Meet the Bruins’ 2024 NHL Draft class


The Bruins targeted a pair of forwards with high upside and two physical defensemen in this draft class.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 28: Dean Letourneau poses for a portrait after being drafted by the Boston Bruins with the 25th overall pick during the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Sphere on June 28, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Bruins selected Dean Letourneau with their first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

Headlined by just their fourth first-round selection since 2017, the Bruins added four players to their prospect pipeline in the 2024 NHL Draft. 

Don Sweeney and his staff found themselves on the clock in the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds in Las Vegas — with Boston swinging for the fences with a 6-foot-7 pivot, a pair of left-shot defensemen, and a sharpshooting forward from the Ontario Junior Hockey League. 

Here’s what you need to know about the Bruins’ 2024 draft class:

Dean Letourneau, C, St. Andrew’s College
First round (No. 25 overall)

The Bruins’ prospect pool has been short on high-end talent for some time — a direct byproduct of Sweeney and his staff relinquishing draft capital in hopes of pushing NHL rosters over the top.

Boston’s decision to deal Linus Ullmark to the Senators opened the door for the Bruins to add a blue-chip prospect with their re-acquired first-round selection. 

And with the 25th overall pick, the Bruins rolled the dice on one of the more intriguing players in the 2024 draft class in 6-foot-7 center Dean Letourneau. 

While Letourneau is far from the only 2024 prospect lauded for his playmaking prowess and agility, few youngsters feature that skill set while also boasting such an imposing frame. 

But Letourneau doesn’t exactly fit the mold as a prototypical power forward who relies on his heft alone to wreak havoc in the offensive zone.

The Boston College commit has drawn comparisons to Sabres’ sharpshooter (and 6-foot-6 center) Tage Thompson due to his similar frame and high-end skill — with Letourneau routinely stuffing the stat sheet last season against prep competition at St. Andrew’s College. 

The Braeside, Ontario native tallied 61 goals and 127 points in just 56 games for St. Andrew’s.

Even though his video-game stat line is hard to ignore, regression is to be expected moving forward for the 18-year-old Letourneau — given the elevated competition that awaits this fall with the Eagles.

As tantalizing as Letourneau’s blend of size and skill might be, his viability as a top-six stalwart at hockey’s highest level remains murky, given the questions about how his skills will translate against tougher opponents.

Still, patience should be preached for a promising, but very raw prospect like Letourneau. 

Much like how Thompson needed two seasons at UConn and a few years of NHL reps (just 18 goals in his first 145 career games) before taking off, a similar timeframe should be afforded to Letourneau. 

How he handles the expected growing pains at Chestnut Hill should shed some light on whether or not the Bruins have the next Thompson on their hands — or more of a bottom-six regular like Justin Brazeau or Michael Rasmussen.

“What stood out is the frame of the player and his skillset to tell you the truth. Not so much the positional side of things, but he moves very well at the size. He’s got very good hands, got an elite shot,” Don Sweeney said of Letourneau. “Most people will talk about the quality of competition at the level he’s played at. 

“It’ll be a big jump for him to go to Boston College next year, but the opportunity is laid in front of him with [Will] Smith leaving. So we think that’s going to be a great development opportunity for Dean to continue to grow and filling the gaps in his game.”

Elliott Groenewold, D, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Fourth round (No. 110 overall)

While upside was the name of the game with Boston’s decision to snag Letourneau in the first round, the Bruins opted for a no-frills, high-floor defenseman with their next pick in the fourth round. 

Boston traded Jakub Lauko and its fourth-round selection (No. 122 overall) to the Wild in order to move up 12 spots and select Elliott Groenewold with the 110th overall selection. 

Groenewold is a left-shot blueliner who has earned high marks for his motor and physicality. He played last season for Cedar Rapids in the USHL, but will make the jump to Quinnipiac University this fall — where he will join a talented freshmen class that also includes Bruins 2023 third-round pick Chris Pelosi. 

Groenewold, who grew up a Bruins fan in his hometown of Bellows Falls, Vermont, said he models his game after one blueliner currently in a black-and-gold sweater.

“Hampus Lindholm — I really liked the way he plays,” Groenewold said. “I think he’s a good two-way guy for the Bruins. He plays physical, plays hard in his own zone. And then he can contribute offensively as well at times when it’s right — jumping into play and getting pucks through at the blue line.”

Jonathan Morello, F, St. Michael’s Buzzers 
Fifth round (No. 154 overall)

The Bruins once again opted for a forward who carved his path to the NHL Draft via a relatively unheralded route in Jonathan Morello. 

Morello, a 6-foot-3, left-shot center, recorded 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) last season for the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He played his best hockey of the year down the final stretch of the Buzzers’ season — scoring 12 goals and 21 points in 11 playoff games. 

Morello is one of the younger players in the 2024 draft class, as he won’t turn 18 until July 31. Tabbed as the 95th-ranked 2024 prospect by FloHockey’s Chris Peters, Morello’s tenure in the OJHL might have made him slip under the radar in this draft, allowing Boston to pick a young forward with plenty of room to grow. 

“It feels like every time we meet him — he’s taller, he’s bigger,” Bruins director of amateur scouting Ryan Nadeau said of Morello. “We’re just banking on the upward trajectory here.”

The Toronto native will play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL this fall before making the jump up to the collegiate ranks at Clarkson University in 2025-26.

Loke Johansson, D,  AIK
Sixth round (No. 186 overall)

With their final pick of the 2024 NHL Draft, the Bruins added another hard-nosed defender in Loke Johansson out of Sweden.

The 18-year-old blueliner is already a big body at 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds, spending the 2023-24 campaign with AIK in both Sweden’s top junior league (33 games) and HockeyAllsvenskan — Sweden’s second-tier pro league (19 games). 

Even though he has some room to grow in terms of his puck handling and offensive game, Johansson’s snarl and bruising style of play offered plenty of appeal to a Bruins organization that has targeted larger bodies on their blue line over the last couple of drafts. 

“We like his physicality, closes down space pretty well,” Nadeau said of Johansson. “Like any kid you’re picking late, there’s a bit of development here left, but we have a development staff that we really believe in their ability to get the most out of players.

“We’ve seen enough with puck moving to think that this kid handles the puck fine. Again, we really appreciate the kind of the grit, the hardness in his defending.” 

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *