Boston Bruins Defensive Future Is Bright

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Bruins Defensive Future Is Bright Despite Current Woes on Blueline

At this stage of the game, as many of you know, the Bruins defensive core isn’t the best. But that doesn’t mean all hope for the future should be lost.  If you look in depth into the prospects the Bruins have stockpiled over the years, you will see promise and skill in various areas that should not go unnoticed.

For the past couple of years, team defense has been the main criticism of the Bruins, and with good reason. Their core of defensive prospects, on the other hand, stacks up well with the rest of the NHL.

Let’s take a look at a few of the top Bruins defensive prospects.

Charlie McAvoy

Let’s start with the guy who has received the most attention as of late, Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy will head back to Boston University in the fall for his much-anticipated sophomore season. Last year, as the youngest player in all of college hockey, McAvoy put together a nice 3-22-25 stat line in 37 games. But more recently he was one of the main topics of discussion due to his performance in the Junior National Evaluation Camp as a member of Team USA Blue.

While none of his Bruins buddies were on Team USA Blue, he was accompanied by BU Terrier teammates Jordan Greenway, Chad Krys and Jake Oettinger. Two of his other BU teammates were on Team USA White, while 2016 first-round selections Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows, as well as Dante Fabbro, were on Team Canada. On the Bruins side of things, Trent Frederic and Ryan Lindgren were on Team USA White, Zachary Senyshyn and Jeremy Lauzon were on Team Canada and Oskar Steen was on Team Sweden.

McAvoy, 18, made some waves when he decked Florida Panthers 2015 first-rounder Lawson Crouse at center ice. Taking care of a guy like Crouse, who wields 6 foot 4, 209 pound frame, like he did is not easy. A few days prior, he did the same to Swedish forward Andreas Wingerli, but more towards the Team USA blue bench, rather than center ice. He also notched two assists in as many games. Watch out for Charlie McAvoy come the start of the 2017-2018 season, because if he keeps trending upwards, he has a legitimate shot at making the Bruins roster.

Matt Grzelcyk

Matt Grzelcyk, 22, is a former and possible future linemate of Charlie McAvoy who will spend the upcoming season with the Providence Bruins unless he makes the big club out of camp or gets called up at some point during the season. He signed his entry-level contract with the Bruins on April 1 after an impressive but shortened senior season with Boston University. With 10 goals and 23 points in 27 games, he was nearly a point per game player as a defenseman while captaining the Terriers. In 14-less games than the previous season, Grzelcyk managed to have the same amount of goals in his final two seasons as a Terrier.

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He captained the BU Terriers during his junior and senior seasons and consistently made his presence known on the ice. Many aspects of his game resemble that of Torey Krug, which may or may not make the B’s hesitant to have two smaller, yet capable defensemen on their blue line. Not only did Grzelcyk display great leadership and skill, he was also very proficient on the power play. He had 5 goals and 12 power play points as a junior, followed by another impressive power play showing this past season as a senior including 4 power play goals in 14 less games, as previously mentioned.

The Charlestown kid will be chomping at the bit for a shot with the B’s and could very well get it sooner rather than later.

Jeremy Lauzon

Jeremy Lauzon is set to begin his fourth season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL and he gets better and better every year. His most recent campaign was a scary one. In a QMJHL playoff game against the Blaineville-Boisbriand Armada, he suffered a neck laceration but thankfully recovered from the scary injury with time. Despite playing the least amount of games in a season with the Huskies, Lauzon reached career highs in assists (40), points (50) and +/- rating (+40)

Lauzon was taken 52nd overall in 2015 with one of the picks acquired in the Dougie Hamilton trade. His younger brother and teammate, Zachary, is also a defenseman who will enter his second full season as a husky and third as a member of the Huskies. Zachary, 17, is eligible for the 2017 NHL entry draft. Still, at just 19 years old, Jeremy has ample time to grow and if he continues to progress like he has over the years in the QMJHL, he is set for a monster year.

Brandon Carlo

Like Grzelcyk, Carlo spent his last two years in a leadership role with his team. He was an assistant captain of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans for the past two seasons. Grzelcyk and Carlo are two very different players, though. Carlo towers over his opponents with a daunting 6 foot 5, 203-pound frame and doesn’t produce on the score sheet as much as the 5 foot 9, 174 pound Matt Grzelcyk. The trend in the players mentioned is producing more while playing in less games than the previous season. In 11 less games than 2014-2015, 52 games to be specific, Carlo tallied 5 goals and 27 points, just two more points than the year before, but improvement, nonetheless.

Carlo will suit for his first full season with the Providence Bruins this year, that is if he doesn’t make the team out of training camp. He played just 7 games with Providence late last season with 1 assist to show for it. His NHL size and combination of skills make him a likely candidate to crack the Bruins roster at some point this year.

Next: Boston Bruins Still In Running For Jimmy Vesey

Keep an eye on these guys as their respective 2016-2017 campaigns get going. If you’re into college hockey and somehow haven’t seen Charlie McAvoy play, I highly recommend going to a BU hockey game this year. This is coming from a life long BC Eagles hockey fan, arch-rival of the BU Terriers. Things look positive in the B’s system on the back end.