Don Sweeney has got to feel good about the Boston Bruins prospects’ performances at last weekend’s National Junior Evaluation showcase in Plymouth, Michigan.
Over the last two seasons, the Boston Bruins general manager has taken a lot of flak over his prospect choices. Some fans were angry over the B’s not being able to move any of their three consecutive first-round picks in 2015. Others were disappointed in this years’ picks. A few were unhappy over the lack of Canadians picked (I wish I was kidding here.).
Take a look at this year’s first-round picks:
Many people weren’t thrilled about the Bruins taking Charlie McAvoy as their first pick this draft. The 18-year old defenseman proved a lot of people wrong last weekend. McAvoy was physically impressive throughout the tournament, putting in some of the hardest hits of the event. His direct (but clean) hit on Florida Panthers’ prospect Lawson Crouse was the talk of the tournament.
McAvoy wasn’t the only pick that was considered controversial. Some of the fans and local media questioned the picking of Trent Frederic. The 29th overall draft pick had a mixed-bag performance at the showcase. While he was outstanding in the face-off circle, he wasn’t outstanding as Team USA’s fourth line center. Still, he had a decent performance, validating the Bruins faith in his potential.
This season’s second-round draft pick Ryan Lindgren also performed well for Team USA. In all, six Boston Bruins prospects played last weekend. Two played for Team Canada (Zach Senyshyn and Jeremy Lauzon), and Oskar Steen played for Team Sweden. All six players stood out at the tournament.
Don Sweeney certainly has to feel validation at the prospects play.
“[These prospects] are now at the forefront of where this organization is headed,” offered Sweeney at the end of development camp last month. “We feel good about that. We’re going to give them the time that’s necessary to become the players that they can become, but they are a big, big part of our future. They know it and we’ve acknowledged it to them. Now they recognize the opportunity in front of them to take advantage of it.”
The Bruins youth movement is coming. While it will take a few years for some of these players to be NHL-ready, things are looking good for the Black and Gold’s future.