Boston’s 2015 draft for the ages

Boston’s 2015 draft for the ages
By Evan Presement

Let me take you back to June 26th, 2015, just 11 days after the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup. Focus has shifted from the postseason to the draft, with teams prepping their boards in anticipation for the big day.

One of those teams, the Boston Bruins, is extra excited about this day. Why? Well, the Bruins own three first round picks, no’s. 13, 14, and 15. Now I know we say this about every draft, but the 2015 draft really is a deep one, and Boston has a chance here to stockpile some really nice, young players.

The draft starts off as expected. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel go number one and two, respectively. Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, and Noah Hanifin round out the top-five. After that, though, things started to get interesting.

“With the sixth pick in the 2015 entry draft, the New Jersey Devils select… Pavel Zacha.”

“Interesting,” I say about Zacha, who I have slated to go in the mid teens.

Then, a few picks later…

“With the ninth pick in the 2015 entry draft, the San Jose Sharks select… Timo Meier.”

Again, another player I have pencilled in to go later on in the draft. Now, I’m starting to get nervous. I don’t really hide it very well – I’m a Leafs fan – and the thought of Boston coming up with three picks in a row and some very, very good players left on the board scares the hell out of me.

We’re now at pick number 12, and two players I had projected to go in the top-nine are still available. C’mon! First Boston gets lucky with the Kessel trade and is able to snag Seguin and Hamilton, and now Matthew Barzal and Kyle Connor are going to fall in to their laps? “God dammit, what a joke,” I’m thinking to myself.

“With the 12th pick of the 2015 entry draft, the Dallas Stars select… Denis Gurianov.”

You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me. I’m not alone…

(That’s my favourite tweet of all time, by the way)

Everyone knows what’s about to happen. The Bruins are about to draft at least two ‘A’ prospects, and ruin the Leafs’ lives for a little while longer. Oh god, Don Sweeney’s walking up the the podium now… Here we go.

“With the 13th pick in the 2015 entry draft, The Boston Bruins select… Jakub Zboril.”

Well alright, that’s an OK pick. I mean I guess it doesn’t really matter what order you draft these guys in, right? I personally wouldn’t have taken Zboril so high, but that’s not the worst pick ever. Dammit, here it comes…

“With the 14th pick in the 2015 entry draft, the Boston Bruins select… Jake DeBrusk.”

Wait, what? The Bruins just took DeBrusk? The guy who was slated to go in the late 20’s? The guy who put up 81 points in 72 games in the freakin’ WHL? No, no, there’s got to be some sort of mista-

“With the 15th pick in the 2015 entry draft, the Boston Bruins select… Zachary Senyshyn.”


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand, scene.

I don’t remember a team messing up that badly at a draft. I mean, I watched the Leafs TRADE UP to draft Tyler Biggs. I also watched them draft Luke Schenn fifth overall. I also watched 10 teams pass on Filip Forsberg back in 2011, when he was slated to go fourth overall.

I’ve seen some pretty stupid, incompetent crap at the draft, but nothing, NOTHING, at this level.

In this post, I’m only going to be focusing on DeBrusk, Senyshyn, Connor, and Barzal. This is because I actually think Zboril was a decent pick, and because Oliver Kylington didn’t get chosen until late in the second round for some reason.

So, how are they doing? Did Boston make the right choice?

Kyle Connor:

Kyle Connor is unbelievable. He currently has 54 points in 30 games playing NCAA hockey. To put that number in to perspective, Jack Eichel scored 71 points in 40 college games last year. Connor is on pace to score 72 in that same time span. He’s leading the NCAA as a whole in scoring… as a freshman.

He’s an unbelievably fast and skilled, and seems to dominate in any game he plays. Here’s an example of the kind of skill this guy has:

Connor is easily a top-10 talent who I believe is going to end up being a great NHL player.

Matthew Barzal:

If you paid any attention to the World Juniors, then you know what this guy’s about.

He was all over the place, making an impact in all three zones. Again, like Connor, he’s an unbelievably skilled forward who has a great shot that projects to be a good scorer at the next level. Also, at 6’0 and 185 with time to grow in to his body, he’s a decently sized guy.

You may remember this goal, but for those who don’t, here’s a reminder of what great hands and release he has:

Alright, so we know that Boston passed on some pretty good players. Let’s see how their picks are doing.

Zachary Senyshyn:

This was the most puzzling of the three picks. Why take Senyshyn at 15th overall when you can likely grab him in the mid second round?

Senyshyn has never scored at over a point-per-game at any level above triple-A. It’s not a good sign that a guy who is as big and (supposedly) as skilled as he is, is not putting up big points in the OHL.

Here’s an example of some of the skill he does possess:

Still, though. At this point, he’s not a top prospect. He wasn’t on anybodies radar that early in the first round. It seems as though the B’s jumped the gun with this guy.

Jake DeBrusk:

Again, such a questionable and odd pick.

When someone’s scouting report includes ‘willing to go to the dirty areas’ and ‘makes the smart play’, that’s just code for ‘he’s not really skilled’.

Yeah, DeBrusk has put up some decent point totals, but remember – take everything from the WHL with a grain of salt. He’s barely scoring over a PPG this year, which must be concerning to Bruins fans everywhere.

DeBrusk is known mostly as a two-way winger who has an offensive touch. He’s a decent player, don’t get me wrong, but he’s no where near the level that Barzal and Connor are on.

I was able to find one nice goal that he scored, though:

So, yeah. The Bruins passed on a chance at potentially one of the top five point getters in this draft (Connor) and Barzal, who has the skills to go on to have a pretty nice NHL career.

But hey, as a Leafs fan, you won’t hear me complain.



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11 thoughts on “Boston’s 2015 draft for the ages

  1. I guess that is why the Leafs out-perform the Bruins year in and year out. Lets revisit in five years and see if what you wrote holds true.

    1. Not sure what the B’s outperforming Toronto has to do with Boston having an indefensible draft, or at least first round. Boston’s window is closing. Chara will be gone in 5 years, Bergeron will be 35, Krejci will be 34, Rask will be 33 and Marchand will be 32, aka they’ll all be weeeeell past their primes. If Toronto isn’t miles ahead of Boston in 5 years then something has home horribly wrong for the Leafs or insanely right for Boston.

  2. Senyshyn was a steal at 15. Everyone sees that now….funny how you still blind yourself. Conner is a good player. Barzal won’t stick in the NHL, too fragile.

    But…enjoy being one of the worst teams in the NHL. Again.

    1. Haha listen, you’re clearly a B’s fan and are trying to stay optimistic. I get that and respect it. You are the first person I have ever come accross that has defended senyshyn at 15. Listen, there’s literally 0 way to defend taking a guy who’s under a PPG in his draft +1 season over Kyle Conner (who’s putting up STUPID numbers) and Matthew Barzal, who dominated international competition. If you think he’s too fragile for the NHL, you clearly haven’t watched the game in the last few seasons. The league is made for a guy like him. And yes, I’m enjoying the hell out of it. I’ve been begging the leafs to tank for years. We now have a top 5 prospect pool, 2 of the top 5 prospects in hockey, mike babcock, and a clear direction. Enjoy one of your last good seasons. They’re gonna be few and far between pretty soon.

  3. It is absolutely untrue that Senyshyn wasn’t on anybody’s radar and would have fallen to the 2nd round. Detroit told Senyshyn they were taking him at 20, and even if he got past them, his former GM in SSM, Kyle Dubas would have selected him. You know, the Kyle Dubas that is the Asst GM for your team, the Leafs. You are bad-mouthing a prospect he would have taken at 24, had he been there, lol.

    1. Senyshyn wasn’t slated to go in the first round on a single mock draft, and I’m also pretty sure central scouting had him somewhere around 40 in their final rankings. And no, Dubas wouldn’t have taken him, because their whole philosophy was to trade down and acquire as many picks as possible. You think they would have stayed at 24 to take Senyshyn but not Konekny? Come on.

        1. Hooooooo boy, there’s a few things to respond to here.

          1. We’re taking MLHS as a serious scouting service? How about literally every major NHL scouting agency out there? I’m always interested in having good discussion but man, what a stupid comment. According to, by round, 61 of Senyshyn’s comparables were drafted in the 1st round, 103 in the 2nd round, 85 in the 3rd round, 71 in the 4th round, 52 in the 5th round.

          Also, using DEV (a system that runs a prospects’ #’s for any given season and assigns them a fair draft value) has Senyshyn’s fair value pick range for his draft year at 83-96. The guy scored under a point per game in his draft +1 season. Figure it out.

          2. I don’t really understand what you’re saying… Are you saying that Barzal isn’t good because teams passed on him? Are you saying that Reinhart is worth more?

          Actually, you know who went JUST AFTER Barzal? Kyle Connor, who could very well be the 2nd best player out of this draft class. How did he fall so low, though? Again, figure it out.

          3. If you think the WHL is the best league in the CHL, well, then I don’t know how to help you.

          4. Barzal scored at a higher rate than DeBrusk in their draft year. Also, you look pretty dumb arguing this now ESPECIALLY considering Barzal’s most recent season blew DeBrusk’s out of the water, didn’t even crack a point per game. Not going to get in to it too in depth, because it’s fairly obvious I was right, and I’m not sure what you’re arguing.

          This was one of the laziest and weird arguments I’ve ever seen. I called out the Bruins for a terrible draft and it’s pretty universally accepted that they messed up big time.

  4. Also, Barzal “dominating international play” does not mean he translates well to the NHL. 12 teams passed on him before Boston and then Ciareli could have had him in Edmonton, but decided he would rather have Griffin Reinheart.

    Not sure what your “take everything from the WHL with a grain of salt” comment was intended to mean. I can only take it as you don’t get to watch much WHL, as it might be the best of the 3 CHL leagues, definitely has the best defenseman and is the hardest of the 3 leagues to score in. Anyways, that’s another discussion.

    Jake DeBrusk’s 42 goals dwarfed Matt Barzal’s 12 in the same draft season and Barzal’s points (57 compared to Jakes 82) were heavily influences by power plays, which he usually eats the entire 2 minutes of. Jake was able to put up his 42 goals and 81 points while being an even strength beast.

    Not surprising though, as I gather your knowledge of WHL players comes from “mock drafts”. Good luck with that


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