2014 NHL Draft: potential first-round targets for the B's at #25
The Boston Bruins will have to wait a little while before making their first selection in the 2014 Entry Draft tomorrow night in Philadelphia. But that's the price of sustained success. Picking in the top-ten is fun, but there's a reason why those teams are picking there: they aren't very good.
Being at #25, the Bruins will have some time to sit around and let teams in front of them have the pick of the litter from the pool of prospects available. When it comes to Boston's turn, who will they grab?
The goal should be to draft and develop a wing player that can blossom into a dynamic scorer for the club in a year or two, something that general manger Peter Chiarelli has been unable to do during his time in Boston.
Here's a couple of players the Bruins could draft at #25. And if we hit on one of these, consider us to be on that Nostradamus action, boss.
Alex Tuch, Right Wing, USNTDP (USHL) Height: 6' 4" Weight: 213 pounds
Tuch is committed to Boston College next season after playing the previous five seasons for the Syracuse Stars, so whoever drafts the 18-year-old will have to wait a couple of seasons before unleashing him onto the NHL. Tuch stands at 6-foot-4, weighs 215 pounds and possess everything a player needs to become a dominating physical force in the modern game. He's big, he's physical, he has a powerful shot and heavy skating strides. He can build up a head of steam to crush the opponent with a body check, swipe the puck, head down the ice and put it in the net. There is a slim chance Tuch is even still on the board for the Bruins at #25, as plenty of teams ahead of them will have no problem scooping him up and stashing him away for a few years.
Jakub Vrana, Center, Linkoping (SHL) Height: 5' 11" Weight: 172 pounds
Vrana is another player that both will take a while to develop into an NHL ready talent and one that has been projected to go in the top-15 of the draft, or as far as 29th to the Los Angeles Kings. Vrana has great all-around skill, with a good mix of puck possession and drive, and a superb wrist shot and speed. Vrana made a name for himself in the U-18 World Championships back in April, leading the tournament in goal-scoring with eight tallies in seven games and playing a major part in taking the Czech Republic to the gold medal game, where they lost to the good ol' US of A. Vrana has the potential to blossom into a bona fide offensive producer, but his defensive game needs work if he is to become a dependable two-way center.
Dylan Larkin, Center, USNTDP (USHL) Height: 6' 1" Weight: 190
Larkin is committed to the University of Michigan in the fall, so he's another project to stash away in the organization. Larkin is a smooth skater that can open up space for his teammates through his possession skills and above-average passing skills, and he isn't afraid to use his body to gain positioning in the dirty areas of the ice. Larkin also plays a two-way game moreso than other prospects on the board projected to go in the 20-30 range, making him a prime candidate to play in Claude Julien's system. We all know much the Bruins value players that can play at both ends of the ice, and if Larkin is still on the board by the time the B's are to set to make their pick, GM Peter Chiarelli would have a hard time passing over a talent like Larkin.
Adrian Kempe, Right Wing, MODO (SHL) Height: 6' 1" Weight: 178
A power forward that knows how to skate and plays a straight-forward game, Kempe's skill set comes complete with offensive power and defensive responsibility. He can drive the net and create scoring opportunities using his strength and speed, he can initiate the forecheck and pin teams in their own zone, and he's mobile and efficient when getting back on defense. He isn't projected to be a top-six forward in the NHL, but he has the potential to become a very solid bottom-six player on a good team.
A native Russian and a versatile forward that played all three positions through the course of last season, Scherbak is a speedy skater with a good deal of offensive skill that can come to light in the pro game. His most useful attribute may not be his goal-scoring touch, but rather his unselfish tendency to look for open teammates on the ice. He led all Blades rookies in total points (28 goals, 50 assists) and was named the Blades' MVP for the season. Schernak has adapted well to the North American game, and his ability to play with and without the puck makes him a sought after prospect in the later stages of the first round.
Nikolay Goldobin, Right Wing, Sarnia Sting (OHL) Height: 6' 0" Weight: 185 pounds
Another Russian, Goldobin is projected to be a late first to middle second round pick, and if the Bruins want to take a chance on the 19-year-old Russian winger, they'll have to reach a bit to grab him. At one point last season, Goldobin had a 22-game point streak going from November to January in which he recorded 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists). Goldobin is a quick and shifty skater that has good playmaking ability when paired with teammates that can bury his passes into the net. Goldobin can become a premier scorer in the NHL if given the time to develop and hone his skills at the pro level.
Anton Karlsson, Right Wing, Frolunda Jr., (SWE-JR) Height: 6' 0" Weight: 192 pounds
A medium-build forward that doesn't mind throwing body checks, Karlsson brings a physical approach that would fit flawlessly into the Bruins' system. Karlsson has tremendous leadership ability, as he captained Sweden to a gold medal at the 2013 World-U17 Hockey Challenge, as well serving as the assistant captain at both the 2013 and 2014 U-18 World Championships. Karlsson is not afraid to play along the boards in order to win puck battles for his team, and his selfish style of play will translate can translate into the NHL. A note on his club team Frolunda, they have produced at least one NHL draft pick the last 16 years, with Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Lundqvist, Erik Karlsson (no relation) and Alex Steen some of the few currently playing in the NHL. Not too shabby.
The Bruins should be aiming to draft a winger that can develop into a big-time goal producer. The Bruins are in need to bring in some young, skilled and dynamic scoring talent that can step into the NHL in the next year or two and put some goals on the board. Whether or not the Bruins go through with the train of thought remains to be seen.