As it happened, that opportunity either failed to arise or the brass decided it was not up to their par.
The Bruins would have been picking at No. 29 overall had they not made a move for Jaromir Jagr and reached the third round of the playoffs. Part of the return package to the Dallas Stars was a conditional second-round pick that upgraded to a first-round pick once Boston successfully crossed the midway point of the tournament.
Regardless, after standing idly by through the first round, the Bruins held the right to six picks in the seven-round draft. The following is an assessment of each of those picks.
As his Elite Prospects profile sums up, Linus Arnesson “Has some offensive upside, and will join the rush at times, but it is his overall sound defensive game that makes him a stand out prospect.”
In claiming Arnesson’s rights, the Bruins addressed one of their topmost needs in the pipeline. With Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug on their way up, other defensive prospects are naturally going to move up the ladder in the farm system.
In turn, the Bruins must be ready to restock. At least one defenseman in major junior would have been a sensible choice as they have Matt Benning, Matt Grzelcyk and Rob O’Gara all in the NCAA for the foreseeable future.
With that said, reaching out overseas and nabbing a prospect of Arnesson’s build is not bad either. By the end of this decade, they could groom him into their next hard-hitting European a la Dennis Seidenberg.
The Slovak-born Peter Cehlarik spent eight games this past season in the same league as Boston’s late-season Swedish import, Carl Soderberg. He figures to stick around with the same top Lulea team after working his way up the program’s system for the better part of the last two.
In fact, Cehlarik, still only 17 until August, is under contract in the SHL through 2015-16.
Roughly a month before the draft, Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News wrote of Cehlarik, among other things, “He’s a big kid with nice hockey sense and good hands, though scouts would like to see him play more physical. At 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, he certainly has the mass.”
The physical aspect is not an unconditional must, but one has to think that, because it’s the Bruins and because of his size, it will be stressed. How much he can refine that overseas for three years is a toss-up.
Odds are that within two or three years, all of those established AHL wingers will have either cemented their spot with the parent club or dispersed to other organizations.
With Ryan Fitzgerald, the Bruins made at least one move to at least put one body in that drying section of their amateur pipeline. They did that by picking a local product with NHL bloodlines in his father Tom Fitzgerald and cousin Keith Tkachuk.
A recent report from Scott Barboza of ESPN Boston noted that Fitzgerald was the highest-ranked draft prospect to come out of New England. Barboza quoted one scout as saying that Fitzgerald “has tremendous hockey sense, with great vision and quick hands. He’s an undersized player, but has tremendous balance and is solid on the puck.”
For what it’s worth, Gill became an established NHL blueliner who has since been in the league for a decade and a half after spending the maximum four seasons at Providence College. Gill’s persona rapidly switched from all-around to stay-at-home when he went from 50 points in 20 games as a senior in high school to minimal output at PC, with his selection by the Bruins coming in between in 1993.
With the Harvard-bound Sherman, who is coming off a 10-point campaign at Hotchkiss, it is already self-evident that Boston is picking a defensive specialist.
As was noted in the Arnesson slide, this adds to an array of budding Bruins blueliners in the U.S. college ranks. A little more variety, namely with at least one Canadian junior player might be more suitable, but the difference may be more minimal at this stage.
Per The Hockey News, the Central Scouting Bureau ranked Anton Blidh No. 100 among European skaters eligible for the 2013 draft. The late-round actions of Boston’s front office speak to either a gamble or a finding that went much deeper and found more promise than the average scouting squad.
Blidh’s Elite Prospects profile hails him as “A speedy and hardworking player. Good penalty killer. Solid team player.”
Beneath that is a stat line that, so far, says that he has passed many tests at the hands of players within his age group. Most recently, as a 17-year-old for the majority of the run, he tallied 27 points in 43 games at the 20-and-under level.
Even if Blidh cannot continuously translate his production pace from level to level, he might still emerge with useful intangibles. If that does not come to fruition, it will merely live up to his end-of-the-sixth-round billing.
That has not yet materialized after one season apiece with the Whalers and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Dempsey has skated in a cumulative 70 games and posted identical 1-4-5 scoring logs in both seasons.
Will he turn a sharp pivot in time to present him as more than a scrapper, if that, in the pros? Time will tell.