On Sunday, less than 24 hours after the 2019 NHL Entry Draft ended, BHN took a look at the top five prospects in the Boston Bruins system. Today, numbers 6-10 will be our focus as the top ten gets rounded out.
6.) C John Beecher
Boston’s 2019 first-round pick is number six in his first Bruins prospect ranking with the club. As was the case with Trent Frederic on his draft day, Beecher is more of a two-way center who projects to be a third liner when all is said and done. He’s a valuable prospect and should develop into an NHL’er, but he lacks the high-end skill you want to see from your top pick.
Beecher posted 43 points (15 g, 28 a) in 63 games for the USNTDP’s U18 program. He suited up for the United States at the World Juniors, scoring three goals in seven games. Beecher will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.
Beecher will bring speed, size and a strong two-way game to the Bruins organization when he eventually makes the jump.
7.) C Oskar Steen
Steen could be the most underrated prospect in the Bruins’ system. He doesn’t get talked about much, but the 21 year-old has skill, speed and offensive instincts. Steen is a “Shifty player” who is “explosive” in small spaces and has a knack for creating scoring chances. Steen posted 37 points (17 g, 20 a) in 46 games for Farjestad BK of the SHL in 2018-19. He’ll most likely start his North American career with AHL Providence in the fall.
8.) C/LW Jakub Lauko
It’s always a good idea to draft skill, and that is exactly what the Bruins did in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft. They selected Lauko with the 77th overall pick, and he’s made them look like geniuses ever since. Lauko impressed in camp last fall with his speed and skill combination, as well as his personality and tenacity.
He dominated the QMJHL, as he registered 41 points (21 g, 20 a) in 44 games for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Lauko will return to the QMJHL for his final junior season with eyes on turning pro in the fall of 2020. He’s got the speed and skill to be a good complementary forward in the middle-six. He’s at least two years away, however.
9.) D Connor Clifton
Yes, technically Clifton is still a Bruins prospect. The NCAA free agent surprised everyone this season by making his NHL debut and emerging as a consistent piece for the Bruins throughout the course of their run to the Stanley Cup Final. Clifton played in 19 regular season games with Boston and 53 with AHL Providence (6 g, 21 a). Clifton added 18 games for Boston in the playoffs, racking up five points (2 g, 3 a).
A physical defender, Clifton possesses a high hockey sense and ability to defend. I was impressed with how he handled the forecheck against bigger NHL players. Clifton has an ability to move the puck, but he’ll never be an offensive defender in the NHL. The reason he’s number 9? Clifton will likely max out as a third pairing defender. Serviceable, but don’t expect a big impact.
10.) C Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
Still only 22 years-old, Forsbacka Karlsson is far from done. He’s not an offensive dynamo, but JFK is a smart player who has a strong all-around game. He’s a smart play and does play hard, but can be frustrating because of his lack of consistency.
The tools are there with Forsbacka Karlsson, who will play the 2019-20 season with the Vaxjo Lakers of the SHL. A strong season back home could give him the confidence to return to North America in 2020 and finally make the jump to the NHL. He’s got all the tools, he just hasn’t been able to put them together.
This is a player that can make the big leagues in a variety of different ways. That’s why he remains in the top ten prospects.