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 some of those picks have 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. His development took longer than the Bruins hoped it would with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL) before he was finally able to crack the Boston lineup full-time in the 56-game shortened 2020-21 season.
In 42 games in 2020-21, he had nine assists and played most of the season on the third pairing with veteran Kevan Miller. Injuries cut his season short, but after that season, he struggled to keep a spot in Boston. His 2021-22 season was cut short again, this time with a knee injury in December that required surgery after 10 games. In 2022-23, he made the roster out of camp, but struggled and found himself as a healthy scratch after playing in just 13 games. He did score his first career goal against the Buffalo Sabres in a win in November, but the team needs more consistency from him.
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.
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In his second season, DeBrusk scored a career-high 27 goals in the regular season, but only scored four playoff goals in 24 games on the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. The last couple of seasons have not been good and it got to the point where he requested a trade in November of 2021. The Bruins never honored that request and they benefitted from him being moved to the first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He finished the season playing the best hockey of his career in the last two seasons with 25 goals and 17 assists. Following the season, he rescinded his trade request, and in 2022-23 was back on the top line with Bergeron and Marchand. He scored his 100th career goal against the Colorado Avalance on Dec. 3.
With the 15th pick, Sweeney selected Zach Senyshyn and things never really worked out. He spent the majority of his time in the organization in the AHL with Providence before he requested a trade himself. In 16 career games in Boston over a three-year span, he had a goal and two assists.
In March 2022, the Bruins honored Senyshyn’s request for a trade and sent him to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defenseman Josh Brown. Senyshyn was drafted higher than he was expected and he never was able to live up to the 15th overall pick.
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 in his early years in the league, Carlo quickly established himself in the NHL.
Carlo is a top-four defenseman and a valuable member of the penalty kill. He recently completed his seventh season and has 24 goals and 62 assists in 478 career games. He signed a six-year, $24.6 million contract before the 2021-22 season to be a staple of the Boston defense in the future. He has had multiple concussions recently which is something that can be scary, but he still plays the same way he has since making it to the NHL full-time. A big physical presence that is one of the top penalty-killing defensemen the Bruins have.
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 in 2018-19 and appeared in 28 games, with three goals and six assists.
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Forsbacka-Karlsson never suited up during the Stanley Cup Final run in 2019, but made news in May 2019 when he announced he was 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 Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon was drafted 52nd overall, and was a big part of the Bruins’ defense in 2020-21, but following the season, he was left unprotected in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft and was their first overall pick. He played in 41 regular-season games with one goal and seven assists and an impressive plus/minus of plus-8, as well as being a valuable penalty killer during his time in Boston.
Goaltender Daniel Vladar was drafted 75th overall, in the third round, and made his NHL debut in 2020-21 for the Black and Gold and went 2-2 in five games with a 3.40 goals-against average (GAA) and a .886 save percentage (SV%). Following the season, the Bruins traded him to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a draft pick after Sweeney announced that they signed Linus Ullmark to a free-agent contract.
Left-wing Jesse Gabrielle was selected 105th overall in the fourth round. He was a career minor leaguer who played for nine teams before retiring following the 2019-20 season. In the sixth round, Cameron Hughes was selected 165th and played in two games in Boston after spending the majority of his time in Providence. He signed a free-agent contract in July with the Kraken. Jack Becker was selected 195th overall, in the seventh round, but never signed with the Bruins. He is currently playing his second season with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL.