This week, although a little early, I have done my top-10 Boston Bruins prospects. I am certain that the list will raise some eyebrows as well as some negativity, but it was based on many different things and not just throwing a list together, some real though went into this list as you will see a little later. But first, I want to talk a little Philip Svedeback.
With the emergence of Jeremy Swayman and the signing of Linus Ullmark by the Bruins, it allowed them to trade Daniel Vladar and recoup an asset but also allowed them to bring in a goalie who was going to be several years away from being an NHL netminder. Enter Svedeback.
Svedeback suffered his first loss in regulation on Friday giving up 6 goals on 26 shots versus the Chicago Steel. It was his first bad outing of the season and of course his numbers took a big hit. It’s not a bad thing, it happens to even the best of professional goaltenders. The good thing is we now get to see how he bounces back. In fairness to Svedeback however, he was hung out to dry on more than one occasion by his teammates.
Entering Friday night’s contest, Svedeback was eighth and eleventh in goals-against and save-percentage respectively in the USHL. When it was all said and done, he sat seventeenth and fourteenth respectively among 20 goaltenders. He has faced the seventh most shots per game among USHL goaltenders with 226 pucks fired his way in eight games, or 28.25 per game. Svedeback is clearly Dubuque’s number one netminder having played the seventh most minutes in the USHL with 483, while his partner Paxton Geisel has played 313 – second fewest in the league.
Svedeback, who is committed to Providence College for the 2022-2023 season won a SHL Championship with Vaxjo Lakers HC last season as a backup. Now, some will say “well he was a backup and never played any games.” That’s true, but don’t underestimate the value a backup brings. Usually, it’s the backup and not the starter that has to go into the net and mimic what the opposition goaltender does as best as possible so that his teammates can come as close as possible to facing the opposition netminder? You think that’s an easy task?
Svedeback is very efficient in his movement in the blue paint. He’s a big netminder that can cover a lot of the net even when down in the butterfly position. He has good hockey sense and reads and reacts well in every situation. There really is a lot to like about Svedeback’s game. At this stage it’s all about facing shots and having his development curve go in the right direction. When he is under the control Bob Essensa and Mike Dunham, they will fine tune or tweak some of the things they will need to. And there are adjustments that will have to be made.
One of the things they will work on is his short side post coverage. It’s not bad, but at times he leaves some room upstairs and good NHL shooters can exploit that when he is leaving the room. His rebound control is also not bad, but he can be prone to giving up a bad rebound at least once a game. Again, it’s just a minor tweak that the Bruins coaching staff will work with him on.
Svedeback fights through traffic very well to see the puck. When he can’t, they work with him on how to make the “positional save” instead of just guessing. His squareness to the shooter is very good and he will be aggressive when he needs to be – he’s able to get to the top of the blue paint quickly for a big goaltender. He is also surprisingly quick at getting back up on his feet from the butterfly position. And his lateral movement is also quite surprisingly quick, although he can over commit at times but something the coaching staff will work with him on.
My good friend Kirk Luedeke (New England Hockey Journal and formerly with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL) told me shortly after the draft that, like Swayman, Svedeback is going to face a lot of rubber and it will be great for Svedeback’s development. One thing I’ve learned over the past decade knowing Kirk is to never doubt him.
Providence Bruins Player Stats
Providence Bruins Goalie Stats
Maine Mariners Stats
Coming up this week:
|CEHLARIK||Vs VIT||Vs KUN||Vs MET|
|BYCHKOV||Vs KUN||Vs MET||Vs AVT|
|ARNESSON||Vs TIM||Vs LIN|
|MANTYKIVI||Vs MIK||Vs MIK|
|JELLVIK||Vs SKE||Vs SKE||Vs LUL|
|GASSEAU||Vs LIN||Vs SF|
|LANGENBRUNNER||Vs LIN||Vs SF|
|KUNTAR||Vs MNE||Vs MNE|
|BEECHER||Vs NDM||Vs NDM|
|SCHMALTZ||Vs MND||Vs MND|
|DURAN||Vs VER||Vs VER|
|OLSON||Vs NDK||Vs NDK|
|MCFAUL||Vs QUI||Vs QUI|
|GALLAGHER||Vs NOE||Vs NOE|
|HARRISON||Vs NB||Vs KGN|
|MAST||Vs LDN||Vs LDN||Vs GUE||Vs OS|
|LYSELL||Vs EVT||Vs VIC|
|SVEDEBACK||Vs MUS||Vs MUS|
The following chart shows what I believe the prospects chances are of playing for the Bruins. It is based on potential, age and who is ahead of them on the depth chart. It’s not about their chances of playing in the NHL, but the Bruins. The depth chart greatly affects that.
AROUND THE GLOBE
Oskar Jellvik returns to the ice this week with three games in three days and will be looking to extend his 11-game point streak. It’s going to be a tough task for him.
Brett Harrison extended his point streak on Friday to 7 games with 7 goals and 5 assists. That streak came to an end Saturday. On Sunday he was back on the scoresheet with a goal and an assist.
Mason Lohrei leads Ohio State in points with 8 in 10 games. Not bad for a defenceman who “was doing it against kids in the USHL” a season ago.
Philip Svedeback. Not going to let one bad game affect my judgement here. It’s all part of the process and like I said earlier, seeing how he bounces back after one of these stinkers is also important.
If Fabian Lysell can find consistency, he would be near the top of the WHL leaders in points. Only once through 12 games has, he recorded points in back-to-back games but he’s also not been held pointless in back-to-back games.
Like Lysell, John Beecher has been an every-other-game point producer though Beecher has only played in 4 games since returning from injury. He has two multi-point games and is pointless in two others but is a point-per-game producer this early into his season.
After a hot start in the KHL, Peter Cehlarik has 3 goals and 2 assists in 8 games since returning from his injury. That’s below his point per game pace through the first month of the season.
Dustyn McFaul ended his pointless streak at 9 games on Friday versus Harvard. He was shut out on Saturday versus Dartmouth but is still getting big minutes versus the opposition’s top players.
Care for my prospect rankings? Keep reading! But here is the thought process in my rankings. It is based on potential when they were drafted versus their potential now and how the development curve is trending. Then I looked at what they were projected to be at the time of his draft versus what they are projected to be today. You’ll see some names missing because they took a big hit there. Then I looked at the depth chart ahead of them. Finally, I looked at what their trade value is (included conversations with a couple of NHL team personnel).
1. Fabian Lysell
With the 21st pick at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Bruins added an elite level offensive player in Lysell who will give the squad a dynamic one-two punch on the right side with David Pastrnak. He plays with pace and that is something Coach Bruce Cassidy will admire. Shot, skating and the ability to create offense are NHL ready. He just needs to mature.
“Would have been to early to select him where we were picking but the Bruins got themselves an offense- driving juggernaut”
2. Mason Lohrei
Selected with the 58th pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Mason Lohrei is proving that his 2020-2021 season in the USHL was no fluke. Lohrei hasn’t missed a beat with the Ohio State Buckeyes and will one day be that top pairing left shot they need with Charlie McAvoy. But can they wait until he is ready?
“Bruins should be ecstatic. Wasn’t on our radar and he should have been. Plenty of teams missed out. It happens every year with a player being missed on.”
3. Jack Studnicka
Selected with the 53rd pick in 2017, Studnicka is a top 6 pivot who will play a solid two-way game. He’s ready for a middle six role now, but a numbers game in Boston, barring injuries, is keeping him from full time duties. He has put in all the necessary work and his dedication is off the charts.
“Slow and easy. I think the Bruins are taking the proper approach with him. I think he is handling the ups and downs like a pro. His overall game is perfect for Cassidy.”
4. John Beecher
Drafted 30th overall in 2019, Beecher has been slowed by injuries the last calendar year. And his role with the University of Michigan may not be what we expect from him, but it will help develop his all-around game. The size and speed are assets any NHL coach covets. He’ll slot in right behind Studnicka at center.
“What’s there not to like? Size, speed and some physicality. We’ll have to see if the shoulder surgery has any lasting effects. We had him as an early second rounder though I still have questions about his offensive upside.”
5. Oskar Steen
Selected 165th overall in 2016, perhaps no other prospect in the system has risen to the extent that Steen has. He had an excellent final season in the SHL and his transition to North America is finally starting to show as he is off to a great start with Providence. There isn’t much in his game left to work on.
“We were picking X spots after Boston. Was one of two players on our list. He will have an NHL career.”
6. Jakob Lauko
Selected 77th overall in 2018, is an elite skater with tremendous speed who is always willing to use it. He has yet to play a full season in any league in North America (3 years) but this is the season he will and show what he is capable of in a full year. He’ll need to bring certain parts of his game under control.
“We had him pegged as a fourth rounder. Appears now he would have been a steal then. May just turn out to be a steal in the third round.”
7. Brett Harrison
Drafted 85th overall in 2021, Harrison is a two-way center who can provide a little extra offense over a regular two-way pivot. He can play in any situation and is trusted enough to go up against the best the opposition can put on the ice. For now, he slots in behind Studnicka and Beecher at center.
“He was my target in the second round. Obviously, we went in a different direction. When he dropped to the third round, I pushed even harder.”
8. Curtis Hall
Drafted 119th in 2018, Hall has smarts, size (though he could add some bulk), can skate – although he’ll need some work on his edges and mobility – and can really shoot the puck. He’s fourth on the Bruins center prospect list and while they lack a true number one in potential, he helps set up the Bruins down the middle.
“Wasn’t on our draft list. Hasn’t played a lot of hockey the last few years but his tool box and tools are intriguing.”
9. Trevor Kuntar
Selected 89th in 2020, Kuntar exceeded expectations almost immediately and he’s built on that. Plays with the kind of pace Coach Cassidy will love, he is a force on the forecheck. He is an above average skater who can score in multiple ways. His complete game and high hockey IQ will ensure he plays in the NHL one day.
“The Bruins jumped on him early. We had him pegged for the fifth round. It appears the third round was just about right for him.”
10. Kyle Keyser
Signed as an undrafted free agent back in 2017, injuries have slowed his development. He’s over the injury bug, with the exception of being under the weather last week and is proving like he always has that he was worthy of the Bruins signing him to a contract.
“I pushed for our team to draft him in 2017 with our last pick. Seems to be over the concussion issues. We actually interviewed him prior to the draft and was the nicest kid we sat with.”
I’m sure this list is going to draw some negative attention from some people and that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I don’t want to be a pom-pom waiving fan and want to call it as I see it, as well as talking to some people in the game. The fact of the matter is that I don’t watch the games like the vast majority of fans. I break the plays down as they happen and then I re-watch them in the event I missed something.
Case in point. I have a lot of admiration for @BruinsNetwork (Anthony) and am honored to be able to call him a friend. He does some marvelous work with videos and explanations on Twitter. But like anyone else in the business, sometimes you have to play to what the fans want and that’s exactly what he does in his tweet below. I on the other hand, saw it differently the first time as you will see via my reply to his tweet. In fairness to Anthony, he totally agrees with me. But the vast majority of fans saw exactly what he states.