Bruins 2009 draft preview

By Jonathan Szczur

Top 10 Prospects

1. Tuukka Rask, G
2. Joe Colborne, C
3. Brad Marchand, RW
4. Zach Hamill, C
5. Kevin Regan, G
6. Matt Hunwick, D
7. Adam McQuaid, D
8. Andrew Bodnarchuk, D
9. Yuri Alexandrov, D
10. Carl Soderberg, C

Winning the Eastern Conference regular-season title is all well and good but resting on laurels won’t get you to the Stanley Cup.  With some significant players and prospects facing free agency, GM Peter Chiarelli and his staff will need to make some tough decisions for the future of Boston hockey. With the cap now an issue, they will need to rely on prospects like Byron Bitz, Vladimir Sobotka and Johnny Boychuk to take on a larger role.  The Bruins need smart players with an unrelenting work ethic to filter into the system and keep it strong.

Team Needs

Boston needs to maintain the core of the team and add players that enhance that foundation. If the right deal emerges, the Bruins may find themselves with a high profile forward as one of those enhancements. But defense looks to be the biggest area to address. Boston is a young team with 13 players 25 or under playing at least one game over the past season and only three of them were defensemen. The draft would be a good place to trade for help to bolster the Bruins blueline for the future. With both Steve Montador and Shane Hnidy becoming free agents the Bruins will be forced to address the issue of the third defensive pairing.

Role-playing forwards such as Mark Recchi, P.J. Axelsson and Stephane Yelle are also entering free agency and will need to be resigned or else Boston will need to find suitable replacements.

Organizational Strengths

The Bruins have loads of depth at center all the way through the organization. Maxime Sauve, Jamie Arniel, 2008 first-round pick Joe Colborne and 2007 firstround pick Zach Hamill are all centers. Depending on how well and how quickly centers like Mark Goggin develop there may well some competition for playing time.  Some may well have to move to wing.

Organizational Weaknesses

Overall, the Bruins organization is weak on the wings. Essentially limited to those skating in Providence, the team would like to add depth in the mold of Milan Lucic and Byron Bitz. Big, strong wingers are always appreciated, but in Boston it’s almost expected protocol to have such players within the organization.

The defense within the system could use some replenishment as well but either position will be ideal additions for the organization. With the defense it’s a question of quality and quantity with needed improvement in both areas.  The organization needs to add youth at defense in the form of smart, responsible prospects that can develop and compliment the current crop.

Draft Tendencies

This will be Chiarelli’s third draft with Boston. If the previous two are any indication, he will truly stick to the “best player available” approach.  While most GMs preach a similar approach, Chirelli’s two drafts indicate his ardent belief in the method. Boston took four defensemen in 2007 with six of its picks and in 2008 yielded five center selections with another six draft picks. The approach is simply to take the best player available and the 2009 draft should be no different.

Hockey’s Future staff mock draft result:
David Rundblad, D, Skelleftea AIK (Sweden)

Smart and good with the puck, Rundblad has may not be the top Swedish defenseman in the draft, but he would be the best pick for the Bruins with the 25th overall selection. He has the ability to be a great puck-moving defenseman.
 
The Picks (5)

1st round, 25th overall
3rd round, 86th overall
4th round, 112th overall (conditional, from Philadelphia)
6th round, 175th overall
7th round, 205th overall