Over the past few days, the Boston Bruins have been a popular name in the rumor mill. After an early playoff exit, the defending Eastern Conference champions are looking to upgrade a roster that has fallen short the past two seasons. While the Bruins are looking to improve their offense, the defense also has question marks due to the uncertain futures of Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara. While the Bruins have been tied to defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larson, they will also be looking for young players such as Jakub Zboril to step up.
In 2015 the Bruins selected Zboril with the 13th overall pick in the NHL draft. Since joining the organization, Zboril, like teammate Zach Senyshyn has faced criticism due to his slow development. While other players in the same draft have already made their mark, Zboril has only appeared in two NHL games over the past two seasons.
Despite Zboril’s slow progress, he continued to improve last season. For the third consecutive campaign, Zboril finished with 19 points in 58 games for Providence. While that number did not lead the AHL, he did set a career-high with 16 assists.
Although Zboril did not crack the NHL roster, he was among the last cuts in training camp. The former first-round pick continued to improve and was the best defenseman in Providence by the end of the year. Zboril also finished the season with a plus-minus of 20, 17 points higher than last season.
Although the Bruins are deep defensively, that could change over the next few weeks. Torey Krug is unlikely to return and Matt Grzelcyk is a restricted free agent. Injuries are also bound to happen, which could open up a spot for the young defenseman.
Zboril, however, will be battling players such as Connor Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon, and Urho Vaakanainen for a roster spot. He will get an opportunity improve his game before training camp as Zboril has been placed on- loan to his hometown team. This has become a common theme for prospects as the 2020-2021 AHL schedule has yet to be determined.
While Zboril has shown promise, he will need to take his play to the next level and show that he is ready for a spot in Boston.