The Boston Bruins (barring any last second surprise) will be waiting till the twenty-fifth pick before they can make their first selection in tomorrow’s 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The organization has been crunching the statistics and getting the info from the scouts in order to make the best choices possible. The Bruins have an abundance of centers going into the draft, and we should expect the Black and Gold to be looking for some fast young wingers that have the ability to adapt to the Claude Julien system. Looking at these young players’ skill sets has helped narrow down the possible selections even further. The Bruins goal is to find a David Krejci type player who can play well on the wings. Here are three candidates who would make a fine first round pick for the Bruins tomorrow.
Adrian Kempe -Kempe is one of those players that could evolve into a hybrid of Loui Ericsson and Brad Marchand. (Nope, not kidding there.) His 6’2″, 187lb frame has the potential to fill out like Dougie Hamilton did last season. He currently plays for MODO in Sweden and has a great sense of three-zone play. He’s equally comfortable at left wing or center. He’s also been known to have an attitude and has a stronger than average distaste for losing. He’s one of those players that could do well in Providence, and maybe even fill in one night and play with his fellow Swedes on the third line.
This quote from hockeysfuture.com sums up why the Bruins should try to grab Kempe first.
“Kempe is a very good-sized winger with a frame ready for more weight. He already has a season of SHL play behind him, made possible by his ability and willingness to do whatever the coach asked of him, taking on a primarily third- or fourth-line role. Is active in all three zones and doesn’t hesitate to use his body in many capacities. Not shy to throw or take a hit to get a job done. “
David Pastrnak – Pastrnak is one of those players that can comfortably play on either wing or serve as a center. The 6’0′, 168lb player curent plays for Sodertalje in the Swedish Elite League. This year, Pastrnak was ranked fourth amongst European skaters in Central Scouting’s assessments before the Draft. If Kempe is not available by the time the Bruins get to their pick, Pastrnak wouldn’t be a bad second choice for the Black and Gold. A Czech player with experience on European ice has worked for Boston in the past, and his skill is comperable to Carl Soderberg. He was an alternate captain for the U18 team in Finland, and could provide leadership for the Bruins in the future. He will need to get bigger before he sees serious time in Boston, and Providence would be a great stepping stone for him next season.
Jakub Vrana – The Bruins will need speedy wingers who will be capable of contributing to the organization rather quickly. In that regard, Jakub Vrana may fit the bill in Boston. The six foot, one hundred eighty-one pound player currently plays for Linkoping in the Swedish Elite League. Vrana played for the Czech Republic in Ufa at the U-20s earlier this year. During the competition, he displayed his ability to skate through traffic. His puck handling skills are also excellent. Vrana and Pastrnak are both Czech natives who found a niche playing in Sweden. Vrana has experienced some off and on scoring bouts in Sweden. His defensive minded skills also seem to be lacking, but with tutoring from fellow Czech player David Krejci, he could easily by in to the Claude Julien system.
Vrana’s inconsistency on offense is part of the reason why he should still be available when the Bruins make their first round pick. Vrana has a strong hockey IQ and knows how to get the puck to his teammates. He’s got a knack for picking up goals on the rebound, and is not afraid to get up close to make a goal-scoring play. He has an excellent and accurate release that can catch goaltenders by surprise.