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Bruins draft Swedish defenseman Axel Andersson, Czech forward Jakub Lauko with first 2 picks

Scott McLaughlin
June 23, 2018 - 12:48 pm

It's the draft of Swedish defensemen, and the Bruins weren't about to miss out. They used their first pick in the 2018 NHL entry draft to select Axel Andersson in the second round (57th overall). He was the seventh Swedish defenseman drafted, a trend that started right at the top with Rasmus Dahlin going No. 1 overall to the Buffalo Sabres.

Andersson is a 6-foot, 179-pound right shot who scouts say is a very good skater and puck-mover who gets involved offensively and has a hard shot, though most reports say he could improve his defensive play. Andersson ranked third among defensemen with 31 points (6 goals, 25 assists) in 42 games in Sweden's SuperElit (the country's top junior league) this past season. Most rankings had Andersson more as a third- or fourth-rounder, although some did have him firmly in second-round range as well.

Twenty picks later, the Bruins took Czech center/left wing Jakub Lauko in the third round (77th overall). The left-shot forward, interestingly enough, is also listed at 6-feet, 179 pounds. His biggest strength according to scouts is his speed, with several reports calling him one of the best skaters in the draft. Scouting reports also highlight his puck-handling and shot as positives, while noting he needs to get stronger and improve both his decision-making and defensive play.

Lauko comes already experienced against older competition, as he played for Pirati Chomutov in the Czech Extraliga (the country's top pro league) this past season. He played a bottom-six role and had nine points (3 goal, 6 assists) in 42 games, but he put up bigger numbers in international competition against players his own age, including a team-high six points (3 goals, 3 assistts) in seven games at the U18 World Championships. Most rankings had him projected to already be off the board by the third round, with several placing him in the 30s or 40s.

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