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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Midseason Bruins prospect update

The 2010-11 is just about halfway through so I figured it was time for a prospect update. For those of you with access to the New England Hockey Journal, my annual (since 2000) Bruins top-10 prospects feature will run in the January 2011 issue, due out the second week of the month. For those without, I expect it will appear on the www.hockeyjournal.com later in the month so keep checking back.

I won't steal the thunder, so what I have done instead is to post my pre-season ranking with a stock watch next to each name. Once the top-10 is published and on the street, I'll do a revised post in January for the B's mid-season prospect rankings so you can see how much players moved up, down and graduated.

Of course, this is all highly subjective. I've seen most of the players in some shape or form either via development camp, rookie games, training camp, live NHL and AHL games or video. But, even with those viewings there are bound to be disagreements over where certain players are on the list. Until these guys prove themselves (or not) there is no way to know if the rankings and projections are justified, but opinions need to be defended nonetheless.

So, with that in mind, here is the re-post of the pre-season ranked Bruins prospects, along with notes and observations from this season after August when the list was generated.

1. Tyler Seguin, C/W (graduated)
Not surprisingly-- made the team out of camp and has shown flashes of his myriad hockey gifts even without ice time/role to put up consistent production.

2. Joe Colborne, C
From a purely skills/physical standpoint, Colborne deserves a place near the top of the Boston depth chart. But, he's brought an uneven performance to the ice with him in 1st pro season. Stock watch: Down

3. Jordan Caron, RW
Made the NHL out of camp and played 20 games with the Bruins before Marc Savard's return resulted in his being sent down to Providence. Hasn't had the anticipated production numbers to show for it in AHL, but still very well-rounded player with bright future. Stock watch: Up

4. Max Sauve, LW
Speed scoring in spades, but for second consecutive season, missed extended time with an injury. Last year it was an ankle, this time, a wrist, but this guy is one of the most skilled, dangerous scorers in the organization. That said, he must prove he's not deserving of "injury prone" moniker. Stock watch: Up

5. Jared Knight, RW
Goal numbers are down, but second-rounder is playing a better overall game on pace for a modest bump in point totals. Stock watch: Up

6. Ryan Button, D
WHL defenseman has the skill to be a two-way threat at next level, but his role in Prince Albert's system is reflected in the middle-of-the-pack numbers. Won't know what he's capable of until he goes pro and is allowed to spread the wings a bit. Stock watch: Down

7. Brad Marchand, LW (graduated)
Proved he belongs in the NHL with excellent start to 10-11 season; among all NHL leaders in shorthanded points, playing with speed, tenacity and jam.

8. Ryan Spooner, C/W
Small, but uber-skilled forward raised eyebrows with a trade request that sent him to Kingston. One of Boston's most dynamic offensive talents in the system, but must learn to play a more complete game at both ends. Stock watch: Up

9. Yury Alexandrov, D
A slow start raised doubts, but the talented Russian is showing why he was a high second-rounder. Must continue to get stronger, adapt to the zone game and culture in North America, but coming around as a potential puck mover. Stock watch: Steady

10. Zach Hamill, C
One goal in 28 AHL games. Does anything else need to be said for the one-time top-10 pick drafted for offensive ability right now? Stock watch: Bottoming out

11. David Warsofsky, D
Point-per-game pace is indicative of his tremendous speed and talent. Whether the Marshfield native can translate that upside in the pros is the big question, but he deserves spot inside top-10 of Bruins prospect depth chart right now. Stock watch: Up

12. Adam McQuaid, D (graduated)
Solid stay-at-homer got his chance to play when Johnny Boychuk broke his forearm on a slash. That paved the way for Matt Hunwick trade to Coloroado. Five fights and dependable play makes him an ideal No. 6-- just don't expect a lot out of him.

13. Jamie Arniel, C
Moving up the depth chart with his excellent two-way contributions and offensive production as Providence's leading goal scorer. Already has gotten an NHL game under his belt in two call ups-- should be ready for regular look next season. Stock watch: Up

14. Tommy Cross, D
Size, talent and injury prone. Cross on the shelf for an extended period of time once again. Will Boston ever get their money's worth (35th overall pick) out of the BC assistant captain? Doesn't look like it. Stock watch: Down

15. Michael Hutchinson, G
Beat out two more experienced (but limited) goalie options to win job as Nolan Schaefer's backup in Providence this season; has shown glimpses of his skill and upside, but is still too green, inconsistent to project even with some solid starts, wins in AHL as a rookie. Stock watch: Holding steady

16. Alexander Fallstrom, RW
Big winger with jam hasn't made much of an impact as a sophomore. Is going to be a grinder at the NHL if he makes it, but let's face it: More expected of him at Harvard. Stock watch: Down

17. Andrew Bodnarchuk, D
Undersized stay-at-home got a chance to play in the NHL to close out last season, but what are his chances for making an impact in the Bruins organization at this point? Despite the good wheels, doesn't have much of an upside. Stock watch: Down

18. Steven Kampfer, D
Has managed to leapfrog Bodnarchuk because Kampfer brings the offensive element to the table that the former QMJHL defenseman does not. Up in Boston and playing well enough because he can carry the puck and help the limited transition game for the Bruins right now. Stock watch: Up

19. Yannick Riendeau, RW
Hands and hockey sense are above average, but size and skating negate those advantages. Down in the ECHL right now and with Providence's scoring woes ongoing, that he hasn't gotten more of a chance to kickstart the offense speaks to where his stock is right now. Stock watch: Down

20. Jeff Penner, D
Another skilled, but undersized defenseman for Boston-- Penner is having a decent season, but still isn't seen as much of a viable option at the NHL level for Boston. Stock watch: Holding steady as AHL roster filler

21. Mikko Lehtonen, RW
A surprisingly effective offensive season in the Swedish Elite League still doesn't address the fact that the big, talented Finn doesn't play defense or bring enough intensity to the mix. Don't expect the Bruins to suddenly bring him over and put him into the picture even with the big numbers in SEL. Stock watch: Down

22. Matt Bartkowski, D
One of the biggest risers in the organization after a great training camp. Upside is a question mark, and he did struggle a bit in Providence when first returned after Boston's trip to Europe, he's got some size, toughness and solid mobility/puck distribution. Stock watch: Up

23. Craig Cunningham, LW
Has cooled considerably after hot offensive start for WHL as Vancouver Giants captain. Good player, but expectations for the undersized, hard-working forward in the pros need to be tempered. Has a shot as a third- or fourth-liner, but junior numbers not likely to carry over at next level. Stock watch: Up

24. Matt Dalton, G
Couldn't beat Hutchinson as the AHL backup, so is down in ECHL this season. Free agent out of Bemidji State two years ago isn't in the picture right now. Stock watch: Down

25. Lane MacDermid, LW
Significant improvement in skating and puck skills at camp demonstrate his excellent work ethic. He'll likely replace Shawn Thornton on Boston's fourth line one day...assuming Sugar slows down, which he shows no sign of lately. Stock watch: Up

26. Zane Gothberg, G
As raw as a steak tare tare, but this goalie has that special "it" that usually sees players at the position beat long odds to make it over time (see: Thomas, Tim). With no pressure on him whatsoever, Bruins can be patient and just let him develop. Coming around in first USHL season after struggling initially. Stock watch: Up

27. Jeff LoVecchio, LW- Traded

28. Tyler Randell, RW
Hard working, but limited and with a grinder role on Steve Spott's high-flying Kitchener club, isn't going to get many points. Still, has a good shot and will fight/play it rough, so with some recent trades to free up some space near the bottom of the depth chart, why not sign him and see whether he can play his way into the NHL picture? Stock watch: Holding steady

29. Jordan Knackstedt, RW- Traded

30. Maxim Chudinov, D
As the go-to guy offensively on Cherepovets's blue line, this undersized, but impressive specimen bears a lot of watching. He's moved into Boston's top-15 and could be even higher by this time next year, even though he isn't coming over until 2012 at the earliest due to contractual obligations. Stock watch: Up

31. Justin Florek, LW
His junior season at NMU has been much like his career to date: unspectacular. His production numbers are a little off from where he was a year ago and it's still hard to project where he'll be as a pro. Stock watch: Down

32. Nick Tremblay, C
Has equalled his career-best total for goals in a season (4) in just 16 games, and has 10 points overall, but still not establishing himself as a force at the NCAA level. His speed will always earn him consideration in any prospect talks, but he's limited beyond the wheels. Stock watch: Holding steady

33. Zach Trotman, D
Last pick in 2010 draft has put together a nice sophomore season at Lake Superior with 10 points in 19 games. Very raw and developing on a long-term track, but has scored some nice goals this season. Stock watch: Up

34. Levi Nelson, C- Traded

35. Ben Sexton, C
Injury derailed a good start to his NCAA season. Still very much a long shot in the Bruins organization, but has some tools to make a run eventually. Stock watch: Up

Going to hold off on the 36-41 players. None have progressed to the point that they warrant a write up at this point.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to seeing where everyone shakes out in January... nice teaser though in the meantime.

    Over the past few years (in my keeper league) I've passed over most of these guys and drafted only Spooner, Sauve, Warsofsky, Button, (Marchand) and Chudinov. Needless to say, I hope they turn out great and the rest can go to hell ;)

    Bruins did give up more than the 35th pick to get Cross though. Blah.

    I'd also argue that Lehtonen's stock is UP --in terms of trade bait.

    Merry Christmas bud,