8 prospects for Bruins fans to watch at the NHL Entry Draft, according to experts

The Bruins hold the 30th overall pick in the draft.

Don Sweeney Boston Bruins NHL
Don Sweeney and the Bruins will pick 30th overall at the NHL Entry Draft's first round Friday. –Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

The Bruins hold the 30th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, second-to-last in the first round. While general manager Don Sweeney likely won’t be able to select an immediate impact player at the end of the first, a number of interesting names could be available to the Bruins at the end of the first round.

Here is a look at eight prospects who could be available when the Bruins make their top pick in the draft Friday night, using analysis and data from six different expert rankings and mock drafts.

Note: None of these prospects are necessarily guaranteed to go to the Bruins, and at least one expert’s list referred to prospects No. 25 through No. 50 as “more or less interchangeable,” but these eight players most commonly rank or project to be picked around the end of the first round.

Bobby Brink, right wing

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NHL Central Scouting: Brink ranks 19th among North American skaters.

The Athletic‘s Corey Pronman: Pronman ranks Brink 23rd among all skaters and projects him to be picked 22nd overall in his latest mock draft.

TSN’s Bob McKenzieMcKenzie ranks Brink 26th overall among all prospects.

The Athletic‘s staff: Beat writers project Brink to be picked 22nd overall in a June mock draft.

TSN’s Craig ButtonButton ranks Brink 20th overall among all prospects.

Sporting NewsSporting News projects Brink to drop into the second round and be picked 32nd overall.

Brink, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound right wing, ranked fourth among all skaters in the United States Hockey League this season with 68 points in only 43 games played. This was only his first season in the country’s top junior league. Experts love Brink’s offensive instincts, playmaking abilities, and shooting. Brink largely projects to be picked before the Bruins’ turn, but if worries about his skating drop him to the end of the first round, there’s a chance for the Bruins to grab a dynamic offensive player.

Brink is committed to the University of Denver for the 2019-20 season. Oh, and according to McKenzie, his full name is Bobby Orr Brink.

Philip Tomasino, center

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NHL Central ScoutingTomasino ranks 14th among North American skaters.

The Athletic’s Corey PronmanPronman ranks Tomasino 17th among all skaters and projects him to be picked 23rd overall in his latest mock draft.

TSN’s Bob McKenzieMcKenzie ranks Tomasino 22nd among all prospects.

The Athletic’s staffBeat writers project Tomasino to be picked 23rd overall.

TSN’s Craig ButtonButton ranks Tomasino 23rd among all prospects.

Sporting NewsSporting News projects Tomasino to be picked 18th overall.

Pronman writes that Tomasino, who is six feet tall and 181 pounds, has “all the tools to succeed in the modern day NHL,” including playing at a high speed and creating scoring chances off the rush. He projects Tomasino to be a center who can impact a shift like few others in this draft can.

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Tomasino is another prospect who projects to be drafted before the Bruins’ turn falls, but if he were to slip lower in the first round, he could add an elite skill set to the organization at center.

Samuel Poulin, right wing

NHL Central ScoutingPoulin ranks 22nd among North American skaters.

The Athletic‘s Corey PronmanPronman ranks Poulin 33rd among all skaters.

TSN’s Bob McKenzieMcKenzie ranks Poulin 24th among all prospects.

The Athletic‘s staffBruins beat writer Fluto Shinzawa projects the team to pick Poulin at 30th overall.

TSN’s Craig ButtonButton ranks Poulin 52nd among all prospects.

Sporting NewsSporting News projects Poulin to be picked 27th overall.

While Brink and Tomasino are definite first-round talents that may drop to the end of the first round, Poulin is a talented forward that appears more likely than not to be available when the Bruins pick Friday. He was the second overall pick in the 2017 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft and has made strides in his game since, improving his point totals from 45 points to 76 in 67 games this past season.

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Pronman writes that Poulin — at 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds — routinely wins “his fair share” of battles in the corners and in front of the net, and adds that Poulin would immediately become one of the Bruins’ top prospects in the Athletic‘s staff mock draft.

Ville Heinola, defenseman

NHL Central ScoutingHeinola ranks fourth among European skaters.

The Athletic‘s Corey Pronman: Pronman ranks Heinola 28th among all skaters and projects him to be drafted 20th overall in his latest mock draft.

TSN’s Bob McKenzieMcKenzie ranks Heinola 23rd among all prospects.

The Athletic‘s staff: Beat writers project Heinola to be drafted 31st overall.

TSN’s Craig ButtonButton ranks Heinola 36th among all prospects.

Sporting News: Sporting News projects Heinola to be drafted 23rd overall.

Heinola, a 6-foot tall, 178-pound left shot, is another name associated definitively with the last 10 picks of the first round. He was a member of Finland’s gold medal-winning World Junior Championship team this past winter and spent most of the season playing in the country’s top professional league before he even turned 18.

Pronman writes that Heinola’s hockey sense is his best attribute and lets him make calm decisions with the puck in the offensive zone, and while he is slightly smaller than many prefer in a defenseman, sound positioning makes up for it. Heinola’s style of play seems to fall in line similarily with the Bruins’ last two top draft picks, Axel Andersson in 2018 and countryman Urho Vaakanainen in 2017.

Alex Vlasic, defenseman

NHL Central ScoutingVlasic ranks 38th among North American skaters.

The Athletic‘s Corey PronmanPronman ranks Vlasic 24th among all skaters.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie: McKenzie ranks Vlasic 29th among all prospects.

The Athletic‘s staffBeat writers project Vlasic to be drafted 27th overall.

TSN’s Craig ButtonButton ranks Vlasic 53rd among all prospects.

Sporting NewsSporting News projects Vlasic to be picked in the second round.

Vlasic is a large presence at 6-foot-6 and 198 pounds, but his game comes with some definite offensive ability. He scored 27 points in 61 games playing with the United States’ national development program this year and added 15 more in just 27 games in the USHL as well.

Pronman writes that at his best, Vlasic is a creative all-around defenseman who can make rare plays in the offensive zone for a large defenseman. Vlasic does not necessarily project as a first-round pick across the board, so he could very easily still be available for the Bruins at 30th overall. His cousin is San Jose Sharks defenseman Mark-Edouard Vlasic, and he will play at Boston University in the fall.

Connor McMichael, center

NHL Central ScoutingMcMichael ranks 24th among North American skaters.

The Athletic‘s Corey PronmanPronman ranks McMichael 52nd among all skaters.

TSN’s Bob McKenzieMcKenzie ranks McMichael 28th among all prospects.

TSN’s Craig ButtonButton ranks McMichael 22nd among all prospects.

Sporting NewsSporting News projects McMichael to be picked 31st overall.

McMichael, at six feet tall and 182 pounds, had a breakout season in 2018-19. He increased his offensive output from 16 points total the season before to 72 points in 67 games. Pronman sees McMichael as a smart all-around player, not necessarily one with tools that wow scouts but still does everything pretty well. He ranks McMichael outside the first round, lower than most other rankings, but all signs point to him being available at the end of the first round.

Nicholas Robertson, left wing

NHL Central ScoutingRobertson ranks 17 among North American skaters.

The Athletic‘s Corey PronmanPronman ranks Robertson 25th among all skaters.

TSN’s Bob McKenzieMcKenzie ranks Robertson 42nd among all prospects.

The Athletic‘s staffBeat writers project Robertson to be picked 28th overall.

Sporting NewsSporting News projects Robertson to be picked in the second round.

Robertson is one of the youngest players available in the draft and does not turn 18 until Sept. 11. He’s a small scorer, standing at 5-foot-9 and 162 pounds, and was one of the Peterborough Petes’ leading scorers this past season with 55 points in 54 games, including 27 goals. His strong season jumped him from 30th overall among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s ratings midseason to 17 by now.

Despite a few of the rankings projecting Robertson as more likely a second-round pick, Pronman writes that he has one of the best shots in the draft and calls his skill level “very high.” If the Bruins feel they want to grab a pure goal scorer at the end of the first round, Robertson seems to be a surefire bet to put pucks on net.

Tobias Bjornfot, defenseman

NHL Central ScoutingBjornfot ranks 7th best among European skaters.

The Athletic‘s Corey PronmanPronman ranks Bjornfot 37th among all skaters and projects him being picked 21st overall in his latest mock draft.

TSN’s Bob McKenzieMcKenzie ranks Bjornfot 27th among all prospects.

TSN’s Craig ButtonButton ranks Bjornfot 27th among all prospects.

Sporting NewsSporting News projects Bjornfot to be picked 29th overall.

Bjornfot, a six-foot-tall, 203-pound defenseman, was reportedly one of the best defensemen playing at this year’s under-18 world championship tournament. Pronman writes that his skating is the best part about his game, allowing him to stop plays on the defensive end and transition the puck back to start the offense. He scored 22 points in 39 games in Sweden’s junior league this season and was named the league’s best defenseman for his efforts.