Boston Bruins have little to show from 2008 NHL Draft

By Mike Farkas

Max Sauve - Boston Bruins

Photo: Forward Max Sauve has been bothered by injuries ever since he began his professional career in 2010. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

The Boston Bruins came in to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa with more than they left with. Armed with seven draft choices, they ended up with six draftees and, to date, just two NHL games in the famed Boston Bruins sweater.

The Bruins ended up using their original first, second, third, and seventh round picks. They traded their fourth and fifth (107th and 137th respectively) picks to Columbus for the Blue Jackets' fourth round pick (97). The Bruins original sixth rounder (167) was traded to Colorado during the 2007 festivities. The Bruins ended up with Anaheim's sixth selection in the Shane Hnidy/Brandon Bochenski swap.

Joe Colborne, C, Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) – 1st round, 16th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 11

Sandwiched between two high-octane offensive defensemen in Erik Karlsson (OTT) and Jake Gardiner (TOR) was Boston's first selection in 2008, the gargantuan center from Alberta Juniors, Joe Colborne. Colborne was something of a late riser in his draft year, but when a 6'5 center takes over a junior league like the Calgary native did, scouts take notice. To help fill out his frame and craft his trade, the skilled forward moved to the University of Denver, where he spent two successful seasons before signing with Boston.

At the 2011 trade deadline, however, the Bruins moved him with a first and second round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for puck distributor Tomas Kaberle. Colborne would make his NHL debut with the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada during the final game of the regular season versus Montreal. He registered an assist but did not start the following season with the big club. He saw an extended call-up early in the 2011-12 season plus one game in April again. All told, he has 11 NHL games under his belt and six points to his name.

Still yet to emerge as a dominant force even at the American Hockey League level, Colborne is a work in progress. He is blessed with a good deal of skill and can create offense well. His skating is rather nimble and he has fine mobility overall. He had a sluggish start in an AHL that was brimming with talent thanks to the NHL work stoppage, but he has since heated up a bit more down there in terms of production. However, his role with the organization is far from cemented. Despite the Leafs need for high-end centers, Colborne has not played in any NHL games this season nor was he invited to the shortened training camp.

Max Sauve, C/LW, Val d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL) – 2nd round, 47th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 1

What might turn out to be the star pupil of the 2008 Bruins draft class is too often held up in the infirmary. Maxime Sauve, a feisty but skilled winger out of the QMJHL, was Boston's second selection. Besides the Bruins' terrific depth, the main thing holding back Sauve is his inability to stay healthy. He has missed a good deal of time since being drafted; he even missed most of his NHL debut. He made it to NHL shift number seven before leaving with an injury in the second period and he has not returned to big league action since then.

He has been sufficiently productive at the AHL level, though this season has been trying for him. Sauve is knocking on the door for an NHL call-up and he would not look out of place in Boston's lineup. He has puck skills, but he is also a demon on the forecheck and his skating and hockey sense put him in a unique situation to contribute in many different roles. The versatile forward is biding his time, but with a long medical history, a team that is rich in depth, coupled with an expiring entry-level contract, Sauve would like nothing more than a chance to re-assure the Bruins that he is worth having at the NHL level.

Michael Hutchinson, G, Barrie Colts (OHL) – 3rd round, 77th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

The lone non-center of the draft for the Boston Bruins was right-handed catching Michael Hutchinson out of the Ontario Hockey League. After a strong 2008 OHL playoffs with Barrie, the Bruins snagged him with their third selection to help supplement the team's goaltending depth that was headed by first-year pro Tuukka Rask. After being traded to London, Hutchinson was signed by Boston and split the year between the AHL and the ECHL. Unfortunately, he was never able to fully grab the reins up in Providence (AHL) and this season has been no different.

Besides Hutchinson's game-to-game inconsistency, there are a number of signs pointing to this being the end of his time in the Boston organization as his entry-level contract ticks down to the waning minutes. The acquisition of Anton Khudobin from Minnesota, the emergence of the recently-inked Niklas Svedberg, plus the utilization of a first round pick on Malcolm Subban has provided some reasoning that Hutchinson may not be kept in the fold. The tall, mobile goaltender has enough ability to provide serviceable depth to many organizations though.

Jamie Arniel, C, Sarnia Sting (OHL) – 4th round, 97th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 1

The Bruins traded up in the middle of the 2008 draft to select versatile center Jamie Arniel out of Sarnia (OHL). A fine junior player that played an up and down game with a good attention to detail, Arniel looked like he was a fairly safe pick with decent upside as far as fourth rounders go. Unfortunately, the first impression that he made after being annexed into the Boston organization was not a particularly strong one as he had an incident involving the law in his hometown.

Despite the misdoing, Arniel earned an entry-level contract from the Bruins after the 2009 season and he made a positive impact in Providence early on. He appeared in one game for Boston in 2011, in addition to serving as a "black ace" for their Stanley Cup run during those same playoffs. Unfortunately, Arniel did not continue his growth in a tough 2011-12 season back in the AHL. He set career lows in goals and points (seven goals and 17 assists) and was a team-worst minus-17. The Bruins elected not to qualify him and he signed with Berlin in the DEL for the 2013 season.

Nick Tremblay, C/LW, Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL) – 6th round, 173rd overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

In the sixth round, the Bruins selected the reigning CCHL MVP Nick Tremblay out of the Smiths Falls Bears program. Blessed with good speed and quality finishing ability, Tremblay was a four-year player at Clarkson University before joining the Providence Bruins on an ATO late in 2012. Ultimately, Boston elected not to sign their overage draft pick and he became an unrestricted free agent. He was picked up by the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL, where he scored at a better than point-per-game pace through 21 games. Currently, he is on another tryout opportunity with Providence. While an NHL future seems unlikely, the Quebec-native could potentially carve out a sustainable minor league career if he so desires.

Mark Goggin, C, Choate Rosemary Hall (USHS-CT) – 7th round, 197th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

Fairly local, as far as NHL draft picks go, the Bruins used their final selection on Mark Goggin out of Choate Rosemary Hall, a Connecticut Prep School. Goggin spent time with the USNTDP and the Chicago Steel (USHL) before moving to Dartmouth College for the 2009-10 campaign. Unfortunately, injuries have sapped much of his playing time at the NCAA level. He lost his entire sophomore season to a broken wrist and early in the 14th game of his junior season, a separated shoulder ended his year just that quickly. Goggin has not been able to crack Dartmouth's young lineup since. He remains part of the senior leadership in an off-ice role and still enjoys practicing with the team and keeping a good attitude towards the situation. The likelihood of the Bruins signing him, however, is beyond remote at this point.