Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins Prospect Update: Vaakanainen Learning To Adjust

Boston Bruins Prospects Are Closer To The NHL Level Than Some May Think

The Boston Bruins Prospects, Development Camp wrapped up a couple of days ago and the prospects looked great. The standouts were Hobey Baker Finalist Anders Bjork who missed the first day due to personal matters and Urho Vaakanainen.

Some Other Standouts at the camp were Ryan Donato, Jeremy Lauzon, Joona Kopanen, and Daniel Vladar. There were many other at camp. These are the guys that seem most ready to play at an NHL level.

Anders Bjork, Forward (2014 Fifth Round)

Bjork who just finished his last season at Notre Dame looked very good at camp. He was also one of the finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. This kid is projected to be NHL ready this season look for him to get some playing time with Krejci. Here is the Bruins Player Development Coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner on Bjork:

 “I’ve liked his progression….He’s got a skill level that’s pretty high-end. He can make plays. He kind of dances on his skates a little bit. Light on his skates but strong on his feet and he pokes it around pretty good. He looks a little bit out of control at times, but he’s really not. He’s in control. He’s just moving that quickly.”

Ryan Donato, Forward (2014, Second Round)

Donato just finished his senior year at Harvard where he helped them make a Frozen Four appearance. He brought the Crimson to the semi-final where they lost to Minnesota Duluth 2-1.  Donato is a kid with very high hockey IQ and will be a big help to the Bruins if he can make the roster. He is a solid two-way forward. Hear what Done Sweeney has to say about him:

“We’ve always thought Ryan’s skillset was excellent. He’s going to play center this year and I’ve talked to [Ryan’s father and Harvard coach] Teddy [Donato] about that. We’re excited to see him play there. He had played a lot of that at Dexter [School]. It puts a lot more responsibility, more two-way responsibility on him. It’ll be interesting because he’s a primary shooter and he has an unbelievable release.”

Joona Koppanen, Forward (2016 Fifth Round)

Kopanen another guy who will need time to adjust before he plays in the NHL. Koppanen is a bit of a dark horse as he was drafted late. He is a very solid forward with a good shooting ability. Look to seem him in either AHL or with the Bruins in the next season or two. As for this year, he will play another year in the Finnish league.


“He’s going to be playing in the [Finnish] Elite League next year. He’s signed over there and we’ll continue to monitor and see when it makes sense for him to try and transition over here. He’s already signed by us. So, he’ll be one of those guys that we’ll continue to monitor when it’s time.”

Jeremy Lauzon, Defenseman (2015 Second Round)

Lauzon is a very dependable defenseman. The only problem for Lauzon is that he was not ready to skate at development camp due to an injury. Lauzon suffered a horrendous neck injury last season. During play, he had his throat cut by an opposing player skate. He was then rushed to the Hospital for immediate surgery. He has been making a full recovery and should be skating soon.

Before his injury, it looked like he was going to be ready for the NHL sooner rather than later. Sweeney on Lauzon and Cam Hughes who are recovering from injuries:

“Lauzon wasn’t ready to skate and [Cam] Hughes is not ready to skate either. Both doing very well in their recoveries from surgeries. But, not ready to skate. But again, we have an investment in players through our organization and we want to continue it…[Lauzon will] be fine [for training camp].”

Urho Vaakanainen, Defenseman (2017 First Round)

The biggest difficulty for Vaakanainen will be adjusting to North American Style of hockey. Two weeks before development camp Vaak, traveled to Langenbrunner’s home in Minnesota to get accustomed to the culture. Vaak will be a guy to look for in the next season or maybe too. He is a very solid player but may need some time in the AHL to get accustomed. Other than that he should be a potential top 4 defenseman.


“He’s a smooth skater. He sees the ice well, he’s got good size, and he can make plays. So, I think as the confidence grows, numbers will grow just if you’re making the right plays over and over again. I think it’s the effortlessness that he skates with – it’s smooth.”

Daniel Vladar, Golie (2015 Third Round)

Vladar is exactly the kind of goalie you want in the system. He will be able ti put pressure on both Tuukka Rask and Zane McIntyre for the starting gig. Goalie competition is a great thing to have. If Rask knows his job is at risk he will play better. Unfortunately for Vladar, he has also run into some injury issues. So look for him to gain some confidence this season in the ECHL.


“Daniel had a bit of a disjointed year for a number of reasons. He was in the World Junior camp [with the Czech Republic] and he was taken away from his time, he had some injuries…He had played up in Providence and did have some success up there as well.

“I think he is ready for it full-time, but we just want to get Daniel the net as much as possible this upcoming season. We’ll be very cognizant. It likely will be back in the East Coast [Hockey League].

Boston Bruins Prospect Update: Vaakanainen Learning To Adjust


  1. Bob

    July 13, 2017 at 9:01 am

    It’s Urho, not Uho.

    • Tanner Rebelo

      July 13, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Appreciate the catch there, you are correct.

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