While they certainly aren’t everyone’s favorite team, there is no denying that the Boston Bruins have been a powerhouse in the NHL this past decade.
Despite some of their main core of players getting up there in age, they still haven’t slowed down either. As of now, the Boston Bruins sit first in the East Division with 24 points in 16 games. Patrice Bergeron, who is 35-years-old, is second the team with 19 points, while still maintaining his excellent defensive play.
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While David Krejci has yet to score a goal, he still has 10 assists on the year at age 34. Then you have Tuukka Rask who, at age 33, is still as good as he has ever been with a 7-2-1 record and a 2.56 Goals Against Average. It is incredible how long this team have been able to remain at or near the top, but the fact is that sooner rather than later, things will change.
Eventually, Father Time catches up to everybody, and that will soon enough happen to many of the Bruins’ current star players. Of course, they do have young talent on the roster, headlined by 24-year-old David Pastrnak, but the fact is that the majority of their top players are getting old. That’s where things get interesting for this team, as they have a very underwhelming pipeline of prospects at the moment.
There is no doubt that Boston Bruins management still looks at this roster as one that can compete for a Stanley Cup, which is the ultimate goal after falling just one game shy of doing so in 2019. The question is, what about the 2021-22 season, or the one after that? How long do they believe these top players can continue playing at an elite level?
If they choose to continue holding onto them rather than dealing them for picks and/or prospects, which they very well may do, that will result in at least a few rough seasons for the B’s. It certainly isn’t an easy decision to make going forward for General Manager Don Sweeney, and you can bet he knows his prospect pool lacks talent.
Having said that, the Bruins still do have a few exciting players in the system, a few of which should be able to contribute to the team within the next few seasons.
As mentioned in every other Top 8 Prospects articles throughout this series, any player who has played in more NHL games than any other league in a season, regardless of the season, will not be included. (Exception has been made for the 2020-21 season, given that many leagues, including the AHL have just begun their seasons).
Here are the Top 8 Prospects in the Boston Bruins System:
Many fans were surprised and somewhat upset when the Boston Bruins announced they were selecting Trent Frederic with the 29th pick at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. It was somewhat surprising given that he didn’t have stats that shouted out First-Round talent, managing just 14 points in 23 games for the U.S. National Under-18 Team in the USHL. His offense seemed to turn a corner quickly however, as he spent the following two seasons after being drafted with the University of Wisconsin where he registered a combined 32 goals and 65 points in 66 games played.
After those two seasons with the University of Wisconsin, Frederic made the decision to turn pro for the 2018-19 season. He spent the majority of the past two seasons in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, where his style of game really developed into an agitator who was willing to drop the gloves, particularly during the 2019-20 season in which he had 148 penalty minutes in just 59 games. The 23-year-old has started off the 2020-21 season in the NHL and is making a name for himself around the league due to his ability to get under opponents skin, as shown in hte video below. His offensive game, at least to this point, leaves something to be desired, but he has found other ways to be valuable to his team and is still relatively young.
7. Jakub Lauko
While many will look at Jakub Lauko’s nine points in 22 AHL games with Providence last season and dismiss him as a top prospect, it is important that they remember he was just 19-years-old. The now 20-year-old, who was taken in the Third-Round (No. 77 overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has a chance to turn into a solid NHLer down the road.
At the time he was drated, Lauko had finished his second season in the Czech league where he had nine points in 42 games. He then went to play against players his own age the following season in the QMJHL and showed his true skill with 41 points in 44 contests. As previously mentioned, he turned pro last season but suffered a variety of injuries which limited him to just 22 games. Thankfully, he is fully recovered now and is off to a fantastic start with Providence this season as he has a team leading five points in four games played.