The Boston Bruins are built to win now.
ESPN’s Chris Peters ranked the Bruins’ farm system and prospect pool 29th out of the NHL’s 31 teams in an evaluation he published Wednesday. For these rankings he only considered players who fit one of the following criteria: players age 25 or younger, still have rookie status when they enter the NHL, have appeared in 26 or fewer regular-season games and have played in 50 or fewer NHL games in their careers. Therefore, Bruins young guns David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo don’t factor into Peters’ reckoning.
With that in mind, the absence of an “A” prospect, someone who has a “high likelihood of becoming NHL high-impact players (i.e. a top-six forward, top-four defenseman or long-term starting goaltender),” is the primary reason for the Bruins’ lowly position on Peters’ list.
“The Bruins’ prospect pool has depth but lacks a truly elite top prospect,” he wrote. “Jack Studnicka is probably the most skilled player in there. He has speed to burn, which puts him just on the cusp of the A-level prospect territory. This summer’s first-round pick, John Beecher, is an intriguing talent with excellent physical tools and elite speed. He could also develop into an A-level prospect, but there’s a lot left to be learned about the big center when he heads to the University of Michigan this year.
“Boston has a number of players who look as if they could fit into roles down the line. Providence (AHL) has been a good development spot for a lot of Bruins prospects and has become even more crucial with former first-rounders Urho Vaakanainen and Trent Frederic on the roster for a second year.
Peters ranked the Bruins’ prospects as follows:
1. Jack Studnicka
2. John Beecher
3. Urho Vaakanainen
4. Trent Frederic
5. Karson Kuhlman
6. Oskar Steen
7. Jakub Lauko
8. Peter Cehlarik
9. Connor Clifton
10. Ryan Fitzgerald
Peters tipped Providence Steen as the team’s “breakout candidate” for 2019-20. Peters also named Kuhlman and Clifton as Bruins prospects most likely to make “potential NHL impact in 2019-20.”
The Bruins will open training camp Thursday with hopes of winning the Stanley Cup, a goal they fell one-win short of in 2018-19.