I want to talk about the Bruins 2015 draft one more time as it is a relevant topic as the Bruins limp to the finish line again and run the real risk of missing the playoffs for the third straight year . If the B’s do miss the playoffs again the question will immediately become, what’s next? A third straight missed playoff following the firing the head coach and ending up with the same result under the new coach will solidify the fact that this team has a fatal flaw on the ice that needs to be addressed in order for the club to become a contender again. In today’s NHL where young 19 and 20 year old’s are coming into the league and having an immediate impact the ability to draft and develop is the #1 key to long term success. So with the current state of the B’s it is fair to examine how they have done in this regard and the 2015 draft has to put under the microscope.
The B’s had three picks in the top 20 of a deep draft in 2015 which is an opportunity not many teams get. The decisions Sweeney made that day are going to have a huge effect on the future of this team and it appears Sweeney missed a prime opportunity to infuse the Bruins system with some real high end talent that will be NHL ready for the 2017-18 season. As the B’s struggle again to make the playoffs think about this… 10 of the top 15 picks from the 2015 are currently playing in the NHL. 3 of the 5 who are not are the Bruins 3 picks!! Given the Bruins serious lack of high end skilled talent beyond their first line it is glaring that not one of Jacob Zboril (#13 pick), Jake DeBrusk (#14 pick) or Zach Senyshyn (#15 pick) has been able to crack the NHL roster.
Could Zboril end up being a solid NHL defenseman? Sure, but the likelihood of him becoming a top pair puck moving D-man has greatly diminished over the last two years as he has shown little improvement or overcome the questions about his game. He is not considered a top 50 prospect by The Hockey News in their most recent rankings.
How about Debrusk? Sure, he could end up being a serviceable NHL’er. Like Zboril, he is not ranked in the top 50 of The Hockey News rankings. The fact of the matter is since he entered Junior in 2013 he has only score more than 25 goals once when he netted 42 in his draft year. His other two years of Junior he had 15 and 22 with 16 this year in his first AHL season. He was considered a late first round-early second round prospect in advance of the 2015 draft.
Senyshyn? He certainly has the most upside of the three and has put up back to back 40+ goal seasons in the OHL and he is currently ranked #63 in The Hockey News prospect rankings. He is certainly a legit prospect with top 6 ability. My question on the Senyshyn pick is not around the player but could they have gotten him in the 2nd round? He was the 38th ranked prospect by NHL central scouting.
As of now it looks like the Bruins landed two middle of the road prospects who could be contributors on a NHL team and one in Senyshyn with significantly higher upside in this all important first round. In some drafts that may be OK but take a look at the three guys picked right after the Bruins selected Senyshyn at 15 and you will see why that is not the case in this draft…
Matthew Barzal who the Islanders selected at #16? Barzal is now considered one of the top prospects in the game, ranked #8 by The Hockey News. He was just named the western conference player of the year in the WHL after putting up 79 points in 41 games including 69 assists.
Kyle Connor? He was take at #17 by Winnipeg and made the club out of camp playing in 19 games. Following a concussion was sent down to the AHL and has regained his scoring touch putting up 22 goals and 39 points in 45 games. He is the 26th ranked prospect in the game per THN rankings.
Last but not least, how about Thomas Chabot? Selected #18 by Ottawa. He is the #3 ranked prospect in the game AND the highest ranked D-man prospect in The previously referenced Hockey News rankings ahead of Charlie McAvoy who sits at #4.
If the Bruins finish this season with their third straight collapse out of the playoffs they will enter this off season with tons of question marks and to be fair the Bruins do have some exciting prospects who could be in the mix for next year. But if Sweeney didn’t go against the grain and took the best talent available in the 2015 draft they could have a franchise altering group of prospects in McAvoy, Chabot, Barzal, Connor and JFK ready to take spots on this roster next season which is exactly what this team needs.
With the current state of this roster Sweeney and the Bruins brass need to be questioned on this. Period.