Back at the 2020 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins traded their seventh-round draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the latter’s pick in the 2021 Entry Draft. Many fans had questions as to why the Bruins would make such a move. Others were saying “well, it’s only a seventh-round pick.” It could be as simple as the Leafs had their eye on someone there and the Bruins weren’t completely enamored with the players available. Or, it could be the Bruins were looking ahead to the 2021 sweepstakes.
Hindsight as they say, is 20/20.
With their two seventh-round picks in the most recent entry draft, the Bruins selected Andre Gasseau with their own pick at 213 and Ty Gallagher with the Leafs pick at 217. Both players were coming off a season with the NTDP Under-18 in the USHL and what we do know is the Bruins like to have eyes on the USHL.
Today, our focus is on Gasseau.
The massive 6-foot 4-inch and 209-pound Gasseau is skating with the Fargo Force of the USHL along with fellow Bruins prospect, 2020 fifth-round pick Mason Langenbrunner. While most people find it hard to get excited about a seventh-round pick, there is plenty of time for Gasseau to develop. He is committed to Boston College for the 2022-2023 season and could spend up to four seasons there after his USHL days are over.
Here are some independent scouting services reports:
Gasseau has intriguing qualities that will stand out too many teams at the draft. He is a huge center with good skating and defensive awareness. He has the potential and ability to become an effective middle-six forward at the next level, but needs to improve on a few things if he wants to contribute more offense. He has good skating ability for his size, having a strong stride, able to generate acceleration well when given space. He has the ability to turn on the jets in the neutral zone. He’s solid on his edges and is able to stop and go efficiently, covering a lot of ice, though he could improve his lateral mobility to create more space for himself. He uses his size well, protecting and controlling the puck along the boards. FC HOCKEY Ranked 121st.
Gasseau is an intriguing prospect because of his combination of size and skill. He has an NHL frame already, listed at 6’4” 203 lbs. Andre is a skilled player who can make good things happen in the offensive zone. He can make plays to set up his linemates and has the ability score himself. He is a great cycle player due to his long reach and ability to protect the puck. He’s also strong and hard to knock off balance when he is taking the puck to the net. Andre is a poised player who has the ability to be patient with the puck until he finds a good play. He makes smart passes in all three zones and can be relied upon to play all three forward positions if needed. He is also more than capable in his own zone using his body and reach to defend. He’s not a player who sacrifices the defensive zone for offense. He commits himself to taking care of his own end and playing a strong 200-foot game. Gasseau is not a great skater as can be expected with his size. His skating isn’t bad but his speed and first couple steps need to get better if he is going to play in the NHL. HockeyProspect Black Book – Not Ranked.
Gasseau had a superb preseason with Fargo scoring once and adding 4 assists in three games. He scored in his first game of the season against the Chicago Steel and added a nifty shootout goal to keep Fargo alive – but they eventual lost in the shootout. He has been such a pleasant surprise that he was moved from third line left wing to the top line in their next contest Team USA. It wasn’t the greatest of debuts on the top line for Gasseau. He was on the ice for three first period goals against as Fargo fell behind 3-0 in the opening frame, with the third one coming while Gasseau was on the PK. He got stronger as the game went on but was kept off the scoresheet as Fargo came back to win 4-3 in overtime.
Gasseau’s size is impressive. I was also impressed with his skating for his size, although I would like to see a quicker first step, but the mechanics are good. Also impressive is his ability to protect the puck and slow the game down and wait for an opportunity to open up or to create a passing lane. I liked the way he got in on the forecheck and he cycles well with his linemates. His defensive awareness lacked at times.
As a freshman, I’m not looking for Gasseau to be a big point producer. Instead, I want to see how he progresses in certain areas of his game as the season moves forward and from year to year. The points are an added bonus. At this early stage it’s all about showing progression and development.
In other news: Fabian Lysell made his debut with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL registering an assist. Peter Cehlarik continues to be a force on the powerplay with Avangard Omsk of the KHL and has been held pointless just twice through 11 games. Roman Bychkov was a healthy scratch for the fifth time this season with Armur of the KHL and a demotion to the VHL is likely to come when the team is healthy. Riley Duran made his NCAA debut with Providence Friars and recorded his first career NCAA point with an assist. Matias Mantykivi continues to struggle with offensive production. John Beecher will miss 4 weeks with an upper body injury. According to the Wolverines, the injury is not related to his shoulder which required surgery early this year. Brett Harrison scored 2 shorthanded goals in his final exhibition game finishing the preseason with3 goals and 4 assists in 4 games. Jack Becker scored twice and assisted on another on opening night, but was held off the scoresheet in the back half of back-to-back games.
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