As the 2018-19 season winds down, trade rumors swirl in Boston as they are looking to add an impact player heading to the NHL trade deadline. Names like Artemi Panarin, Wayne Simmonds and Ilya Kovalchuk would give Boston a scoring boost they need to make another Cup run.
Part of what gives these rumors traction is the Bruins have the wherewithal to make such a deal happen by virtue of their impressive prospect depth. Boston could part with a first round pick or a couple of top prospects as they have an impressive depth of quality prospects, and not sacrifice too much of the future.
2018-19 Top 10 Boston Bruins Prospects
1. Ryan Donato, C/LW – Providence (AHL)
Drafted: 56th overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by Boston
Donato played three seasons in the NCAA with Harvard and was an inclusion on Team USA for the 2016 World Junior, and the 2018 Olympics where he tallied five goals and six points in five games. Donato has struggled with consistency in his first full pro season and has split time between the AHL and NHL and has been excellent in the AHL.
Donato was projected as a potential second line winger to line up next to David Krejci to provide offensive support to the Bruins top line, but his regular linemates in Boston have been JFK and Danton Heinen. That could be his eventual slot in the roster unless he is included in a deal for immediate support in that role.
2. Anders Bjork, LW/RW – Providence (AHL)
HT/WT: 6-0/ 186
Drafted: 146th overall in the fifth round of the 2014 draft by Boston
The speedy and skilled winger is unlikely to be included in any trade deadline deals as he is currently out for five to six months with his second shoulder surgery in as many years.
Injuries have set back Bjork’s development but he has shown glimpses of his upside and his speed and offensive upside are evident but inconsistent. Bjork will need to have a strong training regiment in the summer to be in a position to make an impact in a top-six role to start the 2019-20 season.
3. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, C – Providence (AHL)
Draft: 45th overall in the second round of the 2015 draft by Boston
The center ice position is one that will be hotly contested in Boston beyond Bergeron and Krejci as the top two undisputed centers. JFK will be in tough competition for a spot with the likes of Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka among others.
JFK is a tenacious two-way forward with a strong compete level, good on draws and reliable defensively with some offensive upside. JFK has split time between Boston and Providence in his second season as a pro after two strong season as a Boston Terrier in the NCAA. His ceiling could be as a third line center in Boston.
4. Jack Studnicka, C – Niagara (OHL)
Drafted: 53rd overall in the second round of the 2017 draft by Boston
Arguably the Bruins fastest rising prospect since he was drafted. Studnicka joined Providence after his OHL season ended with Oshawa and he showed very well posting five points in five games. He was a standout at the Bruins training camp and moved up the depth chart with his performance even earning consideration to make the team.
He was returned to the OHL and made Team Canada at the WJC and then was traded to Niagara for a shot at a Championship. Studnicka will start his pro career next season and don’t be surprised if he plays his way on the big club.
5. Trent Frederic, C – Providence (AHL)
Drafted: 29th overall in the first round of the 2016 draft by Boston
The big defensive center is in his first full season as a pro and was recently recalled to the NHL where he made a splash in his debut with a big fight against Brandon Tanev. Frederic can play a physical game but his offensive upside may not translate as well to the NHL.
If he tops out as a bottom-six forward that can play a physical game, shut down the other teams’ top line and chip in some offense that will be just fine with the Bruins.
6. Urho Vaakanainen, D – Providence (AHL)
Drafted: 18th overall in the first round of the 2017 draft by Boston
Vaakanainen is known more as a big defensive defenseman, and his offensive totals may never put him into Norris Trophy contention, but his offensive game is underrated. The big Fin is in his first full season in North America and is posting 0.5 points per game in the AHL with 8 points (all assists) in 16 games.
He has missed some time due to injuries but was able to help Finland to a Gold Medal at the WJC with four assists in seven games. With two years of pro experience in Finland prior to this season, Vaakanainen may not need much more time in the AHL before he is ready to patrol the Bruins blueline full time.
7. Peter Cehlarik, LW/RW – Providence (AHL)
Drafted: 90th overall in the third round of the 2013 draft by Boston
Another big riser in the Bruins pipeline is Providence leading scorer Peter Cehlarik. His strong play this season in the AHL has resulted in several recent call-ups to the NHL. Perhaps the purpose of these recalls is to reward his play, or give him a look in the NHL to see if he can make an impact, or as trade bait. Either way, if he or another prospect is traded for a rental his stock should continue to rise.
8. Jakub Lauko, C/LW – Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Drafted: 77th overall in the third round of the 2018 draft by Boston
After being drafted by the Bruins, Lauko made the move to North America to play his D+1 season in the QMJHL and begin the adjustment to North American Hockey. So far so good as the Czech speedster has 37 points in 41 games for near point per game totals, and has played twice in the WJC with the Czech Republic.
The speedy Lauko has great acceleration and a top gear that projects to the current NHL style and a work ethic and physicality that will be a hit with Coaches, teammates, and fans alike. Lauko is a prospect on the rise but needs development time before he is NHL ready.
9. Zach Senyshyn, RW – Providence (AHL)
Drafted: 15th overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by Boston
Boston was heavily criticized for selecting Senyshyn at 15th overall, as the following three players selected were Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor, and Thomas Chabot. That decision is proving to be worthy of the criticism, but that is not to say that Senyshyn is a bust.
While he may never reach All-Star status in the NHL, his blazing speed, good size, and hands should earn him a middle six roster spot.
Last year in his rookie pro season he produced a modest 0.4 points per game and in his sophomore season he has seen a modest increase to almost half a point per game and is trending up, albeit slowly.
10. Jakub Zboril, D – Providence (AHL)
Drafted: 13th overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by Boston
A jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Zboril has size, skates well, plays physical and on both sides of the puck. His development in his second full pro season has been decent and given defensemen tend to develop slower he is right on pace and even was an injury relief call up in November where he played in his first two career NHL games.
Zboril needs a little more time in the AHL but is on track to play a top-four role in the NHL.