The Boston Bruins have an abundance of left-handed defensive prospects which below you will delve in for a deeper look into what each prospect brings to the table for the Bruins future at the NHL level.
Vaakanainen was drafted out of the Mestis league by Boston in the first round (17th overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Mestis is the second best league in Finland, behind the SM-liiga. Urho Vaakanainen is a two-way defensemen that can move the puck very well out of his zone because of his smooth skating.
He isn’t a flashy player, which isn’t a bad thing. In the 2017-18 season, Vaakanainen signed with SaiPa in the SM-liiga because he knew the Bruins scouts wanted to see what he could do at a higher level. He finished the year perfectly well, notching a total of eleven points in forty-three games.
That’s impressive considering the SM-liiga is one of the hardest leagues in the world and he’s a kid playing against grown men. Vaakanainen is definitely NHL ready but it’s going to be hard to crack the Boston Bruins roster out of training camp because they already have a full defensive lineup. I don’t think Vaakanainen has first pairing potential because of his lack of offensive awareness but he will anchor the Bruins second pairing for years to come. This pick was a little off the board at the 2017 draft but it’s looking like a steal now.
Lauzon was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. In 2017-18, which was his rookie year, Lauzon played for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League. He notched a total of seven points in fifty-two games.
That’s not the best point total for a defensemen but there’s more to it than points. Lauzon was one of the Providence Bruins best defensemen until he got concussed. He is like Vaakanainen when it comes to his type of play, a two-way player that focuses more on the defensive aspect.
Lauzon isn’t the fastest skater but he moves the puck very well and is always in the right position to make a great defensive play. Lauzon missed a decent amount of time due to a concussion and he wasn’t the same when he returned. He came back shaky as if he was scared to take a hit.
Lauzon ended up slowly finding his game again and the Bruins scouts and fans breathed a sigh of relief. At the beginning of the 2017-18 season, Lauzon almost made Boston out of training camp, playing in every pre-season game for Boston before being sent down to Providence. Lauzon also plays both sides on defence, which could set up a Vaakanainen-Lauzon pairing for Boston in the future.
Lauzon isn’t going to become a first pairing defensemen just because of how low is offensive awareness is, but there’s still high hopes for this kid to anchor that second pairing.
Zboril was drafted by Boston in the first round (13th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He is the organizations most interesting prospect. Zboril has been doubted by many scouts because of his lack of work ethic.
Back in 2015, one scout said, “he’s a boom or bust prospect, there’s no in between.” Boston took a huge risk drafting him, but they hope he can find the motivation to become the player they know he can be. Zboril is a two-way defensemen and he has a lot of grit in his game.
He’s known for laying huge hits but he also skates very well and can quarterback a power-play. Zboril has all the tools to become an elite player, depending on how motivated he is to become that. In 2017-18, which was his rookie year, Zboril played for the Providence Bruins, notching a total of nineteen points in sixty-eight games played.
That’s decent for a defensemen still trying to find his game at the pro-level. Zboril also has a lot of pressure on him because of who was drafted after him. Matthew Barzal, Kyle Connor, and Brock Boeser are just a few names.
The Bruins management just needs to give Zboril time in the minor league and he will be playing for Boston in the near future. It’s hard to say what his potential is right now because of his work ethic but if he finds his game, I could see him becoming an elite defensemen playing on the first pairing with Charlie McAvoy when Chara retires.
Johansson was drafted by Boston in the seventh round (206th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Johansson made this list because believe it or not, he’s a very good prospect in the Bruins organization. In 2017-18, Johansson played for the Providence Bruins, notching a total of ten points in fifty-two games.
Johansson is an undersized defensemen but he doesn’t let that stop him. He moves the puck out of the zone perfectly and he’s always jumping into the rush because of his great skating ability. He’s more of an offensive defensemen, even though points don’t show that.
It’s time to give Johansson an NHL chance, even if he’s called up on an emergency basis. In all honesty though, it’s hard to say if he will ever make the Boston Bruins because of all the prospects waiting for their turn, but I do know that Johansson has the potential to become an NHL defensemen and if he doesn’t get his chance with Boston, he will get it somewhere else.
Who’s your favourite defensive prospect in the Boston Bruins organization?