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Boston Bruins Add Center-Heavy Crop Of Prospects at 2022 NHL Draft

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The Boston Bruins didn’t have a first-round pick for the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre, but they certainly focused on adding to their prospect collection with three out of six picks coming at the center position, and a distinct Canadian flavor to the group of picks. Clearly that was a priority with Patrice Bergeron in the last leg of his run with the Black and Gold, and a real dearth of top-6 center prospects currently in the B’s system.

“You know how painful it is going in when you’re sitting on the sidelines [in the first round], realizing there are good players going. It’s a difficult start to the Draft. We were back afterwards to know how tight the list was going to be going forward, and it was,” said Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney on Friday afternoon following the six selections. “Going into the second round, we realized that players we might have forecast – we have to be ready to go in any direction.

“We’re happy we attacked the middle of the ice, not necessarily by design, but that’s how it played out and we like all three players that play that position because of their creativity and offensive abilities and their growth. There’s a development upside to all three of them on that, in the middle of the ice, with the creativity and the offensive production.”

The Boston Bruins kicked things off in the second round (54th overall) with OHL center Matthew Poitras from the Guelph Storm. The 18-year-old Poitras is a 5-foot-11, 178-pound playmaking center that counts both skating and shooting as strengths and continues to develop his creativity and offensive instincts while impressing scouts with his hustle and work ethic.

Following that selection, the Boston Bruins traded out of the third round and picked USNDTP center Cole Spicer at 117th overall and then stayed at center for Latvian-born Dans Locmelis, who was developed and played for Lulea in Sweden over the last few years. Spicer was a role player for the US National Development Team where he distinguished himself with a gritty style of play in a limited role and played net-front on one of their power play units. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound Spicer is another Boston Bruins draft pick known for his work ethic and aggressiveness and is headed to a University of Minnesota-Duluth program that the Bruins have a high respect level for after bringing in players like Karson Kuhlman and Nick Wolff over the years.

Locmelis is a 6-foot, 170-pound center similarly reputed to be a hard-worker and smart player with lingering questions about how high-end his offense and skill level will ultimately be in his pro hockey career. The Boston Bruins continue to pull solid prospects and draft picks out of Sweden as longtime forward PJ Axelsson’s influence at the B’s draft table continues to be strong.

In the fifth round (132nd overall) the Bruins deviated from the center spot and drafted Rimouski defenseman Frederic Brunet, who actually works out with Patrice Bergeron in Quebec City during the offseason.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman clearly has a puck-moving and offensive bent to his game with 12 goals and 46 points in 63 games last season that ranked 11th among all QJMHL defenseman last season. The knock on Brunet is that he’s going to need to improve his defensive game, but his mobility and puck-moving skills along with his excellent size mean he’ll get a long, long look from the Boston Bruins organization.

In the sixth round the Boston Bruins went with goaltender Reid Dyck, a 6-foot-3 raw goaltender that has athletic gifts that haven’t played out in his performances (6-12-1, .884 save percentage for a struggling Swift Current team) on the big stage as of yet in his young hockey career.

The Boston Bruins closed things out with a seventh-round selection (200th overall) of London Knights defenseman Jackson Edward, a physical 6-foot-2 defenseman that relishes playing in the stay-at-home role in the D-zone.

It will be interesting to see how things shake out with all these Boston Bruins prospects at the first development camp next week that the B’s have put on in a couple of years, but it will be in the natural order of things like it’s normally been with the Boston draft-and-development system prior to COVID putting everything on pause.

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