With Zachary Senyshyn being placed on waivers it gives us a rude reminder of how bad the 2015 NHL Entry Draft was for the Boston Bruins. The 2015 draft had so much talent that it was being compared to the 2003 NHL Entry Draft that included players like Marc Andre Fleury, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and many others. The Bruins failed to make the playoffs in 2014-15 and their selection was the 14th pick. They made two trades that gave them the 13th and 15th picks; in other words, 3 straight picks in one of the best drafts in recent memory.
The Bruins traded Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for Martin Jones, Colin Miller, and the 13th overall pick. They ended up flipping Jones to the San Jose Sharks a few days later for Sean Kuraly and a first round pick in 2016. They then traded the impending restricted free agent Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for the 15th pick and 2 second rounders.
Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen, Zach Werenski are just a few names that were picked in the top 10. With the Bruins picks inching closer and closer, there were several big name players available, like Matthew Barzal, Thomas Chabot, Brock Boeser, Kyle Connor, and Travis Konecny.
With the 13th overall selection the Bruins selected defenseman Jakub Zboril, who was ranked as the 12th best North American skater according to the NHL Central Scouting final rankings. With the 14th pick the Bruins selected Jake DeBrusk, who was ranked as the 19th best North American skater. With the third and final pick they selected Zachary Senyshyn, who was ranked as the 38th best North American skater.
To put it into perspective Matthew Barzal was ranked 11th, Kyle Connor was 13th, Travis Konecny was 14th, and Chabot 16th. Drafts, making draft selections, central scouting rankings, and how players develop can be seen as crapshoots. Sometimes you just never know, even with a sure-fire pick. However 6 years later, we look back at what could’ve been and what has become.
In Jakub Zboril’s draft year he recorded 33 points in 44 games, which boosted his spot in the central scouting rankings. His following year was a bit of a disappointment as he only recorded 20 points in 50 games. He played one more year for the Saint John Sea Dogs before playing 3 seasons with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. He totalled 19 points in each season in 68, 56, and 58 games respectively. 2020-21 was his rookie season in the NHL and in 40 games he recorded 9 assists. He also played 17 minutes of ice time per game but might be in a battle for the 6th and final spot with Connor Clifton.
Jake DeBrusk played a season with the Providence Bruins where he scored 19 goals and 49 points in 74 games. He was an exciting prospect with a rugged game style and there were decently high expectations for his NHL game. He didn’t disappoint in his rookie season with 43 points in 70 games but he hasn’t lived up to the pick or the hype since. The following three seasons he recorded 42, 35, and 14 points in 68, 65, and 41 games respectively. With the departure of David Krejci and secondary scoring being a weakness for the Bruins, the 2021-22 season is going to be a big one for the young forward as he tries to prove his doubters wrong in what is also a contract year.
Zachary Senyshyn’s selection was a bit of a mystery, considering where he ranked in the final rankings and who else was available that did exactly what he did and then some. He posted good numbers in OHL for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, scoring 177 points in 195 games, including back to back 40 goal seasons. He wasn’t able to translate the goal scoring acumen in the AHL as he only scored 33 goals and 63 points in 150 games. As for his NHL game, he only cracked the lineup 14 times in parts of 3 seasons with a goal and 2 assists.
As for the players that went were selected after the 15th pick, it’s a much different story. Matthew Barzal made the John Tavares departure a little easier as he has posted 252 points in 289 career games. The 16th overall pick also won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year in 2017-18. Barzal has also added 38 points in 49 career playoff games, including 17 in 2019-20. He may not be a top centre as of right now but if he continues playing the way he is, it is destined to be in his future.
Kyle Connor was selected with the 17th overall pick by the Winnipeg Jets and is already labelled as a lethal goal scorer. He has 131 goals and 251 points in 305 games for the Jets, including 3 straight 30 goal seasons from 2017-18 to 2019-20. He finished with 26 goals in only 56 games in the shortened season of 2020-21, so it could very well be 4 straight 30 goal seasons.
Thomas Chabot was selected with the 18th overall pick by the Ottawa Senators and has already become one of the league’s best young defensemen. He has 150 points in 254 career games, including 55 points in 70 games in 2018-19. He is in the running to represent team Canada at the 2022 Olympic Games and as the anchor of the Senators blue line, he’s only going to get better.
Brock Boeser was selected with the 23rd overall pick by the Vancouver Canucks, and just like everyone else, hasn’t disappointed. In 253 games he has 98 goals and 210 points on a not so great Canucks team. He has posted 3 20 goals goal seasons, 2 25 goal seasons, and if he can stay healthy 30 should be an easy feat, while approaching 40 can be very attainable. He also added 11 points in 17 playoff games in the bubble of 2020-21.
Travis Konecny was selected with the 24th overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers and made the right away. He has already played in 5 full seasons, scoring 94 goals and 219 points in 349 games. He led the Flyers in points in 2019-20 with 61 in 66, has scored 24 goals 3 times, and plays a vital role in the Flyers top 6.
Drafts are very hard to predict even with the best scouts on hand. Sometimes you can pick the best player available in the draft and it turns out to be a bust and sometimes you luck out in later rounds with a steal or a gem. For the Bruins in 2015, that wasn’t the case. They missed out on some superb talent that would’ve put them at the top of everyone’s Stanley Cup contenders list for years to come.
To be able to have a combination of three players from Barzal, Connor, Chabot, Konecny, and Boeser to add onto Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak is something that will leave Bruins fans salivating but also ripping their hair out. With Senyshyn no longer a player of their future, DeBrusk needing a vey big bounce back season, and Zboril possibly starting the season in the press box or the AHL; the 2015 NHL Draft is one to forget for the Boston Bruins.