Since he was named general manager of the Boston Bruins in May 2015, Don Sweeney has overseen eight drafts finding successful picks in different rounds. In those drafts, he made eight second-round picks.
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Some of those picks have already played a big role for the Black and Gold, while some are still seasoning their game with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League. Two were traded for experienced players who added depth to the roster for a playoff run. Below are Sweeney’s second-round selections ranked by their impact on the organization.
8. Axel Andersson
Axel Andersson was selected 57th overall in 2018. He never made it to the Bruins as the 6-foot, 178-pound defenseman played for Sodertalje SK in his home country in 2018-19 in the Swedish Hockey League.
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He played for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season. He had three goals and 21 assists in 43 games with a plus-19. On Feb. 21, the Bruins traded him to the Anaheim Ducks along with David Backes and this year’s first-round pick for forward Ondrej Kase. Andresson ranked high on the Bruins’ prospects list, but he was traded to help Boston’s depth for the postseason and beyond.
7. Ryan Lindgren
Drafted 49th overall in 2016, Ryan Lindgren was another young defenseman who the Bruins moved on from in less than two seasons and he never saw time with the organization. Following his draft, he played two seasons at the University of Minnesota before signing his entry-level contract.
That contract, however, was not with the Bruins. On Feb. 25, 2018, he was traded to the New York Rangers along with Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, the Bruins’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick for Rick Nash. Lindgren spent 2018-19 with the Hartford Wolfpack before making the jump to the Rangers and has been a key part of the Blueshirts blueline the last couple of seasons.
6. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
After being drafted 45th overall in 2015, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, spent two years at Boston University where he scored 24 goals and 39 assists for the Terriers as a center. After his sophomore year, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Bruins.
He spent two years with the P-Bruins and scored 22 goals and 26 assists. On Nov. 17, 2018, he scored his first NHL goal against the Arizona Coyotes after his call-up from Providence. He bounced back and forth between the AHL and NHL for the rest of the season and had three goals and six assists in 28 games in Boston.
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He showed promise for a productive NHL career and was on the verge of becoming a restricted free agent when, in May of 2019, Forsbacka Karlsson decided to put his NHL career on hold during the Bruins’ Stanley Cup Final run. He announced that he was returning home to Sweden for family reasons. He signed a two-year deal with the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League and had five goals and eight assists in 40 games this season.
5. Jack Studnicka
The Bruins’ most recently hyped prospect Jack Studnicka was drafted 53rd overall in the 2017 Draft, and was on the verge of beginning his NHL career in Boston, but it never worked out. He routinely fell victim to a numbers game and veterans that were signed that blocked his advancement to the NHL with the Black and Gold.
At 6-foot-1 and 171 pounds, he played well with the Providence after he spent four years with the Oshawa Generals scoring 56 goals and showcasing his playmaking ability with 128 assists in 222 games.
Under new coach Jim Montgomery, Studnicka struggled to fit in with the Bruins in 2022-23 and was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 27 for prospects Michael DiPietro and Jonathan Myrenberg. It was a tough ending to Studnicka’s career with the Black and Gold as he never hit his potential in Boston.
4. Jeremy Lauzon
As this list is based on contributions to the organization, Studnicka could have been in this spot, but Jeremy Lauzon helped the Bruins after their defense went through a rash of injuries during his tenure in Boston. Selected 52nd in 2015, he brought a physical style that the organization looked for at 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds.
In 76 career games for the Bruins as a key penalty killer, he had three goals and eight assists before he was left unprotected for the Seattle Kraken Expansion draft, where they lost him. The Kraken selected him in the expansion draft in the summer of 2021, but traded him to the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline in March, where he is currently after re-signing as a free agent over the summer.
3. Matthew Poitras
Entering the 2022 draft in Montreal, the Bruins needed to draft some centers for the future, and their first pick was Matthew Poitras, in the second round and 54th overall. Poitras, who is 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds, has had a strong first two years with the Guelph Storm in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Poitras has a high motor which impressed Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Nadeau. This season, he is on pace to surpass his career-high in assists (29) with the Storm as he is becoming more of a play-maker while having a strong second season with Guelph and averaging over a point a game. It’s too early to say how he will end up projecting out, but the early returns have been good for the Bruins.
2. Mason Lohrei
Fabian Lysell is currently the Bruins’ top-ranked prospect, but Mason Lohrei, drafted 58th overall in the 2020 Draft in the second round, is the Black and Gold’s top defensive prospects. There is a lot to like about his game it has been on full display during his first two seasons at Ohio State University.
The 6-foot-4, 194-pound left-shot is one of the best offensive defensemen in the NCAA as just a sophomore. In just a year-and-a-half with the Buckeyes, he’s already closing in 40 career assists and his offensive game is improving each season. His freshman season was cut short by a knee injury, but he is fully healthy and having a strong sophomore season at Ohio State. There is a lot to like about his game in the future.
1. Brandon Carlo
At 26 years old, the 6-foot-6 and 218 pounds, Brandon Carlo is in his seventh season on the Bruins’ blue line since being selected 37th overall in the 2015 Draft. The Colorado Springs native has been an intimidating presence for Boston since Chara left following the 2020 season.
Carlo played in all 82 games in 2016-17 and has been a mainstay since. He is three games away from playing 421 regular-season games in a Boston uniform and has 21 goals and 52 assists. More importantly, he has a plus-73 rating. This season, he has three assists. In the 2019 playoffs during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues, he played in 24 postseason games with two goals and two assists.
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He was paired with Chara early in his career but has seen many different partners in his four seasons in Boston. He is considered a foundation piece on defense and signed a six-year, $24.6 million contract prior to the 2021-22 season.
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Sweeney has had success with some of his second-round picks. He had a rising star in Studnicka, but traded him and still has Poitras and Lohrei as prospects worth keeping an eye on for the future. Sweeney also has a physical defenseman in Carlo who will be in the lineup for years to come. While he moved on from three picks in deals that made the Bruins’ roster more competitive, Sweeney’s success drafting in the second round has made a positive impact on the roster.