Lalonde: My Bruins Picks For The 2017 NHL Draft

Robert Thomas of the London Knights. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.   7spits

(Photo Credit: Terry Wilson, OHL Images (Left) Jason Kirk, Windsor Star (Right)

By Court Lalonde @courtlalonde

It’s that time of the year again when teams get to start with a clean slate and think about their future. The National Hockey League entry draft is today, and the excitement around the league seems to be about what trades are going to be made more than who teams are going to select in the entry draft this year. I can understand some of this excitement because we had an expansion draft this year and the Las Vegas Golden Knights decided to accumulate more draft picks over taking the best player available. I’m intrigued because this draft is being pegged as a weak draft compared to previous years and that we don’t have any superstars available.

I have been looking into who the Boston Bruins might be able to take, and I think this draft might surprise people down the road. I don’t believe that they will be Connor McDavid type players, but this draft seems to have players that will play in the NHL. This draft is full of potential role players and second line players; some have the ability to become first line players. We also seem to have a healthy crop of goaltenders in this year’s draft, which is good because (spoilers) I’m going to suggest the Bruins take a goalie with their second round pick. I stated on the Black N’ Gold podcast last week that I think the Bruins should take Isaac Ratcliffe from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League with the 18th overall pick and Michael Dipietro from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL with the 53rd overall pick. I still think the Bruins should choose Dipietro, but I have changed my mind on Ratcliffe. I feel now that the Bruins should go with Robert Thomas from the London Knights of the OHL.

Boston Bruins 18th pick in the 2017 NHL entry draft is Robert Thomas from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League


(Photo Credit: CHL Images)

When you look at Thomas at first, you see 6-0 centermen, 188 pounds that only played second line minutes last year in the OHL. What you need to realize is, he is a second line center that played on one of the offensive juggernauts of the OHL. He was able to have 16 goals, 50 assists, 66 points, with a plus 44 rating with only second line minutes. He thinks defense first and worries about the offense later and is known as an unselfish player by his teammates.

“Robert is a good 200-foot player, he’s intelligent,” Matt Ryan of NHL Central Scouting said. “He’s an excellent passer and has a good vision of the ice. He can create in traffic, doesn’t panic and makes smart decisions with the puck, He’s a natural playmaker.”

His hockey IQ is off the charts and was touted as one of the best playmakers in the OHL last year. I went looking back into what scouts said about current Bruins Patrice Bergeron, and it’s uncanny how similar the scouting reports are. I’m not saying he is the next Bergeron, but he plays a similar style of game. Thomas knows how to win and won a Memorial Cup with the London Knights in 2016 and will get a chance to play for team Canada this year as he has been invited to camp for the Canadian World Junior team. He seems to me to be the prototypical Bruins, and if he is available when Don Sweeney steps up to the podium for the 18th pick, I hope they take him.

Boston Bruins 53rd pick in the 2017 NHL entry draft is Michael Dipietro from the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League


(Photo Credit: Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press)

The knock on Dipietro is that he is short and at 6-0 for a goalie, I guess you can say that with the goaltenders nowadays in the league. I have never believed a goalie has to be tall to succeed in the NHL, and the Bruins own Tim Thomas who backstopped us to a Stanley Cup Championship is a prime example of that. Thomas came in a 5’11 but played like he was Zdeno Chara’s size. Dipietro knows how to win big games as well, his Spitfires won the Memorial Cup Championship this year and he was 4-0 with a 2.00 GAA and a .932 SV%. His coach Rocky Thomspon said, “When we make mistakes we have a great goaltender who can make a save for us.” This season he tied a Spitfires franchise record with a GAA of 2.35 for the season and set the shutout record with six. Three of the shutouts were in a row, and he stood on his head all three games. He has a strong mental focus and plays big for his size. He grew up idolizing Johnathan Quick from the Los Angeles Kings and has quick reflexes like him as well. Boston is a hard city to play in for some players, and the pressure can get to some.

” I like that I can be a game changer, a factor, I love the pressure,” said Dipietro.

He played for team Canada at the Ivan Hilinka Tournament this year and had a .920 SV%. He has been invited to camp as well for the Canadian World Junior team, and if the NHL players don’t go to the Olympics, he might represent his country there. I want the Bruins to select a goalie in the second round because it’s a strong draft for goaltenders this year and goaltending prospect haven’t worked out lately, and it’s time to refill the cupboard. My hope when Don Sweeney announces their second round pick, he calls the name of Michael Dipietro.

Tuukka Rask, Always Having To Prove Himself To The Fans


(Above Photo Credit:

By Court Lalonde  @courtlalonde

I did a mini-social experiment the other day in a Facebook group I frequent. I asked them if they hated Tuukka Rask, could they please tell me why. I did ask them to give me reasons why and not just say he can’t win big games and what would be a solution in net. I did receive a lot of responses, along with he can’t win big games, but not one provided a solution.

June 24, 2006, the Boston Bruins traded Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs for their 21st overall 2005 draft pick Tuukka Rask. Being a first round pick and a goalie, it was surprising at the time that the Leafs traded him. It is still talked about in the Toronto media as one of the worst trades in franchise history. The Bruins had soon to be Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Tim Thomas as their starter when Rask finally made his way over to North America to play. Thomas made it hard for Rask to crack the lineup with his outstanding play between the pipes for the Bruins.

In the 09-10 NHL season, Rask broke into the league and played 45 games with a 22-12 record and 1.97 goals against average. He wasn’t even nominated for the Calder trophy that year, even though he was the only goalie in the league that had goals against average below 2.00. 2011 he would win the Stanley Cup as the back-up to goalie Tim Thomas, but would become the starter the next season after Thomas was traded after a bad contract negotiation.

During the second round of the 2013 Playoffs, Rask faced 136 shots in four games and only allowed two goals against one of the highest scoring teams in the National Hockey League, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins would go on to the Stanley Cup finals and lose in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. I think this is where it all started with some fans thinking that he wasn’t an elite goalie and the Bruins should trade him. Fuel was added to the fire when the Bruins signed Rask to an eight-year, 56 million dollar contract following the finals loss. I would like to say that I can never understand when fans get mad at a player for his contract. The player didn’t force the team to sign him to that deal, and the management is the only one to blame if you don’t like a contract. Not one of you reading this would say no to 56 million dollars or even say that it’s too much and that you have been over-valued.  During the 2013-14 season, Tuukka would go on to win the Vezina Trophy himself with a 36-16-6 record and 2.04 GAA.

This season he has a record of 32-16-4 with 2.23 GAA and his first all-star game appearance. Fans continue to say that he can’t win big games or that he always lets in soft goals. He has beaten the hated Montreal Canadiens twice a year on the road and at home with a shutout in one of those games. If you look at the career numbers of Carey Price, Braden Holtby, and Henrik Lundquist, it is Rask that has the better career goals against average. These goalies are considered to be the elite goalies in the National Hockey League, and he has better GAA career wise than all of them and has better GAA then Carey Price this year.


Goalies can steal a game for you and keep you in the game, he did that last night against the Philadelphia Flyers in a must-win game. Yes, he hasn’t been great every night this year, but neither has the team in front of him. The game of hockey is a team sport, and they win and lose as a team. Some fans seem to blame him when we lose and say he was lucky when we win. You can hate Tuukka if you like because that is your right as a fan but just think about where this team would be without him next time.

Poll: Former Bruins Goaltender Now Eligible For HOF


By: Mark Allred   ( @BlackAndGold277 )

After last night’s annual inductions into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, Canadian sports media giant TSN came out with a list of eligible candidates that could take the podium in November of 2017.


The 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame Class has a very impressive list of characters who look to take the next step in being immortalized forever after their respected playing careers, and one of them is former Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.



The Flint, Michigan native was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the ninth round (217th overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut.  He played eight NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins (2005-2012) and split his last year in the league with the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars (2013-14) before leaving the game for good.

Below are Thomas’s career achievements

Games Played:  426    Wins:  214    Goals Against:  2.52    Save Percentage:  .920

– Played nine seasons with the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars
– Stanley Cup Champion (2011)
– Two-time Vezina Trophy winner (2009 and 2011)
– Conn Smythe Trophy winner (2011)
– William M. Jennings Trophy winner (2009)
– Four-time All-Star (2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012)

Please cast your vote in the poll below if you believe Thomas is Hall of Fame worthy and if so, what time frame?  

Please keep in mind that 2016 goaltending inductee Rogie Vachon who spent 17 seasons in the NHL and was a “three-time” Stanley Cup Champion had to wait 30 years to finally reach the shrine in Toronto.