With the 2020-21 NHL season still a ways away, let's spend this week assessing the state of Boston's pool of prospects. The Bruins' pipeline of young talent may not be as extensive (and impactful) as a number of other franchises across the league, but there are still a number of young skaters and netminders in Boston's system poised to make jump up to the NHL ranks in the coming years, or at the very least elevate their stock down in the AHL, collegiate, junior and international ranks.
Here's our look at the top 25 prospects in the Bruins' system, starting with No. 25-21:
(Note: We're going to count any prospect with 20+ games of service time up in the NHL ranks as "graduated" from our list, with youngsters like Jeremy Lauzon, Karson Kuhlman and Connor Clifton exempt from these rankings.)
Pavel Shen, Forward
Weight: 195 pounds
2019-20 Stats (Providence Bruins/AHL) - 35 Games, 4 Goals, 9 Points
Drafted: Round 7 (No. 212 overall) - 2018
The final stages of the NHL Draft can often be a crapshoot when it comes to identifying premier pro-hockey talent, but Boston might have something here with Shen, who was five spots away from going undrafted back in 2018. After a couple of seasons over in Russia, Shen made the jump over to North America last year and went through some expected growing pains with Providence. He still has a ways to go in terms of his development, especially when it comes to his natural hockey sense / on-ice awareness, but Shen has the wheels and skill to be a productive player in the AHL.
Joona Koppanen, Forward
Weight: 206 pounds
2019-20 Stats (Providence Bruins/AHL) - 43 Games, 9 Goals, 18 Points
Drafted: Round 5 (No. 135 overall) - 2016
Koppanen's second full season of AHL action in 2019-20 didn't exactly go as planned, as a sluggish start and multiple healthy scratches prompted Providence to send the slumping forward down to the ECHL for a stint. The demotion clearly worked, as Koppanen returned to the Baby B's just a few weeks later and managed to carve out a role in Providence's bottom-six corps, using his size to assert himself on the forecheck, win puck battles and grind down the opposition. It remains to be seen what exactly Koppanen's ceiling is going forward, but he has turned a few heads recently thanks to his play overseas.
With the AHL season not expected to get underway until at least February 2021, Koppanen has been back home in Finland playing in the two top-tiered leagues within the country. During his tenure with Koovee (in Finland's second-tiered Mestis league), Koppanen was a force — tallying six goals and 17 total points over 10 games. With the 22-year-old forward clearly out-classing his competition, Koppanen has since moved up to play for Ilves of the Finnish Elite League, where he has zero points in two games. A strong showing overseas might be just what Koppanen needs to build some momentum before (eventually) returning to the U.S. for his third go-around with Providence.
Matt Filipe, Forward
Weight: 205 pounds
2019-20 Stats (Northeastern University/NCAA) - 30 Games, 9 Goals, 22 Points
Drafted: Round 3 (No. 67 overall) - 2016 (By Carolina)
The Bruins' prospect pipeline is not complete without a couple of local products, and Lynnfield native Filipe is one of the newer additions. Filipe, who was originally drafted by the Hurricanes back in 2016, opted not to sign with the Canes and instead inked an entry-level contract back in August. Filipe's numbers with the Huskies might not jump off the page, but the hard-nosed forward established himself as an effective power forward that often excelled on the forecheck. He might be more of a bottom-six forward at the NHL level, but Filipe's play style should translate well to the pro ranks – starting with a look with Providence in 2020-21.