|How will this week impact the 2012-13 Bruins?||06.19.12 at 4:21 am ET|
Thanks to trades and – let’s face it, the Maple Leafs – the Bruins have been able to do something in recent years that often isn’t guaranteed in the NHL draft: come out of the weekend with a better NHL roster. For the first time in three years, the Bruins will not be selecting in the first 10 picks of the NHL draft, so this may be a return to reality as a contending team during draft week.
The Bruins have five picks on this weekend, with selections in rounds 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7. Their second-rounder was given up in the Tomas Kaberle deal, a rare instance these days in which the Leafs can actually say they stole draft picks from Boston, while the B’s sent their fourth-round pick to Carolina last July in the Joe Corvo trade. Puck-moving busts took their toll on Boston’s collection of picks in this draft, but the Bruins are still in good position to take advantage of a deep group of defensemen with the 24th overall pick.
“There’s a lot of good defensemen in this draft,” Peter Chiarelli said Monday. “So we’re hoping … that some will slip and because of the number of defensemen – I’ve never seen it – the number of NHL defensemen this large.”
Of course, last season the Bruins capitalized mightily on a slipping defensemen. Niagara (OHL) defenseman Dougie Hamilton fell to the B’s, who gladly scooped him up ninth overall with Toronto’s pick. The selection was considered a steal at the time, but since then the 6-foot-6 Hamilton has lit up the OHL with a 72-point season in 50 regular-season games.
Assuming they stay put, the Bruins won’t be getting a Hamilton or a Tyler Seguin, both of whom were major prospects that were expected to go in the first five picks. They could still upgrade their NHL roster via trade, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Remember, the week of the 2010 draft, the Bruins, who were already picking second overall thanks to the Maple Leafs, sent their own first-rounder (15th overall) to Florida in the deal that landed them Nathan Horton. The Panthers moved down with the pick in a trade with the Kings before selecting Nick Bjugstad 19th overall, and while Bjugstad’s point-per-game pace at The University of Minnesota makes him a very bright prospect for Florida, the Bruins got the first-line forward they needed. Though the Bruins picked up all four of their wins in the Stanley Cup finals without Horton, they likely wouldn’t have been there in the first place were it not for heroics in the first three rounds.
The Bruins have three of their four lines from last season under contract, with restricted free agent Benoit Pouliot’s future the only one that’s uncertain at this point. Chiarelli has said multiple times since the Bruins were eliminated that he’d like to add a forward, but don’t bank on him swinging a draft-week trade like he did two years ago.
“The reality is that the trade market right now is the most active,” Chiarelli said Monday. “What’ll happen is come July, that will take a bit of a backseat to free agency, and then once we go through that first tranche of free agents, then the trade market will re-emerge. Right now, with the trade market the way it is, I make some calls, but frankly, I’m probably more apt to wait till the free agent market and then the secondary trade market.”
Chiarelli did say on his conference call Monday that he would like to add another pick if he can, but that the signings of prospects like Torey Krug and Niklas Svedberg have helped to make up for the lack of selections.
As is, the Bruins have enough capable players that their NHL roster could conceivably be set. Assuming Jordan Caron gets a full-time job next year, the B’s could be fine offensively regardless of whether they sign Pouliot. Defensively, expect Hamilton to take Corvo/Greg Zanon’s spot and just like that you’ve got a lineup. Though there isn’t much room for it, the B’s could still stand to add for the sake of avoiding stagnancy. If they do, it doesn’t seem like it will be this week. Instead, expect the draft-wait-and-see approach that teams without premium picks have used for so long.
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