Bruins draft pair of Americans in opening round
BUFFALO — After a day’s worth of hot trade rumors fizzled out, the Bruins ended up using both of their first round picks Friday night at the First Niagara Center.
In what was a successful day for USA Hockey, the Bruins chose a pair of American-born players. First, the Bruins selected defenseman Charlie McAvoy of Boston University with the 14th overall pick and followed that up by using the 29th overall selection on Trent Frederic of the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program.
The selection of McAvoy only adds to what is becoming a deep pool of defensive prospects the Bruins currently own. McAvoy joins Jakub Zboril, Brandon Carlo, Rob O’Gara, fellow Terrier Matt Grzelcyk and a handful of others as defenseman who will be in the mix for a roster spot in the next 2-3 years.
“Two-way defenseman. I can play the offensive side of the puck and that’s something I like to do, but I am growing a lot in the defensive side of the game,” McAvoy said.
Using his skating ability, McAvoy likes to move the puck out of his zone, and get it out fast. That’s exactly the type of play the Bruins are transitioning to in their own end from their defensemen.
“Skating is something I rely on a lot,” McAvoy added. “My skating ability is what allows me to play the style of game that I like. But you know it’s something I can always work on and continue to grow.”
A successful freshman season at BU was enough to propel McAvoy into the top-tier of draft eligible defenseman available this weekend.
“Obviously we had zeroed on particular guys, and we were very excited that Charlie was there,” general manager Don Sweeney said about McAvoy. “Certainly a player along with a couple of others that we had identified as someone who hopefully would be on the board for us if we remained in that position.”
The Bruins tried hard to move the 29th overall pick, but after nothing worthy enough was on the table, Sweeney and company went off the board a bit and selected Frederic.
The 18-year old Frederic had 20 goals and 20 assists in 61 games with USA U-18 NTDP last season and has committed to the University of Wisconsin in the fall.
The pick certainly came as a surprise to many, but Sweeney is confident in the selection.
“I think he’s got versatility. He’s got size and strength in the middle of the ice that’s important to us. People spoke very highly of Trent as a character; the compete level is very high,” Sweeney said about Frederic. “Going to a good program, going to continue to develop. You look at the size of the player, strength up the middle of the ice is an area we have a lot of very, very skilled wingers that are in our system now. I think he will compliment, where he necessarily fits in the lineup is still to be determined.”
Overall, it was a banner day for USA Hockey as 12 U.S.-born players were drafted in the first round with five of those (including Frederic) growing up in the St. Louis area.