Without a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, here’s how the Boston Bruins fared on Day 2 with their four selections.
Two Motivated Draft Choices
In both the second and third round, the Bruins chose two players who had been overlooked during the 2019 Draft. Given what the players said about being overlooked, the Bruins may have drafted a couple of extremely motivated players. Whether that motivation is matched with skill or not, Bruins fans will see in a few years.
The Bruins made two young men extremely happy when they chose Mason Lohrei, a 19-year-old United States Hockey League left-shot defenseman, and Trevor Kuntar, a 19-year-old Boston College freshman left-winger, with the 58th and the 89th picks, respectively.
5 New Boston Bruins Prospects
Here’s a review of the four Bruins’ picks:
Round 2, No. 58: Mason Lohrei, Defenseman, USHL
Round 3, No. 89: Trevor Kuntar, Center, Youngstown (USHL) — committed to Boston College
Round 5, No. 151: Mason Langenbrunner, Defenseman, Sioux City (USHL)
Round 6, No. 182: Riley Duran, Center, Lawrence Academy (USHS)
Prospect #1: Who’s Mason Lohrei?
The Bruins went against the rankings when they picked Lohrei, who was eligible in 2019 but went unclaimed. In fact, he wasn’t mentioned by NHL’s Central Scouting until the final report, where he ranked 132nd.
The young defenseman played the 2019-20 season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL and comes from a hockey family. His dad (David) was a long-time minor-league scout and USHL coach. Because of his father’s work, the family is well-traveled.
Lohrei has size at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. He also has shown flashes of offensive skills and scored eight goals and 29 assists (37 points) in 48 games. His plan is to play another season with Green Bay before he becomes a freshman at Ohio State in 2021-22.
The Bruins organization obviously did their due diligence on Lohrei who noted that he “had good conversations with a lot of different guys from the Bruins.” So, when the organization stepped up to make their pick, he had a “feeling.” Lohrei said that being overlooked last year made an impression, but that he, “kind of just kept my head down and went to work every day because I knew this would come.”
Not lacking in confidence, Lohrei says there’s a lot he likes about his game and thinks those skills made him an “intriguing option” for the Bruins.
He noted: “I’d consider myself a two-way defenseman, pretty skilled. I take a lot of pride in how I defend, how I defend the rush, how I defend in my own zone, shutting things down and making good breakout passes to the forwards.”
He’s unsure if he’ll stay at university for a season or two or all four, but, “growing up, my dream has always been to play in the NHL. I think whenever that can happen, whenever the Boston Bruins see fit for me to come into the organization, I think I’ll be ready.”
Prospect #2: Who’s Trevor Kuntar?
How things come around. When Trevor Kuntar, a center, was chosen in Round 3, I looked through my old hockey cards for his dad’s, Les, who was a goalie in the Montreal Canadiens organization (and who won two games during the 1993-94 season). Trevor will be heading to Boston College whenever their season begins (due to COVID-19).
Similar to his new organization-mate Lohrei, Kuntar was passed over in 2019. Also like Lohrei, the rejection impacted him. He said, “I’ll never forget that day for the rest of my life. I thought about that every day. That’s one of the things that motivated me (this season) to keep pushing and keep going.”
Again, the Bruins went against the scouting combine to choose Kuntar with the 89th-overall pick (he was ranked at #143 by NHL Central Scouting). He’s a 6-foot, 200-pound center who’s played three seasons with the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms. His scoring has improved every season, and last season, he scored 53 points (28 goals and 25 assists) in 44 games. During the 2018-19 season, he scored 36 points (19 goals and 17 assists) in 61 games.
Kuntar, who led the Phantoms in scoring, calls himself a “hard-working player.” He added, “I love to compete … someone I compare myself to is either Jamie Benn or Matthew Tkachuk.”
Prospect #3: Who’s Mason Langenbrunner?
For their 151st overall pick, the Bruins stayed close to home. They chose Mason Langenbrunner, who’s the son of former NHL player Jamie Langenbrunner, who’s now the Bruins’ director of player development. (I have tons of Lagenbrunner cards, who won Stanley Cups with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and the New Jersey Devils in 2003.)
What impresses me most about Mason is that he’s committed to Harvard University for the 2021-22 season. Smart kid! The 18-year-old is a defenseman for Sioux City in the USHL where he finished the season with 19 points in 25 games. He’s a player with raw talent and plenty of upside.
Langenbrunner had a feeling the Bruins would select him because he, “had some really good interviews with them. They said it’s not because of who my dad is but because we love you as a player and believe in your upside.”
Perhaps that sounds convenient. However, an ESPN article quoted Steve Yzerman, whose director of player development for the Detroit Red Wings, Kris Draper also chose his son Kienan in this year’s draft, who said: “None of them are going to pick a name just because it’s somebody’s son or somebody’s friend. Their jobs are on the line.”
Prospect #4: Who’s Riley Duran?
The Bruins drafted 6-foot-1, 174-pound Riley Duran in the 6th round. He’ll play this season with the same team Kuntar played for – the Youngstown Phantoms. Then, next season, he’s committed to Providence College.
In a previous article about him, Duran referred to his game as “big boy hockey” and “work-down-low.” In his own words, he “loves just making plays coming down from the corners, going to the net from the corners, and running guys through the boards.” We get the gist of how this 18-year-old self-identifies. He might just become a crowd favorite.
This is the list and a little rundown of each of the prospects the Bruins chose in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. They traded their fifth draft pick during Round 7 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf