Boston Bruins Targets At 2016 NHL Entry Draft

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney makes the first of three consecutive draft picks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney makes the first of three consecutive draft picks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

June 24th is a hot date on the Boston Bruins calendar. Similar to last year, they hold multiple first-round picks. What’s different is, they didn’t acquire these picks on draft day and they have two instead of three this time around, at least for the time being. Defense is a very apparent need of the Bruins and there should be plenty serviceable defensemen available at pick #14. Here are some realistic fits for the Bruins for the positions they need the most help in.

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Jake Bean, Defense, Calgary Hitmen (WHL): 68 GP: 24G, 40A, 64 pts, +8

Bean is arguably the best fit at #14 and it is pretty likely that he will be available. He broke out this year, impressively at the age of 17. He turns 18 on June 9. The Bruins might lean towards drafting a right-handed defenseman because they have a bounty of left-handed defense prospects including Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk. You can’t go wrong with Jake Bean, they may just go with the best available player. The Bruins don’t just need defensemen, they need puck-moving defensemen. Jake Bean fits the bill. He is also a great skater with great hockey IQ who makes things happen when he is on the ice.

Charlie McAvoy, Defense, Boston University (NCAA): 37 GP: 3G, 22A, 25 pts, +10

McAvoy would be an excellent pick if they are looking specifically to strengthen their defensive prospect core on the right side. He had a very impressive freshman year and even drew comparisons to LA Kings star defenseman, Drew Doughty. What separates McAvoy from some defenseman is his college hockey experience. College hockey for many is a lot more rigorous than junior hockey and McAvoy showed great poise and skill at the age of 18. I am a Boston College hockey season ticket holder and having seen him play a few times I, among many, see tremendous upside.

Julien Gauthier, Right Wing, Val d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL): 54 GP: 41G, 16A, 57 pts, +24

If the Bruins decide to surprise some people, they can take Julien Gauthier. Besides defense, right wing is their next biggest weakness. They don’t have much in their right wing prospect core besides Zachary Senyshyn and Seth Griffith. Gauthier’s size (6’4″, 224 lbs.) and offensive ability would be a welcome sight to Bruins fans. He brings a gritty style to the table as well, which so many Bruins fans sore for as they want to see the old big, bad Bruins return some day.

Dante Fabbro, Defense, Penticton Vees (BCHL): 45 GP: 14G, 53A, 67 pts, even

Fabbro is another right-handed option on the back end. His poise and shooting ability allow him to be a weapon in all three zones. He more than doubled his point total from last season in just one more game. Going from 33 to 67 points in one year as a defenseman is remarkable. Not to mention he has proven to be a great playoff performer for the Vees. You can’t go wrong with Dante Fabbro at #14. The Bruins will be able to monitor his growth closely as he is committed to Boston University and the Bruins love talented college hockey players.

Late-Round fits

Casey Fitzgerald, Defense, Boston College (NCAA): 39 GP: 4 G, 23A, 27 pts, +27

Casey FitzGerald went undrafted last year, but that shouldn’t be the case this time around. As I mentioned previously, I am a Boston College hockey season ticket holder and I have seen what Casey FitzGerald can do. He is a shifty, intelligent defenseman who really knows how to move the puck and has a little bit of nastiness to his game. Casey along with his brother Ryan, who is also a Bruins prospect, helped lead the Eagles to the Frozen Four. Casey and Ryan also grew up in North Reading, MA and his dad, Tom actually played for the Bruins for one year. It almost sounds like too perfect of a match if he is available late.

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David Quenneville, Defense, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL): 64 GP: 14G, 41A, 55 pts, -21

Brother of 2014 New Jersey Devils first-round pick, John Quenneville and Columbus Blue Jackets 2013 seventh-round pick, Peter Quenneville, David comes from good company. He is also Chicago Blackhawks head coach, Joel Quenneville‘s cousin and heck even New York Islanders defenseman, Johnny Boychuk is his uncle. Hockey is in his blood. The -21 rating is alarming but can be worked on. He is undersized for a defenseman (5’8″, 181 lbs.) but that sure doesn’t keep him off of the scoreboard. Torey Krug isn’t much bigger and he does just fine.

Grant Jozefek, Left Wing/Right Wing, Lincoln Stars (USHL): 56 GP: 21G, 32A, 53 pts, +9

Maybe a little bit of a surprising one, but with reason. Jozefek is a very skilled individual who can play both wings. He broke out in his second season as a member of the Lincoln Stars. Back in 2012-2013 while playing high school hockey, he tallied 103 points in 21 games. He then rose through the ranks and played exceptionally well, eventually leading him to the Lincoln Stars. He is committed to Northeastern University, so it won’t be too difficult for the B’s to keep an eye on him and watch his progress.

Patrick Bajkov, Right Wing, Everett Silvertips (WHL): 71 GP: 18G, 28A, 46 pts, +9

One of the most notable things about Patrick Bajkov is his ability to score highlight reel goals. He put up back to back 45+ point seasons with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips and could be a very nice late-round pick up for whoever decides to take him. His playmaking prowess is another thing that could make him a solid late round selection. The Bruins struggled to score on the right wing this year and Bajkov could be a part of the long-term solution.