It’s going to be an interesting few weeks for the Boston Bruins organization. In three weeks, the Black and Gold head into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The Bruins are heading into the draft with the 18th overall pick. They also have five other picks this year.
B’s general manager Don Sweeney recently discussed the possibility of giving up their first round pick.
Sweeney isn’t afraid of making big moves for the team. He’s made 16 picks in the last two drafts. Of those 16 picks, nine have been in the first two rounds, and five were first rounders. The B’s have a strong stable of up-and-comers, and Sweeney might just not like what’s available at the 18th spot this season.
He’s also not afraid of shaking up the Black and Gold locker room either. Two years ago, he moved forward Milan Lucic and defenceman Dougie Hamilton. While these moves opened up spots for players like David Pastrnak, the team’s inability to replace Hamilton has hurt the team down the line.
So what are the Bruins looking for?
The Bruins most desperately need is a another left-shooting defenceman. Zdeno Chara is still the B’s best left-side blueliner. But Chara is now 40. While the aging captain was still the Bruins best overall defenceman last season, it’s doubtful that he can have another full season playing 28 minutes a night.
Chara will still end up on the top line next season. He’ll continue to tutor Brandon Carlo. The upcoming expansion draft will likely pull one of the Bruins remaining blueliners. At the moment, it’s a three-way draw to see who gets grabbed by Vegas (Adam McQuaid or one of the Millers (Kevan/Colin)).
That leaves Chara/Carlo on the top line, Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy on the second line, and the surviving Miller and Adam McQuaid (who due to his long list of injuries in unlikely to be picked up by the Golden Knights) as the final defensive pair. If the B’s sustain any serious injuries next year, they’ll look like they did in the first round against Ottawa in April.
The B’s will be sniffing around looking for a deal, but will be wary of getting taken to the cleaners. Last year, the Bruins attempted to grab Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk, but balked at the extremely high price asked for by St. Louis. The B’s might be willing to use their first rounder plus a player like forward Ryan Spooner to get a strong blueliner for Boston.
While it’s far less likely, the B’s could trade the first round pick for a forward. After Brad Marchand, things look rough on the left side. If the B’s keep Dominic Moore, he’ll end up staying on the fourth line. Tim Schaller and Frank Vatrano don’t look like top six material just yet. Finally, the B’s may not have the patience to give Matt Beleskey another full season to be underwhelming.
On a side note, it could be a good time to move Spooner. The 25-year old was supposed to be a top-six forward by now. But his game still has a Jekyll-and-Hyde feel to it. Claude Julien didn’t like his defensive game at the start of the season, and Bruce Cassidy didn’t like his offensive game at the end of it. Spooner still has potential, and his value could certainly entice another team in giving up a defenceman.
Personally, if Sweeney can find a solid defender for a first-round pick (and Spooner) then great. It would solve certain problems without adding any liabilities to the team. We’ll see how Sweeney handles the pick when the Entry Draft starts on June 23.