The Bruins skipped out on a chance to draft a speedy, small forward with skill at the end of the first round last weekend in Buffalo when they selected big, bruising center Trent Frederic over 5-foot-7 Alex DeBrincat with the 29th overall pick.
Still, the Bruins eventually got around to some pint-sized hockey talent with their final pick of the draft when they tapped 5-foot-9 Swedish forward Oskar Steen in the sixth round with the 165th overall pick.
Steen had 16 goals and 52 points playing for four teams last season as a winger/center in the Swedish junior hockey ranks. He showed the kind of speed and natural ability making plays that can compensate for being small in stature.
The 18-year-old said he hadn’t spoken with Bruins scouts prior to hearing his name called on Saturday afternoon, but that didn’t dampen his clear enthusiasm about becoming one of the newest members of an Original Six organization.
“I was a little bit surprised that I was taken by a team I haven’t spoken with. So it was, yeah. I wasn’t really expecting that but it was fun and nice team, so I’m happy to be drafted by Boston,” said Steen. “[I’m a] very good team player, who can play an offensive game and a defensive game. So I’m a two-way player who can play both winger and center.
“I think that’s my strength, I can play sort of much rules, yeah. So yeah and I have really good passing, and my shot is okay. I think my playmaking, yeah, my playmaking is my biggest positive.”
After going for grit, size and character with Frederic and Ryan Lindgren in the first couple of rounds, the Bruins came full circle while landing on the skilled, “underrated” ability to make plays with their final pick of the weekend. Bruins scout P.J. Axelsson has had some level of say in the Swedish players selected over the past couple of years, so perhaps it’s not that surprising that the speedy, versatile Steen sounds a little like a smaller, slightly more productive version of the beloved, retired Bruins forward.
“He’s got underrated skill. He can score goals and move the puck,” said Bruins Director of Scouting Keith Gretzky. “He’s not the biggest guy, but we’ve seen him and we were excited to be able to draft him.”
The diminutive Steen joins a number of young Swedish players in the Black and Gold system that the Bruins have selected the past couple of years and it remains to be seen where he’ll stack up against his fellow Swedes once B’s development camp opens in a couple of weeks.