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NHL draft: Which players experts mock to Bruins

06.22.12 at 1:52 pm ET

The Bruins are no longer defending Stanley Cup champions, so it’s time for them to start retooling for another run at the Cup. The season just ended, but the work does not end for the B’s front office, which will be using the NHL draft on Friday night to improve the organization by bringing in young talent.

Peter Chiarelli raved about the number of top-level defense prospects, but the Bruins will likely take the best player available in the first round thanks to the balance in the organization right now.

Here is a look at some of the prospects that experts have been projecting to the Bruins in their mock drafts.

Steven Hoffner, Stefan Matteau, C, USA U-18 (USHL)

Hoffner: Tough forward has balanced offensive attack which will help big, bad Bruins.

Kyle Woodlief, USA Today: Matteau

Woodlief: Nobody fits the dirty, gooning style Boston plays better than Matteau. He’ll fit right in in Beantown and make the Bruins an even more menacing presence.

Key 2011-12 stats: 18 GP, 6 G, 4 A, 10 PTS, 93 PIM, +4

Allan Muir, Sports Illustrated: Scott Laughton, C, Oshawa (OHL)

Muir: I have a feeling the Bruins trade this pick and move down unless the draft unwinds in such a way that a certain defenseman drops in their lap (it is thought that they covet Matthew Finn). But if that doesn’t happen, Laughton plays a classic black-and-gold style that should make him a popular choice. His offense hasn’t yet met the expectations set for a guy who was the third overall pick in the OHL draft, but he’s a safe call because he is so competitive every time he steps on the ice. “He’s motivated, sharp on the draw, a great defensive player. He works the body well and will drop the mitts when necessary,” one scout said, adding, “he’s a great team guy.” His upside projects to a Dave Bolland-type, but if his offense doesn’t come around, he’d slot perfectly into Chris Kelly‘s spot a few years down the road.

Key 2011-12 stats: 64 GP, 21 G, 32 A, 53 PTS, 101 PIM, +8

Mike Morreale, Brady Skjei, D, USA U-18 (USHL)

Morreale: Big blueliner is an elite skater and puck-mover with creativity off transition.

Key 2011-12 stats: 24 GP, 3 G, 9 A, 12 PTS, 12 PIM, +5

Matthew Scianitti, National Post: Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon (WHL)

Scianitti: With Dougie Hamilton likely to move up to the big club this year, Thrower could be the new project. He was in the top 10 in scoring among WHL defenceman this season, and also showed an aggressive edge with 103 penalty minutes.

Key 2011-12 stats: 66 GP, 18 G, 36 A, 54 PTS, 103 PIM, -4

Adam Kimmelman, Oscar Dansk, G, Brynas Jr. (SWE-Jr)

Kimmelman: Bruins need to add a goaltender to prospect pool.

Key 2011-12 stats: 2.82 GAA, .910 SV%, 2 shutouts

Pierre McGuire and Craig Button, TSN: Andrei Vasilevski, G, Ufa Tolpar (RUS-Jr)

McGuire: His size is a such a factor. He’s also athletic and quick. When he gets more refined, he’ll be a special player.

Key 2011-12 stats: 2.23 GAA, .931 SV%, 3 shutouts

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