Entering the 2022-23 NHL Entry Draft, the top priority for Boston Bruins general manager (GM) Don Sweeney was to add center depth to the prospect pool. Mission accomplished for Sweeney as he used his first three picks to address the need up the middle.
On paper, the 2022 Draft could be considered a success off of the initial reaction as the Bruins attempt to address needs at center. Time will tell how many, if any, of the picks end up working out with their first three selections. The Bruins also added depth on defense and in goal. With that said, let’s take a closer look at the 2022 Bruins draft class.
Second Round, No. 54 – Matthew Poitras
With the first pick of the 2022 Draft for the Bruins, Sweeney selected Matthew Poitras, a 5-foot-11, 176-pounder that had 21 goals and 29 assists in 68 games for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). A right-shot, Poitras is regarded as a smart, two-way player that works hard. Ranked 41-88 on most draft boards, the Bruins choose to pass on his teammate with Guelph, Danny Zhilkin, who went to the Winnipeg Jets and was ranked higher than Poitras.
Poitras will most likely return to Guelph for a couple more seasons to continue his development. His skating game still needs some work, but he is strong on the puck with a very good offensive game. He has drawn comparisons to Florida Panthers center Claude Giroux and he was picked one slot later than current Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka was selected in 2017. If he can come close to living up to the Giroux expectations, Boston will be very happy.
Fourth Round, No. 117 – Cole Spicer
Boston had a third-round pick at No. 91, but traded the pick to the Seattle Kraken to get the 117 and 132 picks in the fifth round. With the first pick at 117, the Bruins drafted another center in Cole Spicer. Last season for the U.S. National Development Program (NTDP) he had 20 goals and 19 assists in 58 games, good enough for eighth on the team. The seven ahead of him in scoring were also drafted over the last two days.
At 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, he’s not the biggest player, but his two-way game stands out when he’s on the ice. He usually finds himself around the net making plays or finishing. A solid skater, he will attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the fall, which has been a hotbed for Bruins prospects. He will be teammates with current Bruins prospect Quinn Olson.
Fourth Round, No. 119 – Dans Locmelis
Two picks after selecting Spicer, the Bruins chose their third straight center with Dans Locmelis. Bigger than the two previous selections at 6-foot-0 and 170 pounds, Locmelis had 18 goals and 16 assists in 44 games in 2021-22 for his junior team in Sweden. It’s safe to say that the Bruins’ European scouting coordinator and former Bruin P.J. Axelsson had a hand in the pick.
Scouting reports have him as a smart two-way player that needs to work on his skill over the next couple of seasons. At 18 years old, the Bruins and Sweeney are hoping that his game improves and he can round into an NHL player down the line.
Bruins Other Selections
After addressing their need at center with their first three picks, the Bruins addressed the defense. With the 132nd pick in the fifth round, they picked Frederic Brunet from Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). A 6-foot-2, 185-pound left-shot, he is regarded as a good puck-moving defenseman and had 12 goals and 34 assists last season in 63 games.
In the sixth round with the 183rd pick, the Bruins added a goalie when they grabbed Reid Dyck from the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL). In the fourth round of the 2021 Draft, Boston also selected a goalie in Philip Svedeback. Without a doubt, taking a risk on a goalie in the sixth round is a low-risk, high-reward scenario for Sweeney.
In the seventh round, the Bruins chose blue liner Jackson Edward with the 200th pick from the London Knights in the OHL. Last season, the Bruins used a seventh-round pick to select Ty Gallagher, who just completed his freshman season at Boston University. According to THW’s Matthew Zator, Edward has displayed several tools that could one day make him an NHL defenseman.
Sweeney addressed the Bruins’ biggest issue heading into the draft by using his first three picks on centers. How will that end up working out, remains to be seen down the line, but their development over the next couple of years is going to be key. Right now the Black and Gold are banking on veterans to solve their needs up the middle, but they are hoping future needs up the middle were addressed at the 2022 Entry Draft.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.