For me, one of the more interesting picks the Bruins made came in the 132nd spot as they selected defenceman Frederic Brunet of the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Bruins second of four picks from the Canadian Hockey League.
Brunet is a draft re-entry after being passed over at the 2021 Entry Draft. After scoring once and adding 8 helpers in 33 games during the 2020-2021 campaign, Brunet exploded for 12 goals and 34 assists in 64 games this season. With an August 21 birthdate, he was one of the youngest players available for the 2021 draft and was ranked 214 among North American skaters.
But it wasn’t just Brunet’s stats that had a marked improvement. Call him a late bloomer or any other adjective you can think of, but there wasn’t an area of Brunet’s game that did not show progression over a season ago and it showed in his NHL Central Scouting rankings as he jumped from 221 on their mid-term rankings to 113 on their final rankings. I had him pegged as a late 5th or early 6th rounder but am fine with where the Bruins picked him.
Brunet had some adjusting to do with his body that might answer some questions about whether he is a late bloomer. When he was drafted at the 2019 QMJHL draft, Brunet measured just 5’11” and today he stands 6’3”. That is a major growth spurt that would take anyone time to adjust.
And you have to love the bloodlines in Brunet’s family that has plenty of athletes. His father, aunt and uncle were all Olympians while his mom is a Doctor with the Canadian Ski Team. Being surrounded by elite athletes is always a plus and this summer he trained with Patrice Bergeron.
His best asset is his skating and it comes as no surprise as his dad was an Olympic figure skater. His mechanics, agility, edges and speed are all excellent. His ability to turn and retrieve pucks quickly are excellent and when he does so he can escape pressure and transition the other way almost at will. He has turned his transition into a one-man-breakout.
Brunet defends his blueline well using his skating and reach along with his active stick to try and break up zone entries. There is some work to be done on his positioning and when to attack in his own zone. If his team’s system is man-on-man coverage, he is okay but if they are deploying a zone-coverage he can sometimes get lost. He is still a little green, but I am confident that will come.
You have to like Brunet’s offensive game. Honestly, he’s not a true powerplay quarterback as he lacks the shot from the blue line that is required from that position. He also makes questionable reads with the puck in terms of his passing decisions. On the other hand, he is excellent at joining the rush or being the late guy to jump into the play.
As I said, Brunet is still green and there is some developing still to be done. Most of the tools are there with him and it’s now about polishing his game. I’m pretty excited to see where he takes it.
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