Boston Bruins own several solid prospects at NCAA and European levels

By Richard Murray

Matt Grzelcyk - Boston Bruins

Photo: Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk had a strong freshman year for Boston University, managing 23 points through 38 games. (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

The Boston Bruins do not boast a large amount of prospects playing in Europe or college hockey, but there are some in the group that might be able to make a difference for the organization at some point in the near future.

NCAA

Zane Gothberg, G, North Dakota (WCHA)
Drafted 6th round, 165th overall, 2010

Gothberg has a strong freshman season for North Dakota. In limited duty, he posted a 9-4-3 record, 2.46 goals against average, and a .920 save percentage. Gothberg was a long-term project when drafted in the sixth round in 2010, but he may be starting to realize some of his potential now at the NCAA level after two successful seasons in the USHL.

Gothberg will look to steal more ice time from junior goalie Clark Saunders next season. Saunders only played in nine more games than the freshman this season. Either way, Gothberg should be in line for the starting job at UND when Saunders graduates following next season.

Brian Ferlin, RW, Cornell Big Red (ECAC)
Drafted 4th round, 121st overall, 2011

Ferlin is Boston's top college hockey forward prospects, and although he had a somewhat disappointing sophomore season with Cornell, he is still highly touted. Ferlin is extremely strong on the puck as defenders have a hard time getting the puck away from him. He is a typical bigger forward that the Bruins love to draft, standing at six feet two inches.

"Overall his game is pretty good because he understands how to protect pucks, he is built for the cycle game, and has a good shot coming down the wing," Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney said during last summer's development camp.

Ferlin had a very slow start to the season, but he did pick up the pace scoring 24 points in 34 games. He topped his freshman point total by three points.

Colton Hargrove, LW, Western Michigan Broncos (CCHA)
Drafted 7th round, 205th overall, 2012

The stingy forward did not put up a ton of points in college, but he is a versatile player that does have the ability to chip in offensively from time-to-time. He scored 10 points during his first season with Western Michigan after two seasons in the USHL with Fargo Force.

He is never going to be confused as a skilled player, but with hard work and his size he is a typical rugged forward the Bruins love to develop.

Mark Goggin, C, Dartmouth Big Green (ECAC)
Drafted 7th round, 197th overall, 2008

Goggin failed to touch the ice this season with Dartmouth as he fell out of favor with others for ice time. A seventh round pick in 2008, he has now graduated from Dartmouth and might be better suited pursuing a career outside of hockey. He scored 12 points in 35 career collegiate games

Ben Sexton, C, Clarkson Golden Knights (ECAC)
Drafted 7th round, 206th overall, 2009

Sexton should be returning next season to Clarkson for his senior season, but his junior year was a bit of a disappointment. He broke out during his sophomore season scoring 29 points and being over a point-per-game player, but this season he failed to build upon that only scoring 20 points, in 28 games.

Sexton is a solid two-way forward, but the Bruins would like to see him take his game to the next level for his senior year with Clarkson. If he can do that he may have a future with the big club in Boston in the near future.

Matt Grzelcyk, D, Boston University Terriers (Hockey East)
Drafted 3rd round, 85th overall, 2010

The Charlestown, Mass. native enjoyed a lot of success at Boston University under legendary coach Jack Parker. Grzelcyk scored 23 points, 38 games, for BU. He was also the also the last member of the United States WJC team to be cut. Next season he will look to make that roster to further exemplify his prospect status.

Although undersized at 5'9, Grzelyck has a lot of skill in the offensive end of the ice. The Bruins hope he can continue to develop those skills especially on the power play.

Rob O'Gara, D, Yale Bulldogs (ECAC)
Drafted 5th round, 151st overall, 2011

He managed only seven points in his freshman season with Yale, but O'Gara was a big part of the Bulldogs blue line that just won the NCAA title. He is still somewhat raw, but he has very good size at 6'4. He has the ability to become a shutdown, physical player on the back end. He will never be confused for an offensive player, but he will continue to develop in hopes of improving an overall two-way game.

Europe

Lars Volden, G, Blues (SM-Liiga)
Drafted 6th round, 181st overall, 2011

The Norwegian goalie is the only Bruins goalie prospect currently playing in Europe, but Volden, once considered a long-term type project, is starting to round into form. In 11 games of SM-liiga play, Volden put together a 4-4-1 record, a shutout, 2.01 goals against average, and a .927 save percentage.

He has participated in Bruins development camps the past few seasons and has seemed to look in line with the North American style play in the crease. When he will be making the trek across North America is still unknown, but he could be a serviceable player now for the Providence Bruins.

Maxim Chudinov, D, St. Petersburg SKA (KHL)
Drafted 7th round, 195th overall, 2010

Chudinov is unlikely to ever come to the NHL from Russia and the KHL. A Bruins source confirmed this over the summer. When asked about Chudinov ever coming over he said: "I doubt it."

He has a lot of talent and could be a serviceable player for the Bruins especially in the offensive end, but as long as the KHL is paying him more he will likely remain in Russia.

Chudinov did not put the same amount of points up this season in the KHL as he did in 2011-12. Chudinov had 35 points a season ago, but only 10 this past season.