The NCAA regular season has come to an end with the exception of a couple of stragglers and exhibition games on the schedule. For the Bruins, they’ll have a decision to make in the coming weeks on a couple of their prospects.
First on the list is Arizona State Sun Devils Jack Becker. Selected in the 7th round, 195th overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Becker will graduate this year and that means he will remain an asset for the Bruins until August 15, 2022. If they fail to sign Becker, he will become an unrestricted free agent and be free to sign anywhere.
The 6’4”, 198-pound pivot wasn’t in an ideal situation with Arizona – they just weren’t a great team. Given his age and experience at the NCAA level, I wanted to see more offence and expected him to finish around the point-per-game mark. He finished fourth on the squad in scoring with 7 goals and 16 assists in 33 games, well behind the leaders.
Because Becker is not European and will turn 25 years of age before September 15 (June 24, 1997 birthdate) he is not subject to the regular entry level contract other drafted players get. All this signing would do for the Bruins is basically cost them a contract spot. And they have maneuverability there.
Next up is John Beecher, the Bruins first round pick – 30th overall – at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The decision to turn professional will be up to Beecher, but if you’ve read here recently you know that he will (at least that’s what people close to the situation have told me). Because Beecher will be 21 years of age before September 15 (April 5, 2001 birth date) he will be subject to a 3-year entry level contract.
There is plenty to like about Beecher’s game. The size, skating, intensity, physicality, work ethic, face offs, defensive game and penalty killing abilities are just some of those things. All those things point to a successful NHL career. If I have one disappointment it would be point production. I would have been satisfied with a half point per game production and that is what I was hoping for, but he fell just short of that. But, and that’s a big but, coming back from injury earlier in the season may have hampered that a little.
I believe Beecher is worthy of his contract and would hope he goes to Providence immediately following his NCAA season where the Providence staff and the Bruins development staff can begin to mold him for the NHL. It’s a win-win for both sides.
There have also been some very pleasant surprises, most notably Ty Gallagher of the Boston University Terriers, drafted in the 7th round – 217th overall – at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. If you had told me then the defenceman would put up half a point per game as an 18-year-old in the NCAA (turns 19 on Sunday), I probably would have laughed out loud.
Everything about Gallagher screamed NHL defenceman this season. The poise, playmaking, passing, skating, defensive awareness, it’s all there, all he needs to do is mature physically and continue to work on the assets in his arsenal. At this point, I don’t see him spending four years in college.
I can’t say the season Mason Lohrei has had with the Ohio State Buckeyes has come as a surprise. I fully expected something like this, maybe not the almost point-per-game level he achieved, but something very close to it. What sticks with me most is the number of times I had to hear the “ignore his final season in the USHL because he was a man playing among boys.” I do wonder where those people are now!
There are a lot of fans that are hoping for Lohrei to turn pro immediately. Personally, I believe both he and the team are better served with one more season at Ohio State. Ultimately, the decision will be all up to Lohrei. I am pretty sure the Bruins aren’t going to try and talk him into signing this season.
Moving outside the NCAA I feel there are two prospects most fans are asleep on. The first is Matias Mantykivi of Ilves Tampere of the Finnish Liiga. The level he is playing up to this season has been nothing short of amazing. He has already tripled his point production from a season ago and in two fewer games. Most noticeably, he has turned a minus-18 from a year ago into a plus-18 this season. I know many fans don’t put much stock into plus/minus stats, but with context it says plenty.
Here is another shocking stat when it comes to Mantykivi: Ilves has only lost two games, one in a shootout in which he registers a point. That gives Ilves an 19-1-1 record in which he records at least one point. On the other side of the ledger Ilves is 8-8-4 when he fails to record a point.
To put things in a different perspective, Mantykivi had no goals and 1 assist through his first ten games. So, he has 12 goals and 16 assists in his last 32 games. He was a young 20-year-old at the start of the season playing against men but I say that is excellent production over his last 32 games.
The next is a player I have spoken about here several times, Oskar Jellvik of Djurgardens IF J20 squad. Through 23 games in regular league play, Jellvik posted 11 goals and 14 helpers and that is not bad production at all. But he has taken that to another level in J20 Top-10 League play (the top 10 teams in junior hockey) where he has 11 goals and 10 assists through 14 games to sit second in league scoring.
Jellvik is about as consistent offensive producer as there is at this level. After going pointless in his first three games of the season, he has not been held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games the rest of the way. He’s had one prolonged scoring streak of twelve games, and 14 of the 28 games he has registered a point have been multi-point games.
I suppose the reason they are not discussed among Bruins fans is that they don’t want to pay the money to watch European games and they don’t have the time to watch games in the mornings. Jellvik is heading to Boston College for next season and then there will be more eyes on him and that’s when the internet will jump on the bandwagon. As for Mantykivi, I will continue to pump his tires until everyone else jumps on board.
Providence Bruins Player Stats
Providence Bruins Goalie Stats
Maine Mariners Stats
Coming up this week:
Before we get to this week’s schedule, here is how the NCAA’s Road to the Championship will play out:
Selection Show | March 20, 2022
The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship bracket will be announced on Sunday, March 20.
Regionals | March 25-27, 2022
At each site, 4 teams will compete in single-elimination Regional Semi-final competition. The 2 winning teams will then compete against each other in single-elimination Regional Final competition at the same site. The winning team from each of the 4 Regionals will advance to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.
Frozen Four | April 7-9, 2022
The 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championship will be held at TD Garden in Boston, MA. The National Semifinals will be held April 7, 2022. The National Championship will take place April 9, 2022.
|CEHLARIK||Vs AKB||Vs AKB||At AKB|
|ARNESSON||Vs LUL||At FAR||At FRO||Vs TIM|
|MANTYKIVI||At SPO||At LUK||Vs TAP|
|GASSEAU||Vs S F||At S C|
|LANGENBRUNNER||Vs S F||At S C|
|KUNTAR||Vs MAS||At MAS|
|BEECHER||Vs MSU||Vs MSU||*Vs MSU|
|LOHREI||Vs P S||Vs P S|
|SCHMALTZ||At OMA||At OMA|
|OLSON||Vs ST C||Vs ST C|
|GALLAGHER||At MNE||At MNE|
|HARRISON||Vs OTT||At MIS||At PBO|
|MAST||Vs SAG||Vs SOO||Vs KIT|
|LYSELL||Vs KAM||At KEL||Vs KEL|
|SVEDEBACK||At USA||At USA||At USA|
(* Playoff game – if necessary. ** – exhibition game. Schedule is incomplete as not all playoff dates are set as of writing this)
AROUND THE GLOBE
Matias Mantykivi 6 goals and 7 assists in his last 10 games.
Mason Lohrei has 2 goals and 5 assists in his last 5 games and 2 goals 8 assists in his last 10.
Fabian Lysell has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last 5 games.
Philip Svedeback has won three of his last four starts (he left the game early in the second period with an injury in his only loss allowing 2 goals on 22 shots). In those 4 games he has a .900 save-percentage and a 2.95 goals-against-average. Injuries have hampered him this season and had lost the starters job, but he has rebounded lately and is back to the form he had at the start of the season.
Mason Langenbrunner has 8 assists in his last 10 games.
Andre Gasseau has a goal and 3 assists in his last 5 games.
Trevor Kuntar has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 10 games.
Jake Schmaltz has 4 assists in his last 5 games.
Quinn Olson has 3 assists in his last 5 games.
Ty Gallagher has 2 assists in his last 5 games.
Brett Harrison has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games.
Riley Duran has 3 goals and an assist in his last 10 games. Offensively he has gone cold, but I like where his game is at.