PROFESSIONAL PROSPECT RANKINGS
1) DANTON HEINEN – AHL – AGE: 21, GP: 27, G: 8, A: 12, P: 20, PIM: 4
Danton Heinen cracked the Boston roster to start the 2016-2017 season. Not known for blazing speed or a lethal wrist shot, he’s a smart two- way player with some cerebral creativity. I’m not sure if it was nerves or or something else, but he just seemed to overthink everything in his first brief stint with the big club. Since his bump down to Providence, he’s excelled, even named as an AHL All-Star for this season. He’s one of the prospects that has a legitimate shot of becoming an NHL regular in the future, most likely in a top six forward role.
2) JAKE DEBRUSK – AHL – AGE: 20, GP: 39, G:10, A: 10, P: 20, PIM: 11
Jake Debrusk joined as one of the three first rounders in a row with Zach Senyshyn, Jakub Zboril. He’s 6’0″ and still filling into his frame. He has a lethal scoring touch from around the net and some solid hockey sense. DeBrusk struggled initially with transitioning from juniors to the professional game, but his offensive game has come alive of late. We see more engagement, finding the soft parts of the ice and contributing. He even got into a tussle and dropped the gloves in early December. If Jake DeBrusk can put the tools together he could become a fan favorite in Boston and play in the top nine forward group.
3) PETER CEHLARIK – AHL – AGE: 21, GP: 33, G: 14, A:10, P: 24, PIM: 12
Czech winger Cehlarik was a third round selection by the Bruins in 2013. He made the jump to North America to play for the Bruins AHL affiliate this year and has produced well. He’s got a large frame (6’2″ 198 lb) and has a hard, accurate wrist shot. I can see Cehlarik as an injury call up option for the Bruins if there’s a hole in the top 6. He continues to develop well and could surprise for a spot out of training camp as early as next year.
4) ZANE MCINTYRE – AHL – AGE: 24, GP: 12, W: 10, L: 0, OT: 0, SV%: .0.951, GAA: 1.41
Zane McIntyre has performed as well as you can ask a goaltender to do at the AHL level. He’s a sparking 10-0-0 with a sub 1.45 GAA. In a time where the backup goal tending role is in doubt, the Bruins called him up. While he has yet to collect his first NHL win, the fault does not fall on him. McIntyre continues to impress and has leapfrogged Malcolm Subban on the prospect rankings in the eyes of many. No one can say for sure if McIntyre has what it takes to become an NHL starter, but he’s proving to be a serviceable backup.
5) MALCOLM SUBBAN – AHL – AGE: 23, GP: 17, W: 4, L: 5, OT: 4, SV%: 0.905. GAA: 2.96
Subban’s pick is under a tremendous amount of scrutiny now. He was a 1st round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at #24 overall. Since that lofty draft position, he’s performed consistently below expectations. He’s had a few cups of coffee at the NHL level and none of them have ended in his favor. He has tremendous size and athletic ability, but some are beginning to doubt he can put it all together and become a legitimate NHL quality goaltender.
AMATEUR PROSPECT RANKINGS
1) CHARLIE MCAVOY – NCAA – AGE: 19, GP: 20, G: 3, A:11, P: 14, PIM: 18
Charlie McAvoy, fresh off of a World Juniors Tournament for the ages, is the Bruins top prospect. Bar none. Better than all of the professional prospects. His combination of physicality, skating, offensive awareness and defensive positioning has drawn comparisons from scouts throughout North America to the King’s #1 defenseman, Drew Doughty. McAvoy was part of the leadership core of the American team that captured World Juniors Gold against the Canadians. He’s on target to develop into a legitimate top-pairing defenseman at the NHL level and many believe he’s NHL ready right now.
2) ZACH SENYSHYN – OHL – AGE: 19, GP: 34, G: 27, A:11, P:38, PIM: 23
Senyshyn was part of the three 1st rounders in a row the Bruins had in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. More of the pure offensive player than Jake DeBrusk, he uses his deceptive speed and quick hands to score goals. His season started this year slowly after recovering from mononucleosis and an emergency appendectomy, but since his recovery he’s absolutely turned it on and scored at a rate nearly unheard of. Team Canada passed on him in their World Juniors search. With Canada’s Silver Medal result, that decision may come into question when they look back at what went wrong. Senyshyn will likely step up and earn a top six spot out of camp next year.
3) JEREMY LAUZON – QMJHL – AGE: 19, GP: 16, G: 2, A:10, P:12, PIM: 10
A 2nd round selection by the Bruins in 2015, Lauzon has taken a leadership role with his QMJHL team, the Rouyn-Nouranda Huskies. Lauzon is the Huskies captain, and a member of the Team Canada World Juniors roster. He performed admirably, earning more and more ice time as the tournament went on. Lauzon is a smooth skating two-way defenseman not afraid to use his body to separate the man from the puck. If he can’t crack the roster next season, expect Lauzon to spend some time in Providence at the AHL level as he gets acclimated to the professional game. He has a top four defenseman skill-set and he’s definitely on track to meet that potential still.
4) JAKOB FORSBACKA-KARLSSON – NCAA – AGE: 20, GP: 21, G: 10, A:12, P: 22, PIM: 16
“JFK” is a “Swiss Army knife” for the BU Terriers. He does it all – kills penalties, scores big goals on the PP, and wins clutch face offs. Boston University’s head coach David Quinn has compared JFK to Patrice Bergeron in his reliability and skill set. He’s got a 6’1″ 192 pound frame and is extremely strong on his skates. It’s not uncommon to see a defender go in to lay a hit on JFK only to bounce off of him. JFK gains separation and maintains control of the puck. Forsbacka-Karlsson will likely sign his entry level contract with Charlie McAvoy this off season and will play either in Boston or Providence to start the 2017-2018 season.
5) ANDERS BJORK – NCAA – AGE: 20, GP: 23, G: 15, A: 20, P: 35, PIM:8
Bjork was not a prospect many thought would produce great results. He was drafted in 2014 in the 5th round and has continued to develop at an impressive rate. He’s got a respectable 6’0″ 185 pound frame and has quickly become the Irish’s go-to offensive threat. His production this season puts him at fifth overall in scoring throughout the NCAA. With how well Bjork is performing, I can imagine Don Sweeney will offer him an Entry Level Contract at the conclusion of his collegiate season. Whether he can put it all together at the NHL level is another story entirely, but due to his performance so far this season he had to be included in this ranking.