After selecting OHL center Matthew Poitras with the No. 54 overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft, the Bruins continued to attack the center position with their next two picks, selecting Cole Spicer and Dans Locmelis in the fourth round.
Spicer, selected with the No. 117 overall pick, is coming off a 2021-22 spent with the U.S. National Development Team, with 10 goals and 16 points in 26 games played. The 5-foot-10 skater also put up three goals and five points in six games at the U-18 World Juniors. He’s about as well traveled as a teenager could be, too, with experience in the national program, North Dakota high school ranks, and the High Performance Hockey League from his time with Michigan’s Honeybaked.
Considered a tenacious forward with two-way know-how and speed to his name, Spicer showed more offensive capabilities when thrown above his normal ‘checking’ role this past season. And as one of the younger players in this year’s draft, the Bruins are clearly hoping that they’re buying in before the explosion.
The Grand Forks, N.D. native committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth program for 2022.
Two picks later, the Bruins went with Latvian center Dans Locmelis at No. 119 overall.
It’s a pick that has P.J. Axelsson written all over it, too, as Boston’s top European scout certainly saw plenty of Locmelis during his 2021-22 season with Lulea HF. In 44 games for their junior squad, the 5-foot-10 Locmelis put up 18 goals and 34 points, and even appeared in two games for the program’s pro team. (If you’re looking for a bit of familiarity with that pick, it’s worth noting that 2021 first-round pick Fabian Lysell played for the Lulea program before jumping to the WHL.)
Locmelis also appeared in nine games for his country this past year, with two goals and four points throughout that run. He’s one of just 40 Latvian-born players to be drafted into the NHL in league history, and he is Boston’s first Latvian-born draft pick since Martins Karsums in 2004.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.