Round 2, 54th Overall | Matthew Poitras
The Ontario native got the center stream started as the Bruins selected him with their first pick of the 2022 NHL Draft on Friday afternoon. Poitras is a 5-foot-11, 176-pound pivot from the Guelph Storm of the OHL, for whom he has notched 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points in 68 games during the 2021-22 campaign.
Poitras, who has packed on some 25 pounds over the past two years, is considered a highly energetic player with flexibility to shift to the wing. Much of that physical progression came during the COVID-19 pandemic after the 2020-21 OHL season was cancelled, leaving Poitras and so many others to focus much of their time on off-ice development.
“We really liked a lot of the things he’s done this year offensively,” said Bruins Associate Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Nadeau. “A little bit of versatility, can play the wing, pretty good motor. We liked the skill level. We envision him playing in the middle. We think there’s some growth left to his game and sort of an upward trajectory. Just a player that , for us, we were really happy to add. We think he’s got offensive skillset that should help us out.”
Nadeau added that the organization sees Poitras as “a driver” who can carry a line with his offensive instincts, playmaking, and aggressive style, particularly on the forecheck.
“He’s got a lot to work on, as a lot of young kids do. But we just see a player that’s a driver, someone who has the puck a lot and can make things happen,” said Nadeau. “Even when he doesn’t have the puck, the motor is running. He’s getting involved. He’s just someone who keeps getting into dirty ice.”
Poitras said despite his smaller stature, he prides himself on taking a gritty approach, which he attributes in part to his summers as a lacrosse player.
“I’m kind of a versatile player. Bit of a mix of skill and greasiness,” said Poitras, a right shot, who models his game after Tampa Bay centers Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli. “I’m a bit of a smaller guy. I kind of pride myself on the ability to win stick battles and possess the puck. I’m more of an offensive-skilled, gritty guy.
“Playing lacrosse during the summer helped me work on playing in tight, playing in traffic. Obviously, it gives me a good summer to get away from the rink and refresh, get ready for the next hockey season. I love playing lacrosse. Lot of contact, lot of slashing.”
The Bruins also expect to see more “physical growth” in Poitras as he continues to fill out his frame.
“Along with a little more offensive growth,” said Nadeau. “I think the skating is going to come a little bit. Again, I think from talking to our sports performance group and some of the stuff they looked at at the testing combine, I think we’re just really comfortable with where the player is We’re looking at the upside and the growth trajectory part to really bank on the player.”
A more in-depth look at Poitras is here.
Video: Poitras, selected 54th overall, talks with media
Round 4, 117th Overall | Cole Spicer
After trading back into the fourth round – Boston flipped a third-rounder (No. 91 overall) for a fourth (117th) and a fifth (132na) – the Bruins went back to the middle and selected the 18-year-old American from Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Spicer, who started out playing for his high school team in Grand Forks, spent the last two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound left shot recorded 20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points in 2021-22.
Before arriving at the Program in 2020-21, Spicer collected an eye-popping 51 goals and 169 points in 63 games for HoneyBaked Hockey Club (15U AAA) out of Michigan.
“A kid who was a pretty prolific scorer before getting to the program,” said Nadeau. “He played a little bit down in their lineup this year on a deep team with some top centers ahead of him. Again, another kid that we think offensively has a bit of an upward trajectory and skillset.”
Spicer is headed to Minnesota-Duluth this fall – where he’ll be teammates with Boston’s 2019 third-round pick Quinn Olson – after originally committing to his hometown University of North Dakota.
“[Minnesota-Duluth]they’ve done a great job developing players,” said Nadeau. “We have a lot of comfort with that path for the player, so we’re really excited about that.”
Spicer said he models his game after veteran NHL forward Andrew Copp.
“Just a responsible forward who scores goals, but he gets to the tough areas and is solid defensively,” said Spicer. “I just feel speed [is where there’s room for improvement]. You can always get faster. The game gets faster every year. Just speed and quickness I feel you can never get enough of that.”
A more in-depth look at Spicer is here.
Video: Nadeau chats with the media after the 2022 NHL Draft
Round 4, 119th Overall | Dans Locmelis
The Bruins rounded out their trio of centermen with the selection of the Latvian-born pivot out of Lulea HF in Sweden. The left-shot Locmelis, who checks in at 6-feet, 170 pounds, collected 34 points (18 goals, 16 assists) in 44 games for Lulea’s J20 squad last season. He also played two games for the big club in the Swedish Hockey League.
Locmelis, who traveled from home to play in Sweden in 2019 as a 15-year-old, notched one goal in five games for Latvia at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“Another kid who’s maybe a bit more of a shooter type in the middle, scored quite a few goals this year in Swedish juniors,” said Nadeau. “Path is there. I think he’s in Lulea again next year and then he could see from there in terms of where he ends up after that.”
The left-shot center is just the fifth Latvian ever drafted by Boston, joining Sergei Zholtok (third round, 55th overall) and Grigori Panteleev (sixth round, 136th) – both selected in 1992 – Georgijs Pujacs (ninth round, 264th) in 1999, and Martin Karsums (second round, 64th overall – one pick after David Krejci) in 2004.
“We’re happy we attacked the middle of the ice, not necessarily by design, but that’s how it played out and we like all three players that play that position because of their creativity and offensive abilities and their growth,” Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said of using the club’s first three picks on centers. “There’s a development upside to all three of them on that, in the middle of the ice, with the creativity and the offensive production.”
Video: Sweeney shares his thoughts following 2022 NHL Draft
Round 5, 132na Overall | Frédéric Brunet
The Bruins shifted to the back end for their fifth-round pick, selecting the Gatineau, Quebec, native out of Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound blue liner with offensive upside picked up 46 points (12 goals, 34 assists) in 63 games in 2021-22 after notching just nine points (goal, eight assists) in 33 games in 2020- twenty-one.
“A player that we had been tracking for a little bit,” said Nadeau. “He had a big jump production-wise year over year. He’s a kid that we just, we really liked what he was doing this year and his game progressed throughout the season. We think he added some additional defensive layers to his game, as well as really smooth puck-moving kid with a good frame.”
The left-shot defenseman, who recently began summer training with Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron at Laval University in Quebec City, was pleased with the ways in which his game progressed last season.
“My season last year was a big step from the one in front of this,” said Brunet. “But it was big, very good for me this year…my game just stepped up in ways and I’m happy for it. The Oceanic organization is an awesome organization that I wouldn’t be here without.
“I’m trying to work on my defense a lot. I have worked a lot this year with my defensive coach and my coaches to work on being a bit more reliable and two-way on the ice, especially on pucks on the outside, in 1-on-1 battles. Maybe being tougher, a good thing, but I’m working on it and I think I’ve come a long way with this.”
Nadeau also praised the athletic genes that run through Brunet’s family, which includes two former Canadian Olympians (father, Michel – figure skating; and uncle Dominick – freestyle skiing) and an aspiring Olympian (brother Cedric – speedskating).
“You don’t want to overvalue it – at the end of the day, we’re picking him, not his family members,” said Nadeau. “But I think just growing up in a competitive household like that, with a brother who’s trying to be an Olympic speed skater and his dad being an Olympian, his uncle being an Olympian. You just grow up in a household that’s that competitive non- stop and you’re around it, and the drive of that is what we saw in the player on the ice and in the growth.
“So, when you add that into the mix, it’s probably more a better story than it is fully factored in, but you can see in the way his game has grown, there’s a competitiveness and a drive to succeed. And it can’t hurt to be from a household that way.”
A more in-depth look at Brunet is here.
Video: Brunet, 132nd overall, talks with the media
Round 6, 183dr Overall | Reid Dyck
Boston went with a backstop in the sixth round with the 6-foot-4, 194-pounder from Winkler, Manitoba. Dyck was 6-12-1 with a 4.26 goals against average and .884 save percentage in 23 games for Swift Current of the WHL in 2021-22.
“A goalie that we had had on our list and honed in on,” said Nadeau. “He was a backup this year, so he was hard to see at times, then he ended up playing at Canada at the [World Junior] U18 tournament. We got some good views there, as well as some stuff we saw in Swift Current. We just think there’s an upside that our goaltending group, [goaltending coach] Bob Essensa and [goaltending development coach] Mike Dunham, can really work with and hope to hone and work through.”
Dyck, who credited his Swift Current goalie partner Isaac Boulder for mentoring him through last season, said he likes to play an athletic style and looks up to Tampa’s all-world netminder Andre Vasilevskiy.
“I really enjoy watching Andre Vasilevskiy. He plays very athletic, and I feel like that’s one of my biggest strengths, athletic ability,” said Dyck. “So, I feel we play similar that way and he’s such a great skater and he’s obviously one of the best in the world, so I really try to play like him. He has great hands and takes a lot of pucks right in the hand like that, so it’s something I really watch, really try to follow.”
Round 7, 200th Overall | jackson edward
The Bruins rounded things out with another blue liner for their final pick of the draft (Boston traded its original last pick, the 215th of the Draft, to Los Angeles for a seventh-rounder next year). The 6-foot-2, 194-pound left shot hails from Newmarket, Ontario, and has played for the London Knights of the OHL in each of the last two seasons.
“Guy has a little bit of size, little bit of stiffness and bite to his game,” said Nadeau. “They have in London, especially with young players, they have to really earn their ice and he didn’t necessarily get a ton of ice at the end of the beginning of the year, but we think his game has really rounded out and we’ re expecting a big progression for him next year.”
Edward said the Bruins have always been his favorite team and he has looked up to Boston winger Brad Marchand and former Black & Gold captain Zdeno Chara, citing their aggressive styles of play.
“I think that I still need to define my game,” said Edward. “I think I have a lot of raw potential and I think that I need to become more defined all around. I learned how to play defense really well this year, and became a good two-way defenseman.
“But I think polishing my game is a lot I need to work on. I think I’m someone who came into the hockey world later, than a lot of players, so I still have that ability to polish my game over the next few seasons in London and just development strength and speed.”
Video: Jackson Edward Selected 200th Overall in NHL Draft