With the Bruins picking five times on Wednesday, here’s a few quick reactions from Boston’s selections in Rounds 2-7 of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Round 2, No. 58 overall – Mason Lohrei, D
With their first pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, the Bruins opted for a defenseman in Lohrei that ... well, wasn't exactly on many watchlists — at least this high up in the draft. Lohrei, 19, is a big body on the blue line — currently measuring out at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds — but he has flashed some serious playmaking potential in his young hockey career.
The left-shot D played this past season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, where he recorded 37 points (8 goals, 29 assists) over 48 games played. He is expected to return to Green Bay for the 2020-21 season before moving on to Ohio State for the 2021-22 campaign.
All things considered, Lohrei's selection in the second round is certainly a surprise, as NHL Central Scouting tabbed him 132nd among North American skaters in their pre-draft rankings, while The Athletic tabbed him as going in the seventh round in their last mock draft. Lohrei, who was draft-eligible last season, acknowledged that he has flown under the radar so far in his career, only earning a spot on the Central Scouting's watch list during their final rankings ahead of the draft.
Steve Kournianos, who puts together fantastic scouting reports over at The Draft Analyst, offered some insight on Lohrei's game — noting that the defenseman has a high ceiling given his blend of size and ability to contribute on offense.
"I’d consider myself a two-way defenseman, pretty skilled," Lohrei said. "I take a lot of pride in how I defend, how I defend the rush, how I defend in my own zone, shutting things down and making good breakout passes to the forwards. But then once that happens, then the fun stuff begins. I get to jump up in the play and get pucks back. Use my skill and then I see myself as – I can play in all situations. Five-on-five, power play, penalty kill, stuff like that. Start games, finish games. I think I’m just a pretty simple player overall. I like to try to control the game when I’m out there, and when I have the puck."
The optics of Lohrei's place in these projected draft boards — when measured against where Boston scooped him up — may not be ideal, but the B's scouting staff must feel as though they found a diamond in the rough here. Still, you wonder if the B's could have snagged him at No. 89 overall, if not even a bit later in this draft.
Round 3, No. 89 overall – Trevor Kuntar, F
With their second pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, the Bruins opted for a forward with a skillset that has traditionally fared well with this Original Six franchise in BC freshman Trevor Kuntar.
Kuntar, who originally committed to Harvard before heading over to The Heights after the Crimson's season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been praised for his finishing ability and his tenacious style of play.