Boston Bruins Offer Three Junior Prospects Contracts

By Bob Willwerth

As reported by the Boston Herald, the Boston Bruins have offered entry level contracts to prospects Milan Jurcina, Darren McLachlan, and Jiri Jakes.

Milan Jurcina, a defenseman, comes from the Halifax Moosehead of the QMJHL and is very deserving of an offer. The Slovakian has improved each season in the QMJHL and had a strong Bruin training camp in 2002-03. Jurcina is one of the top 10 Bruins prospects and is a complete defenseman. He is good in his own end and has added some offense to his game. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2001 draft, making him a very good late draft pick. Jurcina is the only one of the three on the fast track to Boston. Big and strong, he has an outside chance of making the opening night lineup in 2002-03. He will be an NHL defenseman eventually.

GP 51 G 15 A 13 PTS 28 PIM 102

The Boston Bruins are high on the potential of Darren McLachlan. It was a good move to sign him, but McLachlan has his limitations. While he has unquestionable heart and toughness, his skating needs much improvement, especially his first step. McLachlan scored nearly a point a game for the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL this season. He is not unskilled but he truly needs time to develop. He is the prototypical long range project. Boston is hoping he develops into a Darren McCarty or Sandy McCarthy type player. Remember McLachlan has good but not great size at 6’1″ 230 lbs and is not an imposing figure on the ice. Boston needs to develop physical players and Darren could be one of them but this is surely not automatic.

GP 66 G 17 A 43 PTS 60 PIM 195

Jiri Jakes is a mystery player who plateaued in junior. He is a big forward with skill who was traded to the Vancouver Giants in the WHL. An average skater, Jakes has attended Boston camp the last two seasons and didn’t look out of place. But upon his return to junior from camp, both times he went on to have average seasons. If Jiri has any chance of making the NHL he must improve his skating. He is truly a long range prospect as well. One thing to keep in mind is that bigger players such as Jakes and McLachlan sometimes take longer to develop their skating and so even though they may look raw now, their signings are not totally unwarranted.

GP 41 G 18 A 21 PTS 39 PIM 72

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