Next on this 31-team series, we will break down the Boston Bruins defence and their future. An important note is that we will be selecting defenceman at the age of 27 or younger. The Bruins have been one of the league’s best teams the last few seasons, but do they have a bright future on the back end?
Future of the Boston Bruins Defence
Charlie McAvoy (Age: 23)
At the young age of 23, Charlie McAvoy is already one of the league’s best defenceman. McAvoy was selected 16th overall in 2016 by the Bruins. McAvoy is an excellent two-way defender that can join the rush, lay the body, and score goals. The American defender can be very physical and move the puck up the ice quickly. McAvoy has some fantastic underlying analytics as well. He carries an annual cap hit of $4.9 million through the 2021-22 season. McAvoy will play a much bigger role in the 2020-21 season with the loss of Bruin’s Captain, Zdeno Chara. The young defender has the potential to become a top-three defender in the entire league.
Matt Grzelcyk (Age: 27)
Matt Grzelcyk was taken 85th overall by Boston in the 2012 NHL draft. Just making the cut at 27, Grzelcyk has finally started to develop his game, establishing himself as a top-four defenceman for the Bruins. Grzelcyk is an underrated analytics player, displaying mobile skating and good puck skills from the back end. He is an intelligent defenceman with a strong hockey IQ. Grzelcyk can also be a weapon for Boston’s second power-play unit. Not to mention, Grzelcyk has taken massive strides in his own defensive end, rounding out his game nicely.
Brandon Carlo (Age: 24)
Brandon Carlo was picked 37th overall in a stacked 2015 NHL entry draft. Carlo has a large frame and can be a very physical defenceman. He is more than capable of locking down the defensive zone and clearing the front of the net. Carlo just needs to find consistency in his game, performing bold at times and disappearing at others. He not a point scorer, but can contribute quality shots from the point. Carlo has developed very well for the Bruins, as he will continue to be a top-four presence for years to come.
Jeremy Lauzon (Age: 23)
Taken with the 52nd pick in the 2015 draft, Jeremy Lauzon has taken massive strides over the off-season, slotting on the top pair alongside Charlie McAvoy. Lauzon displays a great skating ability, having the toolset to make an impact in the NHL. Lauzon needs to touch his defensive zone and could definitely add some more strength. Lauzon’s gritty game could be an important piece for the Bruins core if utilized properly. Lauzon has top-four potential, but he needs to clean up the defensive side of the ice.
Jakub Zboril (Age: 23)
Another defenceman selected in 2015, Jakub Zboril was selected 13th overall by the Bruins. Zboril hasn’t quite panned out as projected, but the talented defender still displays upside. He excels in aspects like his agility, gap control, and his hard-hitting game. Zboril’s inconsistency has had an effect on his impact at a pro-level, as he needs to be comfortable and find his groove. If Zboril can find some confidence and get a rhythm going, he has a great all-around package to become worthy of a top 15 draft pick.
Urho Vaakanainen (Age: 22)
Vaakanainen was picked 18th overall in the 2017 NHL draft. Urho Vaakanainen displays great potential on the defensive side of things. His solid frame makes him impactful with shot-blocking abilities, as well as shutdown capabilities. His offensive game is nothing special, making him more of a reliable shutdown guy. Vaakanainen needs to put on some weight to become an effective shutdown defenceman. He is looking like a good second or third pairing piece for the future.
Lauzon – McAvoy
Grzelcyk – Carlo
Zboril – Vaakanainen
Viewing the Bruins defence, there is some undeveloped talent. Zboril, Vaakanainen, and Lauzon all have to prove their consistency at an NHL level. This core is built out of their 27 and under players. This will probably be nowhere close to their actual core, but it’s just a view to see what the future holds for the Boston Bruins defence. Boston is going to need some more offence to their core, as all six of their guys are consider “defensive” or “two-way” defencemen. Overall, a promising core on the back end with some upside.