There will be some very exciting Bruins hockey to watch for a change after Christmas. This brand of excitement, however, will not be coming from the Fleet Center. For the first time since 1996-97, the Bruins will have decent prospect representation at the 2000-2001 World Junior Hockey Championships in Russia. Representing the Bruins will be 2000 draftees: Andy Hilbert, Brett Nowak, Lars Jonsson, and Martin Samuelsson.
Andy Hilbert was the first North American player selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2000 NHL Draft last June when they selected him in the second round. Hilbert is a two-way center that agitates opponents with his feisty style of play. He is a strong, well-balanced skater with a low center of gravity and is often compared with Chris Drury of the Colorado Avalanche. With former teammate Mike Comrie defecting to the WHL, Hilbert has stepped up to lead the Michigan Wolverine’s this season.
“With Mikey gone, we’ve really had to pick up the slack,” said Hilbert in an exclusive interview. “I’m starting to feel comfortable now and the guys have done a good job coming together. It’s really tough when you lose a guy like Mikey, but these things happen. The experience has really brought the team closer together. We’re maximizing our chances and we’ll get the opportunity to do something special if we continue to play the way we have.”
Hilbert played a checking role for the US at last year’s World Junior Hockey Championship. With his impressive early numbers with Michigan this season, he would love the opportunity to Read more»
Boston Bruins President and GM Harry Sinden has been making trades for over 28 years while in charge of the storied franchise that has yet to win a Stanley Cup under his tenure. While no GM is perfect, and Sinden has certainly made his share of some bad deals (Bill Derlago for Tom Fergus anyone?) he has also made several critical swaps that at the time he made them, were heavily criticized in the Boston media,
and by fans because he gave up proven veteran players for underachieving prospects and/or draft choices.
Join us as we analyze three such deals that have paid dividends for the Bruins years after the fact that the veterans the team gave up either retired or switched clubs.
The Barry Pederson incident.
The 2000 NHL entry draft saw the Boston Bruins select a Swedish-born player with their top pick for the first time in franchise history. They didn’t stop there. Using a second first-rounder acquired from the Colorado Avalanche, they drafted another Swedish player. The selections of Lars Jonsson and Martin Samuelsson were merely the tip of the iceberg, as the Bruins took a total of nine Europeans of twelve skaters drafted. Of those nine, five hailed from the countries of Finland and Sweden. Boston’s strategy marks a new direction for the team, as it clearly demonstrates an attempt to stock the organization with skill players rather than the traditional method of going after North American character types with less finesse.
For Boston, the Euro invasion didn’t really begin in earnest until the 1992 draft, when Boston chose a multitude of Russian players, beginning with its first-ever draft pick from the former Soviet Union, Dmitri Kvartalnov. Since that year, the Bruins have chosen a total of 34 Europeans. By contrast, between 1983 and 1991, covering the same amount of draft years, the total count of European players selected by Boston numbers just seven. The full integration of skaters across the Atlantic into the NHL has dictated a necessity for teams to capitalize on that premier talent, or be swept aside in the standings. The Bruins seem to have taken an active interest in recruiting players from Europe, but in particular those competing in the Swedish and Finnish Elite and Junior Leagues.
by Derek Cheng
Despite having an all-star future Hall of Fame defenseman and a Vezina Trophy finalist, the Bruins still
had a very tough time keeping the puck out of their own net last season. They really need to improve their
defense if they want to start winning hockey games.
The promise of a free agent spending spree this summer has brought in limited help on defense with regards to some
of the higher-profile names available on the open market. The only signing thus far has been 33 year old Peter Popovic.
The Bruins did manage to re-sign Don Sweeney, which was deemed vital, since he is the most experienced Bruin and one of the few who played well last season.
But, with Popovic aboard and Sweeney back in the fold, there is only one difference between the 00-01 blueline and the 99-00 blueline.
Four defenseman remain from last year (Kyle McLaren,Darren Van Impe,Hal Gill, Sweeney) and the new face, Popovic,
replaces the legendary face of Ray Bourque. Popovic doesn’t even come close to comparing with Bourque offensively,
but he may be able to give Boston a steady stay-at-home defenseman the Bruins were sorely lacking last season.
Although the defense unit may prove to be adequate, if McLaren stays healthy and consistent and Gill learns to use his size,
there is still one more hole that needs to be plugged. The Bruins need another regular to fill out the top 6 on defense. Read more»
When each of Rick DiPietro, Raffi Torres and Scott Hartnell were taken by the teams choosing ahead of the Boston Bruins in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, it seemed as if Brooks Orpik would be the logical and popular choice to have his name called next. Instead, Boston GM Mike O’Connell announced the selection of Swedish offensive
defenseman Lars Jonsson, the first of two Bruins first round picks to come from that Scandanvian nation. When the 27th choice rolled around, Boston, by virtue of acquiring it from Colorado in the Ray Bourque trade, stepped up and called left wing Martin Samuelsson’s name, making it the first time Boston had ever drafted a Swedish player so high, let alone the top TWO prospects of that country in Jonsson and Samuelsson.
Lars Jonsson’s selection with the 7th overall pick is a risk, but one the Bruins will gladly take. He put up some great numbers for his Leksand Jr. Team, but did not make Sweden’s World Junior Championship Team. A player of Jonsson’s raw talent and skills package is hard to pass up, however. He is a tremendous skater who loves to attack. Scouts questioned his defensive zone play and grit, but not much else, as there is no denying the young man has talent. It will be interesting to see how young Jonsson does next season as he makes the jump to the Swedish Elitserien, where he will compete against the best players his country has to offer.