The Boston Bruins were supposed to select at number 91 on the second day of the NHL Entry Draft but instead they traded the pick to the Seattle Kraken (Ben MacDonald) for pick number 117 and pick number 119 (Dans Locmelis). And with the 117th pick the Bruins selected Cole Spicer from the US National Development Team making him the second of three back-to-back-to-back pivots the Bruins would choose in the draft.
Everyone who follows hockey knows the Bruins are lacking at the center position and the 5’10”, 175-pound Spicer adds to the Bruins depth chart down the middle.
Spicer completed his second season with the USNDT. After scoring twice and assisting on two others through 20 games during the 2020-2021 season, he notched 10 goals and 6 helpers in 26 games this season in the USHL and that was a positive trend. He went 20-19-39 in 58 games with the USDP. He represented the United States at the World Junior Championship Under-18 and scored 3 goals and two assists in 6 games.
Spicer will attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season – one of the Bruins favorite spots. The one thing you can certainly expect from Minnesota-Duluth: They will turn any player into a complete player and prepare players for the next level.
That complete player status is an area Spicer showed improvement on as the season progressed. His engagement got better, his work ethic got better, and his direct approach to engage defensively improved. I was a bit surprised at his willingness to take the opposition out along the boards and try and pin them despite his size. It will be a tougher task against bigger and faster players at the next level, but glad to see the willingness in him.
When he had the opportunity to play up in the lineup, he saw some time with the likes of Cutter Gauthier and Jimmy Snuggerud – both first round picks – and did not look out of place. He was able to think the game at their level and while he was the complimentary piece to them, he did not shy away from playing the pace game.
Spicer seems to enjoy the forecheck game. His feet are quick and if he’s not the first player on the puck he will do whatever he needs to do to get possession. Once he has possession and the opposition attacks, he is excellent with the puck on his stick in close quarters. He reads the ice quickly and accurately and makes the right play more often than not.
It’s too early to project what Spicer could become. His skill set projects as a middle six player, but if his offensive game continues to develop, he could become a top six pivot. Patience is required here with Spicer. I would not be surprised if he takes all 4 years at Minnesota-Duluth before he turns pro. But I think three years is what we would be looking at.
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