When it comes to parsing through the best talent available in the final stages of an NHL Draft, the seventh round might as well be a crapshoot.
For every Joe Pavelski (205th overall, 2003) and Henrik Lundqvist (205th overall, 2000), there are hundreds of fellow seventh-round selections that didn’t come close to cracking a spot on the NHL roster.
Oftentimes, even if a seventh-rounder does make it up to the pro ranks, it’s often a lengthy process with multiple campaigns logged across a number of years and leagues before said player is given the green light.
Such a road might be shorter than most expected when it comes to Bruins prospect Pavel Shen.
Selected in the seventh round (212th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft, Shen is now set to take a major step in his development — with the Russian center signing a three-year, entry-level contract with the Bruins on Tuesday — a little over 13 months since he was added to the B’s prospect pipeline.
After a 2018-19 campaign in which Shen split time between three different leagues over in Russia — Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL, Toros Neftekamsk in the VHL and Tolpar Ufa in the MHL — Don Sweeney noted back in June that the forward was considering a move over to North America.
Bouncing between the three leagues didn’t do much for Shen’s development in terms of offensive potential, with the 19-year-old skater limited to four assists over 38 total games.
"Shen is definitely considering coming over and playing,” Sweeney said. “If they can handle it, we do not want to overwhelm and stunt development, in that regard, so if a player’s not physically, mentally ready then we’re not going to expose them to that. They have to come in and take advantage of that, be at the NHL level or AHL level.”
While Shen struggled to settle into a groove last year — especially against older competition in the KHL — there’s an awful lot to like about the Russian’s game.