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

Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient


Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It may be strictly due to injuries or because Ryan Spooner is being moved back to third line center full-time, but Danton Heinen is going to get another top-six look on the wing. The 21-year-old Bruins prospect will be skating on the left wing with David Krejci and Matt Beleskey in Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild after serving as a healthy scratch last weekend against the Montreal Canadiens.

Heinen has only two shots on goal in the four games leading up to the scratch, and has been quiet offensively after leading the Bruins in goal-scoring during the preseason. Clearly there’s an adjustment to be made there, and it looked like the playmaking rookie winger was starting to develop a little more confidence trying to make plays while skating with Krejci and David Backes in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils.

Heinen actually looked reminiscent of Krejci on a couple of plays, pulling back the puck after entering the zone and catching a trailing B’s teammate with a perfectly executed lead pass on the offensive rush. That effort plus a trip to the ninth floor press box last weekend seemed to reinforce just how much time he has to make plays, and that should be a benefit for both Heinen and his linemates.

Sometimes getting that first NHL point is the hardest part when a player breaks into the league, and it’s been that way for the young winger through his first four games.

“[Krejci] is such a good player, and I just try to complement him any way I can,” said Heinen. “You never want to be up in the press box, but it gives you a different perspective on the game. It’s a different angle. From up there it looks like you’ve got way more time. I definitely think I can be more patient with the puck, and make some smarter plays.”

Heinen started to do that in his best NHL game to date prior to being scratched against New Jersey, and it resulted in greater offensive possession and a couple of potential scoring plays getting created for the B’s second line. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to actual goals, and Heinen knows that’s what needs to happen through him if a player like him, with an offense-minded reputation from his University of Denver days, is going to stick top-6 in Boston.

“You can’t rely on the [top] guys every night,” said Heinen, who watched the Habs beat the Bruins on Saturday night while essentially shutting down Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. “When we’ve been out there we’ve kind of been getting some chances, but we’ve got to bear down.

“[Krejci] likes to play with the puck a lot, so you just get him the puck, go in hard on the forecheck and try to get open because he’s a good distributor.”

It sounds like a simple plan that might be a very good thing for young Heinen, who needs to start breaking through offensively if he wants to stick around in Boston for the long haul. 

Khudobin out three weeks as Bruins turn to Malcolm Subban


Khudobin out three weeks as Bruins turn to Malcolm Subban

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It could get a little dicey for the Bruins over the next couple of days.

Both Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin were missing from Tuesday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, and instead rookie Malcolm Subban will get the start for the Black and Gold against the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.

Rask hasn’t been on the ice since last Thursday’s win over the New Jersey Devils when he re-aggravated a lower body injury and Khudobin will be out three weeks with an upper-body injury suffered at Monday’s practice. It appeared the B’s backup suffered a right hand/wrist injury in the early moments of the practice, and Subban was left as the lone goaltender until Boston brought up Zane McIntyre on emergency recall Tuesday morning.

Julien said the Bruins have confidence in Subban’s ability to play a great game for them, but he’s struggled so far in Providence while getting yanked from two of his four AHL starts this season.

“I just want [Subban] to go in tonight and play a really solid game because we know that he can. He’s a good goaltender, so just because he had a bit of a rough outing [in the AHL] doesn’t mean he has to have one tonight. This is an opportunity for him to play well, and to demonstrate that he’s ready to play in the NHL,” said Julien. “We have bad games and we tell our players ‘Let’s not live in the past, let’s think about what we have to do to rectify it and play better in the next game.’ So I think our goaltender is in the same situation.

“Our game plan is about playing good defense with Tuukka or without Tuukka. That doesn’t change. We understand that some of the teams that we’ve played lately (Montreal and New Jersey) are very stingy, so we have to give up the least amount of goals we can because we’re not going to score a ton against those teams. When you put a system together you believe in it, and you go out and play your game. You don’t adjust your game for other teams, and adjusting for injuries isn’t quite what we’re looking for. We’re looking for a solid performance from our team, and that will trump any injury that we have.”

Oh by the way, the Bruins also have a road game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday in a back-to-back situation that’s less than ideal with injuries piling up. In addition a Subban/McIntyre tandem in goal, the Bruins will also be without David Backes with what Claude Julien termed “a minor issue” that also has him day-to-day.

In the good news department, Adam McQuaid will make his season debut after missing the first five games of the season with an upper body injury. Rob O’Gara was sent to the Providence Bruins to make room for him coming off injured reserve. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for tonight’s game vs. the Wild with Joe Morrow as the healthy scratch on the back end:







Liles-C. Miller