June 26th, 2015 was a busy day for newly minted Bruins GM Don Sweeney. Having taken over for Peter Chiarelli just over a month prior, Sweeney made waves on draft day first by trading Milan Lucic to the Kings in an expected cap-cutting measure, then by moving disgruntled Dougie Hamilton to Calgary.
The return for Lucic was easy to justify: Colin Miller, the 13th pick in the draft, and Martin Jones (Jones would be flipped a few days later to the Sharks for a first rounder and Sean Kuraly).
But the haul for Hamilton, was questionable: The Flames first round pick, and two second rounders. With all of these picks, along with their own, the Bruins were fully expected to package them up in a larger deal. Most notably, there was rampant speculation about moving up to the top of the draft to grab Boston College stud defenseman Noah Hanafin.
But that didn’t happen. The Bruins used all of their picks in the first two rounds of the draft.
With Hamilton returning to TD Garden tonight, let’s have a look at what happened to the assets acquired in exchange for young Dougie.
First Round Pick (No. 15): Zach Senyshyn
Perhaps most notable for being neither Mathew Barzal nor Kyle Connor, Senyshyn was the Bruins’ big reach of the 2015 draft. Most prognosticators had him going sometime in the second round, not the middle of the first.
Senyshyn’s development has been all over the map. His draft year was nothing special, but he was buried on a stacked roster of older players on the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The following year, with an elevated role, he exploded for 45 goals in 66 games, then followed it up with a 42-goal campaign before turning pro.
But this season, his first in the AHL, has been... problematic. Senyshyn has just 18 points in 43 games in a bottom six role. Most discouragingly, he has been a healthy scratch at times.
Of course, with three consecutive picks, it might not be totally fair to say that Senyshyn is the exact piece the Bruins got in the Hamilton trade. It really didn’t matter what order the three draftees were selected, so it might be smarter to say they got one third of Jakub Zboril, Jake Debrusk, and Senyshyn. Of those three, Debrusk has obviously been the most successful.
Second Round Pick (No. 45): Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
Bruins fans were fortunate enough to watch JFK in his time with Boston University, putting up 30 points in 39 games as a freshman, then 33 points in 39 games as a sophomore. Playing a rounded, two-way style, the center stood out both at BU and at the World Junior for Sweden.
He’s spent this year, his first as a pro, in Providence. Continuing to develop as a do-it-all type center, he has 13 goals and 15 assists in 49 games. He seems on track to fill a middle-six role in the NHL at some point, so Sweeney seems to have done well here.
Perhaps the biggest question for JFK is whether he will be squeezed out by the franchise’s excellent depth at his position. If so, he would certainly make for an attractive piece in a trade.
Second Round Pick (No. 52): Jeremy Lauzon
There was very little hype about this defenseman when he was drafted, but Lauzon changed that quickly. He put up a monster year for the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, with 50 points in 46 games in 2015-16. He played big minutes and earned the team’s captaincy for the following season, and even scored a couple goals in limited time for Canada in the World Junior.
He’s slowed down since then, largely thanks to injuries. This year, his first as a pro, was put on hold after a concussion, forcing him out for 22 games. So far he has just two points in 25 games for Providence, but the jury is largely still out.
So here we are, going on three years since Hamilton’s departure, and what do the Bruins have to show?
So far, nothing.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has taken off. Skating alongside Mike Giordano, he has found his groove as an offensive playmaker, netting 43 and 50 points the last two seasons. He’s on pace for similar production this year. He leads the Flames’ defenders in CF% and in goal differential.
But all three prospects he netted still have a shot to make an impact in the NHL. At the very least, they have a shot to make an impact via trade.