It’s rare that a team can get three first-round draft picks, but to get them consecutively is even rarer. That is what Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney had in 2015. He used those picks to select two forwards and a defenseman, and one of those picks has already paid off. That year, Sweeney had 10 picks total, the most in one draft by any team since the draft went from nine rounds to seven rounds in 2005.
While Sweeney hit it big with one first-round pick, he looks to have hit it bigger in the second round with defenseman Brandon Carlo.
Sweeney selected Jakub Zboril, a defenseman, with his first of three picks, at 13th overall. He has spent two-plus seasons with the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins, where he has been a steady presence. In his first two seasons, he played in 68 and 56 games, respectively, scoring four goals and dishing out 15 assists each season.
A left shot, Zboril got the call to Boston last season and appeared in two games when the Bruins’ defensive corps was hit with injuries. Back in Providence he tallied 19 points in 58 games. At 6-feet and 200 pounds, he gives the Bruins options down in Providence and can come in and make an impact should another injury occur.
One pick that has already made a major impact is Jake DeBrusk, who Sweeney selected 14th overall. DeBrusk broke into the Bruins lineup during the 2017-18 season and immediately was a presence. He scored 16 goals in the regular season, but had six playoff goals in 12 games.
In his second season, DeBrusk scored 27 goals in the regular season, but only scored four playoff goals in 24 games on the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Final. This season, he has been paired on the second and third lines, but a move by coach Bruce Cassidy that had DeBrusk with David Pastrnak and David Krejci has resulted in 19 goals and 16 assists. So far, DeBrusk has proven his worth as the 14th pick.
At 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, Zach Senyshyn has been a force for two seasons in Providence at right wing. Drafted 15th overall, he played in 132 games with Providence in his first two seasons, and scored 26 goals and 24 assists. Playing in 42 AHL games this season, he has seven goals and nine assists, but has received time in Boston as well, tallying two assists in four games.
Currently behind Pastrnak, David Backes, Brett Ritchie and Chris Wagner on the Bruins’ depth chart at right wing, Senyshyn is looking for his break-through chance to prove he was worth a first-round pick by Sweeney.
Brandon Carlo was a projected first-round pick, but when everyone passed on him, Sweeney selected Carlo with the 37th pick. It did not take him long to find himself in Boston, breaking into the lineup in his draft year. Being paired with captain Zdeno Chara, Carlo quickly established himself in the NHL.
Carlo is a top-four defenseman and a valuable member of the penalty kill and power play. In his first three years in the league, he has proven to be dependable by playing in at least 72 games each season. This season he has played in 67 games and plays over 20 minutes a night. He has one more year remaining on his contract before he becomes a restricted free agent.
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson played two years at Boston University before leaving after his sophomore year to sign his entry-level contract with the Bruins. After spending the majority of his time in Providence, Forsbacka-Karlsson made it to Boston last year and appeared in 28 games, with three goals and six assists.
Forsbacka-Karlsson never suited up during the Stanley Cup Final run last spring, but made news in May when he announced he’s putting his NHL career on hold to return home to Sweden for family reasons. He signed a two-year contract with the Vaxjo Lakers of the SHL. He was due to become a restricted free agent at season’s end.
Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon was drafted 52nd overall, in the second round, and played in 16 games last season with Boston. He is currently in Providence. Cameron Hughes was selected 165th overall, in the sixth round, and made his NHL debut this season at center, before going back to Providence.
Goaltender Daniel Vladar was drafted 75th overall, in the third round, and is currently 4-2 with a 1.56 goals-against average in Providence. Left-wing Jesse Gabrielle was selected 105th overall in the fourth round. He currently is playing for HK Nitra in the Slovak League. Jack Becker was selected 195th overall, in the seventh round, and is currently in his junior year at the University of Michigan. A center, Becker has four goals and two assists in 14 games for the Wolverines, who were 6-10-2 at their semester break.