This season, plenty of Boston Bruins prospects have made an impact in the minors and in college. Some have even made the trip to Boston for a short stint with the Bruins to fill in for injuries. Here is an update on five Bruins prospects who are highly regarded and should one day make an impact for the Black and Gold in the NHL.
For the Bruins’ top prospect, it won’t be long before Jack Studnicka is making an impact in the NHL as a center. He has 17 goals and 18 assists with the P-Bruins of the American Hockey League, which recently earned him a spot in the league’s All-Star Game.
Selected 53rd overall in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he played two games in late November and registered an assist against the Montreal Canadiens. At 6-foot-1 and 171 pounds, he is almost ready to make an impact in the NHL. Patrice Bergeron (34 years old) and David Krejci (33 years old) are not getting any younger, making Studnicka the center of the future.
If general manager Don Sweeney does not make a trade at the deadline for another forward, look for Studnicka to get another look with the Bruins before the playoffs.
Trent Frederic is a power forward who is physical and has the talent to dominate a game at center, as he has shown this year in Providence.
In 45 games this season, he has seven goals and 19 assists, and at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he’s earned 116 penalty minutes. Last season, he scored 14 goals and 11 assists in Providence. Drafted 29th in the first round of the 2016 Entry Draft, he had a two-game appearance with Boston this year after playing 15 last season. Down the line, he has the ability to provide the Bruins with a physical presence as a top-nine forward.
A 6-foot-1 and 185-pound defenseman, Urho Vaakanainen has flashed his talents in five games with the Bruins this season and is expected to contribute in the future on a regular basis. A left-handed shot, he has four goals and eight assists this season in the minors.
He was selected 18th in the first round of the 2017 Entry Draft and can move the puck up the ice with confidence. He can also kill penalties and help the power play, which is a plus. Given Zdeno Chara’s uncertain future at 42 years old, and Torey Krug, who’s on an expiring contract, Vaakanainen could find himself in the top-six sooner rather than later.
Selected 119th in the fourth round in 2018, Curtis Hall is in the middle of his sophomore year at Yale. Tied for the team lead in scoring with 13 goals and two assists for the Bulldogs, he is two goals away from tripling his freshman totals.
Hall is a rising prospect for the Bruins after two impressive development camps. He played in the 2020 World Junior Championships for Team USA in the Czech Republic and scored one goal. He recently had a four-goal weekend with two goals each against Union and RPI in a pair of wins.
A 6-foot-3, 209-pound forward, John Beecher has had a solid start to his University of Michigan career. He’s scored seven goals and five assists in 22 games as a freshman with the Wolverines, who are a game under .500 with a 11-12-3 record.
Drafted 30th in the first round of the 2019 Entry Draft, he was on Team USA with Hall at the World Juniors. However, it was a tournament he’d probably like to forget as he failed to reach the score sheet. To make matters worse, he received a one-game suspension for a late hit in a 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Finland. He will serve the suspension at the 2020-21 tournament should he be selected again for Team USA.
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.