(Editor’s note: This post was written by Dan Shulman, who’s having trouble with his account. While we already made our pick in SBN’s mock draft, Dan, who helps cover prospects during the season, decided to do a full B’s draft — extra coverage can’t hurt!)
The Boston Bruins have seven selections in this year’s NHL Draft, taking place on from July 23-24.
Among many team needs in what is becoming a thinning prospect pool, center and defenseman are the most glaring.
Boston opens its draft with the 21st pick, then doesn’t pick again until the third round (85th overall). The sizeable gap in the early rounds means the Bruins will need to be smart about its first selection.
Let’s go down the list and take a look at who may be available when the Bruins go on the clock.
First Round – 21st Overall
Xavier Bourgault (C, Shawnigan Cataractes - SCOC Profile)
The 18-year-old center has put up impressive numbers over the last two seasons in the QMJHL, with 110 points (53 goals, 58 assists) in 92 games over that time.
A gifted goal scorer, Bourgault also has strong vision in the offensive zone and high hockey IQ. The forward has also showcased his speed.
His faceoff percentage leaves a lot to be desired, however.
Alternate selection: Daniil Chayka (D, CSKA Moscow) – A sizeable defenseman with pro experience already at just 18 could turn into a quick-moving prospect in the Bruins system, filling a need on the blue line.
Third Round – 85th Overall
Ryder Korczak (C, Moose Jaw Warriors)
Another point-per-game forward, Korczak is projected in the third round and could potentially be a mid-round steal for Boston.
He wins about half his faceoffs already and had 49 assists in 62 games during the shortened 2019-20 season. Scouts might scoff at his minus-40 rating for that season, but considering his team went 14-44-4, he’d likely see that number rise in Boston.
Alternate Selections: Jakub Brabenec (C, HK Kometa Brno); Aidan Hreschuk (D, Boston College)
Fourth Round – 117th Overall
Eetu Liukas (LW, TPS)
A promising prospect who has risen through Finnish club TPS’s ranks quickly, he’ll likely stay home and get his feet wet at the pro level in Finland before heading stateside.
Liukas featured in 19 games for TPS in the 2020-21 Liiga campaign, registering three points and plus-3 rating. He’s also shown he won’t shy away from the physical aspect of the game.
Alternate Selections: Kalle Vaisanen (LW, TPS); Simon Knak (LW, Portland Winterhawks)
Fifth Round – 149th Overall
Joey Pierce (D, Hermantown, Minn.)
At the high school level, Pierce looked dominant. While his production has dropped off after moving up to the NAHL, Pierce is committed to Minnesota-Duluth for the 2022-23 season – a program that has recently become a talent factory.
The pick is a safe one for the fifth round, giving Boston a little time to see if he can pan out before deciding whether or not to give him a chance at the professional level.
Alternate Selections: Cal Thomas (D, Maple Grove, Minn.); Nikita Novikov (D, Dynamo Moscow)
Sixth Round – 181st Overall
Florian Elias (C, Adler Mannheim)
Elias has performed well in international competition and already has some pro experience in Germany. It’s another low-risk, high-reward option for Boston late in the draft and at a position of need.
Alternate Selections: Justin Janicke (LW, US NTDP); Jack O’Brien (C, Portland Winterhawks)
Seventh Round – 213th & 217th Overall
Nate Benoit (D, North Dakota); Tim Delay (C, Hingham, Mass.)
A pair of local prospects (you know the Bruins love those) here to close out the draft, Benoit hails from New Hampshire and played a key role for Mount St. Charles in Rhode Island over the past few years. Committed to North Dakota, Benoit would get high-level college hockey experience prior to joining the Boston ranks.
As for Delay, the St. Sebastian’s forward is committed to Boston College for 2022 and mixes strong playmaking with goal-scoring potential. Can’t go wrong if you go local, especially in the final ten picks of the draft.
Alternate Selections: Luke Mittelstadt (D, Minnesota); Cade Ahrenholz (RW, Colorado College)