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NHL Draft preview; Taking a look at a few potential future Bruins

June 24, 2011

It’s a weird offseason to be a Bruins fan. Without the desperation of needing a player to put the Bruins over the top it can be easy to not care as much as normally about the draft or UFAs. Of course fans want the team to get better but there’s no longer an aching to get better immediately to chase the elusive cup. It’s already here. But the Bruins will look to add another top 10 draft pick to their organization and try to build a team that can contend for championships every year.

Instead of pretending I know a ton about junior hockey and doing a full on mock draft of the first round I’m going to focus on a few names that keep popping up in mock drafts from people who know what they are talking about.

A lot of people are pointing to the Bruins taking a defenseman with the 9th overall pick in the draft, something they haven’t done under Peter Chiarelli. The last time the Bruins drafted a defenseman was the underachieving Matt Lashoff in 2005, which may have pointed the Bruins away from betting on the blue line. But with the failed Tomas Kaberle era seemingly coming to an end, there is once again a need for a puck-moving defenseman.

Then again, this year is unpredictable in that the Top 3 aren’t exactly penciled in yet and the top 10 is so deep it’s creating a lot of rumors. The puck-moving d-man could go earlier and the Bruins may be forced to take the best available forward despite being solid up front.

The Dream Pick: (D) Ryan Murphy – Kitchener Rangers OHL

Murphy is the offensive defenseman the Bruins have lacked in recent years. He can help remedy the power-play and has a good shot from the point. Combine that with speed and hockey sense and you have a very promising defenseman who could be on the blue line for the forseeable future. Murphy’s big knock is his size. He’s listed at 5’10 176 lbs. I don’t see this as much of an issue, Ray Bourque was undersized as well and he did okay. The B’s need on the blue line plus Murphy’s promising skills make him an easy pick if he’s available.

The Back-up Plan: (D) Nathan Beaulieu – Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL

Beaulieu was a part of a deep Saint John Sea Dogs team who won the 2011 Memorial Cup who brings a lot of maturity and leadership to the table. Like Murphy he is good in the offensive zone and can skate well and scores a lot of points when joining the rush as a trailer. He is poised with the puck and has better size at 6’2 than Murphy. He should add some weight and get close to 200 lbs.

The Big Boy: (D) Dougie Hamilton – Niagra IceDogs OHL

at 6’5 193 lbs, Dougie fits the stay-at-home defensive model that the Bruins love. His size doesn’t hamper his athletic ability. He’s a plus skater and can move the puck well. He can chip in on offense but doesn’t match the above two players. He plays the body well and uses his size well. His athletic ability shows that he has a lot of room to grow, a raw player at this stage.

The Others

(C) Gabriel Landeskog – Kitchener Rangers OHL

Landeskog is Swedish but plays a North American game. He’s the most ready for the NHL but could slip down because the opinion is that he’s topped out potential-wise. He plays like a Bruin, physical but talented and would make a potential decision between he and Murphy difficult.

(F) Jonathan Huberdeau – Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL

He’s been compared to Vincent Lecavalier, plays two positions and has decent size. He has really good handles and was the post-season MVP last year. His accolades may get him drafted before the Bruins could pick him up but he’d be a good pick if he slides.

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