<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: arial; font-size: small; ">Some NHL prospect camps are shuttering up their doors due to potential labor strife over the next few months, but the Bruins are full steam ahead and announced their camp dates on Thursday.<br><br>The entire prospect camp will open and close prior to the July 4 holiday, but interestingly will coincide with the first few days of NHL free agency.<br><br>The sixth annual Bruins Development Camp will open on Thursday, June 28 in the week following the NHL Draft and will conclude on Monday, July 2. All sessions will take place at the practice home of the Boston Bruins at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.<br><br>The camp will include any players drafted by the Bruins in Pittsburgh the previous weekend as well as their top prospects including 18-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The top-10 pick from last years draft is expected to compete seriously for a roster spot with the big club after tearing it up with the OHL Niagara IceDogs last year in junior hockey.<br><br>The Hockey News has already ranked him as the fourth best defensemen in the world that isnt already playing in the NHL, and the 6-foot-5, 195-pounder had 72 points in 50 games with a plus-34 rating. Hamilton followed that up with 23 points in 20 playoff games in Niagaras quest for the Memorial Cup before they were eventually eliminated by the London Knights.<br><br>He was also unanimously named the OHL Defensemen of the year this season, and truly appears to have nothing left to prove at the junior hockey level.<br><br>The Bruins will release a full roster of expected attendees of the Development Camp at a later date, and it should be noted by fans planning to attend that the dates are subject to change. Future Boston stars like Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask and David Krejci all took part in the Bs development camp on their way up the organizational ladder.<span>
CHICAGO – Well, the Bruins are certainly opening themselves up for a little second-guessing.
The B’s were trying to move their first-round pick, but ultimately made the selection in Finnish D-man Urho Vaakenainen, who is described by scouts as a classic stay-at-home defenseman type without much offensive upside.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Vaakenainen had a goal in six games for Team Finland at a disappointing World Junior tournament, and didn’t post anything eye-catching while playing for JYP of SM-Liiga where he appeared in 41 games, tallying two goals and four assists along with a plus/minus rating of plus-five. He spent the 2015-16 season with Blues of SM-Liiga, scoring a goal and five assists in 25 games.
Some scouting reports cast him as strictly a stay-at-home D-man with limited offensive skills while other scouting reports give him a little more credit for his two-way game and smooth puck-moving abilities without any big holes in his game.
“Has an uncanny ability to get his stick in shooting and passing lanes. Just don’t expect offense,” said Sportsnet anchor and prospect aficionado Jeff Marek leading up to the draft in one of his mock drafts. “He won’t be out there late in a game to tie it up, but you’ll love him out there protecting a lead.”
Vaakenainen said he was surprised to be taken by the Bruins given that he had just one conversation with them at the NHL Scouting Combine, and hadn’t really talked to any Bruins scouts throughout the hockey season. On the plus side, Vaakenainen said he models his game after Nashville defenseman Roman Josi and prides himself on his skating, his passing and shooting and his ability to play the two-way game.
“I think I’m a great skater…good with the puck,” said Vaakenainen. “I have a great first pass. I’m a complete package and a two-way defenseman, steady guy. My expectation was to go in the first round. I wasn’t expecting to go Boston, but the first round was my expectation. I met them at the combine, but that was it. That was the only meeting in person.”
Clearly, it remains to be seen how a young, raw prospect like Vaakenainen develops over time and there were plenty of mock drafts and scouting services that him getting selected in the first round. Still, once in a while it wouldn’t kill the Bruins to go with a player holding larger upside like Finnish power forward Kristian Vesalainen or dynamic, undersized winger Kailer Yamamoto.
*Chris Pronger takes a job in the front office of the Florida Panthers and wants to be a GM in the NHL someday.
*It sounds like Alex Radulov is playing contract chicken with the Montreal Canadiens while demanding pretty massive term and salary demands.
*Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has a top-nine winger on his wish list after dealing away Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.
*A good look from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jon Rosen into what the draft outlook is for the Los Angeles Kings entering this weekend.
*Ryan Strome is ecstatic about moving on from the New York Islanders and heading to the Edmonton Oilers where he’ll get a chance to fully utilize the skills that went under the radar in Brooklyn.
*Even without a high pick, the Buffalo Sabres and Jason Botterill will be making some moves at the NHL Draft.
*You want some talk about the Bruins prospects and their potential draft targets for the Black and Gold this weekend. Here’s FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke on with a podcast up in Maine called the Bruins Diehards talking all of that good stuff just a couple of days ago.
*Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall is going searching for another goalie after once again deciding that Philly needs more help between the pipes. This seems to be a perpetual situation for this group, doesn’t it?
*Jeff Marek has his final 2017 NHL Mock Draft up and running, and he has St. Cloud State forward Ryan Poehling headed to Boston with the No. 18 pick.
*Apparently Linda Cohn wants to push out Gary Bettman and take over as NHL Commissioner when her contract is up with ESPN. Well, okay then.
*It was a little emotional and totally uplifting to see Denna Laing getting saluted at the NHL Awards ceremony. I’m so glad that my daughter has strong role models like Denna that show young women what courage and character are all about.
*The rumor mill is getting worked up at NHL Draft weekend, and it sounds like the Minnesota Wild are going to be busy potentially dealing Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella or Jason Pominville in the next week or two. Certainly, the Bruins have been front and center in those discussions, but it remains to be seen if something gets done.
*For something completely different: The glowing reviews are coming in for the new Netflix series, GLOW, and it doesn’t sound like a fun concept.