 25 points in 63 games with the Tri-City Americans in the WHL last season. He has experience playing for the U.S National Junior Team and he can be an imposing presence in the defensive zone. Carlo is tough, and moves well enough to keep opposing players away from scoring chances. He is a blue-chip defender for the future, and is definitely of the stay-at-home variety.

7. (NR) Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C, 7.0 B
Drafted 2nd round, 45th overall, 2015

Forsbacka-Karlsson has spent the last two seasons playing for the Omaha Lancers in the USHL. In 2014-15, he took his game to a new level scoring 53 points in just 50 games and exhibiting the type of playmaking ability that one would expect to suit a European-style game. He is over six feet tall at just 18 years old. Without a doubt, Forsbacka-Karlsson won’t be NHL-ready for many years, but he has fantastic potential.

6. (6) Seth Griffith, C, 7.0 B
Drafted 5th round, 131st overall, 2012

Appearing in 30 games for the Bruins last year, Griffith managed to post six goals and 10 assists for 16 points. Although he did play well during stretches in his short time with the team, Griffith was sent back to Providence early in the New Year. He may have trouble becoming a top-level talent in the big leagues mainly because of his lack of size and strength.

That said, Griffith should see more time in the NHL going into the 2015-16 season, but there’s still a lot of talent ahead of him on the Bruins depth chart. He is polished enough to warrant a regular role two years from now.

5. (11) Joe Morrow, D, 7.5 B
Trade with Dallas Stars, July 2013

When the Bruins made the decision to trade Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars a few years back, they made sure to get some top prospects in return. Morrow is one of them. One of the best defensemen in the team’s system, Morrow got the chance to play in 15 games with the big club last year. In those contests, he averaged close to 17 minutes of ice time per game and scored his first NHL goal.

Morrow averaged more than half a point per game in 227 junior games, and put up an impressive 60 points in 155 career AHL games with Providence. His offensive ability is clearly evident, and with the team trading young star Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames in the summer, Morrow will surely get the opportunity to fill the void.

4. (2) Ryan Spooner, C, 7.5 B
Drafted 2nd round, 45th overall, 2010

At 23 years of age and with 52 career NHL games under his belt, Spooner takes the cake as the top prospect in the Bruins farm system by virtue of the fact he slides just underneath HF’s prospect criteria, making him the seasoned veteran of the pack so to speak. Although he failed to score a goal in his first crack at the big show, notching 11 assists in 23 games back in the 2013-14 season, Spooner did find success playing on a line with the now-departed Lucic and winger David Pastrnak last year, notching 18 points in 29 games—including 8 goals.

He is already realizing his potential, and has a chance to be slotted as a center with the Bruins for years to come. That is especially true considering that Bergeron and Krejci occupy the first two lines, and the team as a whole being in rebuild mode heading into the 2015 campaign. A 40 to 50-point season is not a total stretch for Spooner, which is pretty good for a third-year player.

3. (4) David Pastrnak, RW, 7.5 B
Drafted 1st round, 25th overall, 2014

Pastrnak has made significant strides in his game and last year it showed. At only 19 years of age, the speedy winger managed to post 27 points in his first 46 NHL games. He was featured on a line with fellow young gun Spooner and Lucic last year, which worked well. Now that the team is in somewhat of a rebuild mode, opportunities for Pastrnak to excel will be even more aplenty heading into next season.

Pastrnak is years ahead of the curve in his development relative to other Bruins prospects, and it is clear that he belongs in the NHL—so it is only fair that Pastrnak gets the nod as the top forward in the organization, although depending on one’s criteria for what qualifies as a prospect, some may already have him pegged as an NHL regular anyway

2. (NR) Jakub Zboril, D, 8.0 B
Drafted 1st round, 13th overall, 2015

Ranked 22nd among all draft-eligible skaters by ISS Hockey going into the 2015 draft, Zboril managed 33 points in just 44 games with the St. John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL last season. At 6’2, he will play big on his skates in the NHL someday, and he has a definite offensive flare to his game from the back-end. He can skate with fluidity and has the ability to quarterback a powerplay.

As far as making the jump to the NHL this coming season is concerned, the Bruins currently have eight defenseman on the roster, so for Zboril to find room for himself, there would have to be some moves made or injuries accrued. It would not be a total surprise to see him make his NHL debut in Boston this year but any regular playing time for now is probably a stretch. His long-term projection is as a top-pairing defenseman.

1. (1) Malcolm Subban, G, 8.0 B
Drafted 1st round, 24th overall, 2012

With former top goaltending prospect Niklas Svedberg jumping ship in favor of the KHL for the coming season, Subban now becomes the top goaltending prospect in the system. He will be going into his third season with Providence this year, and while many experts would have pegged Subban an NHL backup a year ago, Jeremy Smith outperformed Subban and will likely start the season backing up Rask.

Subban is 6’2, weighing in at 200 pounds, and he has loads of potential. He will undoubtedly find his way into the big leagues eventually, particularly in light of his Subban pedigree.

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