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- Winger Depth
- Goaltending Depth Lacks NHL Experience
- 3 Burning Questions for 2021-22
With Labor Day approaching in one week, that means one thing, college students are returning to their college campus for the 2021-22 academic year. With a new academic year comes a new college hockey season as well. The Boston Bruins have some of their prospects about to embark on another season on their college team or in some cases, begin their collegiate career. With that said, let’s take a look at which Bruins prospects are worth keeping an eye on this season with their team.
Mason Lohrei – Ohio State University
Quickly becoming one of the Bruins’ top prospects, Lohrei will be entering his freshman season at Ohio State after two strong seasons in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers. After scoring eight goals with 29 assists in 48 games in 2019-20, he had an impressive 2020-21 season with 19 goals and 40 assists, which earned him first-team USHL honors. At 6-foot-4, he is a left-shot blueliner that has strong upper-body strength, which allows him to win most puck battles.
Drafted 58th overall in the second round of the 2020 Entry Draft, the Baton Rouge, La. native will be in the Boston area in early October with his new Ohio State teammates. The Buckeyes will open their season with a two-game weekend series at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., just outside of Boston on Oct. 8-9. It gives Bruins management a chance to see their rising prospect in person if they choose to do so.
Trevor Kuntar – Boston College
Kuntar will be entering his sophomore season at Boston College for legendary coach Jerry York, coming off an impressive freshman season with the Eagles after being selected 89th overall in the 2020 draft. Kuntar, who originally committed to Harvard University before switching to BC in the summer of 2020, found himself on the third line at left wing for a majority of the 2019-20 season and finished with six goals and four assists in 23 games.
Boston College, which spent part of the season ranked No.1 last winter, lost some of their top-six forwards following their disappointing end to the season in the NCAA tournament last March after being bounced in the second round by St. Cloud State University. Kuntar finished the 2019-20 season with 28 goals and 25 assists for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL, good enough to earn a spot as a top-10 scorer. Expect Kuntar to find his way into the top-six for the Eagles and improve his goal-scoring this winter.
John Beecher – University of Michigan
Beecher is returning to Michigan for his junior season and the Wolverines will be one of the favorites when the NCAA tournament begins next spring. Four of the top five picks in July’s draft, including top-overall pick Owen Power of the Buffalo Sabres, will be suiting up in Ann Arbor this winter.
Beecher had his sophomore season cut short after undergoing shoulder surgery in February, but the 6-foot-3, 20-year-old is ready to go for the 2021-22 season. The New York native, who was selected 30th overall in the 2019 draft, has 13 goals and 11 assists in his first two seasons in 47 games for the Wolverines. This will be a big season for Beecher in terms of development with an eye towards the future in Boston.
Jake Schmaltz – University of North Dakota
Drafted 192nd in the seventh round in 2019, the Bruins are hoping they found a diamond in the rough with Schmaltz, a skilled two-way center that can also play left wing. He spent the last two seasons as teammates with Lohrei with the Gamblers and had 32 goals, including 19 in 2021-22, and 53 assists in 98 games.
He will begin his college career at North Dakota this winter and the Wisconsin native is worth keeping an eye on his development as a scorer and playmaker. At 6-foot-2, he will be a nice addition to the Fighting Hawks with his skill and scoring ability.
Jack Becker – Arizona State University
Becker entered the NCAA transfer portal following the 2020-21 season at Michigan with the Wolverines former captain having one year of eligibility left. He will play his final collegiate season for the Sun Devils after committing in early April. During his time at Michigan, Becker had 26 goals and 25 assists from his center position.
Becker is 24 years old and many Bruins fans might not remember, but he was selected 195th overall in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, which was general manager Don Sweeney’s first as GM. That draft produced Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk, Brandon Carlo, and former Bruin Jeremy Lauzon to name a few. It will be interesting to see how Becker’s development goes with ASU and that may have an impact on what Boston decides to do with him next spring.
There is no short of talent playing in college this season for the Bruins. Keeping an eye on all of these prospects will be worth it. It’s also worth mentioning, the NCAA Frozen Four is scheduled for April 7-9 in Boston at the TD Garden. Don’t be surprised to see some of these players suiting up for a chance at a National Championship in front of the Black and Gold’s fans.
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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.