Bruins trade Jakub Lauko to Wild, move up in fourth round of draft


The Bruins moved up in the fourth round to select Vermont native Elliott Groenewold.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 29: Jakub Lauko #94 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights at TD Garden on February 29, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Jakub Lauko played in 60 games in a fourth-line role last season with Boston. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Bruins moved up in the fourth round of the 2024 NHL Draft on Saturday, but relinquished a fourth-line regular in the process in order to bolster their prospect pipeline.

Boston struck a deal with the Wild, sending forward Jakub Lauko and their fourth-round selection (122th overall) to Minnesota in exchange for their fourth-round pick (110th overall) and forward Vinni Lettieri. 

By moving up in the fourth round, the Bruins selected defenseman Elliott Groenewold out of the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Groenewold is a 6-foot-2, left-shot defenseman who operates with a “high-pace, high-aggression” approach on the ice, according to EliteProspects’ 2024 NHL Draft Guide.

Groenewold may not be flashy, but he has a high floor as a no-frills, hard-nosed defender who can snuff out scoring chances and push opposing skaters outside of Grade-A ice. 

Groenewold, who hails from Bellows Falls, Vermont, is set to attend Quinnipiac University next season, where he will play alongside Bruins 2023 third-round selection Chris Pelosi. 

In order to move up to select Groenewold, the Bruins moved on from Lauko, who played in 60 games last season in a fourth-line role. The 2018 third-round pick served as on-ice spark plug for Boston, scoring two goals and 10 points while averaging 9:49 of ice time per contest. 

Lauko’s speed and physicality were welcomed on Boston’s checking unit, with the 24-year-old winger drawing 12 penalties and racking up 32 penalty minutes.

Boston did add another fourth-line stalwart last week when it acquired pugnacious forward Mark Kastelic as part of the Linus Ullmark trade — with the 25-year-old forward likely slotting into Lauko’s spot. 

Kastelic’s ability to play down the middle could also shift Johnny Beecher to the wing, with Justin Brazeau rounding out a younger fourth line with some upside. 

This will mark Lettieri’s second go-around with the Bruins, with the 29-year-old veteran playing most of the 2022-23 season with the Providence Bruins. The former University of Minnesota standout was a top-six fixture with the P-Bruins, scoring 23 goals and posting 49 points over 48 games while logging plenty of shifts alongside Fabian Lysell.

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