The mass exodus of talent from the Boston Bruins this summer has been spoken about ad-nauseum.
While Don Sweeney did what he could to patch up as many holes as possible under the salary cap, there are still plenty of spots up for grabs on the roster.
In addition to the free agent signings and graduating prospects, multiple veterans have been brought in on PTOs.
Among the group of contenders, here are a few names to look out for in Bruins Training Camp.
Jakub Lauko // C
Lauko played in 23 regular season games and three playoff games with the Bruins last season after 112 with Providence since 2020. He chipped in seven points in nearly nine minutes per game of NHL action but showed great hustle and energy.
With Boston having to rebuild the bulk of their bottom six, Lauko stands in good position for an extended audition.
Oskar Steen // C
Steen is in a similar position to Lauko, having come up and down from Providence several times. The former 2016 six-round pick has played 26 games with Boston since 2020-21, chipping in seven points. Since coming over from Sweden in 2019, Steen has played in 196 games with Providence, recording 100 points.
He profiles similarly to Lauko as a bottom-six grinder but shows a little more scoring upside. His age may be a knock on him compared to other Providence candidates, as he’s already 25 years old.
Marc McLaughlin // C
McLaughlin only has one full pro season under his belt, having signed with the B’s following his senior season at Boston College in 2022. He had an extended audition with Boston that spring, notching three goals in eleven games.
In his first full season with Providence, he scored thirty points in sixty-six games. What McLaughlin lacks in scoring punch, he makes up with leadership, having spent two years as a Captain at BC and represented the US in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Georgii Merkulov // LW
Merkulov had an outstanding first year of pro action for Providence in 2022-23, leading the Bruins with 24 goals and 55 points. His scoring was second in the AHL among rookies and landed him on the All-Rookie team despite being undrafted.
In his lone season at Ohio State, Merkulov produced at a near-point-per-game pace and finished on the All-Big Ten First Team. He very well could Taylor Hall’s void on the third-line wing.
Mason Lohrei // D
Lohrei was drafted by Boston in the second round of the 2020 draft and has spent the last two seasons at Ohio State. He is a big, offense-driving presence on the blue line, recording 61 points in 71 games in college.
He joined Providence after his sophomore season and signed a two-year deal this past May.
Fabian Lysell // RW
Lysell was Boston’s most recent first-round draft choice back in 2021, coming 21st overall. He is a playmaking winger and unquestionably the best prospect in the Bruins system right now. Following his draft, Lysell scored 22 goals and 62 points in 53 regular season games with the Vancouver Giants in the WHL.
He then scored 21 points in 12 playoff games before joining Providence last year. In his lone AHL season to date, Lysell scored points in 54 games at twenty years old. He has a bright future ahead of him in the NHL if he continues his development.
Alex Chiasson // RW
Chiasson is a veteran forward brought in on a PTO who brings Stanley Cup-winning experience. He has played in 651 career games with seven different teams, scoring 223 points. In addition, he has dressed in 37 playoff games and won the Cup in 2018 with Washington.
With a career-high of just 38 points, Chiasson is more of a bottom-six grinder with size than a scoring threat.
Danton Heinen // LW
Heinen should be familiar to Bruins fans, having debuted with and playing in 220 games in Boston. Despite having played in nearly 200 games since leaving Boston, he has never eclipsed the 47-point output of his rookie year.
Heinen’s main role is as a middle-six defensive winger, and could fill Hall’s position on Coyle’s wing should his PTO bring him on full-time.