The Boston Bruins should be entering this year’s draft with the following goals in mind:
1.Increase depth in goal
2.Improve defensive prospects
3.Add wings to the organization
After being unable to come to terms with goaltender Seamus Kotyk, the Bruins have just one goaltender under 25 in their system, and that is Andrew Raycroft. The 2000 top-CHL net minder had a rough rookie season. He was thrown into the fire up in Boston when Byron Dafoe was out with injury and once sent down to Providence he rode the bench a lot with John Grahame seeing the bulk of the action. With Grahame expected to be in Boston next season, Andrew will likely be the starting goaltender in Providence.
There is no question the Bruins should come out of this draft with a goaltender and in my mind, the perfect choice would be Sean Fields who spent this past season tending the nets for Boston University. The freshmen goaltender turned heads in the Hockey East tournament. He turned aside 48 saves in a 4-3 2-overtime loss to the Providence College Friars many of which were highlight worthy. The night before, in Game 2 of the series against the Friars, Fields made 37 saves for a 2-1 win.
Terriers head coach Jack Parker had this to say about Fields’ play in the PC-BU series, “Sean showed a lot of promise over the weekend. He played with a lot of confidence and a lot of poise. He certainly gives us something to build on for next year.”
The only goaltender I could think of close to Fields’ was Martin Brodeur. Fields does not have the stick handling nor the natural talent Brodeur does but the way he positions himself and sees the puck reminds me of the 29-year old New Jersey Devils net minder.
Fields should still be around in the 5th round and would be a perfect fit for the Bruins in the 5th.
The Bruins need defense; there is no secret about that. The B’s would love to get their hands on Mike Komisarek who many say could develop into a Derian Hatcher-type player but Komisarek will likely be selected in the top 10. A defenseman that could potentially fall to the Bruins at #19 is Tim Gleason. Gleason is more of an offensive rearguard and could be a team’s power play quarterback, something the Bruins appear to have in Jonathan Girard.
Odds are the Bruins would prefer a rugged defenseman like Jeff Woywitka. Jeff is an excellent skater who can move laterally with the best of them. He is reliable defensively which the Bruins don’t really have in their system (with the exception of Zdenek Kutlak and 28-year old Pavel Kolarik). He is a physical defenseman who has a decent offensive package, complete with good passing skills and a hard, accurate shot from the point.
Some question whether Woywitka is worth the 19th overall pick but if the Bruins could add a defenseman like Woywitka and he lives up to his potential, the pick would be worth it.
A good pick, if he is still around, in the 3rd round would be Noah Welch. Welch spent this past season patrolling the blue-line for St. Sebastian’s High School in Massachusetts. The 6’ 3”, 212-lbs. defenseman is highly intense and extremely physical. His decision making improved as the season went on and he impressed scouts enough in the second half of his season that he may crack the bottom of the 2nd round but if he is around at the Bruins pick in the 3rd round, they should not hesitate to announce his name.
Another position the Bruins need depth is the wings.
A perfect fit would be Boston College winger Chuck Kobasew but most don’t expect Chuck to be around at #19. Two players expected to be around at #19 that would be good picks for the Bruins are Duncan Milroy or Colby Armstrong.
Milroy spent the 2000-01 season with Swift Current (WHL) where he recorded 38-54-92 totals, all of which were career highs. The good skating winger who possesses a quick, accurate shot has a bit of aggressiveness in him. He is an extremely smart player who can be used in any situation and would fit well on any team’s 1st or 2nd line. Past Bill Guerin (who may not be around to skate with any of the Bruins 2001 draft picks) the Bruins are severely lacking at right wing. The only two guys on the farm who appear to have any potential are Lee Goren and Ivan Huml. Only Huml appears to have potential to play on a 2nd line while Goren seems more fit for 3rd or 4th line duty if any at all. Another right-winger who could make it is Sergei Zinjonev who many say is a smaller Sergei Samsonov. He is hyped as the best Russian prospect already drafted and not in the NHL but many question whether he will ever make it. He is expected to attend Boston’s training camp this fall but he has yet to sign and there has been no word if he’s going to anytime soon. Neither Huml nor Zinjonev appear to have 1st line capabilities though.
Armstrong is another right-winger who spent this past season in the WHL but Colby played for the Red Deer Rebels. He too recorded career highs with 36-42-78 totals to go along with 156 penalty minutes. Armstrong is a lot grittier and aggressive then Milroy. He to possesses strong skating abilities and he also has a good set of hands. His passing skills are above average and like Milroy can be used in all situations. At 180 lbs. most NHL teams would like to see him put on about 15 pounds but whether he does or not he appears to be a potential power forward at the NHL level, something Boston has been without since Cam Neely retired. Guerin qualifies on some aspects as a power forward but Armstrong fits the role better. Many compare Armstrong to a younger, more offensive Adam Deadmarsh.
If the Boston Bruins wish to develop talent from within much like the Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils, they need to addresses the weaknesses within the system at draft time and those weaknesses are goaltending, defense, and wings. As most can attest to, the Avalanche and Devils almost never have a glaring weakness in their system.