Bruins Organization’s Depth Chart for prospects

By Michael Karlstrom

BRUIN DEPTH CHART 2001-2002

TOP FORWARD PROSPECTS

LEE GOREN

Age: just turned 24 in December

Role: second line scorer/fourth line grinder

Contract Status:: signed [not sure of the terms]

Went into this season with an outside shot to step straight into the NHL but was more expected to simply learn the pro game this year and accustomize himself to the longer season… seems to have met his goals fine and has demonstrated a positive attitude towards following instruction and working on the team’s stated directions for him. Will need to score and pay the physical price to be an NHL factor in the coming years, but does certainly seem willing so far.


PROJECTION/FORECAST-at his age and size [6’3 better than 200 pounds] Goren will have a job to loose in training camp. It would be likely the B’s are hoping he takes a spot as a scorer on the second line but he will probably find more time as the grinder on the fourth line as he try to speed his game up just a notch extra to maybe realize the higher potential. Should see time on the second power play unit though and be a bit more of an asset than the logical guy he would be replacing in Mike Knuble.

JAY HENDERSON

Age: will turn 23 in September

Role: pest

Won a job last training camp but lost it with an untimely injury. Was misused a little in his mid-season audition. Henderson is a guy best suited for being spotted for icetime and seems a natural the way Keenen uses the fourth line. Henderson is tough as nails and will pay the price almost every shift to get a job. His long term success will come if he pays that same price to keep the job. Has a good chance to stick around as the 13th forward and get a semi-regular spot in the lineup for fourth line duty against non-goony teams where the Ken Belenger/Andrei Nazarov type goon wouldn’t need to be dressed.


PROJECTION/FORECAST- He should be with the big team next year even if he mostly rides the press box. His attitude and work ethic will determine that fate.

ANDY HILBERT

Age: just turned 20 in February

Role: two way gritty center/wing

Contract Status:: no contract yet

Speculation for 2001-2002: likely to turn pro with the Bruin organization at a moderate higher end contract setup.

Hasn’t had his audition in the NHL yet but might debut before the end of the 2001 season. Early indications would be that he would have a very fair chance at winning the fourth line apprenticeship center job away from Shawn Bates at the very least, to join the big team immediately. If he puts out a more consistent effort and is able to produce, than the job should be his to keep.


PROJECTION/FORECAST- There is a job for Hilbert to win and he will get that chance in camp.

CAMERON MANN

Age: will turn 24 in April.

Role: skater/scorer/checker

Contract Status:: eligible for arbitration as a group II RFA

2000-2001 Salary: 605 000

Speculation for 2001-2002: will need to be qualified with a 10% raise up to around 660,000.

Inconsistency has seemed to be his middle name but has shown effort in the most recent callup. Given an opportunity and responsibility and having the confidence of support behind him, hecan be viewed as a potential for second line duty again next year. More likely, if he shows some grit, he can figure into the club’s third line plans. At worst, he should be at the point to be the guy in the press box as he has nothing left to prove in the AHL.


PROJECTION/FORECAST-has no value on the market at the moment.

KYLE WANVIG

Age: just turned 20 in January

Role: power forward

Contract Status:: no contract/eligible to reenter the 2001 entry draft

Speculation for 2001-2002: likely to be signed by the Bruins as there is a job open for him on the second line and in such a deep draft as this year, he wouldn’t be a lock to get into the first round even if he did try to reenter the draft .

WHL standout, but there is a level of jump between junior and pro. Kyle is the prototypical man among boys this season and as such some concern would have to be if he carries his advantages when he moves into the next step where many more people are just as big and fast as he is. It would probably take a real big effort at camp to win a starting night spot in the B’s lineup but it is possible. Since he has so far proven a tough contract signing and reenters the draft if we don’t sign him this summer, Wanvig could be trade bait but it would have to return someone who fills a hole very solidly before we make that deal.


PROJECTION/FORECAST-He should be signed and in camp again this year as Bruin property. He probably starts the year in Providence but if Hilbert and/or Goren should falter in Boston, than Wanvig would be likely to get the first callup.

SUMMARY

For the Bruin forwards who are currently slotted to be the team’s property going into next season, Jason Allison, Bill Guiren, Joe Thornton, and Sergei Samsonov would all be top six guys. Two of Brian Rolston, PJ Axelsson, Mike Knuble would probably figure into a third line. Andrei Nazarov probably returns as the team’s fourth line HW. At least three of Goren/Henderson/Hilbert/Mann likely figure on the 23 man starting roster too although there is still an outside chance names like Joe Hullbig/Jeff Zehr/and Andre Savage good figure into the press box here in place of any of these more promising kids]

FORWARD Conclusion

Much will depend on the team’s budget and the progress of the kids. The nucleus is fine though and even if the club does decide to move its number one in Allison to increase the depth below, the situation still looks fine. The forward group would appear to be an even bigger strength in the upcoming season than it was this year.

TOP DEFENSEMAN PROSPECTS

NICHOLAS BOYTON

Age: will be 22 in October

Role: all-round top four prospect

Contract Status:: signed

Due to health problems and past business issues, Boyton has had his path to the NHL slow tracked but he is now 21 and needs a fair audition at training camp. It is likely the make or break season for Boyton. Not seeming to have top two potential, he could be moved in a deal for immediate help.


PROJECTION/FORECAST- Will likely find a way onto the Bruins next year even if it comes at the expense of the smaller Jonathan Girard.

JOHNATHON GIRARD

Age: will be 21 in May

Role: PP specialist

Looked sharp for his opportunities so far. Also has shown his limitations. If used right and protected can be a really useful 5th-6th dman on the unit. Can easily be moved if he doesn’t have a spot on the first PP unit.


PROJECTION/FORECAST-Girard likely has a limited future with the Bruins and will need to produce points to play at all… even if he does score the team doesn’t figure to have room for both him and Lars Jonsson in the coming couple years so if the team is able to solve their PP QB concerns short term with a vet pickup, Girard could easily find himself odd man out in a trade situation here.

MARTIN GRENIER

Age: will be 21 in November

Role: goon/possible top four d-man

Contract Status:: no contract/eligible to reenter the 2001 entry draft

Speculation for 2001-2002: reportedly is asking for maximum bonuses to sign… probably not worth guaranteed type money but if he’s really that confidant in himself should be offered the opportunity to make that money in more reasonable clauses if he makes it.

Have seen him a few times in the QMJHL this year and have every reason to think he can play in the NHL next year if he keeps a good work ethic. Would probably be better served with a year or half in the AHL first. Would be an untouchable for me as he has potential to step into the NHL and become the next HW champ. If he can play at all, that would make him a Chris Simon or more of a Marty McSorley [in his prime] type for value within a couple years.

SUMMARY

For the Bruins who are currently scheduled to be the team’s property for the upcoming 2001-2002 season, the team has one guy they would be happy with as a top three d-man [Kyle McLaren] and at least three guys who could be a fourth d-man possibly [Don Sweeney/Hal Gill/Nicholas Boyton] When Peter Popovic/Johnathon Girard/Jarmo Kultanen are all scheduled to be around too the club has enough bodies but the problem becomes who is able to play the critical minutes in the decision areas of a game.

Realistically the team has at least two holes to fill, one being a stud 2-way guy to take icetime and the other guy being more of a physical presence on the team. Martin Grenier figures to be a decent bet for the physical guy while Jason Allison’s possible trade would unquestionably be aimed at getting the stud [if Jason were to be moved at all.] If the team does go into the UFA market though here are some names:

GOALTENDER PROSPECTS

ANDREW RAYCROFT

Age: will be just 21 in May

Role: top prospect

Development could go either way. May a great step of improvement last year and looked intriguing in his forced audition at the beginning of this season. Goaltending is at least 95% mental though so will need at least another FULL season in the AHL to better read where his future lies. Don’t trade him yet though as he could be the REAL DEAL.


PROJECTION/FORECAST-hopefully will be the stud with Providence next year and be ready to fight for a number one job in Boston by 2002-2003 if Dafoe leaves.

GOALTENDER SUMMARY

If management carries a grudge against Grahame and decides to move him than we are likely to be in the market for a new backup as Skudra isn’t the answer when Dafoe has such health questions around him.