The Boston Bruins made six selections in the 2017 NHL Draft, and building a deep pool of defensemen prospects was among their biggest takeaways.
For the third consecutive draft, the B’s used a first-round pick on a defenseman. Last year it was Boston University star Charlie McAvoy, and the Bruins are hoping for similar success with 2017 first-round selection Urho Vaakanainen of Finland.
Vaakanainen isn’t as NHL-ready as McAvoy was on draft day, but the Finnish prospect does have some of the same skills, including excellent skating ability, good positional awareness and defensive reliability.
Boston took two other defensemen, both in the seventh round. The franchise now has invested nine picks — three in each of the last three drafts — on blueliners since 2015.
This is the right approach for the Bruins to take for a few reasons, two of which include the recent departures of top-six guys (such as Dougie Hamilton, Colin Miller, Dennis Seidenberg, etc.) and Zdeno Chara’s age.
Injuries always play a factor in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Bruins were hurt more than most during their first-round matchup with the Ottawa Senators. The B’s had to go very deep into their prospect pool to replace injured guys in that series. Depth is important, and the Bruins are building an impressive group of defensemen for short- and long-term success.
The Bruins also took a pair of centers with two-way skill sets, in addition to a goaltender. The B’s have a ton of organizational depth in net, which could prove useful because backup goaltender has been a roster weakness at the NHL level over the last few seasons.
Here’s a recap of Boston’s six picks from the 2017 draft.
Round 1, No. 18: Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (Finland)
Round 2, No. 53: Jack Studnicka, C, Oshawa (OHL)
Round 4, No. 111: Jeremy Swayman, G, Sioux Falls (USHL)
Round 6, No. 173: Cedric Pare, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
Round 7, No. 195: Victor Berglund, D, Modo Jr. (Sweden)
Round 7, No. 204: Daniel Bukac, D, Brandon (WHL)
Thumbnail photo via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images
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