Yes, there are several players I haven’t touched on yet, but it is a long hockey season and I will get to them more than once throughout their hockey seasons. For now, I am circling back to Matias Mantykivi, the Bruins sixth round pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
There were a handful of people who weren’t happy with what I wrote (if you wish to go back you can find it here) and swore that I would be eating crow. I don’t mind eating crow when I have too. I like mine with Ketchup and a Greek Salad to go with it. The fact of the matter is that everything I wrote then still stands.
What’s changed? Well, the biggest change is that he started producing. Mantykivi entered the week on a 4-game point streak with 3 goals and two assists. Centering the Lynx third line, on Wednesday, he increased the streak to 5 games with an assist in a 4-2 win over Saipa. On Friday he would increase it to six games with a pair of assists versus Tappara. Saturday saw a matchup with Helsinki and his point streak came to an end.
Through 17 games, Mantykivi is well on his way from surpassing his two-year career totals in Liiga.
The effort on offense wasn’t lacking for Mantykivi. For whatever reason, pucks weren’t finding the back of the net for him or his teammates that he was setting up. Despite his size, he drives to the net with and without the puck as he shows no fear. But this is the Finnish Liiga not the NHL, nor is it the AHL for that matter. It’s great to see him doing it in Finland, but we need to see that same effort, fearlessness and drive once he comes to North America. It’s a different game and the defensemen here are not as giving as they are in Europe. That part of his game will remain a relative unknown until he crosses the pond.
But if Mantykivi isn’t providing offense – well if you think Jake DeBrusk took a lot of heat from fans, they will eviscerate Mantykivi (thanks @Spokedz).
Mantykivi is still just 20 years of age (turns 21 on June 21) so he’s still learning. This is his third season with Liiga and will end up being his best statistically. I’m not worried so much about the offense – he’s found that. What I do worry about is seeing improvements in other aspects of his game (or lack of). I want to see the same effort on the backcheck as I see on the offense. I want to see him use his smarts when defending just like I see on offense. I know there will be fans sticking to the mantra I hear so often: “why do the Bruins have to convert an offensive player to a 200-foot player?”
The answer is simple. Mantykivi is not an elite offensive player like David Pastrnak, or Brad Marchand. His offense may not even reach the level of DeBrusk’s best year in the NHL. To make an NHL career for himself, he will need to excel on the defensive side as well, learn how to kill penalties and bring something to the table when he isn’t producing offensively.
It’s a long season so there is hope.
A brief note on Roman Bychkov for today: being a healthy scratch for 15 of Amur’s 25 games this season and averaging just 7:52 time on ice per game isn’t doing anything for his development. I’ve mentioned this before, but this is an issue I have a problem with for prospects playing professional hockey overseas. If the prospect was here in North America, the Bruins brass could at least speak with his coaching staff or management and work towards something – including facilitating a trade. Back during the 2012-2013 season, the Bruins did something similar when working with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL and Moscow Spartak of the KHL to get Alexander Khokhlachev back to North America when it was obvious that he wasn’t progressing at the KHL level. It wasn’t an easy task for the Bruins, but they got it done.
Hearing that John Beecher could be practicing at full speed this week and is ‘probable but unlikely’ to play his first game on the weekend.
Providence Bruins Player Stats
Providence Bruins Goalie Stats
Maine Mariners Stats
AROUND THE GLOBE
Brett Harrison is back in form and is riding a 4-game point streak with 4 goals and 4 assists in those 4 games and is now fourth in team scoring.
Oskar Jellvik extends point streak to 11 games on 8 goals and 7 assists. He is the hottest of any Bruins prospect anywhere at this point.
Matias Mantykivi had his point streak come to an end at 6 games.
Philip Svedeback has yet to suffer a regulation loss through 6 games and has a 4-0-2 record with a 2.81 GAA and .901 save-percentage.
Trevor Kuntar ended his point streak at 5 games on Friday but bounced back with a helper on Saturday.
Ryan Mast scored his first two goals of the season on the weekend scoring in back-to-back games.
Fabian Lysell posted a goal and 3 assists on Friday in a 7-2 win over Kelowna Rockets and is tied for second in team scoring.
<Ctrl> + V Roman Bychkov.
Dustyn McFaul is pointless through seven games despite getting some top pair minutes on the blueline.
Coming up this week:
|CEHLARIK||vs BARS||vs NEF||vs SAL||vs DYN|
|BYCHKOV||vs SAL||vs DYN||vs LOK|
|ARNESSON||vs FAR||vs LEK||vs LUL|
|MANTYKIVI||vs JYP||vs KOO||vs LUK|
|GASSEAU||vs OMA||vs OMA|
|LANGENBRUNNER||vs OMA||vs OMA|
|KUNTAR||vs VER||vs VER|
|LOHREI||vs MI ST||vs MI ST|
|BECKER||vs St T||vs St T|
|SCHMALTZ||vs QUIN||vs QUIN|
|DURAN||vs N H||vs N H|
|MCFAUL||vs MI T||vs MI T|
|GALLAGHER||vs MAS-L||vs MAS-L|
|HARRISON||vs BAR||vs SBY|
|MAST||vs SAG||vs SAG||vs ERIE|
|LYSELL||vs KEL||vs PG||vs POR|
|SVEDEBACK||vs WAT||vs CHI|
Some of you have enjoyed my chart below showing the chances of a prospect joining the Bruins at some point. I stress this is the Bruins, they could still play in the NHL. The B’s depth chart plays a factor in this so who knows, a prospect could be traded. It also takes into account the trajectory of their development, how much longer the Bruins hold his rights and in talking to other people around the game.
Allow me to use Mantykivi as an example. He can play both center and left wing, but in my opinion, if he is going to carve out an NHL career, it’s going to be on the wing.
Marchand and Taylor Hall or both signed for three seasons after this one. He will not supplant either of those two. And then there is DeBrusk. He is signed until the end of this season but is an unrestricted free agent and I believe the Bruins will want to make things work out with DeBrusk. Whether it’s to sign him or trade him is undetermined at this point. Mantykivi is not a fourth-liner so his option with the Bruins is to break into the top nine.
Then you look at the other prospects vying for positioning. Trevor Kuntar is underrated in some circles and had a good camp with the Bruins in the summer. Offensively, Jake Schmaltz, and Quinn Olson are of the same age and providing more offense while bringing a more complete game. And then there is Oskar Jellvik who is lighting in up in Sweden’s J20 Nationell and is younger. So, on top of the NHL’ers ahead of him, there are at least four others gunning for the same position as Mantykivi. This isn’t including the guys in Providence also looking to make the big club.
Obviously, this is subjective and open to criticism. If you believe it to be different, I’d love to hear it and why.
In other blog news, I am starting a Wednesday Mailbag. If you have any Bruins related questions, feel free to ask on Twitter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and for you fans of HF Boards, you can send me a direct message and I will get to as many as I can.
Follow me on Twitter @dominictiano