The Boston Bruins added some depth up front in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, selecting Oshawa Generals forward Jack Studnicka with the 53rd overall pick. Studnicka, a natural center who could potentially slide over to the right wing, is a two-way player that poses a dual threat in both the offensive and defensive zones.
Studnicka was a bit of a late bloomer for Oshawa — he really broke out this season (his second season) in the Ontario Hockey League of the CHL. He’ll look to join a number of Bruins legends, including Bobby Orr, Terry O’Reilly and Rick Middleton, who came up with Oshawa and built illustrious careers with the Bruins.
At 6-foot 1-inches tall, Studnicka is a mid-sized forward who prides himself on his 200-foot play. He described his style of play as “original”, but drew comparisons to Toronto’s Tyler Bozak, noting his ability to be an effective piece of both special teams units.
“I think I’m a two-way centerman that’s trusted in all three zones of the ice, but at the same time, I can contribute to the offense when I have to,” Studnicka said, per CSNNE. “I am a reliable center that can put up numbers. Being in Oshawa I got to a lot of Leafs games, and Tyler Bozak was a really reliable centerman, a good face-off guy and he’s very versatile while some nights playing power play and some nights playing penalty kill.”
Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley, who was in charge of Boston’s draft affairs this weekend due to the departure of ex-head scout Keith Gretzky, believes that Studnicka’s versatility will serve the Bruins well.
“We addressed a need there because we think we can play both wing and center, and that he’s got room to develop. He’s close to 6-foot-2 but the frame is light, so we look forward to working with him and seeing what we develop there.”
Studnicka was actually coached by Kyle Krug, the father of Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, when Studnicka played for the Detroit Belle Tire Minor Midgets. His former coach noted praised Studnicka’s work ethic, feet, and team play, in particular.
“Very cerebral,” Kyle Krug said. “Tremendous compete level. Really good skill. Good feet. Terrific work ethic off and on the ice. Great teammate.”
Drafted 21st overall in the 2015 OHL Draft, Studnicka joined Oshawa for the 2015-16 season. In 62 regular season games, the forward tallied four goals and 26 points.
This season, he doubled his point total in just two more games, notching 18 goals and 52 points in 65 regular season games. He was outstanding for Oshawa in the playoffs, burying five goals and ten assists for 15 points in just 11 postseason games.
The 170-pound forward also represented Team Canada at the U-18 World Championships, scoring three goals in three games for his home country.
“He had a very good Under-18’s and he’s very skilled,” Bradley said of Stunicka. “He’s a late bloomer too. He came around and had a good second half and a strong playoff where he was a point-per-game player in the OHL playoffs.”
The Bruins will look to develop his game and strengthen him up, with the hopes of building an NHL-caliber two-way forward down the road. For now, though, it’s likely he’ll remain in Oshawa, where he’ll look to build on the improvements he made this season.
“Obviously I have to develop, I have to get stronger and put some weight on. So I think I’m going to have a great year in Oshawa,” Studnicka said. “But at the same time, I’m going into camp with the mentality that I want to make the team and make it a difficult decision.”
Boston’s development camp begins on July 6th at Warrior Ice Arena, while rookie training camp will begin on September 7.