One of the hottest prospects in the Boston Bruins pipeline has made his NHL debut (albeit in the preseason).
Defenseman Mason Lohrei made his debut against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. The former Ohio State Buckeye played 29:01 minutes while racking up two shots on goal and an assist. In a 4-1 loss where there wasn’t a whole lot of promising play, Lohrei stood out.
“Each period, he got better. I thought in the third period, he was pretty dominant for us,” coach Jim Montgomery said via The Boston Globe. “He’s got the long reach, and he’s got the ability to make plays at both ends. And we saw that tonight.
“He’s a player that does a lot of good things when he has the puck, and his poise is the strength of his game,” Montgomery added. “And when someone has the poise to look people off and hold on to pucks to make special plays, you don’t want to discourage that. You want to encourage that. We want him to be able to feel comfortable making plays like he did in college.”
Lohrei will be making a push to make the roster ahead of the start of the 2023-24 season. The blueline is quite stacked with talent, with the likes of Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, and Brandon Carlo leading the way. Beyond that, Boston has veterans such as Derek Forbort and Kevin Shattenkirk, along with hometown hero Matt Grzelcyk.
The 22-year-old was lucky enough to be paired with Carlo on Tuesday night. Lohrei said that he felt comfortable next to Carlo.
“Anytime you get to play with somebody like that, he’s an unbelievable player, and whatever I can do to learn from him while playing with him, it’ll just add to my game,” Lohrei said. “And on top of that, he’s one of the nicest guys here, so it makes it easy to go out there and feel comfortable.”
Seeing that Lohrei is still quite young, going down to the Providence Bruins to start the 2023-24 season wouldn’t be the worst thing. It would allow him to receive a healthy dose of playing time and aid his development so that when he does make the jump to the NHL, he will be ready.
The physicals are there for Lohrei. Standing at 6-foot-5-inches and weighing 211 pounds, the youngster can hang with the big boys in the NHL.
But Tuesday was a night that Lohrei will never forget (even though Boston lost). Making your NHL debut is an accomplishment worth celebrating, but the 22-year-old will be itching to make his regular-season debut at some point in the 2023-24 season.