The Path to the Kraken Draft

Now that the dust has settled and we’ve all ok, I mean some of us. Fine, I hate-watched the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s time to look ahead towards the Seattle Kraken draft and what I think the Bruins should do. Hello Donny, are you listening?

Looking back, it’s crazy how much the roster changed since I last wrote about the draft. No matter which Path to the Kraken Draft the Bruins choose, they have to sign Tuukka Rask prior to the draft. Both Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar are ineligible to be taken in the expansion draft, so I’m assuming a short term (2 years at a reduced price) deal for Rask to finish his career in Boston while ceding the net to Swayman is in the plans. That means Jaro Halak will be looking for greener pastures, and I thank him for his time here. He was the ultimate backup and played well when called upon. 

Ok, Rask in net with Swayman as the backup and Vladar in net for the Baby B’s.  I’m assuming the B’s will move forward with the strategy to protect 7F and 3D as opposed to the 8 skaters approach. No matter what happens, the Bruins are going to be stung with losing someone they don’t want to: be it Craig Smith, Curtis Lazar or Conor Clifton. It all depends on what they think of their depth at the respective positions.

Now, based on contracts and NMC the Bruins HAVE to protect the following players:
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle. The 1st two names are no brainers, but Coyle is interesting. Personally I like Coyle’s game, he’s a big body that will eat minutes, wears down opposing centers, can play wing or center and is good on the PK. Admittedley he disappeared in this playoff run, but he could have been injured and was carrying around Jake DeBrusk for long stretches this season. At this point, I’m not sure I’d want DeBrusk on our beer league team. Having him on your wing isn’t helping anyone’s numbers. 

Out of the younger guys (read: less NHL experience) the Bruins DON’T HAVE to protect the following: Trent Frederic, Oskar Steen, Cameron Hughes, Jack Studnicka, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Jeremy Lauzon, Nick Wolff and Jakub Zboril. A few names pop out at me, but the one to watch here is Frederic. The Bruins just re-upped his contract so my guess is they let Sean Kuraly walk or try to trade Chris Wagner. Both proved ineffective at times late this year, with both getting health bombed by Butch Cassidy at different times.

Some guys are in the no-brainer category in terms of protection. Those players are: David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo. I would still package up Carlo as part of a deal to bring Matthew Tkachuk and Noah Hannifin over from Calgary, but that’s a topic for a different blog.  The 4 players I listed are the Bruins younger core and need protecting from the Kraken draft. 

That puts a few players on the chopping block. Connor Clifton, Craig Smith, and Curtis Lazar are the most desirable (in my opinion) for the Kraken and I listed them in order of who I’d take if I was Ronnie Francis. So let’s take a look at that protected list that I broke down.

  1. Patrice Bergeron –must be protected
  2. Brad Marchand – must be protected
  3. Charlie Coyle – must be protected
  4. Tuukka Rask – resigned and then protected
  5. Davd Pastrnak
  6. Charlie McAvoy
  7. Matt Grzelcyk
  8. Brandon Carlo

If the Bruins go the route of protecting 8 skaters, they can add Clifton to this list. If they go the way of protecting 7F and 3D they can add both Craig Smith and Curtis Lazar to this list. And that’s what it boils down to in my opinion. Do the Bruins place more value on Conor Clifton or do they prefer Craig Smith and Curtis Lazar?

If they can re-sign David Krecji and Taylor Hall, (then with Smith), the B’s have a top 6 that will rival anyone’s in the NHL. If they keep Clifton, will he become a top 4 defenseman? Is Lazar the answer on the Merlot Line with Frederic and Wagner? Or Kuraly?

Don Sweeney has some options and can make many different deals. What’s he planning with DeBrusk, Nick Ritchie and the player formerly known as Ondrej Kase? Which other players will he focus on bringing back vs. letting walk? There’s a lot of unknowns, but we’re 10 days away from the draft so I’m sure, hopefully optimistic that things are percolating on Causeway St.

Sweeney has the chance to make the memory of the 2015 draft a fading one if he plays his cards right with this expansion draft. The Bergeron window is closing and it’s up to Sweeney to prop it open and add to this talented core.

I hope Donny was taking notes, luckily for us he went to Hah-vahd. 

Let me know your thoughts or just tell me how stupid my ideas are. All comments welcome.

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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