Drafting Skills: Boston Bruins

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Boston Bruins

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Dougie Hamilton (D) 9th overall – Received this pick in the Kessel trade from Toronto, and had traded their own 1st rounder for Tomas Kaberle. Hamilton has turned into a top-4 defender in today’s NHL. The Bruins had hoped he would lead their blueline for many years, but shipped him out in 2015 for 3 draft picks. Many argue that the Bruins gave up on him too early, as he’s certainly one of the bright spots from this draft class.

Round 2 – Alexander Khokhlachev (C) 40th overall – It doesn’t look like Khokhlachev will pan out, as he played this year in the KHL, and managed only 10 points in 25 games. Bad pick by the Bruins, as the following 7 players selected have all played in over 100 NHL games, and include the likes of Brandon Saad and Victor Rask.

Round 3 – Anthony Camara (LW) 81st overall – Another poor pick by Boston, as he split time in the AHL/ECHL this season. He was packaged with a few other pieces to Carolina in 2016 for John-Michael Liles, which was ok for the Bruins, but looking at the pick, it was a big miss by the Bruins as he has yet to see NHL action.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Malcolm Subban (G) 24th overall – Subban continues to impress at the AHL level, with fantastic numbers each year. His only two call-ups in the NHL have been atrocious, letting up 6 shots on a total of 62 shots. The problem with any goalie drafted early on in this draft, is that Matt Murray was drafted in the 3rd round, who’s gone on to win 2 Cups already. Subban is stuck behind Rask in Boston, and I was shocked not to see him go to Vegas. If I’m Boston, I’m offering him up to teams, as there’s likely a large market for him, especially if you’re content with Rask for the next 5+ years.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Toronto with Joe Colborne for Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle helped Boston win the Cup in 2011, with 11 assists in 25 games; therefore I think they’d agree this trade was worth it. The pick hasn’t turned into an NHL player, but there were still some available at the time.

Round 3 – Matt Grzelcyk (D) 85th overall – This pick isn’t great, as he’s played only two games, while the two players taken after him were Colton Parayko and Frederik Andersen. Boston missed out on a great opportunity here, missing by mere picks on two players who have played over 150 NHL games each.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Dallas for Jaromir Jagr. The pick didn’t turn into an everyday NHL player as of yet (Jason Dickinson), and Jagr played well for the Bruins. The trade is ok when looked at, but he only lasted that one half-season in Boston, which is not a great amount for giving up a 1st round pick.

Round 2 – Linus Arnesson (D) 60th overall – A miss by the Bruins here, as he’s yet to play an NHL game, and has suffered from injuries in his 3 AHL seasons, playing less than 100 games in the past 3 years. Re-do would be more than welcomed by the Bruins with this one.

Round 3 – Peter Cehlarik (LW) 90th overall – Cehlarik appeared in 11 NHL games this year in a depth role, but was having a great season in the AHL prior to that, with 38 points in 49 games in his first season. He’s at the top of the depth chart for the next available spot, and with a good training camp he’s likely to start in the NHL next year. Great find in the third round by the Bruins.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – David Pastrnak (LW) 25th overall – Pastrnak should be considered the steal of this draft, considering he was picked at 25th overall and is coming off a 70 point season. So many teams would love to have their selections back for a chance to draft the crafty winger, but luckily for Boston he fell to 25th overall.

Round 2 – Ryan Donato (C) 56th overall – Donato had a great year playing for Harvard, with 40 points in only 36 games. If he keeps up that pace, he’ll be a lock for the NHL roster in no-time. He’s looking like a good pick in mid-round 2 for Boston at this point, even if he’s a year or more away from making the big club.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Philadelphia for Andrej Meszaros. The pick hasn’t turned into anything promising, and Meszaros played all of 14 games for Boston. Boston would have been better off keeping their pick, and taking a shot at a young prospect.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Jakub Zboril (D) 13th overall – Traded Milan Lucic to the Kings for Martin Jones, Colin Miller and this pick. Zboril has taken a couple steps back since being drafted, as he didn’t appear to be all that effective this year at the Memorial Cup. He’s been passed by many from this draft in terms of development, and will need to have a good year next season if he hopes to live up to the hype of a top-15 pick.

Round 1 – Jake DeBrusk (LW) 14th overall – Traded Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for this pick, plus two 2nd round picks in this draft. DeBrusk had a great rookie season in the AHL this year, with 49 points in 74 games. He looks like he’ll develop into a top-6 forward for the Bruins, and will have a great shot at making the team out of camp next year. Decent pick for Boston, but there were better options available at this pick as well.

Round 1 – Zachary Senyshyn (RW) 15h overall – 3rd pick in a row in the early 1st round for Boston, and another player who hasn’t yet played a game. Senyshyn had a great final year in junior with 42 goals in 59 games, proving he has elite goal scoring ability. He is more than likely to develop into a dangerous goal scorer at the NHL level, but picking 3 players in a row in the first round of a deep draft like 2015’s was, and not have any play a game within 2 season looks bad for Boston.

Round 2 – Brandon Carlo (D) 37thCarlo has developed quicker than any of the three taken in the 1st round, playing in all 82 games for Boston this year, and playing a large role. The Bruins turned down good trade offers for Carlo this season, showing what kind of confidence they have in the young man. He’s a big, right-handed shot blueliner, who seems to be a core piece for the Bruins. Great pick here in round 2, as they have seemed to find themselves a solid to-4 defender.

Round 2 – Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (C) 45th overall – Pick is from the Calgary trade. Karlsson is playing for Boston University currently, and had a fantastic year. He finished with 33 points in 39 games, after 30 in the previous year as well. He’s showing great promise, especially for a 2nd round pick, and looks like he could turn into a future NHL player for the Bruins.

Round 2 – Jeremy Lauzon (D) 52nd overall – Pick is from the Calgary trade. Lauzon is another big defender, finishing his final year in junior with 28 points in 39 games. He’s got the size to play in the NHL, but will likely need a year or two in the AHL before being considered for the big club. He has the offensive upside so many teams crave, and should fit in well with the Bruins in the near future. Great pick in the middle of round 2 for Boston.

Round 3 – Daniel Vladar (G) 75th overall – Vladar had great numbers in a small sample size in the AHL this year, but struggled in the ECHL. He’s still just 19 years old, but has NHL size at 6’5”. He had great numbers in the USHL, and will have plenty of time to develop, with Tuukka Rask just 30 years old for the Bruins.

Overall, the Bruins have had some great picks, and some bad ones. That’s fairly general with most teams, but the Bruins missed a big opportunity in 2015, with 3 picks in the middle of round 1 to load up on big prospects.

Players To Watch – Breakout Candidates

It’s the Eve of the 2016-2017 season, beyond excited to get this year going. Most people have already completed their fantasy drafts for the upcoming season, but here’s who I think will be the player to watch for each team this upcoming year.

Arizona Coyotes – Dylan Strome. Although he didn’t have as great of a year last year in Erie as many would have thought, the 3rd overall pick from 2015 is set to begin his rookie campaign this season. Adding his size and talent to the young-and-improving Coyotes is a combo that should work out well for both sides. He could wind up 45-50 points in his first year.

Anaheim Ducks – Nick Ritchie. He’s excelled at every level he’s played so far, and managed 30 points in 38 AHL games last year. He struggled last year when called up, but coming into his first full season Ritchie has a lot left to prove. He should get minutes on the ducks top 6, and surrounded by guys like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry should help Ritchie get to 45 points.

Boston Bruins – David Pastrnak. Slipped a bit in production last year with 26 points in 51 games, however I expect a big season coming from the young forward. He should open the season on the top line with Bergeron and Marchand, which only boosts his value. If he remains there all season, and gets some PP time, he could be near 60 points at the end of the year.

Buffalo Sabres – Sam Reinhart. This is the year where the 2nd pick in 2014 really makes an impact with the Sabres. He showed great chemistry at the end of the year with Jack Eichel, and started to see more ice because of it. He’ll carry that momentum into this season and continue to increase production. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t hit 65 points this year.

Calgary Flames – Sam Bennett. Centering the Flames second line, Bennett has steadily improved his overall game in each of the last 2 seasons. While I don’t expect him to shoot the lights out this year, I think it’s reasonable to expect him to approach the 50 point mark in his second full season. If Matthew Tkachuk sticks with the Flames all year, it will give him better linemates than the likes of Michael Frolik and Lance Bouma.

Carolina Hurricanes – Elias Lindholm. Should see some time on the top PP unit coming into his third season. His numbers have held steady at 39 points, should be no reach to see him get close to 50 this year. He’ll have some more skilled linemates this year in Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, which could also boost his production.

Chicago Blackhawks – Nick Schmaltz – I don’t particularly believe Schmaltz will have a stellar year, but he is someone to keep an eye on during the season as a late waiver-wire grab. I think eventually he will replace Artem Anisimov on Chicago’s second line between reigning MVP Patrick Kane and most recent breakout star Artemi Panarin. But until then, only choose the top dogs when it comes to the Hawks. They have a very thin bottom 6.

Columbus Blue Jackets – Zach Werenski. Right now he’s been playing top pairing minutes with Seth Jones. That right there is enough to take a gamble on, not to mention the 14 points he had in 17 AHL playoffs games leading to the Calder Cup win. Kid can play. Could he be the newest young d-man to take the NHL by storm? Yes please.

Colorado Avalanche – Nathan MacKinnon – Last time I’ll say this – this is HIS year! It’s always felt as if he’s on the cusp of an 80-point campaign, but just hasn’t gotten there yet. He showed brilliance at the World Cup, it’s time to start putting it all together. I truly believe he can be among the elite in the NHL.

Dallas Stars – Jiri Hudler – Not exactly lining up with most of my other picks, in that he’s not exactly ‘young’ anymore. Hudler gets a chance to play with a few of the best offensive forwards in the NHL today in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Will he take full advantage of this? He’s an upgrade on the role Patrick Eaves was playing on this line the last few seasons, and even if he bounces off the top line, he’ll still be lining up with Jason Spezza as his centreman. Hudler could hit 60 points if the Stars can manage to stay fairly healthy this year.

Detroit Red Wings – Gustav Nyquist. Expect a bounce back season from Nyquist, he’s far too skilled to be a 40-point player. Will he break 60? Doubtful, only because of the surrounding cast he currently has in Detroit, but he should be a lock for 50-55.

Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid. Just kidding, I expect Leon Draisaitl to take another step forward after putting up 51 pts last year. The Oilers have gotten better around him, and this should free him up a little more. He’ll get plenty of looks on the PP this season, especially with the departure of Taylor Hall. I’d be willing to bet that Draisaitl breaks through the 60 point plateau this season.

Florida Panthers – Jonathan Marchessault. With the nasty injury to Jonathan Huberdeau, this opens up a spot on the top line in Florida. Marchessault has put up great numbers in the AHL (263 pts in 306 games), but the 25 year old has never had a full season in the NHL. This is his chance to take the ice-time while it’s available and make the most out of it. If he sticks there for a few months, he should hit 40 points by year end.

Los Angeles Kings – Teddy Purcell. This team doesn’t really possess a potential breakout candidate in my opinion. Their forward depth is ugly when you look past Kopitar, Carter, Toffoli, and… well that’s it. Purcell will get plenty of ice time in the top 6 and on the powerplay, but it looks like this team will struggle to score. Don’t expect more than 40 points out of Purcell.

Minnesota Wild – Matt Dumba. Here’s a guy I would gamble on for a late defensemen to breakout. He showed in junior he can score, and show glimpses last year he can as well. Problem he’s facing is playing time. If he can gain more minutes, he could push past the 30 point mark, and potentially 15 goals if the Wild use him on the PP.

Montreal Canadiens – Alex Galchenyuk. If they ever give this guy the chance to play on the top line, and it looks like he will this year, he could easily breakout for 65 points. Play him a full season with Pacioretty and see if it works. If not, then bring in a centre who does work. Galchenyuk has all the skill, I just feel he hasn’t been fully given the opportunity to play with the best players. Let’s do that this year.

Nashville Predators – Kevin Fiala. The Swiss winger looks to be a lock to make the team and stick there all year. He’s been practicing on the top line with Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen, so if he can stick there… lookout. Adding PK Subban to the mix has only increased the scoring opportunities that will come to this team, and Fiala looks to be right there in the mix. The rookie should be right in between 40-50 points in his first year in the big leagues.

New Jersey Devils – Adam Henrique. Re-united with his old buddy Taylor Hall, Henrique’s value has never been higher. He had 50 points last year with weaker linemates, expect 60-70 this season as he teams-up again with the speedster Hall, who will be playing this season with something to prove.

New York Islanders – Ryan Pulock. The key here will be if Pulock can bump Boychuk off of the top PP unit in New York. He’s got a HEAVY shot, and can put that on display with the likes of John Tavares on your team. He showed some poise late last year when he was called up, and played well in the playoffs for Isles. He had 17 goals 2 years ago in the AHL, so if he can bring that touch to the NHL level, he could be a force from the back-end.

New York Rangers – Pavel Buchnevich. Highly regarded as a rookie to watch, Buchnevich will see plenty of ice on the Rangers’ second line. Will he hit 50 points? It’s tough for many rookies to get to this level, especially in his first year coming over from the KHL, but Buchnevich possesses the skill-set to do so.

Ottawa Senators – Derick Brassard. A trade to Ottawa looks to have sparked Brassard as he’s looked great on a line with Bobby Ryan so far (yes, I know it’s only preseason). He didn’t quite have the most productive linemates last year, but he’s still a top 75 fantasy player in today’s NHL. Don’t reach too high for him, but he should be a lock for 50, and could hit 60 points if the chemistry with Ryan is real.

Philadelphia Flyers – Ivan Provorov & Travis Konecny. Technically cheating, but both of these rookies should have solid campaigns. Provorov has dominated junior for the past couple of seasons and with the injury to Del Zotto, will have plenty of ice-time available. Look no further than the Flyers again this year to have the breakout defensemen of the year on their team, as he could easily put up 40 points for a rookie. Konecny should be able to manage the same, as currently he’s playing alongside Jakub Voracek who has looked to be back to his old-self after an off-year.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Connor Sheary. A full season on a line with Sid the Kid? Sheary possesses the speed needed to keep up with Crosby. If he can continue the chemistry shown late last year and in the playoffs, he could be the new and improved Chris Kunitz. If Crosby recovers from this most recent concussion scare, he should return immediately to the dominance he showed at the World Cup and in the second half of last season. Look for Sheary to put up 25 goals minimum if he sticks with Crosby for an extended period of time.

San Jose Sharks – Tomas Hertl. He showed some great chemistry late in the season with the two Joes. Can he carry it over to this season? If he does, expect high 50’s. He’s got loads of talent, just needs to finally breakout.

St. Louis Blues – Nail Yakupov. I was picking Robby Fabbri here until the trade for Yakupov, but I’ll take one last gamble on the Yak. He’s got the skill, and the work ethic. If he finally gets a chance with good linemates, I think he can regain the magic that made him a 1st overall pick. He sure looked good on McDavid’s wing until the injury earlier last season. I’d take a gamble on 50 points this year, it’s now or never.

Tampa Bay Lightning – Jonathan Drouin. Easy pick, he’s coming into his last season on his rookie contract, and Tampa will have a tough time keeping him. Expect him to perform very well, to showcase his skills for whomever he’ll be playing for in 2017-2018. That is, unless Tampa unloads some other contracts, which is a possibility considering the magic Steve Yzerman has been able to wield recently (see Kucherov contract).

Toronto Maple Leafs – Morgan Rielly. Auston Matthews is hyped to get anywhere from 40 to 60 points. Morgan Rielly looked like a top defensemen at the World Cup this year, logging big minutes for the young guns. Add to the Leafs a much improved offense, and the smooth puck-mover could be in for a good season offensively. Time will tell how much time he gets with the man-advantage, but I’d be willing to be he creeps over 45 points this year.

Vancouver Canucks – Bo Horvat. It’s time to move on from the Sedins and start giving the future more minutes. That starts with Horvat. Give him more time at even-strength, and on the man-advantage. Start seeing what your future looks like, see how much further he can grow. But on a team I envision finishing dead last, I can’t see more than 45 points out of Horvat. If he can click with some linemates, maybe he’ll sniff at 50.

Washington Capitals – Andre Burakovsky. He’s shown some flashes of high-end skill, and it looks as though this year he’ll get the minutes. Playing alongside either Backstrom or Kuznetsov will only enhance his skill, as he did score 87 pts in the one year he played in the OHL. More than likely he’ll end up on the 2nd unit on the PP, however he should still be in reach of 50 points. I’d take a gamble on this young skater going even higher.

Winnipeg Jets – Mark Scheifele. He scored at a point-per-game pace near the end of the season, and proved he has what it takes to be a number 1 centre in this league for years to come. Add in the hard-shooting Patrik Laine, and Scheifele’s point totals should continue to rise. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t hit 70 points this year.

Follow me on twitter @RubberOnIce

(*Credit hockeydb.com – great place to look up historial stats easily)

 

Outlook on 2016-2017: Calgary Flames

Continuing to attempt to predict outcomes of the 2016-2017 season. Next up: The Calgary Flames

2015-2016 Important Notes:

Finish – 12th place in the Western Conference, 26th overall

Goals for vs. goals against – minus 29 (25th overall)

Picked 6th overall in 2016 NHL Entry Draft – Matthew Tkachuk

Where Will the Flame Finish?

The Flames possess some very young and exciting players in Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett. Their biggest obstacle is competing with the likes of San Jose, Anaheim and the Kings in their division. Gaudreau is coming off of a 78pt campaign, and looks every bit like the real deal. He reminds me so much of Patrick Kane when he broke into the league, and has great chemistry with Monahan. These two are the building blocks every team is dying for. Add in a newly drafted Matthew Tkachuk, and this team looks like it’s headed in the right direction.

The biggest struggle last year for the Flames was keeping the puck out of their net. Jonas Hiller looked lost on most nights, and they had 3 other goalies make appearances in a Flames uniform last season. Many thought the Flames would end up with Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes to start the 2016-2017 season, however they went a different route and brought in Brian Elliot. What does this mean to Calgary? They’ve helped stabilize the biggest question mark surrounding their team. Backing up Elliot will be Chad Johnson, who looked great in Buffalo last year, going 22-16-1 with a GAA of 2.36 and a save percentage of 0.920. These are great numbers for what will be your number two goalie. With these additions in net, the Flames should have no problem pushing for a playoff spot this season. If they can stay healthy, and improve defensively (most goals against allowed with 260), they should be a fun team to watch.

Johnny Hockey

One of the smaller guys in the NHL, Gaudreau has not let his size hold him back. He’s improved in each of his first two full seasons, going from 64 to 78 points and finishing in the top 10 in league scoring. How much further can he go? It appears the sky is the limit for the self-named Johnny Hockey. He possesses all of the skill in the world, and is a very competitive player night-in and night-out. He’s had great chemistry with Monahan since they both broke into the NHL, and with the maturation of fellow teammates in Sam Bennett, and adding a skillful prospect in Matthew Tkachuk, the Flames look to be adding more offensive weapons to their roster in the very near future.This will only create more room and opportunity for Gaudreau to score. Gaudreau should continue to be in the top 10 in scoring for many years to come, with the potential to challenge for the Art Ross for many years to come.

Defensive Improvements

When Calgary traded for Dougie Hamilton, many believed they had stolen him from Boston. Did he live up those expectations in his first season in Calgary? Many would argue no, however he still managed to put up 43 pts. Another year playing with a well-respected veteran in Mark Giordano will only help Dougie develop into a better all-around defensemen, as he still requires some improvements in his own end. That being said, replacing the horrendous goaltending in Calgary from last season with Elliot and Johnson will surely help all Flames defenders. Finishing last in goals allowed is never a good indication of your defensive game, however another solid addition by the Flames this past season was replacing Kris Russell with young prospect Jyrki Jokipakka. He should step into the Flames bottom pairing this season and help the Flames in their own end of the ice. Comparing last year to this year, there really is only way one to go, and that is most definitely up.

The future is bright (and now) in Calgary. This is a team to watch in the next few years.