The 2013 season did not end the way the Boston Bruins would have liked, but the 2013 NHL Draft will give the organization the ability to add some needed depth to their prospect ranks. The Bruins however will not be able to draft until 60th overall, as Boston moved its first round pick to Dallas, in the Jamoir Jagr trade.
The Bruins have been able to select some highly touted prospects the past three seasons in Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, and Malcolm Subban, but do not expect them to find the same type of elite prospect late in the second round. That said, the Bruins have done fairly well in the second, having selected prospects such as Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev over the past few seasons.
Top 10 prospects
1. Dougie Hamilton, D
2. Malcolm Subban, G
3. Ryan Spooner, C
4. Alexander Khokhlachev, C
5. Jared Knight, RW
6. Niklas Svedberg, G
7. Brian Ferlin, RW
8. Torey Krug, D
9. Seth Griffith, C
10. Matt Grzelcyk, D
Simply put the Bruins need salary relief. It is likely that several players could be on the trade block. Both Rich Peverly and Chris Kelly are coming off down seasons, but it is unlikely that both return. It is important that the Bruins have the cap space to extend and re-sign players like Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, and Nathan Horton. This could likely result in some of the teams better and more ready prospects like Spooner making the team next fall.
The Bruins are not only strong at center in the NHL, but also in their prospect ranks. They have several solid prospects at the pivot as Spooner, Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith, and Carter Camper, all of whom project to have top-six ability.
At the NHL level, outside of the Pittsburgh Penguins trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Brandon Sutter, Boston may be the deepest team at center in the NHL. Obviously, Selke winner Bergeron and playmaker David Krejci anchor the first two lines, but the B's also have a lot of support elsewhere. Seguin is a natural center playing the wing, Kelly and Peverly have both seen time centering the third line. There is also tough-as-nails Gregory Campbell. He may not put up a lot of points, but he earned the respect of the hockey world with his famous penalty kill on a broken leg.
The Bruins are rock solid in goal as Rask is in his prime, and Boston boasts several solid prospects in goal. Subban was the Bruins first round pick last season, Niklas Svedberg was lights out during the AHL regular season, and Zane Gothberg showed some promise at the NCAA level.
There is an excellent chance that because of salary constrictions that the Bruins could have Hamilton, Torey Krug, and Matt Bartkowski all at the NHL level next season. Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli has already announced the team will not re-sign Andrew Ference, as it appears Boston is ready to give its younger defenseman the opportunity.
With those three likely to be Boston bound, the Bruins will need to look to solidify it defensive pool of prospects. Maxim Chudinov is unlikely to ever cross the Atlantic, so there is a glaring need at defense.
After defense, the Bruins could also use some help on the wing as both Brian Ferlin and Jared Knight are coming off of down seasons. Ferlin and Knight should be able to bounce back next season, but the Bruins still only have four wings that project into top-six forwards (Knight, Ferlin, Camper, and Anthony Camara).
For whatever reason, Boston tends to stick with North American players when drafting. The Bruins have only selected four European players since 2007 (Dennis Reul, Radim Ostrcil, Lars Volden, and Chudinov).
The Bruins tend to draft a goalie at some point in the draft. Boston has selected a goalie every year since 2008 except once.
The Boston Bruins hold the 60th, 90th, 120th, 150th, 180th, and 210th picks of the draft.
Follow Richard Murray on Twitter: @Richie_Murray