A Look at the "20 Under 25" Candidates for the Boston Bruins

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A Look at the "20 Under 25" Candidates for the Boston Bruins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Bruins are in win-now mode and have been for the better part of a decade. As a result, they have dealt away many draft picks, including three of their last five first-round selections, in trades to improve the NHL roster for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In addition to a low number of high draft picks, Boston also has failed to develop young players at a high level. Numerous prospect experts, including some from ESPN and The Athletic, have consistently ranked the Bruins’ prospect pool among the worst in the league over the last three years.

That said, the B’s still have some exciting talent throughout the organization.

Fabian Lysell, who was a 2020 first-round pick, has top-six forward potential. His goal-scoring, playmaking ability, and speed make him an ideal offensive player for today’s uptempo NHL. Mason Lohrei is another intriguing prospect as a two-way defenseman with excellent (6-foot-4 and 205 pounds) hockey sense.

Candidates: CELTICS | PATRIOTS | RED SOX | REVS

The Bruins’ roster isn’t stacked with premium young talent, and they only have four players on this list. One reason for that is Charlie McAvoy (turns 25 on Dec. 21), Jake DeBrusk (age 26) and David Pastrnak (age 26) are no longer eligible.

One player who does make the cut is backup goalie Jeremy Swayman, who has a promising future despite a slow start to the 2022-23 season. He has the potential to be a starting-caliber goalie in Boston for a long time.

The Bruins do not have a wave of impressive young talent in the pipeline, but that’s mostly by design. This is a veteran organization and its desire to win ASAP isn’t going to change this season given the team’s hot start. A time will come when the Bruins must retool/rebuild in a meaningful way, but it might be a few years before that process truly begins.

Players in last year’s contest who are no longer eligible: Charlie McAvoy

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Jeremy Swayman, G

Despite a slow start to the 2022-23 season, Swayman has tremendous potential as a starting-caliber goaltender. He’s one of the best under-25 netminders in the league and could be a Team USA fixture over the next decade. Swayman is in the final year of his contract and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of deal he signs next. Most goalies with his age and track record sign a short-term extension.

Swayman finished 8th in last year's rankings

Fabian Lysell, RW

Lysell has legit top-six forward potential at the NHL level with an impressive blend of goal-scoring ability, playmaking skill, and speed. He puts opposing players on their heels nearly every time he touches the puck, making him one of the most exciting players in the B’s organization. Lysell is in his first AHL season with the Providence Bruins and could see action in the NHL during the 2022-23 campaign if injuries create depth issues for Boston.

Johnny Beecher, C

Beecher was the Bruins’ 2019 first-round pick (31st overall). He’s a strong skater and plays the game with a physical mentality, especially in the attacking zone. Despite an impressive shot and improved playmaking skills, he has not tallied a ton of points in Providence. Being a more consistent scorer will help him get a look at the NHL level. So far, he’s been a disappointment as one of four first-round picks from his draft class who haven’t yet made their NHL debut.

Mason Lohrei, D

Lohrei has an excellent two-way skill set, impressive size (6-foot-4 and 205 pounds) and skates really well in all three zones. He’s got the potential to be a top-four defenseman at the NHL level. No other prospect in the Bruins’ system has that kind of ability right now. He’s probably another year or two from making it to Boston, but the future is bright for the Ohio State star.

A Complete "20 Under 25" History