Boston Bruins First Rounders Hitting Their Stride


As the Boston Bruins try to catch up to the new NHL’s speed train, they have a couple of promising first round picks that hope to help the B’s with some fresh wheels in the near future.

Boston’s somewhat controversial first round wingers selected in June – Jake DeBrusk (14th overall) and Zach Senyshyn (15th) – have made steady progress in juniors out of the gates this season with DeBrusk on pace to hit the 100-point mark and Senyshyn on target to crack 40 goals. Their progress was significant enough over last season that Bruins GM Don Sweeney decided he had seen enough and locked the pair in with entry-level contracts on Nov. 12. The contracts won’t kick in until they are ready to make the pros, but both sides receive the security of a future deal and in the meantime the players can also get some games in at the AHL level in Providence at the conclusion of their junior seasons.

“Everybody’s gotten off to a good start and we’re excited,” said Sweeney in a press conference after the signings, which also included inking 2015 2nd rounder Jeremy Lauzon, who has racked up 25 points in 18 games as a defenseman in the QMJHL. “This was a draft where we felt that we needed to address sort of restocking things and I think we hit that head on. Hopefully all these players will continue with a natural progression to get them to where we feel they can get to and be an exciting part of our future.”

For DeBrusk, who was pegged in scouting reports to go a little lower in the draft (19th by Central Scouting, 27th by ISS), and particularly Senyshyn who was ranked on the second round of most boards (38th, 39th) and ended up being part of the Dougie Hamilton trade as the 15th pick, the signings and strong starts are especially rewarding. “Honored to sign my first NHL contract with the Bruins,” DeBrusk tweeted. “Thanks to everybody that’s helped me get to this point.”

Left winger DeBrusk, 19, 6’0”, 183 lbs, was enjoying a spectacular start for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, piling in six goals and 20 points in just 14 games before going down with a lower body injury from blocking a shot early in a Nov. 3 game that will keep him out for a few weeks. But prior to the injury he was on pace to hit 100 points and eclipse his 81-point total of last year. A good skater, DeBrusk is known for driving the net and scoring goals and being good with the puck in the circles.

Meanwhile, Senyshyn, RW, 18, 6’2”, 195 lbs, leads the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in goals with 10 and is second in points at 14 over 18 games, considerably better than the 26-goal, 45-point pace of last year. He also has a shootout winner. Senyshyn brings size, energy and skill to the ice, but most importantly high octane speed that allows him to create consistent chances and burst free for breakaways.

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  • “The kid is a player and he’s proving it in his second OHL season,” according to the Scouting Post. “It is now apparent that had the Bruins not stood pat and taken Senyshyn at 15, someone else would have grabbed him before the B’s would have likely had another opportunity.”

    Senyshyn’s 10th goal was perhaps his most impressive to date when he took an outlet pass on the right wing, blew by a defender and then deked around another at the goal mouth before lifting the puck over the goalie. “Senyshyn’s frame and gift of speed are two qualities that could turn him into an easy fan-favorite in Boston,” The Hockey News added.

    Senyshyn has also been donning the ‘A’ as an assistant captain for the Soo. “He’s not just a bull on the wing who uses explosive burst and acceleration to blow by defenders on the outside, then uses his 6’2” frame to drive the net and score, but he’s a quality kid,” wrote the Scouting Post. “He’s still pretty raw and far from a finished product. He’s still doing the things that brought him success a year ago [and] the best thing of all is that his opponents don’t have an answer for it. Senyshyn works hard and imposes his will on games given his size, speed and impressive offensive skills. The big difference…versus last year is that he’s displaying creativity I wasn’t sure he had.”

    What is also impressive about DeBrusk and Senyshyn is that both have a shot to make the 2016 Team Canada World Junior team that will likely include the likes of offensive machines Lawson Crouse, Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, Mathew Barzal and Travis Konecny. DeBrusk played with the team a little bit over the summer and Senyshyn played in the team’s win Thursday night over Russia. With all of the loaded talent in Canada, they may be long shots to make the final roster to compete for the World Junior Championship in Finland next month, but Senyshyn’s speed is getting him a close look. He was voted the third best skater in the OHL coaches poll last season, and Canada’s bench brass are looking for fast players to take advantage of the bigger ice surface in the series. “There are a number of guys on this roster who can really push the pace and cover a lot of ice,” Assistant Junior Team Canada Coach Trevor Letowski told CHL news. “The competition level in these games is very high, so we want to see who can dictate the play and be a difference maker out there.”

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