Bruins 2008 draft review

By Janine Pilkington

Joe Colborne, C  – AJHL  Camrose
1st round, 16th overall
HT: 6’5  WT: 190 lbs DOB:  1/30/1990

The Bruins found size and some serious potential with their top pick, a towering forward from the 2007-08 AJHL champion Camrose Kodiaks.  Joe Colborne finished out the season second in the league in scoring with 90 points (33 goals, 57 assists) and was named AJHL Playoff MVP.  Colborne already has tremendous vision and playmaking skills, but he also has the goods to bury the puck.

“I think he’s limitless with what his potential can be,” said the Bruins’ Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Bradley. “Give him three or four years down the road, let him develop physically and develop his skill-sets to go along with his size and the way he thinks the game. He definitely fits into our top six.”

Because of his size, Colborne not only has the power, but he’s expected to be a dominant physical force who can also crash the net. He is not yet that player, and it is possible he may never develop into that type of player, however, he is also young and adjusting to a relatively recent growth spurt. While this could be a concern in the future, right now it is entirely possible he hasn’t yet figured out how to use that size to his advantage.  What’s encouraging is that Colborne knows this is an area he needs to improve, and Bradley expressed confidence that he can do it. 

The most important things for Colborne to work on in the coming years are to bulk up and get stronger. He’s a decent skater with a powerful stride and a quick first step, but needs additional work in his ability to change pace and switch gears.

At this point, Colborne has top-line NHL talent, but it is mostly potential. The best-case scenario is that the Bruins made a tremendous steal at the 16th spot and gained a future All-Star NHL’er, however right now it’s just as likely that he never sets foot in the NHL. Still, you have to look at a player like Colborne and think that for the level of talent, he’s well worth the risk.

Colborne will attend the University of Denver in the fall.

Maxime Sauve, C –  QMJHL Val d’Or
2nd round, 47th overall
HT: 6’0 WT: 170 lbs DOB: 1/30/1990

The Bruins have found some quality players in the second round in recent years — look no further than players like Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron. They went with bloodlines and high-end speed and skill this time around when they chose Maxime Sauve, a center with  the Val d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL). 

”I think it was his skating and his ability to handle the puck in tight corners — he distributes it well and can shoot it as well,” Bradley said about what attracted the Bruins to Sauve. “He has blinding speed and I think it’s unharnessed right now. When harnessed, it’s going to be something to behold.”

Sauve plays a solid two-way game. Aside from puck skills, he’s an aggressive forechecker whose speed allows him to not only create offense, but help out in his own zone.  He was traded to Val d’Or midseason in 2007-08, where he was expected to play a prominent role on their offense.  Sauve delivered. With the Foreurs he was a point-per-game player, finishing out the season at 65 points in 70 games, good for second on the team in scoring.

The Bruins see another potential top-six forward in Sauve. He’s already got speed, and if he’s able to put it all together as a pro and create some offense, he could be dominant player. Sauve still needs polishing, and for now, the biggest thing is to continue working on his strength.    

Michael Hutchinson, G  – OHL Barrie
3rd round, 77th overall
HT: 6’3 WT: 185 lbs DOB: 3/2/1990

It seems like only a matter of time before the right goaltender appeared to the Bruins on draft day — they hadn’t picked one since 2003, when they took both Mike Brown and Kevin ReganMichael Hutchinson had a strong season with the Barrie Colts in 2007-08, particularly down the stretch and into the playoffs, where he demonstrated exceptional poise and confidence.

“His size really stood out,” said Bradley. “The mental part of his game, the way he handled certain situations — you see his confidence and his mental makeup and I just think with his development, and his filling out, and maturing, I think he has a chance to be a No. 1.”

Hutchinson has good mechanics, quick movement and fills a lot of net.  He will move out to challenge shooters, but is quick to get back into position. Bradley describes his style as a little unorthodox, but says that his ability to read and anticipate plays is one of his greatest strengths.

Jamie Arniel, C – OHL Sarnia
4th round, 97th overall (from CLB for 4th round 107 & 5th round 137)
HT: 5’11 WT: 183 lbs DOB: 11/16/1989

The Bruins traded picks with the Columbus Blue Jackets to move up a few spots, and found Sarnia Sting forward Jamie Arniel still available.  Arniel had a breakout season offensively in 2006-07 season with the Guelph Storm, where he finished second on the team in scoring.  He played for Team Canada in the U-18 WJC, and was also selected to play in the CHL Top Prospects Game in January 2007. His production dipped somewhat during the 2007-08 campaign, and he was part of a trade in December 2007 that brought him to Sarnia. Still, he scored 27 goals this past season, certainly not a shabby total at any level.

“He’s another potential scorer, which we lack. I think three or four years down the road he’ll be able to create a lot of offense for us,” said Bradley.

Arniel has considerable hockey sense, sees the ice well, and he competes hard.  Basically, he plays a strong two-way game, and he’s a player with plenty of tools who will just need to put it all together if he’s to be a successful pro player someday.

“He needs to get stronger,” Bradley listed as something he’d like to see Arniel work on. “How he conducts himself on and off the ice, and to strive towards being the best he can. Confidence is a big thing with him. I think going forward he needs to gain that confidence, and work on every part of his game so that he can round out into a good two-way player.”

Nicholas Tremblay, C – CJHL Smiths Falls
6th round, 173rd overall
HT: 5’11 WT: 190 lbs DOB: 4/5/1988

The Bruins went with another forward in the sixth round, choosing Nicholas Tremblay, of the Smiths Falls Bears (CJHL). He tallied 110 points in 57 games for the 2007-08 season and was both the scoring champion and league MVP for the CJHL. Since he’ll be attending college beginning this fall, the Bruins will have the luxury of allowing him time to develop before they need to make a decision.

“Another player with blinding speed ,” described Bradley. “He’s got a very powerful stride for his size. He’s a kid that kind of went under the radar but had a great year. If he hits, he’s going to be offensively inclined, and with his skating be able to learn the defensive role. I think his skating is definitely NHL caliber right now.”

Tremblay will attend Clarkson University this fall.

Mark Goggin, C – HIGH-CT Choate Rosemary
7th round, 197th overall
HT: 5’11 WT: 177 lbs DOB:  7/29/1990

The Bruins found their final pick a little closer to home, in Choate forward Mark Goggin.  A tough competitor with plenty of skill, Goggin is a strong character player who works hard and leads by example.  He’s another player the Bruins will have the luxury to bring along slowly — he won’t start college until September 2009 (Dartmouth College). Goggin is expected to play for Choate, as well as the Chicago Steel of the USHL in the 2008-09 season.

“He’s a naturally gifted player. He has a little Adam Oates in him — he’s very headsy, his smarts and his puck skills are exceptional. I think again, once he gets his feet wet into these other leagues and moves on, it’s only going to help him.