The Boston Bruins’ impressive youth movement got some reinforcements Saturday.
After not picking in Round 1, the Bruins made five selections in Rounds 2-7 of the 2018 NHL Draft. When the dust settled, Boston gained two defenseman and three forwards, two of whom also project as potential centers on the NHL level.
Here’s a rundown of the Bruins’ 2018 class, including a photo of second-round pick Jakub Lauko:
So, what’s the skinny on these players, none of whom are older than age 18?
Here’s what Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley had to say about Axel Andersson:
“Staff was really high on him,” Bradley said. “If he slipped that far, we would be really happy, and we are. He can really skate. One of the better skaters in the draft. He’s real mobile up the ice.
“Didn’t have great numbers with the national team, but different player with his junior club. Up the ice a lot, joining rushes. Internationally, they kind of pulled him back in so he didn’t really produce offensively like he can.”
On Lauko: “We had him on our list, he was a first-round pick,” Bradley said. “We’re ecstatic to get a player like this at that point in the draft. He’s fast. Energy, plays with a lot of character, willing to sacrifice, and this player can really shoot the puck.
“His best asset might be his speed. So, we’re excited to have this player. We’re looking forward to development camp. He’s going to come in and hopefully turn some heads.”
Bradley also offered glowing praise for Curtis Hall, who will attend Yale in the fall.
“Big boy. We followed him all year. We closely watched him. Powerful player. We found a lot of power in his game,” Bradley said. “I think he’ll have the ability to play wing and center. Right now, he played mostly center. Strong playoff, they went to the finals; they lost in the finals.
“We think there’s a lot of upside, a lot of development there that he can turn into a power forward. That size, it’s hard to find that size. We keep looking for it, and we took a swing with this guy.”
“Interesting because he was a late bloomer,” Bradley said of McFaul, a Clarkson commit, via Bruins.com. “We think he’ll end up playing USHL or maybe BC Junior Hockey League. Competitive, two-way defenseman that moves the puck, that competes. Our guys talked about how he competes on pucks and how he moves the puck. Skating is pretty good.
“He still needs to fill out … his legs and frame are long. Needs to put on about 10, 15 pounds for sure. We’re excited to get him.”
Finally, on Shen: “I think he can play both center and wing,” Bradley said. “He played 29 games in the pro league … he didn’t play a lot in the KHL, didn’t see a lot of minutes, but in his junior league, lot of minutes, solid distributor of the puck.
“Taking a shot with a Russian. We haven’t for a while, and I think it’s a good swing here.”
It’s probably unreasonable to expect see any of these players at TD Garden in the near future. But Boston has drafted awfully well in recent years, so there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about what the 2018 class could offer down the road.
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