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Bruins add size to prospect pool




Bruins

Boston made a trade with the Minnesota Wild on Day 2 which sent Jakub Lauko to the Wild.

Jonathan Morello was picked 154th overall by the Bruins on Saturday. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — After trading back into the first round earlier in the week and selecting Dean Letourneau with the 25th overall pick, the Boston Bruins waited patiently before participating in a busy Day 2 of the NHL Draft.

By Round 4, Don Sweeney submitted his lone trade of the weekend. Between Sweeney’s transaction with fellow GM peer Bill Guerin and many other transactions around the league, here are a few takeaways from an active second day at the state-of-the-art Sphere.

Trade with Minnesota highlights Boston’s Day 2 slate.

The Bruins sat idle for two rounds before making their first move of the latter half of the 2024 Draft.

Originally slated with the 122nd overall pick, the Bruins moved up 12 spots to 110 in a deal with the Minnesota Wild that also involved a swap of bottom-six forwards Vinni Lettieri and Jakub Lauko. With the 110th pick, the Bruins selected defenseman and Quinnipiac-bound Elliott Groenewold out of the USHL.

“It’s part of the cycle here,” Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Nadeau said. “What we’re trying to do is draft some players that can have an impact with the Boston Bruins. Obviously, [Lauko] had some impact here. He played. And then, at certain times, Donnie and his staff, they gotta do what’s in the best interest of the team. They got a deal that actually improved one of our picks from 122 to 110. For me, it certainly helped a player that we really wanted.”

Lauko developed a knack for drawing penalties with his speed and physical traits. But with Jesper Boqvist, Johnny Beecher and Justin Brazeau ahead in the depth chart, Lauko’s fate likely became sealed after the Bruins added another bottom-six forward to the fold in Mark Kastellic during Monday’s trade with the Ottawa Senators centering around Linus Ullmark.

After spending his first four seasons between New York, Anaheim and its AHL affiliates, Lettieri arrived at the Bruins organization in 2022-23, making 48 appearances in Providence and suiting up once with Boston during the home stretch. The veteran bottom-six forward appeared in a career-high 46 NHL games and tallied nine points on five goals and four assists during his lone season with Minnesota.

The Bruins received some minor cap relief north of $10,000 in the Lauko-Lettieri swap. They also kept their last two scheduled picks at 154 and 186 and selected forward and Clarkson commit Jonathan Morello (St. Michael’s, OJHL) and Loke Johansson (AIK, Swedish J20 Nationell League) to round out their 2024 Draft class.

The Bruins add more size to their prospect pool.

Boston’s scouting department examined every potential fit for upcoming talents. Yet the frames of every prospect they selected provided considerable insight into their thought process.

All four of the Bruins’ selections from this weekend stand at least 6-foot-2 in height. From Letourneau’s speed and shot selection at 6-foot-7 to Johnasson’s grit and closeout traits to the Vermont native Groenewold and his two-way skillset to Morello’s continued physical and development growth, each Bruins prospect provides unique upside.

“Certainly, the size thing is somewhat of a factor,” Nadeau said. “But it’s not like we set a height line to get over the amusement park ride here … where we value these players, they just happen to fall on the draft board, and we’re not disappointed that we drafted a bunch of big players.”

The 2024 class was more than just a mere outlier in the Bruins’ emphasis on drafting size, particularly on D.

As compiled by 98.5’s Ty Anderson, the Bruins selected nine blueliners standing 6 feet or taller, beginning with Mason Lohrei’s second-round selection in 2020.

Within that timeframe, the Bruins only selected four players under six feet tall: Matthew Poitras and Cole Spicer in 2022 and Fabian Lysell and Oskar Jelvik a year prior.

Is a potential Bruins free-agent target off the board?

The second day began with a bang with an array of transactions.

And one of Boston’s Atlantic Division rivals was particularly busy shedding cap space in a pair of bold trades.

In hopes of re-signing their all-time scoring leader, Steven Stamkos, and adding another prime free-agent target like Jake Guentzel, the Lightning received over $17 million in cap relief after parting ways with Mikhail Sergachev and Tanner Jeannot in respective trades to Utah and Los Angeles. For Sergrachev, the Bolts received forward Connor Geekie — the younger brother of Bruins forward Morgan Geekie — defenseman J.J. Moser, and a 2024 seventh-round and 2025 second-round pick, while Jeannot netted a 2024 fourth-round selection.

Indeed, Don Sweeney emphasized the need for a top-six centerman as one of his top off-season priorities. And the path for a potential Stamkos signing may have taken a turn with the Lightning freeing up a little over $11 million in cap space during Saturday’s transactions.

While nothing is official until Stamkos puts pen to paper, the Bruins may have to turn their attention to other options on the UFA market, such as Elias Lindholm, Chandler Stephenson and Sean Monahan.

Among the other notable names from the 22 trades on Day 2 included John Marino (from New Jersey to Utah), Logan Thompson (from Vegas to Washington), Chris Tanev (from Dallas to Toronto) and Kevin Hayes (from St. Louis to Vegas).





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