The Bruins took a defenseman with their first-round pick in the NHL Draft three times in a row — adding Urho Vaakanainen, Charlie McAvoy, and Jakub Zboril to their roster since 2015. This time around Boston didn’t have a pick in the opening round, but they still picked up a blue-liner with their first selection.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney selected Axel Andersson with the 57th overall pick, then chose one more defenseman and three forwards. All five prospects are 18 years old.
Here’s the Bruins’ 2018 NHL Draft class:
Axel Andersson, defenseman (2nd Round, 57th overall)
The Bruins’ top choice described himself as a “two-way defenseman” who can read the game well, shoot, and pass.
Last season, Andersson played for Djurgardens IF of the J20 SuperElit league, where he posted a plus-14 rating with 31 points in 42 games. He led the team in assists (25) and tallied six goals in Sweden’s highest-level junior hockey league.
The 6-foot, 181-pound defenseman had a quiet World Junior Championships for Team Sweden, recording two assists and no goals in seven games, but Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley noted the national team’s style of play didn’t let him join the rush like he usually does. He added Andersson “can really skate” and said Boston’s staff was excited to see him slip all the way to No. 57.
The defenseman is projected to reach the NHL ranks in 2021-22.
Jakub Lauko, forward (3rd Round, 77th)
The Bruins acquired this pick via the February trade that dealt forward Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers.
Lauko didn’t expect to still be on the board when it was Boston’s second turn, but now that he’s a member of the Bruins organization he sounds ready to make every team that passed on him regret it.
“I expected to be higher,” Lauko said. “But now I can prove to everyone that I am one of the biggest steals in the draft.”
Last year, the 6-foot, 179-pound left-shot forward had three goals and six assists in 42 games for Pirati Chomutov of the Czech Extraliga. At the World Junior Championships, he had one goal in six games for the Czach Republic.
The Praha native said he’s one of the fastest players in the draft and intends to help Boston with his speed.
“Now wearing the Boston Bruins jersey, don’t know where I am almost,” Lauko said. “It’s amazing.”
Curtis Hall, forward (4th Round, 119th)
Boston’s third selection will be playing in New England this fall if Bruins fans want an early look. The Bruins chose Curtis Hall, a forward committed to Yale, with the 119th pick.
“Big boy,” Bradley said, per NESN. “Got a lot of power in his game.”
Bradley noted how hard it is to find a player with Hall’s size, telling reporters, “We keep looking for it, and we took a swing with this guy.”
The Cleveland native, who’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, played for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL last season, putting up 13 goals and 18 assists in 54 games. He represented the Under-18 national team in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, recording four points in four games.
Hall described himself as a versatile player and said, “I can do almost anything, I believe.”
Dustyn McFaul, defenseman (6th Round, 181st)
For the Bruins’ sixth-round pick, a phone call never sounded sweeter than during Saturday’s draft.
“To be honest I didn’t really have any expectations,” said Dustyn McFaul, the 181st overall pick. “I got a phone call from my agent and that was probably the best phone call I’ve ever got.”
McFaul spent last season with the Pickering Panthers in the OJHL, where he scored four goals and added 15 assists in 38 games. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman is committed to Clarkson University for 2019-20.
Bradley said McFaul still needs to fill out and put on 10 to 15 pounds, but the Bruins are “excited to get him.”
Pavel Shen, forward (7th Round, 212th)
With their final selection, the Bruins did something they hadn’t done in a while, according to Bradley — “taking a shot with a Russian.”
Pavel Shen, the 212th pick, split time between the Kontinental Hockey League, where he scored two goals in 29 games, and the country’s top junior league, where had 26 points in 29 games.
“He didn’t play a lot in the KHL, didn’t see a lot of minutes,” Bradley said. “But in his junior league, lot of minutes, solid distributor of the puck.”
Bradley noted Shen can play both center and wing. He added that the Bruins had considered taking a goalie with their last pick, but ultimately decided there wasn’t a future top choice backstop on the board.