Like all NHL teams, the Bruins did not have the benefit of seeing spring showcase tournaments and the June combine. They watched a lot more video than usual. They logged onto Microsoft Teams to hash out their draft boards.
In these uncertain times, perhaps its coincidence they went a familiar route.
The Bruins made four picks in the 2020 draft, which concluded Wednesday. The newest crop of prospects includes defenseman Mason Lohrei (second round, 58th overall), forward Trevor Kuntar (third, 89th), defenseman Mason Langenbrunner (fifth, 151st) and forward Riley Duran (sixth, 182nd).
All four are American players with NCAA ties.
Lohrei has committed to Ohio State for 2021. Kuntar is at Boston College after his original choice, Harvard, postponed its season. Langenbrunner, the son of Bruins director of player development Jamie Langenbrunner, will head to Harvard next fall. Duran, from Woburn, will enroll at Providence in 2021.
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General manager Don Sweeney did not add a draft pick for the rights to UFA-to-be Torey Krug, or make any other trades on Wednesday. When the free agent market opens at noon Friday, replacing Krug may be his first order of business.
“We have to improve, whether that’s through internal growth or acquisition,” Sweeney said. “We’re not as good as we need to be. We’re going to explore everything. Our cap situation is good, but you can tip that upside down in a hurry.”
Sweeney bowed out of the draft a round early, dealing his seventh-round pick (213th) to the Maple Leafs for a seventh-rounder in 2021.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 7, 2020
His first two picks were late-bloomers. Both Lohrei (LORE-eye) and Kuntar were eligible in 2019, but both went undrafted.
“I felt like I was being overlooked but it’s the way things go,” said Lohrei, a 6-foot-4, 204-pound, left-shot defenseman out of USHL Green Bay. Scouts consider the Madison, Wisc., product a rangy, poised, two-way rearguard. But he was not ranked by NHL Central Scouting until the final list of 2020, when he placed 132nd overall.
“I wouldn’t say it was a struggle not being on lists or not getting drafted,” he said. “Kind of just kept my head down and went to work every day because I knew that this would come. And here we are. I couldn’t be happier.”
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Lohrei grew “significantly” over the last year, Bruins director of scouting Ryan Nadeau said, and transitioned from forward to defense. The team liked how he transitioned from Culver (Ind.) Military Academy to the USHL. “His path this year was intriguing for us,” Nadeau said.
Kuntar, the third-rounder,