In our final installment of the Bruins prospect midseason check-in, I take a look at those playing some good ole college hockey.
Boston has quite a few playing in the NCAA this season, nine total, including four freshmen. Let’s dive in and see how these college kids have been performing.
After missing the start of the season with an injury, Beecher has been a solid defensive center for a loaded university of Michigan team. The points haven’t been there for Beecher – just two goals and two assists that came in two of his first three games – but he’s never really lit up the scoresheet with the Wolverines.
He’s been skating mostly with a pair of freshman flanked on his wings, Mackie Samoskevich (2021 first-round pick by Florida) and Dylan Duke (2021 fourth-round pick by Tampa Bay), who both provide more offense than Beecher.
The first-round pick from 2019 seems to have the skillset to be better offensively, but injuries have derailed a good part of his career at Michigan. A change of scenario, whether that be transferring or going to the AHL, might benefit Beecher who is buried in the bottom-six on a top-talent team.
The expectations were pretty high for Lohrei entering his freshman season at the Ohio State University. He was the 2021 USHL Defenseman of the Year and projected to be a top blueliner for the Buckeyes.
It’s safe to say he’s met those expectations and then some. He’s second on the team in points with 15 through 18 games. He’s first in assists with 13, which also puts him in a tie for sixth in the Big 10. Lohrei’s helped an Ohio State team that was projected to finish last in the Big 10 into the third spot in the conference at the holiday break.
The 2020 second-round pick for the Bruins has translated his game very well from the USHL to the NCAA. Ohio State’s coach Steve Rohlik has smartly paired Lohrei with captain Will Riedell for most of the season, which has allowed the freshman to contribute more offensively. Fabian Lysell may still be the No. 1 prospect, but it feels like Lohrei is more of a 1B than a No. 2 in the Bruins organization.
A 2020 third-round pick, Kuntar has taken another step forward in his development at Boston College. The sophomore forward has already tied his point total from last season with 10 points in 16 games.
Lately, he’s been on a line with Marc McLaughlin (a top NCAA free agent) and Patrick Giles, who both have more points than Kuntar with McLaughlin leading the Eagles with 12 goals. Despite his point totals not being as high as expected playing with those two, he leads all Eagles with in shots on goal with 55 this season.
There’s a lot of offensive upside to Kuntar’s game. He’s a hard skater with good hands and an excellent shot. A lot to like out of Kuntar this season.
Another freshman having a great first year in the NCAA is Gallagher. He has two goals and seven assists for Boston University so far this fall. The seven assists put him in a tie for second, while his points are first among freshmen Terriers.
Like Lohrei, Gallagher has benefitted from being paired with a veteran blueliner in Domenick Fensore (Hurricanes third-round pick from 2019). One of the Bruins’ two picks in the seventh round of this summer’s draft, Gallagher is off to as good of a collegiate start as you can ask for.
Oh look! Another Bruins draft pick doing well in their first season of college hockey.
Duran is enjoying a great freshman campaign with 11 points in 21 games with Providence College. It’s been promising to see Duran bounce back after an underwhelming 2020-21 season in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms. It’s looking like that was more of a blip on the radar.
While he’s played mostly wing, the 2020 sixth-round pick from the Bruins has gotten the chance to play his natural position of center a handful of times with the Friars. And he’s fresh off co-Rookie of the Week honors for Hockey East, with five points in his final two games before the break.