Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2023 brings you good health and happiness.
We are unofficially into the second half of the season so I thought this would be a good time to do some player grades on the season to date. A lot of it is based off my expectations coming into the season and how they’ve done compared to that. So, let’s get to it.
Peter Cehlarik C+
Although his days as a Bruins prospect are numbered, I still keep tabs on Cehlarik because he is trade bait until then. He should be dominating the National League in Switzerland but he’s not. He’s actually done better for EV Zug in Champions League play than National League play.
Roman Bychkov D-
Most of what’s going against Bychkov is getting into the lineup or getting quality minutes. It just doesn’t happen for him with Locomotiv in the KHL. Then in his last two games, when he’s had the most TOI of the season, he puts up points in both.
Matias Mantykivi B-
Mantykivi may be hard pressed to match his career best in points from a year ago, but I am really super impressed by his all-around game. I have no problem saying he is the best two-way player on this list. My hope is that he will find the offence in the second half of the season.
Dans Locmelis A
Most Bruins fans are getting their first look at Locmelis at the World Junior Championships and are raving about his play. I can tell you, after watching all of his games in the J20 Nationell in Sweden, what you see is what you get. Talented player who plays with his heart on his sleeve. Could be a steal for the Bruins.
Oskar Jellvik A-
Much like Locmelis, I watched all of Jellvik’s games last season in the J20 Nationell and if you followed this blog a year ago, then you know I raved about him daily. But even I didn’t expect 9 points in 15 games to open up his NCAA career. His adjustment to North America hasn’t been perfect but it’s not hindering him.
Andre Gasseau B
If you had told me to start the season Gasseau would be a .5 ppg player at this point in his sophomore season I would have gladly taken that and gone home for the season. Other areas of his game have taken a little longer to come along but I am encouraged by his development.
Trevor Kuntar B+
Really, a B+ for a Junior playing at a point-per-game pace? At this point yes. My bold prediction at the start of the season was that Kuntar could have the type of season where he would turn pro when it’s over. There have been glimpses and he’s got more to give.
Mason Lohrei A-
There is no doubt surgery had affected him earlier in the season, and I am taking that into account. Still, he will come close to reaching his total of a year ago as he continues to work on his game. Am I concerned that he’s gone from a plus-16 to a minus-3? Not as much as some people. I would be shocked if he doesn’t turn pro after this season.
Mason Langenbrunner C-
Yes, he’s a sophomore, no he’s not getting a lot of minutes or prime offensive opportunities. How do you take that into account? I guess I expected too much for his first year at Harvard. But I still believe in him. He’s doing okay in a shut down role but I believe there is offensive ability within him.
Cole Spicer C-
I don’t know. This kid just put up points everywhere he’s played. I liked him a lot with the Under-18 team. I like him at the World Junior Under-18. It’s probably just me and I set unreal expectations of him for his first year at Minnesota-Duluth. That does not mean this was a bad pick. I’m just going to sit back and see what happens with Spicer. Like I said, probably set my expectations too high too early.
Quinn Olson C-
To say I am disappointed in Olson would be an understatement. I’ve been a fan since his days with Okotoks Oilers in the AJHL. Olson just never found his offensive stride with Minnesota-Duluth or maybe I over-estimated his abilities. The Bruins will need to make a decision on him after this senior year.
Jake Schmaltz C-
Like Olson, I am disappointed in Schmaltz’s season to date. We saw what he was capable of offensively with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. Then, in his first season with the University of North Dakota as a sophomore I was thoroughly impressed. But he’s taken a step back on the offense this season. I like how the rest of his game has gone but I needed to see an uptick on offence.
Riley Duran B+
I’m a big fan of Duran’s and the way he plays the game. You knew after the summer’s World Junior Championships he was going to have a good season with the Providence Friars. He’s been Steady Eddie so far and his 14 points have him sitting third on the Friars while leading them in PPG. My hope coming in was that he’d be closer to a point-per-game player so I’m hoping for a strong second half from him.
Ty Gallagher B-
After a strong season with the USNTDP, Gallagher followed it up with an impressive sophomore season with Boston University. So much so that many people expected him to take a major step this season. He certainly showed he has the tools. And while he is on pace to match his totals from a year ago, he’s doing it with virtually no powerplay time and not always getting the prime offensive opportunities. I’m stoked by this prospect. May just be the most underrated in the system.
Dustyn McFaul C+
I was a fan when the Bruins drafted him and even wanted them to select him. I had some doubts about his offensive game and how it might translate and we have the answer to that now. Still, he is a very effective shut down defenceman. Whether it’s enough to get him to the show? To be determined. I often wonder how it would be different if he took the jump to the USHL instead of an extra year in the OJHL.
Matthew Poitras B-
Poitras was supposed to be a leader on a Guelph Storm team that was supposed to make some noise this season. He leads a team in scoring that is out of the playoffs looking in near the bottom of the standings. Now, there’s some whispers about blowing it up in Guelph. Poitras has some decent numbers this season but, 20 percent of them have come in just two games. He needs a strong second half.
Brett Harrison A
A lot of Harrison’s game is night and day from a season ago, and that is a good thing. He has 16 goals and 33 points in 27 games and is carrying a Generals team offensively all while knowing his days could be numbered as trade deadline approaches. I’m giving Harrison some much deserved credit here as I had some serious question marks about his work ethic a year ago.
Ryan Mast B
Mast has missed some considerable time with first an illness and then a broken jaw yet he is still on pace to produce at last season’s pace. Big, physical and mobile defencemen like Mast don’t grow on trees especially right shot defenders. Sarnia is committed to going on a deep run this season and playing meaningful games will give us a sense of where Mast could end up.
Jackson Edward C+
I talk to a lot of hockey people, particularly in the OHL. I can’t find one who predicted or saw this type of offense from Edward nor did they see him raise his physicality to the level he is displaying this season. Both are great, yes. But he’s facing disciplinary action for the second time this season. He can’t cross the line.
Frederic Brunet A-
The Bruins took a chance drafting an “overager” and at this point I think even they would admit he’s surpassed expectations. At this point he leads the Rimouski Oceanic in scoring, is fourth in the QMJHL in scoring among defenceman and carries his team offensively and defensively. He quarterbacks the PP like few others easily leading his team with 14 PP assists and is second in the QMJHL among point men. I think Bruins fans learned from their experience with Mason Lohrei to refrain from making the “overage” comments we were accustomed to with the latter.
Jonathan Myrenberg No Grade
Acquires as the main piece from the Vancouver Canucks in the trade for Jack Studnicka, I didn’t have any expectations of him coming into the season as he was not yet a Bruins prospect. But I have been following his progress since the trade brought him into the fold. He has some impressive tools to be sure but for now I will hold back giving him a grade until the end of the season.
Philip Svedeback A-
People talk about the Bruins goaltending at the NHL level as the best duo in the league. I’ll take it a step further and say they have the best goaltender prospect pool of all 32 teams and it’s led by Svedeback. The numbers may not be eye popping but he does what goaltenders should do and that is stop the pucks he has to stop and make “the save” when needed. I can’t wait to see what he is capable of when Mike Dunham and Bob Essensa get a hold of him.
Reid Dyck D
I kind of feel for Dyck here because he has at least shown the tools to be a good goaltender and just needs time to hone his skills. It’s just not an ideal situation with the Swift Current Broncos but at least he’s facing pucks – 33.7 per game, the most of any goaltender in the WHL who has played in more than 6 games. There’s a long road ahead and he has plenty of time.
Here’s a look at the Providence Bruins leaders:
Coming up this week:
|PLAYER||MON 2||TUE 3||WED 4||THU 5||FRI 6||SAT 7||SUN 8|
|CEHLARIK||At LUG||Vs RJL|
|BYCHKOV||Vs SAL||Vs MET||At SPA|
|MANTYKIVI||At ASS||Vs IFK||At VS|
|MYRENBERG||Vs BIK||At TNG||At TNG|
|LOHREI||Vs M S||Vs M S|
|LANGENBRUNNER||At PNT||At Qui|
|SPICER/OLSON||At B S||Vs B S|
|SCHMALTZ||Vs LIN||Vs LIN|
|DURAN/SVEDEBACK||Vs N H||At ARM|
|GALLAGHER||Vs A F||Vs ASU|
|MCFAUL||At H C|
|POITRAS||At LDN||Vs ER|
|HARRISON||Vs MIS||At N B||At SBY||At HAM|
|MAST||Vs WSR||At ER|
|EDWARD||Vs GUE||V HAM||At SAG|
|BRUNET||Vs CHI||At CHA||At MON||At S J|
|DYCK||Vs SAS||At M H|
AROUND THE GLOBE
Brett Harrison is sizzling. Currently on an 11-game point streak with 7 goals and 12 assists, it is the longest point streak of the season among these prospects. It is the 4th longest streak in the OHL this season. While his team continues to slip, Harrison continues to produce as trade rumors get more intense.
Dans Locmelis had a 3-game point streak in the J20 Nationell heading into the World Junior Championship break where he has been one of, if not Latvia’s best players from start to finish. If that was your first opportunity to see him play, like I’ve said – he could be a steal of a prospect. Spend some money and watch the rest of the J20 season. You won’t be disappointed. I promise you.
Philip Svedeback recorded his first career shutout Friday on his way to his 10th victory in 11 starts. He followed that up Saturday by stopping 19 of 20 for a 6-1 victory. His 9-3-5 record, 2.11 goals-against-average and .907 save-percentage may not be eye popping but he gives Providence a chance to win every night and is a big reason they are where they are.
Reid Dyck has won 4 of his last 6 starts with an .879 save-percentage in those 6 games. Not eye-popping numbers either and I’ve spoken to that previously, but he is making big saves at the right time and giving his Swift Current Broncos a chance.
Matthew Poitras has points in 7 of his last 9 games with 3 goals and 9 assists. His 29 helpers are 8th in the OHL and his 15 powerplay assists are good for 4th spot in the league. His 38 points puts him comfortably in the lead among his teammates on a team that was supposed to be a contender this season.
Mason Lohrei may be short of his production of a year ago as he continues to work his way back to full strength following surgery. He has points in 8 of his last 10 games with 9 assists and is still third on his team in scoring.
Trevor Kuntar continues his consistent, point-per-game season having been held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games just once on the season. His 15 points has him second on the team in scoring, just one off the team lead.
Frederic Brunet is on a 4-game point streak with 2 goals and 7 assists. Is he the least talked about prospect in the system? I don’t know but I think he gets ignored in some circles because he was drafted as an “overager”.
Jackson Edward ended an 8-game point streak against Sarnia with an assist and followed that up the next night against Sarnia with his second apple in 2 days. Problem is, he was ejected from the game the second time around for a hard hit behind his net that to me, looked like the principle point of contact was the head. I do believe he is facing a suspension.
Ryan Mast has returned from a broken jaw that has kept him out of the lineup since November 20 and scored his first goal of the season on New Years Eve. It was a wicked shot that went off the goalpost and then bounced in off future teammate Edward.
Mason Langenbrunner has reached 13 games without a point, tied for the longest among these prospects this season. We can look for reasons and make excuses, but I feel he should have something on the board by now.