The Boston Bruins will have their highest draft pick this year since drafting Joe Thornton first overall in 1997. We knew this would be the case going into tonight. We didn’t know, however, whether the Bruins would draft first, second, or third. While the B’s were in line to draft second, they still had an 18.8% chance of moving up to first by winning the lottery, or they could have suffered the unfortunate fate of slipping to third. Had the latter been the case, GM Peter Chiarelli would have faced a world of problems.
Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are expected to be the first two picks in this summer’s NHL draft. Both finished tied atop the OHL in points, with 106, and both are widely regarded as the two best players in the draft. While the Oilers, by winning the lottery, have the luxury of choosing between the two, having to settle for the other can hardly be considered a bad thing. After all, there is currently such a small difference in terms of skill between the two that you can’t really go wrong either way. In fact, it is almost like the Greg Oden-Kevin Durant NBA debate a couple of years ago, and look how that turned out; the number two pick (Durant) was actually the better selection.
Had the Bruins fell to the third pick tonight, then there would be some problems. There is a significant drop-off between Hall & Seguin, and then the next best forward. In fact, it is very likely that the next three or four picks after the Bruins will be defensemen (perhaps Cam Fowler, Erik Gudbranson, and Brandon Gormley). While all could be impact players in the NHL, they don’t fit into the Bruins’ current plans. The B’s undoubtedly need scoring, which both Hall and Seguin can provide. Had they been pushed to the third pick, they would have been grasping at straws to find a potential top-line scorer outside of the Big Two.
I know the debate will go on from now until the day of the draft as to who the Oilers will and should take with the first pick, and who is the better fit for the Bruins. But since there is still hockey to be played in Beantown, I am reluctant to start the Taylor-versus-Tyler argument now. Instead, we’ll take a closer look at the toss-up after the Bruins play their final game (the thought of which makes me cringe). I will say though that the debate is a good one, and may not be decided until both players embark on their respective careers.