Make it two Boston Bruins prospects heading to World Juniors.
Team Russia on Saturday announced they were bringing defenseman Roman Bychkov, a 2019 fifth-round pick of the Bruins, to the tournament — which begins Christmas Day in Edmonton.
But Bychkov won’t be the only Bruins draftee in Alberta.
Team Finland released its roster, and Matias Mäntykivi, selected with the Bruins’ next pick after Bychkov in the 2019 fifth round, cracked the roster.
Mäntykivi has spent the bulk of his last two seasons in Finland’s Liiga, playing for SaiPa. He has four assists in 17 games this season after posting three goals and as many helpers in 42 contests with SaiPa last season. He also has plenty of experience on the national stage, skating in 28 games for Finland’s junior national team, with whom he’s scored five goals with six assists.
The 19-year-old left-shot forward has the raw skills you like to see from prospects: Good hands and decent playmaking ability, but he’s pretty hindered right now by his size. He’s just 5-foot-11, 161 pounds, which impacts his physical and defensive game. One has to think that over time he’ll fill out and that will ease his transition to the North American game.
But for now, he’s a project, and it’s best for him to keep cooking overseas in Finnish professional hockey. That said, it’s promising that he’s making enough of an impact in national camps to keep getting spots on the Finland national roster.