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2017 NHL Draft Recap: Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / - The Bruins welcomed six new prospects to the organization during the 2017 NHL Draft from June 23-24 at the United Center in Chicago.


"Good day for the organization," Bruins Assistant General Manager Scott Bradley said following the conclusion of the draft on Saturday. "Both days have been real good. We targeted specific players and we came away with some real good prospects."


Overall, the Bruins drafted three defensemen, two forwards, and a goaltender. Their next step will be attending the Bruins' development camp in early July in Boston. 

With the 18th overall pick in the first round of the NHL Draft, Boston selected Finland native, defenseman Urho Vaakanainen. 


In rounds through 2-7, Boston drafted forward Jack Studnicka 53rd overall, goaltender Jeremy Swayman (4th round, 111th overall), forward Cédric Paré (6th round, 173rd overall), defenseman Victor Berglund (7th round, 195th overall), and defenseman Daniel Bukac (7th round, 204th overall).

Video: Bruins select Urho Vaakanainen 18th overall 

First Round, 18th Overall: Urho Vaakanainen


Vaakanainen, 18, spent his 2016-17 season with JYP of SM-Liiga where he appeared in 41 games, tallying two goals and four assists along with a plus-5 rating. The 6-foot-1, 188-pound defenseman went into the draft as the eighth ranked International Skater, as determined by NHL Central Scouting. 


The Jyvaskylai, Finland native represented his country at the 2017 World Junior Championship, scoring a goal in six games. 


He also represented Finland at the 2017 U-18 World Championship, where he registered three goals and three assists in five games en route to a silver medal; and at the 2016 U-18 World Championship, where he recorded a goal and two assists as Finland won gold.  


"I think I'm a great skater, I'm good with the puck, I have a good first pass, and I'm a complete package," Vaakanainen described his style of play, after being drafted. "A two-way defenseman and a steady guy."


"He's got the ability to cover a lot of ice, his gap control is really good, gets back on pucks, he'll look to make his first pass," said General Manager Don Sweeney. "The enticing part is, does the offensive stuff continue to grow? That's what we'd like to continue to encourage and see him develop as the course of the year goes along next year."


Vaakanainen will play one more year in Finland, before likely coming over to North America.


The blueliner will work on getting stronger, improving his shot, and working on his play along the offensive blueline. He looks to Roman Josi as a role model. 


"[He's a] confident kid. I think he understands what his strengths are in describing himself as a very, very good skater," said Sweeney. "He's got confidence because he's played against men for a year and a half as a 17, 18 year old player."


The Bruins' development camp will mark the first time that Vaakanainen will be in Boston. He does have a slight connection to the team, though, because his father coached Tuukka Rask for a year in Finland when he was growing up. 


Read more about Vaakaninen, and view stats and highlights by clicking here.



Second Round, 53rd Overall: Jack Studnicka


Studnicka, 18, has spent his last two seasons with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. During the 2016-17 season, he skated in 64 games, amassing 18 goals, 34 assists and 52 penalty minutes. Studnicka also appeared in 62 games for the Generals during the 2015-16 season, registering four goals and 22 assists along with 25 penalty minutes.


The Windsor, Ontario native represented Canada at the 2017 U-18 World Championship, where he netted three goals in three games.


"Unbelievable excitement," Studnicka said while wearing the Spoked-B for the first time. "Obviously, it's a great organization and I'm happy to be a part of it."


"I think my best attribute is my playmaking ability, my vision," Studnicka said of his game. "Something I need to work on is my acceleration, my first three steps, and my skating drive."


"We were looking for skill - we addressed a need there," said Bradley. "We think he can play both wing and center. There's room to develop. He's close to 6'2", but he's light - his frame is light, but we look forward to [him] developing."


Read more about Studnicka, and view stats and highlights by clicking here.


Fourth Round, 111th Overall: Jeremy Swayman 


Swayman, 18, tended the crease for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League during the 2016-17 season. In 32 games, the 6-foot-2, 187-pound goaltender posted a 7-18-3 record with a 2.90 goals against average and .914 save percentage.


The Anchorage, Alaska native has committed to attend the University of Maine, so he will be out on the East Coast this coming Fall.


He points to Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask as someone he admires.


"Rask is a phenomenal goalie that I've looked up to, in my up and coming years," said Swayman, who found out the news of being drafted at about 7:00 a.m. in Alaska. 


"The reason I said Tuukka is just because of how limber he is," said Swayman. "I love how he can stretch out and get that extra inch of extension. So, me being flexible as well, I feel like I emulate his game in that aspect, as well as being able to cut down the angle and get to that backdoor play quicker than most other goalies could."


"I would describe myself as a challenge goalie," said Swayman. "A competitive goalie just kind of fighting through traffic at all times, being able to see the puck from anywhere on the ice."


"We got a goalie that we're excited about that [Goaltending Coach] Bob Essensa really liked; scouted him," said Bradley. "We heard good things from [the University of Maine] staff about him and we did our due diligence on the background, so we're happy with him."


Read more about Swayman, and view stats and highlightsby clicking here.



Sixth Round, 173rd Overall: Cédric Paré 


Paré, 18, spent the 2016-17 season with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 64 games, the Lévis, Quebec native tallied five goals, 11 assists and 26 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 18 playoff games, netting a goal and two assists during Saint John's President's Cup championship run.


The 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward skated in four Memorial Cup games after his QMJHL championship, scoring two goals.


"It was nice and I had a lot of fun there too and we didn't win, but we all learned a lot from that," Paré said of his Memorial Cup experience, which he shared with fellow Saint John's teammate and Bruins prospect Jakub Zboril. "I had the chance to have more visibility for the team and it was nice."


"We got him in the sixth-round and he's a developed kid," said Bradley. "He went to the Memorial Cup, we see good things with him. We thought we got some good value with that pick."


Paré highlights his speed and agility as his best assets, and compares his game to that of Jordan Staal. 


"He's got a lot of energy. I think it's undervalued," said Bradley. "His skating, I think over the course of the year he's picked it up with his skating. His stride has lengthened a little bit. What we liked is his energy and he did score in the Memorial Cup."


Read more about Paré, and view stats and highlights by clicking here.


Seventh Round, 195th Overall: Victor Berglund


Berglund, 18, split his 2016-17 season between Modo hockey club and Modo's U-20 team. In 12 games with Modo, the Ornskoldsvik, Sweden native logged an assist and four penalty minutes. In 37 games with Modo's U-20 team, the Swedish defenseman notched five goals, 10 assists, 16 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating.


The 6-foot, 165-pound defenseman represented Sweden at the 2016 Four Nations Tournament, collecting one assist in three games.


"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," Berglund said of his game. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."


Berglund was in Sweden when he was drafted by Boston.


"It's unbelievable - I stood up and jumped and screamed and laughed. I was really excited. I was very happy," he said. 


"Our Swedish [scouts] were on top of him. They think he's a mobile D. He's skilled, ultra-skilled, and he skates well," said Bradley. "Small. Six-footer, but P.J. [Axelsson] and Sven [Svenake Svensson] and Victor [Nybladh], they were pounding the able for him. Talking to his strength coach after the pick, he's got him working on putting some muscle and weight on so we look forward to seeing him too at development camp."


Read more about Berglund, and view stats and highlights by clicking here.



Seventh Round, 204th Overall: Daniel Bukac 


Bukac, 18, played for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League during the 2016-17 season. In 72 games, the Most, Czech Republic native amassed two goals, 15 assists and 38 penalty minutes.


The 6-foot-4, 185-pound defenseman has represented his country on multiple occasions, most recently at the 2017 U-18 World Championship. He also donned the Czech jersey at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.


"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."


"I try to be a two-way defenseman. I try to make a good first pass and try to make good plays," Bukac said of his game. 


The blueliner has been going through quite the transition from the Czech Republic, having not spoken a word of English before joining Brandon. 


"After a few months, my English was getting better. Everything is getting better," said Bukac, who looks up to David Krejci and David Pastrnak as fellow Czech players. 


"He's come leaps and bounds with his development," said Bradley. "Talking to the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."


Read more about Bukac, and view stats and highlights by clicking here.

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