Bruins come out ahead in NHL draft


Bruins come out ahead in NHL draft

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
ST. PAUL, Minn. The Bruins were playing with house money during this years draft with the knowledge that they didnt need any of the players for next years team and had no specific needs to fill on a roster bulging with talent and Stanley Cup experience.

Since weve taken over thats what we were trying to get to the point where we could develop our players the right way by letting them play in Providence and develop there, said Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning. Then when theyre ready, pull them up and they are ready to play in the NHL. I think as an organization, depth-wise were at that point now.

With 14 players from their Stanley Cup roster under the age of 30 years old and expected to return for multiple seasons in Boston, the Black and Gold roster is locked in for many of the players in the short term. That allowed the Bruins to pull in an 18-year-old defenseman in Dougie Hamilton with the No. 9 selection that will need at least one more year of development before hes NHL-ready and then take some risks with their other picks while drafting for projectable futures rather than for any needs on the current roster.

Included among the five picks on Day 2 of the draft were a Russian left winger that reminds Bruins scouts of Scott Gomez, a hard-nosed, gritty Toronto native named Anthony Camara that reminds Bruins of Shawn Thornton, a pair of Ivy League-bound hockey prospects including one thats currently playing at Milton Academy and a Norwegian goaltender currently playing in the Finnish junior leagues.

In other words, the Bruins felt like they could take some chances on players that they liked and give each of these prospects plenty of time to develop their games and potentially turn into second day heroes like Patrice Bergeron (second round pick in 2003), David Krejci (second round pick in 2004), Milan Lucic (second round in 2006), Brad Marchand (third round pick in 2006 draft) and so many other homegrown Bs players over the last few years.

So with that in mind, here are some thoughts from Benning who has seen pretty much all of these players in person at least once through the junior hockey season about each of the six draft picks in the 2011 draft class.

1) Dougie Hamilton (6-foot-5, 190-pound defenseman from Niagara taken with first round pick). Bennings thoughts: We were really excited to get Hamilton at the ninth pick. You know hes 6-foot-5, hes a real good skater and he can handle the puck. Because of his wingspan and hes so long that he uses a long stick and he defends like Adam McQuaid, who likes to use his sticks to knock pucks down. Any time you can get a 6-foot-5 guy with his skill set, you are pretty excited. Its happened in the last couple of years where teams want scoring and theyre stepping up and taking scorers early. Last year wed seen it with Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley kind of slip in the first round. Then this year maybe even Hamilton kind of slipped. I dont think its a reflection on the player itself, but more that teams are looking to fill a need whether its center ice or scoring. Were just lucky to be in position where he ended up in our lap.

2) Alexander Khokhlachev (5-foot-10, 183-pound left wing from Russia, but played with the OHLs Windsor Spitfires last season as their second round pick). The Bruins did their homework on the nifty scorer and Koko wants to play in North America, so there wont be any issues with signability common for a Russian player. Benning: Hes a skilled, skilled player. He loves to score and for a Russian player hes really competitive. Hes strong on the puck, hes an elusive skater, and from the blueline in on the offensive endthats the strength of his game. He loves to score and create scoring chances. Hes so elusive and he can turn on a dime. Hes not tall, but hes a thick kid, so hes strong and he fits our core values of work ethic, character and skill. He measures up in all those things.

3) Anthony Camara (6-foot-1, 193-pound left wing from the OHL team in Saginaw taken in the third round). Camara is a grinderfighter with some offensive upside that the Bruins office compared favorably with Shawn Thornton. Benning: Hes a typical Boston Bruin-type player. Hes a good skater and he plays a north-south game. Hell fight anybodyhell take anybody on. He hits on the fore-check and when he was there in the third round it was a good fit for his style of game to the way we play. Hes not big and tall, but hes thick and hes a fearless player. Hes kind of like a Shawn Thornton-type for us.

4) Brian Ferlin (6-foot-1 , 201-pound right wing from the USHLs Indiana team taken with the last pick in the fourth round). Ferlin is bound for Cornell and Benning called him a power forward in the making. Benning: Ferlin is a power forward player. He does the things that we covet. Hes strong along the wall, hes strong protecting the puck and he takes pucks to the net. He ended up third in the USHL in scoring this year, scoring 73 points, so he had a good year. Hes going to Cornell next year. Hes a guy we see as a power forward playing in the NHL someday.

5) Robbie OGara (6-foot-2 , 185-pound defenseman from Milton Academy taken with the last pick in the fifth round). OGara is Yale-bound in two years and is somebody the Bruins have seen plenty of while skating at Milton Academy. Benning: Weve seen him play lots in Milton this year. Hes another kid thats a big boy, 63. Hes a good skater, he can handle the puck and make the good first pass. Hes going to be a guy that keeps developing and growing into his body. As he gets stronger we see a lot of NHL potential in his game.

6) Lars Volden (6-foot-3, 198-pound goaltender from Norway playing for the Junior Blues in Finland taken with the last pick in the sixth round) Benning: Hes the typical butterfly style that you see come out of Finland. Hes big, he covers the upper part of the net in the butterfly Well keep monitoring him. It takes goalies a long time to develop. There have been a lot of good goalies to come out of Finland, so were excited to get him out of the sixth round.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.



Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.