Bruins 25 u25 #17: Jakub Zboril
Where did he come from?: Drafted #13, 2015 NHL draft
Has he played NHL yet?: No
The Czech defenseman was a player many saw as a surprise pick at #13 in 2015, especially with his defensive partner and Team Canada standout Thomas Chabot also sitting waiting on the board that draft, but Don Sweeney put his faith more in understated skill and intelligence rather than speed and flash, and so far the Bruins have not lost out on the deal.
Playing for the President’s Cup-winning Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL this season in his age-20 and final junior year, Zboril continued to show significant improvement in his offensive output, more than doubling his assist tally from 14 to 32 and scoring only 4 points less than the more offensively-heralded Chabot, although it must be borne in mind that the Canadian played 16 less games. He was steady in his own end, continued to show the excellent positional play that is his trademark and in all aspects of his game continued to develop apace, setting him up for a season in Providence this year.
What’s next for Jakub Zboril?
As part of a Providence team loaded with an influx of recent Bruins draft picks this season (the P-Bruins will have an average age of 22 and will have 7 recent picks playing this year) Zboril should expect to be given every opportunity to progress further at the AHL level. With competition like Jérémy Lauzon, Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk to scrap for ice-time with, there’s certainly motivation for Zboril to push his game to the next level - a very good season could see him earn a call-up to the NHL, although it’s more likely he’ll establish himself as one of the key players in the farm system this year with the aim of making the team next year. He certainly has the talent to force his way into the NHL picture - it’s more a question of whether or not the Bruins are willing to begin the transition to the new era.
Either way, Zboril seems well placed to reward the Bruins’ org faith in him this season, and become a key name in the future.