Bruins keeping options open in first round

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Bruins keeping options open in first round

PITTSBURGH The Bruins dont look like theyll be in on the earth-shattering moves expected to go down over NHL draft weekend, but there may be a slight movement or two for Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli.
The Bs GM has a list of players hes hoping to select with the 24th pick in the first round, and recent mock drafts have had the vast majority of those defensemen prospects going well before Bostons pick.
The hope is that one of those prospects like Slater Koekkoek with a shoulder injury that knocked him out for most of the junior hockey season will drop right into Bostons lap.
I think there are a lot of defensemen in the draft class. Ive said that before, but there are a lot of good defensemen in this draft. If we dont get a defenseman well be fine because theres always good players, but were hoping that some will slip and because Ive never seen a number of NHL defensemen this large.
So I guess Im putting a spin on it. Sometimes its not bad to pick later on in the draft and see what happens. You just dont control your destiny as much. As far as the draft in general, I think its kind of going to go in different paths like after pick No. 15 or 16. Thats when guys slip, so there seems to be a drop-off at first glance. I think teams are going to go in different directions, so I think were going to get guys that we have fairly high on our list.
But theres a chance Koekkoek, Olli Maatta, Matt Finn, Hampus Lindholm and Brendan Gaunce will all picked much earlier than Bostons designated spot as the 24th team making a selection.
Standing pat was much easier when the steady flow of first round lottery picks were streaming in courtesy of the Phil Kessel deal, but now theres a possibility Boston will need to move up to get one of their targeted players.
Chiarelli said there were five players four defensemen and one forward that theyd specifically targeted and visited with, and a trade could be necessary if he feels that quintet of prospects is falling through his fingers.
We identify a cluster of players that we feel at least two or three of them will be there when we pick. Leading up to Friday, you try and figure it out. Its tough trading down to gauge where they player might fall, but at least you want to address the scenario, said Chiarelli. Leading up to that point, thats what well discuss. At the table well have five or six trade-down scenarios and five or six trade-up scenarios. Ill have tried to cue up or at least plant the seeds leading into Friday. On Friday, Ill flesh them out as the draft progresses.
The options will all be there for the Bruins when Chiarelli and Co. hit the war room draft table on Friday afternoon.
The smart money says theyll take the best available defenseman at their own spot, and then do a lot of waiting until their third round pick comes up 85th overall in the third round on Saturday afternoon.

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

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Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.