Mason Lohrei could be next top Bruins prospect to make NHL or AHL debut
Lohrei could be next top Bruins prospect to make NHL or AHL debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins don't have many top-tier prospects, and that's a product of poor drafting and trading away many draft picks over the last five-plus seasons.
One prospect with tremendous potential is Ohio State defenseman Mason Lohrei, who could soon make his NHL or AHL debut. He is considered Boston's second-best prospect after 2021 first-round pick Fabian Lysell.
Lohrei's sophomore campaign ended Sunday when the Buckeyes lost to Quinnipiac in the NCAA Tournament. He is now able to sign an entry-level contract (ELC) with the Bruins and get a few games of experience at the NHL level or report to the AHL's Providence Bruins. He also could choose to return to Ohio State for another year.
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Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was at the Ohio State-Quinnipiac game Sunday.
After his team's win, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold had plenty of praise for Lohrei.
"A player of that stature and that caliber -- going back to when Cale Makar played at UMass and we played them all the time -- you've got to defend guys like that in layers. You can't just be one on one. I thought we did a good job with that tonight"
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) March 26, 2023
Lohrei tallied 32 points (four goals, 28 assists) in 40 games for Ohio State this season. He's a skilled two-way defenseman with an impressive offensive game and fantastic size/length at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds.
The Bruins have nine games remaining in the regular season, and rotating Lohrei into the mix would allow the front office to see how the 22-year-old defenseman's skill set stacks up against NHL-caliber players.
It also wouldn't be a bad idea to just send him to Providence and see what kind of impact he can make in the AHL playoffs. The P-Bruins have the best record in the Eastern Conference with 88 points entering Monday.
Whether it's a couple NHL games or some time in the AHL, getting valuable pro-level experience would be worth burning a year of Lohrei's ELC. He's an important part of the team's future.