Bruins junior prospects 2009-10 review

By Corey Krakower

The Boston Bruins had a total of six prospects playing in the CHL this season. That list includes three forwards, two goaltenders and one defenseman, and is headlined by Boston’s 2009 first-round pick Jordan Caron. They also had one prospect in the BCHL, Ben Sexton.

QMJHL

Jordan Caron, RW – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Acquired: 1st round, 25th overall, 2009

Caron’s season started by suffering a fractured collarbone at Canada’s World Junior summer camp, but that didn’t stop him from putting together an impressive season upon his return. He started the year with the Rimouski Oceanic, but was eventually traded at the deadline along with Patrice Cormier (ATL) to the Huskies. Between the two teams, Caron played 43 games, scoring 26 goals and 27 assists. Those numbers are similar those that got him drafted in the first round by the Bruins; however, it was his discipline and defensive play that improved a lot. Caron’s plus/minus rating went from a +14 in 2008-09 to a +25 in 2009-10, and he reduced his penalty minutes from 66 to 24.

Caron gained some international experience, suiting up for Team Canada at the World Juniors, and he was a big part of Canada’s silver-medal finish. A scoring winger, he has good size as well. Injuries and skating are somewhat of a concern, however.

In the playoffs, the Huskies got tremendous production out of Caron, as he managed to put up 18 points in only 11 games. He led the league in playoff scoring until his team was eliminated.

Boston has signed Caron to a three-year entry-level contract, and he could suit up for the Bruins as early as next season. Playing in Providence is more likely, however. With his November birthday, he does not need to return to junior.

Maxime Sauve, C – Val d’Or Foreurs

Acquired: 2nd round, 47th overall, 2008

Looking to build on an impressive 2008-09 season that saw him tally 76 points in 64 games, the France native didn’t get the results he expected. Sauve missed a lot of time due to injury, and in the end, was only able to play in 25 regular-season games. His 13 goals and 22 assists were solid, and he did increase his points per game from 1.2 in 2008-09, to 1.4 in 2009-10.

Val d’Or was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, despite Sauve contributing five goals in the six games. Following the early exit, Sauve was assigned to the Providence Bruins, where he scored two goals in six games.

Sauve will likely play in the AHL next year, where he will be expected to continue to put up points like he did in the QMJHL, but he will need to improve his defensive game.

OHL

Adam Courchaine, G – Erie Otters
Acquired: Signed as Free Agent, 2007

Courchaine went back to the OHL for his overage season. He started the year with the Sarnia Sting but was eventually dealt to the Erie Otters. Between the two teams, the 6’3 goalie put together the best numbers of his junior career. His 48 games, 20 wins, 3.24 GAA, .906 save percentage and three shutouts were all personal bests. The Otters made the playoffs, but they were swept by the Windsor Spitfires. Courchaine was the starter in two of those losses, platooning with the draft-eligible Ramis Sadikov.

With the logjam of goaltenders in the Bruins organization, at best Courchaine will be the backup goalie for the Providence Bruins in the AHL next year. The ECHL Reading Royals is a more likely destination if he’s signed.

Michael Hutchinson, G – London Knights
Acquired: 3rd round, 77th overall, 2008

The 2009-10 campaign had two distinct seasons for Hutchinson. The big goaltender was reliable and consistent all season for a strong London Knights team. He appeared in 46 games, compiling a 32-12-1-1 record, he had a 2.86 GAA, a .913 save percentage and three shutouts. Hutchinson’s 46 games played and win total of 32 were career highs, the latter more than double his previous high of 15 wins.

But these impressive statistics did not carry forward into the playoffs. Hutchinson started all 12 playoff games for the Knights, who eventually lost in the quarterfinals to the Kitchener Rangers. He managed a 4.11 GAA, a .870 save percentage and he was pulled three times.

It is not clear yet whether the Bruins would prefer Hutchinson stay in the OHL as an overage player next year, or if they will have him battle for a spot with the Providence Bruins in the AHL next year.

Tyler Randell, RW – Kitchener Rangers
Acquired: 6th round, 176th overall, 2009

Known as a physical winger, not much was expected out of Randell in terms of offensive output. Randell suited up for 47 games with Kitchener and hit a career high in penalty minutes with 88, while also scoring nine goals and adding 12 assists. His -12 rating was disappointing, considering he was a +2 in 2008-09.

The Rangers are going to Game 7 with the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL semifinals, and Randell has suited up for all 19 playoff games, scoring five points and posting 17 penalty minutes.

Randell will spend one more year in junior hockey.

WHL

Ryan Button, D – Prince Albert Raiders
Acquired: 3rd round, 86th overall, 2009

Button played for a Prince Albert team that had a losing record. The 6’1 defenseman scored six goals and 27 assists for 33 points in 67 games, which is down slightly from his 37 points in 70 games from a year ago. Button’s defensive game improved. His +9 plus/minus rating this year is very impressive considering he was a combined -35 in his first two seasons in the WHL.

Button will likely spend the 2010-11 season in the WHL.

BCHL

Ben Sexton, C – Penticton Vees
Acquired: 7th round, 206th overall, 2009

Sexton played for the Nepean Raiders in 2008-09, but decided to go out west to play in the BCHL this year for a powerhouse Penticton squad. Sexton played in 50 of the team’s 60 games, and spent the majority of the year as the Vees’ second-line center. The team had a lot of success, finishing the regular season with a 48-8-4 record, but Sexton’s offensive production wasn’t at the level it was expected to be. He only managed to post 13 goals and 29 assists for a total of 42 points, which ranked him eighth on the team in scoring.

The Vees ended up losing in six games in the semifinals to the Vernon Vipers. Sexton was injured for most of the playoffs, and was only able to suit up for five of the Vees’ 16 games. He had one goal and two assists.

Sexton will attend Clarkson University starting in the fall.