Boston Bruins Monday Morning Prospect Update Week Ending: December 11, 2022

I am going to start this week off by going in a different direction. Some of you have probably heard me discuss this in the past. Some of you may take this as a rant of sorts and maybe it is because like you, I love my Boston Bruins.

I truly believe that our beloved Bruins absolutely need to bring in Marc Savard at some level of coaching within the organization. Whether it is in some capacity at the NHL level or as a development coach in the American Hockey League, I believe it needs to happen.

Savard took over as head coach of the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League a season ago and he has done wonders with the team and with the players. Players like Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars), Will Cuylle (New York Rangers) and Matthew Maggio (New York Islanders) saw their offence skyrocket to levels no one predicted under Savard’s tutelage a season ago. And Savvy is doing the same this season with draft eligibles such as Ryan Abraham and Colton Smith.

This past offseason, I spoke about the importance of putting John Beecher in important offensive roles to try and get a read on where his offence could be. The same could be said of Georgii Merkulov. Brett Harrison will be in Providence sooner rather than later and Matthew Poitras – who has some similarities to Savard – not far behind.

The Bruins have a goaltending specialist in Mike Dunham to work with the goaltenders. Adam McQuaid works with all the prospects but let’s face it, he’s a defensive specialist.

I say it’s time to bring in Savvy.

The Bruins placed Victor Berglund on Unconditional Waivers on Thursday and Berglund cleared on Friday. That set’s up a mutual termination of the contract between the Bruins and Berglund and the latter is now free to head back home to Sweden to continue his career. It had been quietly speculated that this was in the works for a few weeks as Berglund had been passed on the depth chart in Providence and only appeared in 5 games for the Baby Bruins.

Except Berglund did not go back to Sweden, instead he signed with HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Liiga per team announcement.

I want to wish Berglund luck on his future.  

Going into Sunday’s action, Harrison has been on quite a pace. He has 7 goals and 3 assists in his last 5 games – 10 goals and 6 assists in his last 10 games and is on pace to obliterate his 27 goals in 65 games from a year ago. The fact that he only has 8 helpers on the season is a bit of a question mark. I had him pegged for a 30 goal – 45 assist season if he played a full 68 games. He’s on pace for 48 goals and 24 assists.  

Is there an explanation? I don’t know but here’s what I think: Since November 18 Harrison has been playing almost exclusively on left wing. He will still take key faceoffs. It’s been 9 games since the switch and he has goals in seven of those games – 10 goals to be precise. Harrison has been finding open ice and been firing away his one-timer almost at will.

Harrison doesn’t have to be the setup man on his line. He’s playing mostly with 2023 draft eligible Calum Ritchie in the middle and veteran Cameron Butler on the right or on occasion Beckett Sennecke, a 2024 draft prospect. And all three are above average puck distributors.  

The offence isn’t the only improvement to his game. There is a new found commitment to defence. For the first time in his OHL career, Harrison is a plus player sitting with a team leading plus-9 on a squad that is a collective minus-13. The other noticeable improvement comes in the form of physicality. No longer does he shy away from board battles or puck battles; he is engaged and uses his size to his advantage.

So, what’s in store for the remainder of the season? The OHL trade deadline is fast approaching and Harrison’s Oshawa Generals will need to make a decision on him. The Generals are locked into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with only a two-point cushion on the Sudbury Wolves.

With a June 7, 2003 birth date Harrison will turn 20 years of age in the offseason thereby making him eligible to play for Providence of the AHL next season. The Generals could very well miss the playoffs or at best, not go far and it is in their best interest to trade Harrison and get something back for an asset they are going to lose. It’s just the way junior hockey works and my best guess is that he will be moved.

Here’s a look at the Providence Bruins leaders:

Coming up this week:

PLAYERMON 12TUE 13WED 14THU 15FRI 16SAT 17SUN 18
CEHLARIK *V MHK     
BYCHKOV       
MANTYKIVI    Vs LUK  
LOCMELIS       
MYRENBERG  Vs AIK At VAS  
JELLVIK/GASSEAU/KUNTAR       
LOHREI    At BGSVs BGS 
LANGENBRUNNER       
SPICER/OLSON       
SCHMALTZ       
DURAN/SVEDEBACK       
GALLAGHER       
MCFAUL       
POITRAS    Vs BARVs SOO 
HARRISON    At OTTVs SBY 
MAST  Vs ER At FLT  
EDWARD    Vs O SVs FLT 
BRUNET    At B BAt B B 
DYCK  Vs KEL At EDMAt RD 

*Champions Hockey League playoff game.

AROUND THE GLOBE

WHO’S HOT:

Dans Locmelis and his Lulea squad finished the Norra Division portion of the J20 Nationell schedule and finished tied for top spot in scoring with 12 goals and 21 helpers in 27 games. They move onto the Top-10 which is made up of the top-5 teams from the Nora and Sodra divisions and will play the other 9 teams twice each.

Brett Harrison had the league high current goal scoring streak of 5 games but that ended on Sunday night. He did however get two assists to extend his point streak to 6 games. He has 7 goals and 5 assists in those 6 games.

WHO’S WARM:

Matthew Poitras has a 4-game point streak going with 6 assists in those 4 games. His 32 points on the season is tops for the Guelph Storm. Poitras has not scored a goal since November 19 when he had 2 against the Kitchener Rangers. But if you ask Poitras, he’s happier setting up goals than scoring them.

Philip Svedeback lost for the first time since October 22 at Denver and going 4-1-5 in that time. Svedeback is tied for 26th in the NCAA in goals-against-average at 2.32 and tied for 54th in save-percentage at .900 but as I said last week, stats don’t tell the whole story.

Trevor Kuntar had a goal and 2 assists on Friday to end a 2-game pointless streak. However, he does have 2 goals and 4 assists in his last 5 games and 4 goals and 7 assists in his last 10 games. Kuntar to me may just be the most underrated of the Bruins prospects not in the AHL.

Riley Duran had such a hot start to his season it was hard to imagine him being able to keep up that pace. He went cold for a handful of games but looks more like himself lately while also looking more engaged in every aspect of the game as he’s collected 4 assists in his last 5 games. Unfortunately, Providence’s next game is 3 weeks away. Let’s hope he doesn’t lose the momentum he was building.

WHO’S COLD:

Jackson Edward returned from a two-game suspension for a slew foot and is now pointless in 6 games. Have to admit though, Jackson played with a bit of a burr under his saddle after his return. The slew foot was not intentional and happened with 5 seconds remaining in a game so, he wasn’t happy and he let the opposition know it when he returned to the ice.

Mason Langenbrunner is still a freshman and yes, many parts of his games I like. But 11 games into the season I have to say I expected something out of him offensively at this point. He is one of only two Harvard players without a point. Now, his team doesn’t play again until December 30.

Matias Mantykivi is pointless in his last 4 games but has 8 points in his last 10 games. For me, it’s always been about his 200-foot game and his attention to detail in all 3 zones that has impressed me. I admit, I am a little disappointed in the offence this season, which is on pace to finish as he did a year ago. That’s a very good hockey league he is playing in and you can rest assured that if he comes to North America, his game will be very well prepared.

Ryan Mast hasn’t played since November 20 and missing the last 9 games after suffering a broken jaw in practice. Mast was just returning from a non-covid related illness at the time. The team’s official announcement is of course, upper body injury.

Jake Schmaltz has but one point – an assist in his last 7 games. With 3 goals and 2 assists in October, things looked promising for the sophomore but zero goals and just 2 assists in November and just 1 assist through December has him falling short of matching last years totals when a solid jump was expected from him.

Follow me on Twitter @dominictiano

Published by Dominic Tiano

Following the Ontario Hockey League players eligible for the NHL Draft. I provide season-long stats, updates and player profiles as well as draft rankings.

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