Well, I wouldn’t call it a dud as I feel the Boston Bruins drafted some good, young players in the 2013 NHL Entry draft and added to their pool of prospects and potential trade chips. However, with all the talk about trades and player movement headed into the draft I was expecting a little bit more.
Alas the Bruins made no trades and just went about their business with the draft picks they already had in their possession. They had no first round pick this year after the conditional pick was involved in the Jaromir Jagr trade and wouldn’t make their first selection until the second round was almost over. It was the Bruins latest pick in a draft for Boston since 2004 when they took David Krejci 63rd overall and we all know how that worked out.
The Bruins stayed safe with their first selection and took what they presumed to be the best available player on the board, Swedish defenseman Linus Arnesson. “Versatile defenseman, good skater, not necessarily a banger but a solid, two-way defenseman,” Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said of the 6’2″, 185-pound Swede.
Arnesson is currently playing with Djurgårdens IF Hockey in the Elitserien, so he’s already playing pro hockey overseas and is competing against men as an 18-year old kid. His profile on Elite Prospects reads, “A rather defensive minded defenseman with good mobility and size. Arnesson is not flashy at all, but always gets the job done. Has good positioning, makes easy and smart plays and rarely puts himself or his teammates in complicated situations. Has some offensive upside, and will join the rush at times, but it is his overall sound defensive game that makes him a stand out prospect”. Sounds like a Bruin already.
With the Bruins next selection coming late in the 3rd round, they selected Slovakian forward Peter Cehlarik at 90th overall. Cehlarik is only 17-years old which puts him on the younger side of this draft, so the fact he was ranked as a top-50 prospect by Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus is kind of a big deal.
Cehlarik is 6’2″, 198 pounds and could potentially get bigger than that considering his age. Scouts were obviously enamored with his size but they also feel that he has above average hands, puck skills and vision. He’s also touted as an intelligent player who more often than not makes the right decision with or without the puck on his stick. The knocks on Cehlarik is the lack of physicality in his game and his skating abilities, all things that can be honed over the next couple of years as he develops.
In the fourth round, the Bruins took a player a little closer to home when they selected North Reading native Ryan Fitzgerald 120th overall. Fitzgerald is the son of former Bruin and current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM, Tom Fitzgerald and he’s the nephew of current Bruins assistant director of amateur scouting, Scott Fitzgerald. NHL legend, Keith Tkachuk is also a relative/cousin, quite the pedigree for this kid.
Fitzgerald starred at Malden Catholic and the past two years won back-to-back Super 8 championships, he also played for the Valley Junior Warriors of the EJHL last year and he will attend Boston College in the Fall. Fitzgerald is a bit undersized at 5’9″, but he doesn’t let that hold him back and has plenty of talent. I personally cannot wait to follow his development at BC and will be pulling for this kid every step of the way.
Going into the fifth round the Bruins decided to add some beef to their defensive pool by selecting 6’9″, 190 pound Wiley Sherman out of Greenwich, Connecticut. Sherman played at Hotchkiss last year and will attend Harvard in the Fall so we know he’s smart, now we just need to find out if he can play hockey. Sounds like he has the physical tools and smarts, just needs to put it all together.
in the sixth and seventh rounds the Bruins decided to add two wingers, Anton Blidh of Sweden and Canadian Mitchell Dempsey.
Blidh can play either wing and has some speed. He’s a hard working player who isn’t that flashy but can get the job done with his speed and determination, he’s also described as a great teammate and an even better penalty killer. I get the feeling this kid could be PJ Axelsson 2.0, but they may just be me.
Dempsey is more of a banger/ grinder and at 6’3″, 210 pounds you can understand why. He’s a project player with upside and when you get this late in the draft you’re just trying to find a diamond in the rough. In 70 games played in the OHL Dempsey has 2 goals and 8 assists, so I find it hard to believe he’ll be lighting the NHL on fire anytime soon.
Overall I like what the Bruins did at the draft, they added some good prospects on both sides of the puck and each player does something a little differently than the other. They got some size, some skill, some speed and from the sounds of it a whole lot of hockey IQ. Here’s hoping a couple, if not all of these guys stick.