Bruins Prospects: Who’s playing in Europe this season?

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 25: Matias Mantykivi #32 of Finland skates against Germany during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 25, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 25: Matias Mantykivi #32 of Finland skates against Germany during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 25, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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It’s easy to keep an eye on Boston Bruins prospects when they’re playing in the AHL, in the NCAA or even in the Canadian or American junior hockey leagues.

But that’s not the case with every prospect. The Bruins have three draft picks that will be playing outside of North America.

Oskar Jellvik, Roman Bychkov and Matias Mäntykivi all will be skating in their home countries for this season. Jellvik is in Sweden, Bychkov is in Russia and Mäntykivi is skating in Finland.

Let’s take a look at these three overseas prospects.

Oskar Jellvik – Djurgårdens IF J20 (Sweden)

Don Sweeney loved his Swedes in this past draft, using three picks on Swedish players with his last one coming in the fifth round to take Oskar Jellvik. The 18-year-old is coming off a season where he spent a majority with Djurgårdens IF J20 in the J20 Nationell, Sweden’s highest level of junior hockey that was formerly known as the J20 Superelit. The forward had six goals and six assists in 13 games playing in his second season in the league.

Jellvik did see three games playing up with Djurgårdens IF in the Sweden’s professional league, the SHL. He recorded no points in any of the matches. He’s an undersized left wing/center than uses his skill and IQ to be effective. Jellvik will start once again this season in the J20 Nationell, where he has a goal and an assist through five games thus far, but could work his way into more games in the SHL.

Roman Bychkov – Amur Khabarovsk (Russia)

The Bruins organization haven’t gone with Russian draft picks often over the last few years, but Roman Bychkov is one of them. The 20-year-old defenseman was taken in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. Bychkov is getting his first taste of the KHL this season, playing for Amur Khabarovsk. Through eight games, he’s recorded no points, but has seen time on the top pair.

Last season, Bychkov split his time between the MHL, one of Russia’s junior hockey leagues, and the VHL, the professional league that is one tier below the KHL. It was his fourth season skating with Loko Yaroslavl, his hometown junior team in the MHL, where he recorded two points in eight games. But the Russian spent a majority of the season with Buran Voronezh of the VHL, playing in 25 games where he had a goal and three assist. He also skated with Russia at the World Juniors, securing three assists in seven games.

Bychov plays a physical game that also has the ability to carry the puck up the ice and distribute to teammates. He seems to be progressing well up the Russian ranks, and it’ll be easier to get a sense of where he’s at if he continues to play in the KHL.

Matias Mäntykivi – Ilves (Finland)

Another selection from the 2019 draft, Matias Mäntykivi was taken in the sixth round, the next Bruins pick after Bychkov. He’s an extremely skilled winger with good speed to pair with it.

Last season was Mäntykivi’s first full season playing in Liiga, Finland’s professional league. He came through SaiPa’s youth system, and finally got a crack with their Liiga team in 2018-19. In 43 games with SaiPa in 2020-21, Mäntykivi had a goal and eight assists. He also represented Finland at the World Juniors, where he won bronze. The shifty forward had an assist in five games.

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This season, Mäntykivi is no longer with SaiPa, instead playing with Ilves, a stronger Liiga team that may benefit his development more.  Through seven games, Mäntykivi has a single assist thus far. He turned 20 years old this summer, so another full season with Finland’s professional league will greatly help Mäntykivi.