Part 14 in my "State of the Franchise" series.
Feel free to leave comments; I'm always willing to take feedback and I readily accept that I'm not the next Charles Dickens, so any constructive criticism would be great.
Current Rankings List:
20. Tampa Bay
22. Los Angeles
25. New Jersey
30. San Jose
#17: Boston Bruins
Top Fws: Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron
Top Ds: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg
Top G: Tuukka Rask
Top 3 Under-23s:
1. F Tyler Seguin (20)
2. F Jordan Caron (21)
Top 5 Prospects
1. D Doug Hamilton (19)
2. F Alex Khokhlachev (19)
3. F Jared Knight (20)
4. F Ryan Spooner (20)
5. F Max Sauve (22)
Prospect Pool Rating:
Bluechip Talent: B
The team has a glut of depth up front. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Rich Peverley, and Chris Kelly make up what is arguably the deepest group of NHL centermen in the league; guys like Tyler Seguin and Greg Campbell are natural centers as well and fill in whenever they can. Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton round out what is on paper a strong group of wingers. Zdeno Chara is still a Norris Trophy contender at 35.
Not much. The defense lacks a high caliber player to fill in some of Chara's minutes; the backend is mostly a group of role players led by one elite, and large, superstar defenseman. While Ference, Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk are serviceable players to be sure, none of them are top pairing defenders. Beyond Chara, the defense lacks a puckmoving player capable of putting up offensive numbers.
Doug Hamilton is the best defensive prospect in the world right now and offers potentially a jolt of energy and offense along the Bs' blueline next season. He's follwed by a solid, if unspectacular, group of defenders that have the potential to develop into NHL contributors. The Bruins also have a couple of promising forward prospects in Jared Knight, Ryan Spooner and Alex Khokhlachev.
The Bruins lack depth at the wing positions. While Malcolm Subban is a top notch goaltending prospect, the rest of the goalies in the pool are average at best and there is no real depth behind Subban. The center position lacks skill and depth after Max Sauve. Alex Khokhlachev has let it be known that he'll return to Europe if he doesn't make the NHL team, and there's no guarantee he's coming back. Beyond Dougie Hamilton, there isn't another elite prospect in the organization.
The Bruins were the best team in the league up until February. The reigning Cup champs seemed to hit a snag after the big game against Vancouver and were never really able to regain their groove, and ended up dropping out of the postseason in the first round to the Washington Capitals. During that amazing run however, they demonstrated what made them the Cup winners of 2011; they were big, fast, skilled, and absolutely dominated in the corners and on the cycle.
The Bruins clearly have what it takes to win another Cup. Most of the cast of players during their Cup run remain on the team. Tyler Seguin looks like he's gong to be an elite forward sooner rather than later. Tuukka Rask will get a chance to prove himself after Tim Thomas decided to take a year off from playing hockey. With most of the core players signed beyond this season, they don't really need much help from their prospect pool at this point.
Boston will be looking to improve on their focus in anticipation of the playoffs and will be competing for one of the top 4 slots in the Eastern conference playoff race. They should remain among the elite teams for at least the coming season.