Since he was named general manager of the Boston Bruins in May 2015, Don Sweeney has overseen five drafts finding successful picks in different rounds. In those drafts, he made six second-round picks.
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.
6. Axel Andersson
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.
This season, he played for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. 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 this postseason and beyond.
5. Ryan Lindgren
Drafted 49th overall in 2016, he 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 this season on a full-time basis. He has one goal and 13 assist with a plus-16 in 60 games for the Blueshirts.
4. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
After being drafted 45th overall in 2015, 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.
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.
3. Jack Studnicka
The Bruins’ most recent hyped prospect Studnicka was drafted 53rd overall in the 2017 Draft, and he is on the verge of beginning his NHL career. He played two games in Boston this season, with an assist, but is having trouble cracking the lineup with the depth they have at center, with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and now Charlie Coyle.
At 6-foot-1 and 171 pounds, he tore it up in Providence this season with 23 goals and 26 assists in 60 games. He spent four years with the Oshawa Generals scoring 56 goals and showcasing his playmaking ability with 128 assists in 222 games. Last season with the Niagara IceDogs, he scored 24 goals and had 25 assists in 30 games.
The NHL tentatively has a plan in place to resume play next month after the league was paused on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic and possibly begin training camp. Studnicka should be added to the Bruins’ expanded roster and could play a role in their playoff run. The 21-year-old’s chance to make the Boston roster on a full-time basis is close to becoming a reality.
2. Jeremy Lauzon
As this list is based on contributions to the organization, Studnicka could be in this spot, but Lauzon helped the Bruins after their defense went through a rash of injuries. Selected 52nd in 2015, he brings a physical style that the organization looks for at 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds.
In 19 games this season, he has one goal and one assist, but his play has earned him the team’s confidence as the Bruins face some uncertainty this offseason when Torey Krug becomes a free agent. Boston locked Lauzon up in February with a very team-friendly, two-year, $1.7 million contract to avoid free agency following the 2019-20 season.
The Bruins see him as part of the future of their young defense core, aside from 43-year old captain Zdeno Chara.
1. Brandon Carlo
At just 23 years old, the 6-foot-5 and 212-pound Carlo is in his fourth season on the Bruins’ blue line since being selected 37th overall in the 2015 Draft. The Colorado Springs native has been an intimidating presence alongside Chara.
Carlo played in all 82 games in 2016-17 and has been a mainstay since. He is three games away from playing 300 regular-season games in a Boston uniform and has 12 goals and 39 assists. More importantly, he has a plus-57 rating. This season, he had a career-high 19 assists in 67 games. Last season, 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.
Related: NHL’s 5 Best Agitators of the Decade
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 two-year, $5.7 million contract before the 2019-20 season.
Sweeney has had success with some of his second-round picks. He has a rising star in Studnicka, who is still overshadowed by veterans but is on the verge of making the Bruins roster. Sweeney also has two physical defensemen who will be in the lineup for years to come. While he moved on from two 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.
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.