The 2019 Prospect Challenge in Buffalo wraps up today, and a trio of Boston Bruins prospects have impressed fans and brass alike. Trent Frederic, Urho Vaakanainen and Jack Studnicka, all top prospects in the Bruins system, have stuck out in a good way early.
All three are extremely excited for the future of a Bruins team that just made the Stanley Cup Final on the strength of its young core and believe the best is yet to come.
“We pretty much have the same core in Boston and the younger guys are going to get better. The team is going to get better as well” Vaakanainen – who made his NHL debut this past season – told the media in Buffalo.
The talented Finnish defenseman had four goals and ten assists in his for the Providence Bruins last season, his first pro season in North America. He was close to making the roster out of camp last season and likely could’ve locked up a spot if not for suffering a concussion in his second NHL game last December. He could be in line for an NHL job as soon as opening night, depending on what happens with unsigned restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
“Last year I was close [to making the roster] so I feel like I have a good chance,” he said. “I feel like I’m pretty good offensively. Guys tell me I’m a defensive defenseman but I don’t really feel like that. I think I have a lot to give offensively, too.”
Studnicka and Frederic, both highly touted forward prospects, are excited about the future as well. Studnicka, in particular, is ready to compete with guys he’s rooted for in the past.
”These are guys I grew up watching on TV when I was younger and to be able to see them go through that run and see core guys aged 20-24 contribute and be part of that run was cool,” said Studnicka who was brought in for the Calder Cup playoffs last spring with Providence and had one goal and one assist in four games.
Studnicka draws inspiration from young players like McAvoy, Carlo and David Pastrnak impacting the Bruins run to the final.
”It’s inspirational to see that it doesn’t really matter the age in that locker room,” he pointed out. “Everyone is treated the same and given equal opportunity.”
Bruins development coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner has been impressed with how much better Frederic looks out there after an improved offseason workout and diet.
“You can see it in him. He leaned out and got his training to where it needed to be to become a pro hockey player,” the former NHLer and two-time Stanley Cup champion said. “He’s continuing to get better, and I think he’s going to be a good player for us sooner rather than later.”
Frederic played 15 NHL games last season but didn’t register a point. He had 14 goals and 25 points in 55 games with Providence.
All three players have received hype since the moment they were drafted. Now, after impressing in Buffalo, all three will have their chance in main camp this week.