Checking in on the Bruins’ 2015 draft class

Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo have found consistent playing time in the NHL three seasons after they were drafted.

Don Sweeney Boston Bruins NHL
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made three consecutive draft picks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. –Steve Mitchell / USA Today Sports

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made 10 selections in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, including three consecutive picks in the first round. According to Hockey Reference, it’s the largest Bruins draft class since the NHL lowered the number of rounds from nine to seven in 2005.

June 2019 will mark four years since that draft. Some of the players taken then have already made waves in the NHL, while others continue to find their path in the sport’s lower levels. Here is where the Bruins’ 2015 draft class stands, in order of most NHL games played to least:

Brandon Carlo, second round, 206 NHL games – TSN’s Bob McKenzie originally ranked Carlo as the 22nd best prospect in the 2015 draft, but teams passed on him in the first round, allowing the Bruins to take him with the 37th overall draft pick. Carlo was one of the earliest skaters from that draft to establish himself in the NHL, making the Bruins’ roster as a 20-year-old during the 2015-2016 season. Carlo played over 20 minutes of ice time per game as Zdeno Chara’s defensive partner his rookie year and has maintained that ice time through his third season in the league. He’s one of the Bruins’ top four defensemen and their second option for defense on the penalty kill after Chara.

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Jake DeBrusk, first round, 118 NHL games – The Bruins took DeBrusk with pick 14, the second of the team’s three consecutive first-round draft picks. He was the first of the three to stick with the Bruins in the NHL, scoring 43 points in 70 games in the 2017-2018 season. The 22-year-old forward has encountered a slight sophomore slump, averaging fewer points per game this season despite receiving more ice time from head coach Bruce Cassidy. DeBrusk’s pick was criticized as a reach on a player the Bruins may have been able to acquire with a second-round pick instead, especially after DeBrusk failed to dominate in the WHL the season after he was drafted. The left winger improved and impressed during the 2016-2017 season with the Providence Bruins, posting 49 points in 74 games, and has positioned himself as one of the Bruins’ top six forwards.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, second round, 29 NHL games – Forsbacka Karlsson is one of the Bruins’ young options at center moving forward who has seen NHL time this season. Originally drafted 45th overall in 2015, Forsbacka Karlsson has been compared to Patrice Bergeron as a steady two-way presence down the middle of the ice. He impressed over two seasons at Boston University and played a 28-game stint with the Bruins earlier this season, scoring nine points. He was sent down to AHL Providence in January.

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Jeremy Lauzon, second round, 15 NHL games – The Bruins drafted the defenseman Lauzon 52nd overall. He was a point-scoring defenseman during four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scoring 130 points in 200 games, according to eliteprospects.com. He has not replicated those stats at the professional level yet, though, with only 13 career points through 75 games in the AHL. Lauzon played 15 games at the NHL level when the Bruins’ defensive core faced injuries early this season, recording more than 18 minutes of ice time in six different games during that stint. Lauzon scored one goal in those 15 games.

Jakub Zboril, first round, two NHL games – Zboril was Don Sweeney’s first and least surprising choice in the 2015 draft. It was well reported that Sweeney tried to move up in the draft using the picks he acquired after trading Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic to draft Noah Hanifin, Zach Werenski, or Ivan Provorov, but no trades materialized and those three players were unavailable by the time Boston’s three consecutive draft picks came around. TSN ranked Zboril as the fourth-best defenseman available in 2015, and he was the fourth defenseman selected with the 13th overall pick. Despite the high draft status, Zboril is still trying to find a consistent game with the Providence Bruins. He did play two games in the NHL when the Bruins were at the height of the team’s injury bug in November, but Cassidy allowed him just under 11 minutes of ice time in each game.

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Zach Senyshyn, first round, zero NHL games – Of Sweeney’s three consecutive first-round draft picks in 2015, Senyshyn was the third, last, and perhaps the most criticized. TSN’s final draft projections ranked him 40th overall, and the Bruins selected him with the 15th pick in the draft. Since then, Senyshyn’s development has been put under the microscope year-by-year, and while he has not received so much as a call-up from the Bruins this season during their search for a right winger, his basic stats show steady progress. According to the AHL’s website, Senyshyn scored 26 points last season in Providence and has 21 points in 43 games played this season. He played in three preseason games for the Bruins last September and scored two goals.

Additionally, third-round pick Dan Vladar has posted a .902 save percentage in 21 games played in his rookie season in the AHL. Sixth-round pick Cameron Hughes is the third-highest scorer on the Providence Bruins. Fourth-round pick Jesse Gabrielle has split time between the Providence Bruins and a couple different teams in the ECHL. Seventh-round pick Jack Becker played two seasons in the United States Hockey League before enrolling at the University of Michigan and is now in his second season there.

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