I mentioned in the other Boston Preview (see the 15th overall write up) that the Bruins have a well known and beloved logo. They've altered it a few times and this is one of the efforts that fell short in the minds of most fans. The sweater design wasn't bad but the bear head, referred to many as the "Winnie-the-Pooh crest", seemed to lack the ferocity of the rest of the jersey.
1st pick last year: Jordan Caron (25th overall) - Things didn’t go very well for Jordan Caron after the Bruins took him 25th overall last June. At Canada’s World Junior summer evaluation camp he was hammered with an open ice hit courtesy of Colten Teubert. Caron broke his collar bone and his dream of playing for Canada seemed to go out the window. However when he healed up, he heated up with 20 points in 20 games for Rimouski and not only was invited to Canada’s camp, but made the team. After the tournament he was dealt to Rouyn-Noranda for the stretch drive and put up 33 points in 23 games for the Huskies, before adding 18 points in 11 playoff games. He has good size and gets around the rink well enough that he could be a power forward type player.
The Good: Phil Kessel (5th overall, 2006) - There were questions about Phil Kessel’s attitude entering the 2006 NHL draft, and I think the Bruins found the answers to those questions last year. Kessel is a great goal scorer and might have been the best draft pick Boston ever made, simply because he’s landed them the 2nd overall pick this year, in both the first and second round and a first round pick next year.
The Bad: Petr Kalus (39th overall, 2005) - Kalus wasn’t a bad selection, but how Boston used the asset was. He was nearly a point per game player with Regina of the WHL after he was drafted, then had 30 points in 43 games with Providence the next season. He also had 4 goals and 5 points in 9 games with the Bruins and scored on his first 3 shots in the NHL. However Boston used him in a deal to get disappointing goaltender Manny Fernandez and he is now property of the Minnesota Wild.
The Unknown: Yuri Alexandrov (37th overall, 2006) - Boston has been patient with the Russian blueliner who could one day run their power play. He has spent the last 3 years playing the Russian Super League/KHL for Severstal Cherepovets with this past year being his best offensive output with 21 points in 56 games. Alexandrov signed a 2 year – 2 way deal in March and is expected to make his Bruins debut this fall, but will it be in Boston or Providence?
Coming Down the Pipe: Boston has some interesting prospects on the way. Maxime Sauve put up 35 points in 25 games after ankle surgery, and the 2nd round pick in 2008 ended the season in Providence, which is where he will likely start this year. Joe Colborne signed an entry level deal after leaving Denver University and will likely need some seasoning in the AHL before he’s ready for prime time. Zach Hamill’s development might seem slow to some and disappointing to others as he’s only played one NHL game since being taken 8th overall in 2007. Hamill has only amassed 70 points in 140 AHL games. 3rd round pick in 2006 Brad Marchand might be ready for a bigger role than the 20 games he appeared in for Boston this year. Face off specialist Jamie Arniel might also get a look from Boston this year.
Draft Trends: Boston dipped into all 3 CHL leagues last year and even drafted out of Junior A. That’s also where they took their first round pick in 2008 selecting Joe Colborne, showing they’re not afraid to take a player who needs to develop for a few years. They’ve selected only one blueliner in the past 2 years, but made up for that in 2007 when they drafted 4 straight rearguards. In 2008 5 of their 6 picks were centers. Michael Hutchinson has been the only goalie Boston has drafted in 7 years.
Dean Millard: Taylor Hall (Windsor) - The Bruins are deep down the middle and get a true power forward. Hall kept getting better as the season went on. At the Memorial Cup he was dominant and seemed to be more of a complete player than he was at the World Junior Championship. A world class game changer, not in the Ovechkin/Crosby tier but not far off.
Guy Flaming: Taylor Hall (Windsor) - After capturing an unprecedented second consecutive Memorial Cup MVP award, Hall's draft stock is probably as high as it has ever been. Co-leader in OHL regular season scoring with 106 points, Hall's a deadly offensive threat every time he steps on the ice. He has blazing speed, plays with the pedal down on every shift and sacrifices his body to make plays or chase down loose pucks. Despite solid defensive play in Brandon, he's still considered as more one-dimensional than Tyler Seguin, but it's a pretty damn nice dimension to have.