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Predicting the USHL player Don Sweeney will inevitably pick 20th overall at the 2021 NHL Draft

Don Sweeney has a fever, and the only prescription is more American kids going to play for midwestern NCAA schools!

2020 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Michael Penhollow/NHLI via Getty Images

This is mostly a joke article. Do not take this as anything more than light-hearted response to an unusual trend in Bruins drafting. This is not an indictment of the players shown here, and I am not to be held responsible if the Bruins actually draft somebody on this list 20th overall.

Boston is heading to the NHL Draft of 2021 in little under a month, with a relatively bare cupboard for Prospects, and a weaker crop of prospects expected for this year. Indeed, life for Don Sweeney and his scouting staff should be very challenging right now. There’s simply very little way to know even from the best of analytical prospect data that there are consensus picks at any position because...well...this definitely wasn’t a normal year for prospects of any kind.

However, Don Sweeney and company have no fear, because they already have the exact player in mind. But what kind of player would that be? Why, my friend...

It’s a Big USHL Player.

That’s right, a Huge USHL player is just the kind of fresh talent to recharge the Black and Gold! But in an increasingly powerful and very well respected American Junior Hockey system, especially now that they’re reliably putting players into the top 5 of most draft years, how do you know which players to get? Well that my friend is the simple part; we just follow the Official Don Sweeney Rules of USHL Draft Criteria™! This special criteria was previously only a myth and closely guarded secret, but was provided to us here at SCoC by a janitor working at TD Garden we gave $20, and we gotta say, it’s money well-spent!

Many bothans died to bring us this information.

Now that we’ve properly educated ourselves on what makes a true Don Sweeney Draft Pick, we must now look for our large adult American son who will quickly become an educated, passionate, and productive member of the Boston Bruins!

But who to get exactly? Tragically, the USHL’s typical crop of enormous adult sons was pretty weak this year (as befitting a weak draft), and that means the pickings are somewhat slim for what they most desire, but there are at least seven players that fit Don’s exacting criteria that they can get for this all-important first round pick:

Shai Buium - D

Is he big?: Yup! 6’5

Is he good at backchecking?: He’s a defenseman, so I sure hope so! We’ll come back to this one later because he sure seems like a quality pickup!

Where’s he going to college?: The University of Denver! That’s 100% Denver for your Denver buying dollar!

Roman Schmidt - D

Is he big?: He’s 6’6!!!

Is he good at backchecking?: Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet seems to like his skills on the backcheck, and almost every scouting page seems to want more from him offensively, so he’s perfect!

Where’s he going to college?: Boston University! By god, I think he’s trying to get into a black and gold sweater!

Daniel Laatsch - D

Is he big?: 6’5!

Is he good at backchecking?: Laatsch was...okay. Maybe more of a Providence player but remember he can still be 6’5 at any time!

Where’s he going to college?: Wisconsin! Trent Frederic played in Wisconsin!

Andre Gasseau - F

Is he big?: He is 6’4, one of the bigger American forwards who will be available at the time Boston drafts!

Is he good at backchecking?: EPRinkside says they like the idea of him being a two-way forward!

Where’s he going to college?: Gasseau’s a BC boy! We’ve got a lot of commits lining up for a long, fruitful career as Hockey Players in New England!

Matthew Knies - F

Is he Big?: We’re starting to reach the cutoff now, as Knies is 6’3

Is he good at Backchecking?: Knies had an alternate captaincy this year for the Tri-City storm. Who else had an A while also being a good defensive presence? Patrice Bergeron. Airtight logic.

Where’s he going to college?: Minnesota! Not quite Boston or Denver, but still quite firmly in Don’s wheelhouse!

Gleb Veremyev - Winger

Is he big?: 6’3!

Is he good at backchecking?: more of an explosive goal scoring forward, very little description of his defensive play available.

Where’s he going to college?: Penn State. Hmm...that seems like a bit of a character issue. This puts Veremyev in the outside looking in when it comes to the Sweeney Criteria, imho.

But who would they pick?:

Simply put, the B’s need all the help they can get, and if we’re trying to be super duper 100% objective, they definitely need a hand at Left-hand D, or at the very least a younger one. There, I believe Shai Buium stands out as a large with the capacity to get even larger talent who could satisfy the needs of Don Sweeney’s USHL Criteria™.

But Don Sweeney and his scouting staff have never been one to go with expectations. The Bruins are all about making a splash at the Draft and throwing the entire proceedings off! Therefore, I believe Bruins will use the Draft Criteria as expected, but not on a giant American

....They will instead use it on a giant French Canadian in Charles-Alexis Legault (pictured here on the right), a 6’4 right-handed defender who showed True Bruins Character in his younger years, by eschewing the siren song of the QMJHL; a disgraceful league that has never supplied franchise-altering talent to the Bruins ever*, but instead chose the esteemed path of USHL-to-NCAA sages, going from the Lincoln Stars to Boston University! It will also be very much off the board, as a way to truly throw off the general managers of the league, you can’t go much further than the player 123rd by Central Scouting without putting your job in danger!

Regardless of which USHL player Don Sweeney will absolutely pick 20th overall at the NHL draft, we have full confidence in his ability to determine whether or not he will be able to successfully find an enormous American to fill the prospect list with, as he’s shown the ability to do pretty much every year he’s been general manager. And for that, we salute his commitment to this strategy, and hope that the giant American he picks for 2021 will be his best, biggest, and most American player yet!

* = Citation Needed