Bruins fall 2007 junior prospects update

By Janine Pilkington

QMJHL

Brad Marchand, C – Val d’Or Foreurs
Acquired: 3rd round, 76 overall (2006)

Marchand continues to dominate offensively in his second season with the Foreurs, where he currently leads the team in goals scored, and is tied for the top spot in total points. Always a danger in the offensive zone, he has the speed to break away from the opposition and the ability to maneuver his way through traffic while maintaining control of the puck. He drives hard to the net and has a quick, accurate shot. Marchand is the type of player who will shoot often, and can generate quality scoring opportunities even from difficult angles. His tendency to go for the big play is a double-edged sword, as teams often focus their efforts on trying to find ways to stop him, something that could affect his offensive production in the long run. On the other hand, he is difficult to stop when given room because of his speed and ability to get off the quick shot, which has thus far served him well. He signed a contract with the Bruins at the beginning of the season. Marchand tallied a total 29 points, 17 of which were goals, in the first 28 games of the season.

Denis Reul, D – Lewiston MAINEiacs
Acquired: 5th round, 130 overall (2007)

The Bruins 2007 draft pick is playing both his first season in North America with the Lewiston MAINEiacs. Reul was brought in to create an imposing physical presence to Lewiston’s lineup, and is showing signs that he could be a dominant defenseman. The 6’4 220 lbs German has both the size and strength to outmuscle his opponents and is particularly successful at this along the boards and in front of the net, where he’s near impossible to get around. He demonstrates a good overall awareness on the ice, and as he doesn’t often look to generate offense, is rarely caught out of position defensively. Reul has also spent time on Lewiston’s penalty-killing unit, where he’s done a good job keeping the puck out of the offensive zone.  He is at +8, with 5 points and 44 penalty minutes in the first 28 games of the season.

Andrew Bodnarchuk, D – Halifax Mooseheads
Acquired: 5th round, 128 overall (2006)

In what could be his final season in the QMJHL, Bodnarchuk has taken over the reins as captain on a Halifax squad with a strong veteran presence, a team that is resting at the top of the standings. Bodnarchuk is a quick, puck-moving defenseman who has the speed to get up in the rush and in turn create some offense. While his strengths may be on offense, his coaches have worked with him to make a bigger commitment to his defensive responsibility and to simplify his game this season. He is on the small side, which at times creates difficulty in his ability to stop opposing forwards, and therefore Bodnarchuk needs to rely on his speed and his stickwork to disrupt plays. Bodnarchuk currently leads Moosehead defensemen and is fourth league blueliners in scoring with 22 points in 25 games.

WHL

Zach Hamill, C -Everett Silvertips
Acquired: 1st round, 8th overall (2007)

Nineteen-year-old Zach Hamill is in his fourth WHL season, and while he may not be piling up the points at the same clip as in 2006-07, he is still averaging more than a point per game. Currently second on his team in scoring, he’s totaled 31 points in 27 games, and was selected for this year’s ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. Hamill’s speed and vision make him a constant offensive threat. His puck-carrying skills and stick work are second to none, particularly in his ability to maintain control of the puck through traffic. Hamill has been a part of Everett’s power-play and penalty-killing units, scoring five of his ten goals with the man advantage and one shorthanded. Hamill was the Bruins top pick in the 2007 entry draft and signed his first contract prior to this season.

Levi Nelson, C – Swift Current Broncos
Acquired: 6th round, 158 overall (2006)

Nelson got a brief taste of pro hockey when he joined the Providence Bruins at the tail end of 2006-07 after completing a career-best WHL season. He continues to be a regular contributor on offense for a Broncos team that is currently third in its division. The feisty playmaking center is effective in his ability to get under the skin of his opponents and plays a very high-energy style game. Nelson displays a tremendous amount of character, will stick up for his teammates and has demonstrated a willingness to drop the gloves. The Bruins 2006 draft pick is averaging just over a point per game, with 25 points in the first 24 games, and he’s at +16 on the season. Nelson was chosen to play for the WHL team in this year’s ADT Canada-Russia Challenge.

Jordan Knackstedt, RW – Moose Jaw Warriors
Acquired: 7th round, 189 overall (2007)

Knackstedt’s trade to the Moose Jaw Warriors mid-season in 2006-07 proved to be a positive experience, something that has carried over into 2007-08. The 6’2 200 lb wing has been a key contributor for the Warriors, averaging more than a point per game this season, where he leads the team in scoring with 29 points in 26 games. Knackstedt has good hands and strong offensive instincts, but he has the size to play physical and is the type of player who will stick up for his teammates when necessary.  He’s already racked up 48 penalty minutes and a pair of fighting majors since the beginning of the season. Knackstedt, now in his fourth WHL season, has emerged as a leader for the Warriors and earned the role of assistant captain.

OHL

Radim Ostrcil, D – Ottawa 67’s
Acquired: 6th round, 169 overall (2007)

Ostrcil missed the first five games of the season due to an injury sustained in Bruins training camp, and has since spent time adjusting not only to his rookie season in the OHL, but his first season in North America. Though he’s not yet a prominent figure on Ottawa’s blueline, Ostrcil will play the body when necessary, and has a good overall skillset, particularly with his puck carrying and passing. So far he has shown very little of the offensive flair that he’s been billed for, with just a single point, an assist, recorded in his first 18 games. Given time and experience, Ostrcil could play a bigger role for the 67’s, however, the early line on the young defenseman is a player who has promise, but is still very much a project.

Adam Courchaine, G – Ottawa 67’s
Acquired: Free Agent (2007)

Courchaine attended Bruins training camp as an invite and left enough of an impression to earn a contract from them. The 18-year-old undrafted goaltender is playing his rookie season in the OHL, where he’s made the majority of starts for an Ottawa 67’s team that is at best, inconsistent. He has a strong save percentage at .903, and while his goals against average at 3.25 is not spectacular, Courchaine has faced an average 33 shots per game so far this season, and in many instances has been the factor that has kept his team in the game. A butterfly style goaltender, Courchaine stays square with the shooter and is quick to react. He has the ability to remain calm and focused during tough games, even when he is bombarded with shots. More often than not, he will come up with the big save. Young, inexperienced, and a few years away from playing pro hockey, with continued development Courchaine could turn out to be another solid find by the Bruins scouting department. 


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