Off-season trades make immediate mark in Boston Bruins Top 20

By Richard Murray

Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton - Boston Bruins

Photo: First-year defensemen Torey Krug (left) and Dougie Hamilton (right) played major roles in the Boston Bruins run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. (courtesy of Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

It was not long ago that the Boston Bruins lacked serious depth and talent in their prospect ranks, but Boston has built up one of the better farm systems the past few seasons through the draft, free agent signings, as well as trades.

There are no glaring weaknesses on the Bruins prospect depth chart. On the wing, Boston does lack elite talent, but has several players who project as top-six forwards. The Bruins have several players that could lose their prospect status this season, as they develop into fulltime NHL players.

1. (1) Dougie Hamilton, D, 9.0C
Drafted 1st round, 9th overall, 2011

Hamilton had some bumps during his rookie season, which resulted in a lack of playing time during the playoffs. That being said, the towering defeneman also showed signs that he has elite talent, especially in the offensive zone and on the power play. If he continues to develop, he could make the Bruins power play relevant as soon as the 2013-14 season. Hamilton will compete this season with Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski, both of who at times appeared more NHL ready last season, and could push Hamilton out of the lineup on occasions.

2. (2) Malcolm Subban, G, 8.0C
Drafted 1st round, 24th overall, 2012

Subban had some struggles during the World Junior Championship last season, but was still an elite goalie in the OHL. This season, he will get his first crack at the pro game as he is expected to be the back up in Providence, but depending on what the goalie situation is in Boston, he could play himself into more of a time split, in the AHL. Niklas Svedberg and Chad Johnson are supposed to compete for the backup spot, and if Svedberg is able to wiggle his way onto Boston's roster it is conceivable he could take a chunk out of Subban's starts. Either way, the Bruins brass will not want Subban going too long between starts.

Last season in the OHL, Subban posted a stellar 29-11-4 record, 2.14 goals against average, a .934 save percentage, and five shutouts.

3. (3). Ryan Spooner, C, 7.5C
Drafted 2nd round, 45th overall, 2010

When David Krejci got hurt during a stretch last season, Spooner got his first crack at the NHL. Spooner was even given the responsibility to pivot Boston's first line at times, but it was clear that he was not quite ready for that kind of role. Spooner led all rookies in scoring at the AHL level at a near point-per-game pace with 57 points (17 goals, 40 assists), in 59 games. During his four game stint in the NHL, the Kanata, Ontario native failed to register a point.

Boston recognizes his skill set though, and when he is ready, it could help fix the woeful Bruins powerplay.

"Ryan has had lots of power play time, so we have been using him in situations where he can use his skill set and take advantage on the ice," Bruins assistant GM Don Sweeney told HF last season.

4. (4) Alexander Khokhlachev, C, 7.5C
Drafted 2nd round, 40th overall, 2011

Khokhlachev had a very interesting season last year as he played in three different leagues and in the WJC. In 26 KHL games, it became apparent that the Russian-born pivot was not ready for that kind of competition. He only scored seven points during his KHL stint, but once returning to the OHL to play with Windsor, he picked up right where he left off from the previous season scoring 48 points (22 goals, 26 assists), in 29 games. Khokhlachev finished his season up in the AHL scoring three points during 11 games for Providence. He could probably use a whole season in the AHL, but considering his skill set, he could compete for a roster spot in the NHL as soon as this season.

5. (NR) Joe Morrow, D, 7.5C
Acquired in trade with Dallas Stars, July 4th, 2013

Morrow was the big prospect the Bruins received in the trade that sent 2010 2nd overall pick, Tyler Seguin to Dallas. Morrow posted several big point seasons in the WHL before making the jump to the AHL, and as a former first round pick (23rd overall in 2011) he has high upside. Splitting last season between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Texas, in the AHL, he recorded 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists). Morrow should provide some offensive punch for Providence this season, as Providence is expected to lose Krug and Bartkowski to the NHL this season.

6. (8) Torey Krug, D, 7.0B
Signed as a free agent, March 25th, 2012

Torey Krug proved he is the real deal after he exploded onto the scene during the 2013 playoffs. Krug may be undersized, but that so far has no been a detriment to his game. Krug has elite skating ability from the back end, and completely changed the Bruins puck-moving abilities in the playoffs. As long as last season's playoff run was not a fluke, Krug should find a top-four role this season with the Bruins.

7. (12) Anthony Camara, LW, 7.0C
Drafted 3rd round, 81st overall, 2011

Camara has been compared to Milan Lucic since being drafted, and although that may be unfair to Camara, there is a lot to like in his game. The Bruins inked him to a three-year entry level deal last spring, as the Toronto native is expected to join the AHL squad down in Providence. He still needs some time develop his game, but he is continuing to grow as a player, making strides every year since being drafted.

8. (9) Seth Griffith, C, 7.0C
Drafted 5th round, 131st overall, 2012

Being an overage draft pick is something that has not deterred Griffith from exceling. He tore up the OHL the past few seasons, was one of the last members cut from the Canadian WJC team in 2012, and will join the Providence Bruins this season for his first pro year.

"Some guys come in faster than others, and he has to come in at his own pace," Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of Griffith's development. "Hopefully it is quick for everyone's own benefit, but it doesn't always work like that. We just want to do our job to make him the best player [he can be]."

9. (NR) Ryan Fitzgerald, C, 7.5D
Drafted 4th round, 120th overall, 2013

Fitzgerald fell in the draft a bit, as he was originally expected to go in the second or third round, but the Bruins were happy to select the Boston College bound pivot in the fourth. Fitzgerald comes from a strong hockey bloodline as his father played and is the Assistant to the General Manager for Pittsburgh Penguins. His uncle, Scott, is also the Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting for the Bruins.

Fitzgerald has performed well at every level so far dominating the MIAA and Catholic Conference during his time at Malden Catholic and is coming off of a point-per-game season in the EJHL. Although undersized, BC coach Jerry York has a way of developing that type of player.

10. (NR) Reilly Smith, RW, 7.0C
Acquired in trade with Dallas Stars, July 4th, 2013

Smith was one of three prospects that the Bruins acquired in the deal that sent Seguin to Dallas. A two-way forward with some offensive skill, Smith should compete with several other players for a spot on the NHL roster. In the AHL last season, he had 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists), in 45 games and has nine points through 40 career NHL contests.

11. (11) Zane Gothberg, G, 7.0C
Drafted 6th round, 165th overall, 2010

Probably one of the most underrated prospects the Bruins have, Gothberg has done nothing but perform. In 2012-13, he picked up his first NCAA tournament victory and posted a 9-4-3- record, 2.46 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.

"I don't think internally that Zane is flying under the radar," Sweeney said at this past summers Bruins development camp. "We know that Zane is very good, and he has grown a lot. [It's exciting] because when we [drafted him] we hoped that he continue [his growth]."

Gothberg returns to North Dakota for his sophomore season in 2013-14.

12. (10) Matt Grzelcyk, D, 7.0C
Drafted 3rd round, 85th overall, 2012

He may be years away from making the NHL, but this undersized defenseman is not letting size get in his way. As a freshman for Boston University, Grzelcyk scored 23 points, which is no easy task for a rookie defender. The Charlestown, Massachusetts native, was the last member cut from Team USA at the 2012 WJC, but do not be surprised if he becomes a fixture on Team USA's blue line for the 2013 tournament.

13. (6) Niklas Svedberg, G, 6.5B
Signed as a free agent, May 29th, 2012

Although he had his struggles in the AHL playoffs, Svedberg won top goalie honors for his regular season performance. During the regular season he was lights out recording a 31-8-2 record, 2.26 goals against average, .922 save percentage, and three shutouts. His playoff performance brought some questions to his game, but Providence's blue line was depleted with both Krug and Bartkowski called up to Boston. That being said, it is hard not to imagine the Swedish netminder the very least a backup at the NHL level.

14. (NR) Matt Fraser, LW, 6.5B
Acquired in trade with the Dallas Stars, July 4th, 2013

The final piece of the Tyler Seguin trade should compete for a spot on the third line with the likes of Spooner, Khokhlachev, and Smith. Fraser is an undrafted free agent but has the grit and height to produce in a second or third line role. He split last season between the NHL and AHL producing 46 points (33 goals, 13 assists), in the AHL and three points (one goal, two assists). If he can make the Bruins out of camp he could become a nice goal scoring threat on the third line as he has two 30-plus goal seasons in both the AHL and Major Junior.

15. (5) Jared Knight, RW, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 32nd overall, 2010

Knight had lots of injury problems last season, which resulted in him only playing 13 regular season games between the AHL and ECHL. It is hard to ignore his struggles last season, injury or not, with many other Bruins prospects making big strides in their development. Knight will look to get back on track in 2013-14, but it seems after last year's debacle he may be best suited started in the AHL. If he had no injury problems last year, he is probably fighting for a spot on the third line. With a strong camp he could still push for that, but there are many other players competing for that spot.

16. (NR) Peter Cehlarik, LW, 7.0C
Drafted 3rd round, 90th overall, 2013

The Slovakian native will continue to develop over in Europe for the time being, but he has the Bruins upper management excited, as he possesses a tremendous skill set.

"Peter is a very skilled hockey player, and you're seeing right away what kind of player," Sweeney said of Cehlarik at the Bruins Development Camp. "He has the shot, the release, and the hands. He can also make plays in traffic and in-and-around the net."

Cehlarik split last season between the Lulea and its junior team. He played only eight games in the SHL, but he contributed nicely with six points (three goals, three assists). At the junior level he was just off a point-per-game pace with 37 points (17 goals, 20 assists), in 38 games. During the U-18 WJC, he had a strong performance with seven points, in six games of action

17. (13) Carter Camper, C, 7.0D
Signed as a free agent, April 7th, 2011

Camper had his injury issues in 2012-13, but he really came on strong down the stretch, especially in the playoffs. The skilled pivot tallied up 47 points (10 goals, 37 assists), in 57 AHL regular season games, and in the playoffs was a bright spot for Providence, firing home eight goals and assisting five (13 points).

18. (7) Brian Ferlin, RW, 7.0D
Drafted 4th round, 121st overall, 2011

Ferlin had his struggled with Cornell in his sophomore season, a season that was supposed to be his breakout year. He started slow however, managing only eight points in his first 15 games, but finished strong, with 16 points in his final 19 games. Ferlin and the rest of the Cornell Big Red will look to rebound in 2013-14.

19. (NR) Linus Arnesson, D, 6.5C
Drafted 2nd round, 60th overall, 2013

The Swedish born defenseman has a lot of upside on the defensive side of the puck, and although his offensive skills are limited, he has a tremendous breakout pass and is very mobile. Arnesson spent the 2012-13 season primarily with Djurgarden of the Allsvenskan league, managing a single assists through 31 games. He also represented Sweden at the 2013 WJCs. He will spend a year or two in Europe before he makes the jump to North America.

20. (NR) Rob O'Gara, D, 6.5C
Drafted 5th round, 151st overall, 2011

Although not an offensive force, O'Gara was a fixture on the Yale blue line who will look to defend their National Title in 2013-14. He is still a long-term project that will need time to develop, but he is gaining a lot of experience playing for the Bulldogs. He also chipped in for seven assists, in 37 collegiate contests last season.

Follow Richard Murray on Twitter via @Richie_Murray

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