Dom Lunardo | April 26th, 2020
The Boston Bruins came within one win of a Stanley Cup triumph last spring, losing to the eventual champion, St. Louis Blues in a hard-fought seven-game series. The deciding game coming on home ice at the TD Garden, which makes it all the more painful for Patrice Bergeron and co.
This year, the “Killer B’s” have turned the page, picked up right where they left off, and have played a tremendous brand of hockey. Before the halt in the NHL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bruins sat atop of the Atlantic Division. They had amassed 100 points through 70 games. All indications pointed towards yet another deep playoff run in Boston, Massachusetts.
Shipping Up to Boston
The Bruins are the epitome of success when it comes to playing as a team, drafting players, developing talent, and managing the all-important salary cap. Whether its a player developed through the grassroots level or a key trade along the way, the Bruins have been one of the most successful organizations in the National Hockey league over the past decade.
David Pastrnak, Torey Krug, Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, Zdeno Chara, and the Swiss-army knife himself, Patrice Bergeron do it all in Beantown. They also have a pretty good supporting cast as well. The Bruins also have some excellent pieces coming down the pipeline. When it comes to prospects, the Bruins are just one of those teams who leave their excuses at the door and “get the job done” year after year. Let’s take a closer look at Boston’s top-3 prospects, waiting to make their mark at the NHL level.
Number 3: Urho Vaakanainen, Defenseman, Providence Bruins (AHL)
21-year-old Urho Vaakanainen starts us off at number three and has already seen time “in the show” with the Bruins. Vaakanainen is a smart and skillful defenseman who has a real knack for reading plays and sifting out danger. He represented his native country of Finland three times at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships from 2017-19 tallying one goal and five assists in 18 games.
Vaakanainen is currently playing for the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League (AHL) where he continues to grow and develop as a player. Up to this point, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has been very impressed with Vaakanainen’s puck management skills, offensive upside, and his ability to get around the ice. Bruins fans should be excited at the thought of Vaakanainen and what he brings to the forefront in Beantown.
Number 2: Trent Frederic, Center, Providence Bruins (AHL)
St. Louis, Missouri native, Trent Frederic is next on our list at number two. Selected in the first round, 29th overall during the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Frederic is a force down the center of the ice. One of the most promising up and comers in the NHL., At 6’2, 205 pounds, Frederic uses his size to his advantage on each and every shift. His long, powerful strides and silky-smooth hands round out his game.
Frederic loves to handle the puck and can drive play in transition. He’s sound in his own end, quick in transition, and an excellent passer. In 59 games this season in Providence, Frederick tallied eight goals and 32 points to go along with a +10 rating. The Bruins love his ability to use his body and to make good, informed decisions in all three zones. Frederic has also been given a taste of the NHL over the past couple of seasons while he continues to refine his game. The B’s have a real talent on their hands with U.S. born centerman, Trent Frederic.
Number 1: Jack Studnicka, Center, Providence Bruins (AHL)
Jack “The Stud” Studnicka tops our list as the best prospect in the Bruins organization. Alongside Urho Vaakanainen and Trent Frederic, in Providence, Studnicka has enjoyed his time in the AHL and continues to mature and morph into a real, bonafide NHL talent. A combative centerman, who’s not afraid to go to the net, Studnicka occupies a real presence on the ice and loves to play the game.
The Windsor, Ontario native enjoyed four excellent years in the Ontario Hockey League. He played with the Oshawa Generals and Niagara Ice Dogs before Boston drafted him in the second round, 53rd overall during the 2017 NHL Draft. The Bruins have high hopes for Studnicka and see him as an integral piece moving forward. Studnicka tallied 23 goals in 60 games this season in Providence while showing a real maturity to his game. This kid is primed for stardom. He should be donning the iconic Bruins sweater on a full-time basis as early as next season.
Honorable Mentions: F John Beecher, F Curtis Hall
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images