In the summer of 2017 the Boston Bruins found themselves with a gift when it came time for them to be on the clock during the first round of the NHL Entry draft. Left shot Swedish defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was there for the taking. And that's exactly what they did. The Boston Bruins selected the defenseman with the 18th overall selection in the 2017 NHL Entry draft.
Swiss Army knife
Urho Vaakanainen brings something to the table that the Boston Bruins are notorious for not having: A defenseman that can score. They have changed that notion over the last few seasons, however, with the additions of Charlie McAvoy and the rise of Tory Krug. Although it isn't the worst thing seeing as how the Bruins have been pretty successful in recent memory, even without having scoring defenseman on the roster. Vaakanainen was known to be a point machine in his junior days, including being a pretty dangerous goal scorer for a defenseman. Over the years he's become less of a goal scorer and more of a puck mover. The ability to move the puck is something that is very valuable in today's NHL. A player like Vaakanainen can be a very dangerous weapon the league.
Vaakanainen can move the puck like a forward and defend like a defenseman. Players like that can put a team over the top and separate them from the rest of the league as far as being a threat to win the Stanley Cup. Not only can he help move the puck into the offensive zone, but he can also help the Bruins be more of a threat in the offensive zone. Vaakanainen has a shot that opposing teams can't just ignore. He can absolutely help the Bruins score from multiple levels on the ice.
Urho Vaakanainen will have plenty of chances to hit the ice in TD Garden in the next few seasons. Having already had some experience playing in Boston, he's shown Don Sweeney that at the very least he is a dependable defender. Some more time in the NHL and even in the AHL will help him get his feet going to become a scoring threat again.
The current status of the left side of the Bruins blue line is in limbo. Captain Zdeno Chara doesn't have more than a few seasons left with the Bruins, Torey Krug is due to be a free agent at the end of the season, and Matt Grzelcyk is a very enticing option for the new NHL franchise to select in the NHL expansion draft. Vaakanainen is without a doubt the Bruins next best prospect on the left side of the blue line, so if any thing happens with any of those players he will be the first to get the call. Make no mistake about it, if Uhro Vaakanainen plays well enough, he will get his opportunity to join the big boys in Boston. Its only a matter of time.
Credit to brobible.com for the featured image.