Forgotten First Round Pick Looking For Chance with Bruins

The 2015 NHL Draft will go down in infamy in Boston Bruins’ lore and continues to be a stain on the career of General Manager Don Sweeney, who had just assumed his new role at the time. The Bruins had accumulated the 13th, 14th, and 15th overall picks after a fifth-place finish in the Atlantic Division the previous season and the trades of stars Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton. The draft was a deep one, and the Bruins were in a position to add the next core.

To say that day didn’t turn out as expected is an understatement. The Bruins would select forward Jake DeBrusk with the 14th pick, slightly higher than expected, but a player who was a productive player in the Western Hockey League with the Swift Current Broncos and would turn into a solid NHL winger who has amassed 226 points in 385 NHL games. The 15th pick will be remembered for its abject failure. Zach Senyshyn was a reach at the time and had analysts scrambling for information. Top prospects Kyle Connor, Mathew Barzal, and Thomas Chabot we’re all there for the taking. But Sweeney looked to make an outside-the-box selection who turned out to be an outside-the-NHL player after just 16 total games and one goal.

But what about 13? The Bruins chose a defenseman who was considered a top prospect and a safe, reliable pick. Jakub Zboril was flourishing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Saint John Sea Dogs. During the 2014-15 season, Zboril totaled 33 points in 44 games and moved up the draft charts. Boston picked Zboril with their first of three first-round picks, and many thought it was the right choice.

Zboril got his first real taste of the NHL in 2020-21 and totaled nine points in 42 games. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenseman showed good poise and a solid, safe game. He didn’t jump off the page but was dependable in his own end. But a logjam at defense kept Zboril moving back and forth to Providence in the American Hockey League. On December 2, 2021, Zboril suffered a torn ACL injury on a clean hit by Nashville’s Tanner Jeannot. That detailed the young blue liner’s development.

Upon his return, Zboril looked great in preseason games before the start of the 2022-23 season and started to look like the first-round pick the Bruins thought he was. He has a new two-year deal and was looking to earn a spot. But inconsistent play early on led to Zboril being a healthy scratch on most nights. The Brno, Czech Republic native, played just 22 games with one goal. The trade deadline acquisition of Dmitry Orlov further cemented Zboril’s status. The season ended, and Jakub Zboril still seems to be caught in the middle.

Entering the last year of his contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent for the first time, Zboril will still have to fight for playing time behind Matt Grzelcyk, Derek Forbort, Kevin Shattenkirk, and possibly rookie Mason Lohrei. Training camp in September should give a strong indication of whether Zboril can assume a roster spot or possibly be traded before his contract expires at the end of the season. The defenseman is still just 26 years old and continues to seek a long look at whether he can reach his first-round potential.

Bruins Benders Postgame Live. Game 2 Recap Bruins Benders Podcast

Bruins drop Game 2 to Toronto 3-2. Auston Matthews was the best player on the ice. Bruins lack urgency. One reason the goalie decision was the wrong one. Andrew Peeke leaves injured. Now it’s a series. 
  1. Bruins Benders Postgame Live. Game 2 Recap
  2. Bruins Benders Live. First Round Game 1 Recap
  3. Season 3. Episode 25. Playoff Preview
  4. Season 3. Episode 24. Maroon and Gold Day
  5. Season 3. Episode 23. Whoa Nelly!

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