|06.25.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
BUFFALO — The Bruins turned heads late in the first round Friday when they selected 6-foot-2 American center Trent Frederic. After the player was selected, he admitted that though he was tough customer, he had a ways to go offensively.
Modesty, right? Maybe not.
In their own words, the Bruins spent the 29th overall pick on a player whom they don’t see being a top-six forward.
“We had him in the right spot because we all liked him,” director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky said after the draft. “That’s the one thing: he’s not going to be a top two line guy. We know that. He has some jam, he plays hard. Look at his penalty minutes. We were really fortunate to get him.”
Draft picks can be scratch tickets, but if you’re going to go off the board (as they did in this case; Frederic was considered a mid-to-late second-round pick by many), why not swing for the fences and go for the most talented guy? The most obvious candidate for such a pick was miniature right wing Alex DeBrincat, who at 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds scored 51 goals in each of his first two seasons in the OHL.
Everyone gave the Bruins flack for taking Zach Senyshyn 15th overall last year, but that move still seems more sensible than this one.
By the time the Bruins picked again at No. 49 Saturday, DeBrincat was off the board, having been drafted by the Blackhawks. The Bruins feared that if they passed on Frederic at 29, they might not get another chance at him. Though he could very well prove to be an NHL player, you’d think the Bruins would have been able to find another potential bottom sixer later.
|06.25.16 at 2:20 pm ET|
BUFFALO — While it wasn’t quite the 2013 draft ripping that Peter Chiarelli gave then-Bruins forward Tyler Seguin, Don Sweeney showed Saturday that he’s not afraid to be blunt in describing one of his own players.
Sweeney didn’t hold back when asked what the future holds for Jimmy Hayes as the Dorchester native enters his second season as a Bruin. After being acquired in a trade that sent Reilly Smith to Florida, the Boston College product scored just 13 goals and buried only one puck over his final 23 games of the season.
With the Bruins’ right side in flux, Sweeney painted a clear picture of Hayes’ shortcomings and said he needs the 6-foot-5 wing to be better.
“I think Jimmy had a pretty good start to his year, but he tailed off when the team needed him most,” Sweeney said. “He should take some responsibility for that, I think. We’ve had a pretty frank discussion about it to challenge him to take his game to another level to be able to help out a younger player that he’s played a lot with in Ryan Spooner. I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying, ‘Hey. You have to take more responsibility.’
“It’s not just about finishing scoring goals; he has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, but to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency, it’s an area he needs to improve upon.
“I’m not shy in terms of — just like in my own career going back — coaches acknowledging where you had to work on. We as an organization feel like those are areas where we need to have our players be driven to get better.”
Hayes is entering the second year of a three-year contract that carries a $2.3 million cap hit.
|06.25.16 at 2:00 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Canucks general manager Jim Benning was fined by the league for talking about Steven Stamkos too early. Even with the legal interview period now open, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney still chose his words carefully when asked about this summer’s top free agent. In fact, he never even said Stamkos’ name when asked about him.
But he did indicate he’d reach out to the three-time 40-goal-scorer.
“We will take the temperature of whoever will help our hockey club,” Sweeney said with a grin. “If it lines up, that’s what we’d like to do. We obviously have flexibility for any particular player that we would like to go after. There’s a lot of coveted ones in the market, so we’ll make all the calls. Absolutely all the calls.”
Among the other top free agents who could be of interest to the Bruins is former Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo.
Sweeney wouldn’t rule out potentially touching base with former Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, but that ship has sailed. Lucic is set to hit the open market on July 1, with the Oilers among the favorites to sign the 28-year-old.
|06.25.16 at 10:40 am ET|
BUFFALO — The Bruins concluded the 2016 selection with six selections, one trade and zero Canadians.
After selecting New York Native Charlie McAvoy and St. Louis native Trent Frederic in the first round Friday, the B’s opened their Day 2 picks by selecting American defenseman Ryan Lindgren 49th overall.
A left-shot D, Lindgren was the captain of the U.S. National Under 18 team. The 6-foot-0, 198-pounder had six goals and 19 assists for 25 points with 60 penalty minutes on 61 games last season. NHL Central Scouting ranked Lindgren as the 49th-best North American skater in the draft.
Lindgren, who hails from Minneapolis and is committed to the University of Minnesota, is the younger brother of Canadiens goaltending prospect Charlie Lindgren.
“We were talking about that before when I got picked by Boston,” Lindgren said. “There’s a little rivalry there, so that will be pretty cool.”
Known as a physical defender who blocks shots, Lindgren drew praise by Don Sweeney for his personality.
“Lindgren’s character spoke volumes to us,” Sweeney said. “The complete level that he has, we’re really excited about the depth of where we’re at.”
The Bruins did not have a pick in the third or fourth round, though they had back-to-back picks in the fifth round. Boston spent the selections on Finnish left wing Joona Koppanen and American defenseman Cameron Clarke.
Koppanen is a winger with ample size (6-foot-4, 192 pounds) who put up 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 40 games for the Ilves Under-20 team in Finland.
Clarke stands at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds. The right-shot defenseman had 50 points (nine goals, 41 assists) in 59 games last season for Lone Star of the North American Hockey League. He is committed to play at Ferris State next season.
In the sixth round, the Bruins went with Swedish forward Oskar Steen. The 5-foot-9, 188-pounder had eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points playing junior hockey in Sweden.
The B’s then flipped their seventh-round pick to the Panthers for a 2017 sixth-rounder.
|06.25.16 at 9:46 am ET|
BUFFALO — With Loui Eriksson likely headed to free agency and the period for teams to interview free agents having opened at midnight, the Bruins are set to lay the groundwork for whatever their July 1 plans may be.
Those plans still may include retaining Eriksson, but he figures to get plenty of attention from other clubs willing to go longer than the four-year term from which the Bruins have not budged.
“I had a good conversation with Loui’s group, J.P., [Friday],” general manager Don Sweeney said late Friday night. “We’ll continue to see. Obviously the period to talk to other teams is opening and I’m sure they’ll be exploring that. We’re in a position where we’re going to sign a couple of players and we’ve [been interested] all along. We just don’t know whether or not we’ve found common ground. We clearly didn’t because we didn’t sign, but the discussions were good. They were positive, but it’s a balancing act and we’ll be now in discussions with other players as well.”
|06.24.16 at 11:50 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Don Sweeney established a year ago that he feels a good young defenseman is worth a mid-first-round pick and a couple of seconds. A year later, teams told him his read on the market was wrong.
With a number of defensemen potentially on the trade market (Kevin Shattenkirk and Cam Fowler among them), Sweeney said that teams demanded the Bruins give up all of their draft capital in Friday’s first round and then some.
“In all honesty, it would have taken both first rounders and then some in order to move [for a defenseman],” he said. “The acquisition cost was high. I’ve said all along that we want to continue to improve our hockey club in whatever we have to do, but those [situations] are not unlike last year, where it would have taken all three first-rounders. There’s a balancing act there.”
When asked about the ask of the 14th and 29th picks, Sweeney added that teams’ demands “didn’t stop there.”
“I wasn’t trading David Pastnrak,” Sweeney said. “We’ve been criticized, and rightfully so at times, for being impatient with some of our younger and skilled players. This represents a good opportunity for us to establish that we don’t want to do that.”
Instead of trading the picks, Sweeney selected Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy at 14 and reached for Wisconsin center Trent Frederic at 29.
|06.24.16 at 9:55 pm ET|
BUFFALO — The Bruins swung for the fences with the 14th overall pick. Leaving bigger names on the board, Don Sweeney went for an explosive defenseman in Charlie McAvoy who hopes to round out the rest his game to be a great player.
How great? Norris great, by his expectations.
“Drew Doughty is my favorite defenseman. He’s someone who I feel has got a lot of traits that I feel that I have and I want to continue to [develop],” McAvoy said after being selected by the B’s. “At my peak, if I can be like Drew Doughty, I’m not complaining.”
The Bruins wouldn’t complain either.
Doughty posted 51 points (14 goals, 37 assists) this season en route to winning his first Norris Trophy, even if his winning it was controversial given a superior season from Erik Karlsson.