What If The Bruins Had A First-Round Pick In 2018?

Photo Credit:  American Airlines Center

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The two-day seven-round National Hockey League Entry Draft is set to begin on Friday, June 22, 2018, from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. As many Boston Bruins fans know, the first selection of the B’s in this year’s draft was dealt away in a 2017-18 trade deadline deal to acquire forward Rick Nash from the New York Rangers. Boston General Manager Don Sweeney said last week from the NHL Combine in Buffalo, New York that the B’s are in discussions about bringing the 33-year-old veteran back if an extension can be agreed on.

Sweeney said on a June 1st  article written by NESN’s Lauren Campbell “We’re going to have follow up conversations this week. I plan to talk to (Nash’s camp) again and have a, hopefully, have a clear understanding of where (his playing future) necessarily lands,” Sweeney said, via a team-provided transcript. “Rick indicated when he came to Boston that he was excited about the opportunity. He wants to win. He wants an opportunity to win.”

One question often brought to my attention after the B’s were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second-round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, is what did the team give up when the Bruins added the 2018 first-round pick talent to acquire Nash who may walk to free agency on July 1st? Listen, I’m not going to hammer or discredit Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney for the price he paid for what’s lining up to be a pure rental at this moment. Instead, I’d like to dive into a research project to what the B’s could’ve had if they, in fact, kept the 26th selection in this years draft.

With the help from NHL Draft specialists such as FutureConsiderations.ca, HockeyProspects.com, isshockey.com, TheDraftAnalyst.com, and the NHL.com’s 2018 Central Scouting Final Rankings, I’ve come up with a list in no particular order of players the Bruins could’ve added and who the New York Rangers could potentially target below.

Rasmus Sandin – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

Photo Credit: Brian Kelly/The Sault Star/Postmedia Network

Date of Birth: March 7, 2000

Position: Left Defense

Height:  5′-11″

Weight:  190-pounds

Shoots:  Left

When it comes down to mid-late first-round draft selections in a 2018 draft front-loaded with defensive talent, a player like Sandin isn’t hard to gravitate to when giving a personal evaluation after reading and watching video on the young talent. As a Bruins fan, the importance of properly developing a left shot blueliner wouldn’t be a bad idea to add to the developing depth of the organization. Rasmus has a strong two-way game and his hockey intelligence cannot be denied. His mobility on the ice and quick hands make him a threat no matter where on the 200-foot sheet of ice he may be.

I’m a huge fan of his tape-to-tape stretch passes and vision up ice for a fast transition out of his defensive zone. Definitely, a threat on the powerplay with an uncanny ability to jump in offensively with his will to sneak down low unmolested. The 18-year-old Uppsala, Sweden native, could bulk up a little more and improve his skating when it comes to the speed department, but he did have a good first season of North American hockey when it came to playing with the Greyhounds last season. Changing his game from the big international ice of his home country to posting 12-33-45 numbers in the smaller rinks of the Ontario Hockey League was most impressive to me.

Here’s What The Scouts Are Saying About Sandin’s Game

In terms of puck poise, Sandin’s one of the calmest teenage defensemen you’ll see get drafted this year. He played alongside Adam Boqvist at the Hlinka and I thought he was just as good. He’s a very good skater but his puck distributing and one-on-one play is what should make him an NHL mainstay for at least a decade. – Steve Kournianos – The Draft Analyst

Sandin is a gifted two-way defenseman…a skilled puck-handler who has the confidence to attempt long stretch passes up the middle of the ice or to skate it himself…his hands are an asset in corralling the puck off a hard pass or making a slick deke…although a decent skater with adequate speed, his edgework isn’t as crisp as it could be and it affects him when moving laterally or changing directions…lowering his center of gravity and using longer leg pushes in each stride could also increase his speed…he isn’t afraid to carry the puck through the neutral zone himself, and is shifty and creative with the puck on his stick…strong at fending off forecheckers in his own zone, as he can outwait physical contact and absorb a hit before skating the puck out of trouble or dishing it to a teammate…he has very good defensive awareness, particularly when switching checks or choosing when to pressure opponents below the goal line…not afraid to play the body to close off an opponent along the boards…has some impressive potential as a puck-mover who can also be effective in his own zone. – Future Considerations

Jett Woo – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Photo Credit: Marc Smith / Discover Moosejaw

Date of Birth: July 27, 2000

Position: Right Defense

Height: 6′-0″

Weight: 205-pounds

Shoots: Right

Probably one of the more realistic thoughts of mine if the Bruins had the 26th pick in this year’s draft over the above mentioned Sandin, Woo is one of my favorites coming out of the Western Hockey League. Jett’s size and defensive game are very attractive when it comes to his mobility and offensive intelligence.  He plays a good two-way game and doesn’t shy away from the physicality either along the boards or an open ice hit when an opponent pressures offensively.

The 2017-18 season was Jett’s second year in the WHL posting 9-16-25 numbers in 44  games. A tad better than he did in his rookie season where he amassed 22 points in 65 games. Last season the 18-year-old Woo missed parts of the year with multiple upper-body injuries but managed to recover quickly enough to come back to be a productive member of the Warriors backend in a top-four role. Regardless of where he’s selected and by what team, Jett is a particularly exciting player when it comes to absorbing information about the game and is always eager to learn more and do what it takes for that next step in his development. Not bad traits to have when adding to the prospect pool in my opinion.

Here’s What The Scouts Are Saying About Woo’s Game

Woo is a highly- intelligent, mobile two-way defender…has great skating ability and an efficient stride…proficiently in any direction…has puck-rushing ability because of his smarts, puck skills, and elusive edge work…has a pro demeanor with the puck on his stick, never seems limited to just one option on a play…thinks at a high level and is a high-end game manager…skilled with the puck on his stick, and will not shy away from carrying it himself if an open outlet pass doesn’t present itself…buzzes the offensive zone, using a series of agile moves and feigns with the puck to open up space…an opportunistic shooter that relied heavily on the wrist shot…has a quick whip on his shot and pass, showing zero hesitation once he gains a look at his target…has the skating to recover from calculated risks and get back quickly…always looking to foil an attack and will instinctively step up to do so…forces oncoming attackers to the outside lane…digs in his heels during physical confrontations…an exciting player to watch…plays big minutes…has top-four two-way NHL upside. Future Considerations

Ryan McLeod – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Photo Credit: Graig Abel/Getty Images

Date of Birth: September 21, 1999

Position: Center

Height:  6′-2″

Weight: 200-pounds

Shoots:  Left

Ryan is a player if been paying attention to for a couple of seasons now. The Mississauga, Ontario native had a decent start to his Ontario Hockey League career in his first two seasons with his Steelheads team. In his rookie year (2015-16), he posted 7-13-20 numbers in 62 games but followed that up with a better sophomore year (2016-17) offensively where he contributed 9-33-42 stats in 68 games. The 2017-18 season was McLeod’s third in the league and by far his best where he posted 70 points (26-44-70) in 68 games.

McLeod has improved his skills every year of his development and is not even close to his ceiling when it comes to his upside. One of my favorite attributes is his 200-foot two-way game and his passing ability while often times reminding me of former Bruins forward Marc Savard’s game. His vision and hands have certainly upgraded to make him an offensive threat in the past two seasons, but his puck control and possession with the ability to make good things happen in tight areas has been impressive to watch.

The 18-year-old McLeod does all the right things when it comes to an aspiring National Hockey League player, and if I had to compare to a player, particularly in the Bruins organization, he reminds me of Trent Frederic with his frame and NHL release. He has a cannon of a shot and the ability to snipe when it comes to one-timers creeping down low. He’s also not afraid when it comes to selfless acts for the betterment of the team with his shot-blocking capabilities.

Here’s What The Scouts Had To Say About McLeod’s Game

McLeod is a big forward with offensive skills who also has a good two-way drive…good skater…not the fastest when moving north-south, but is quick and agile in short bursts and able to deceive opposition with quick changes of direction or pace…has decent hand-skill one-on-one and is able to dig pucks out of corners and get around opposing players with possession in tight spaces…protects the puck well with his body and likes to drive the net from the wing and does so by dropping his shoulder and leaning on defenders…a really tough player to stop when he uses his size and strength…dangerous in tight…illustrates good passing skill and the ability to set up linemates…great vision…has a decent shot that is most effective in and around the slot…has an endless motor and is hard to outwork…doesn’t stop competing and he uses his strength to win space and possession of the puck…effective defensively, and works hard at both ends…knows what his responsibilities are and how to fulfill his duties in his own zone…has upside as a top-six two-way NHL center. – Future Considerations

Dominik Bokk – Vaxjo Lakers U20 (SuperElit)

Photo Credit: Olivier Brajon/Deutscher Eishockey-Bund – Bokk Is Player On Right

Date of Birth: February 3, 2000

Position: Left Wing / Right Wing

Height: 6′-1″

Weight: 180-pounds

Shoots: Right

This is an intriguing player for me because Dominik is from Germany and hat nation has produced an outstanding generation of talent recently. The Plethora of talent out of the German country can be traced back to the tutelage of former Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm as he worked his way up the coaching ranks since retiring from the game in January 2014.  Now there’s no direct connection of Sturm ever coaching Bokk that I could find, but Marco’s influence and the way to properly develop the countries youth is evident since he accepted the role of head coach and general manager of their National Team.

Dominik’s game is a must watch when it comes to breaking down the video after his teams play. Could be a reliable depth addition at 26th for the Rangers but also on the Bruins if they kept the pick. The 18-year-old is a big strong winger that can play both left and right sides with explosive speed. He has excellent hands in tight situations and is creative with his hockey IQ and vision in all three zones. He’s at the perfect age to take that next step in his training to prepare for the North American game whenever both sides are ready to make that transition from the international level to the pro ranks in organizations minor-pro developmental system.

Last season with the SuperElit J20 Leagues Vaxjo Lakers hockey club he posted 14-27-41 numbers in 35 games. He also played in 15 games at the higher Lakers club in the Sweden Hockey League with a mix of older players only to contribute two points. Even as a first-round projection I can see a player like this returning overseas to play another year, but listed as a European Skater he’s also eligible if any team wanted to use his skills and take an aggressive approach in his development by placing him immediately in the American Hockey League.

Here’s What The Scouts Are Saying About Bokk’s Game

A powerful skater with a deadly shot who is the top German-born draft prospect since Leon Draisaitl went in the Top-10 in 2013. A recent import pick of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, Bokk is a goal-scoring winger with soft hands and an excellent release. He assumed top-line duties for Kolner, and also for Germany at several international events, including last April’s Division 1B U18 World Championship where he led the tournament in goals. Bokk is a pure goal scorer who can deke or dangle his way into prime shooting areas, and he has the size, puck control and balance to ward off harassment. His plays hard in all three zones and will drop down below his own goal line to lend support but is smart enough to sniff a possession change and dart into open ice for a counterattack.  The Draft Analyst  

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