Mason Lohrei and Jake Schmaltz may still be a long way from the NHL, but if this past season was any indication, their development is trending in the right direction.
Lohrei was named the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Defenseman of the Year and was also named to the All-USHL First Team for 2020-2021, while Schmaltz was named to the All-USHL Third Team.
Lohrei, you’ll remember, was the Bruins’ top pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, selected 58th overall.
He has spent the last three seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers, and had himself quite a year last year: the 20 year old (as of last January) played 50 games and recorded 20 goals and 41 assists.
Per the Bruins, Lohrei’s 59 regular-season points were the most by a defenseman in Gamblers’ history.
He also racked up 74 penalty minutes, if you’re interested in that kind of stuff.
Lohrei will be heading to Ohio State University in the fall to begin his first season of NCAA hockey. His development should be fun to watch over the next few years.
(As an aside, per Elite Prospects, Lohrei is from...Baton Rouge, Lousiana???? Would he be the first Louisianan Bruin?)
Joining Lohrei on the USHL’s honor roll is fellow Gambler Jake Schmaltz, who was a seventh-round pick by the Bruins back in 2019.
Schmaltz, who is headed to the University of North Dakota in the fall, recorded 20 goals and 35 assists in 53 games for Green Bay.
We all should have been watching more Green Bay hockey last season: Lohrei and Schmaltz both served as alternate captains and went 1-2 (respectively) in team scoring.
The cynics among us will say “big deal, it’s the USHL, these kids are a reach anyways.”
Still, you want to see improvement and growth, right? Both displayed that this year, and are giving Bruins fans reasons to be optimistic.
Congrats to both kids!