Today we move onto the Boston Bruins, where our very own Bruins Blogger Anthony Travalgia has the floor. Take it away!
BOSTON BRUINS PROTECTION LIST
Patrice Bergeron - C (NMC)
Brad Marchand - LW (NMC)
Charlie Coyle - C (NMC)
David Pastrnak - RW
Jake DeBrusk - LW
Anders Bjork - LW
Ondrej Kase - RW
Charlie McAvoy - RD
Brandon Carlo - RD
Matt Grzelcyk - LD
Going the 7S/3D/1G route for the Bruins seems like the better option of the two. With Bergeron, Marchand and Coyle all having NMC, you have three automatics—not that they would have been unprotected otherwise.
David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk—despite the Bruins trying to trade him this offseason—are obvious choices. I can also see Seattle and the Bruins working out a trade for DeBrusk, but that’s a story for another day.
The final two forwards for me came down to Bjork, Kase and Craig Smith. While the Bruins are fresh off signing Smith, it makes more sense to protect the younger forwards in Bjork and Kase.
McAvoy, Carlo and Grzelcyk are the only three defensemen the Bruins have that they absolutely cannot lose. Exposing talented young defensemen in Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon is not an easy thing do, but that’s the way it goes in these expansion drafts.
With Rask and Halak as free agents and Swayman and Keyser automatically protected, that leaves Vladar. While I don’t think Vladar as much of a future in the NHL, he is coming off an excellent season in Providence.
Excellent choices and wise words from Anthony!
This was the first team I really had to spend some time mulling over which way I wanted to go for my selection. There is a strong combination of current NHL options. mixed with prospects or young players ready to burst onto the scene. Looking ahead to the next time we do an Expansion Draft, Boston certainly looks like a team that could look to deal picks to the Kraken in order to prevent them from selecting certain players.
Here are the names that stood out to me.
Nick Ritchie: The 24 year old left winger at one point was looked at in Anaheim as a future top 6 option but never fully was able to take it. His best goal season came in 16/17 with 14 tallies. Ritchie falls right into the age category I'm look for and will be an RFA at the end of this season.
Trent Frederic: Drafted in 2016 the 22 year old center once thought of as a future top six player, has stalled offensively, not having notched any points in the 17 games he has played for the Bruins. With some of the injuries the Bruins will be dealing with at the start of the season, Frederic could get a bump in the lineup. Certainly a player to watch.
Connor Clifton: At 25 years old, it is time to see if Clifton can be an NHL regular. The mobile puck moving defender was drafted back in 2013 and is now one of the Bruins more highly rated defensive prospects. Despite being a smaller player, Clifton does play an aggressive game and isn't afraid to go to the tough areas of the ice.
Jeremy Lauzon: At 6'1 and 204 lbs, Lauzon certainly has the frame to be an NHL defender but while Brandon Carlo has become a real player at the same age, Lauzon is still looking to really crack the roster. Lauzon plays a solid two way game and while he isn't likely to ever be a 40 point defender, he has the tools to compete in all areas of the ice. His ceiling is still a mystery but at 23 there is still plenty of room for him to develop and improve.
For me this pick was between Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon and in the end I went with the younger player who is still an RFA at the end of his deal in 2022. In order for Seattle to be successful long term, the team needs to develop from the backend and have a strong pool of young talent that is ready to challenge for NHL time. Boston has several of these players and are right shot D to boot, arguably the toughest asset to develop.
Lauzon would receive a solid opportunity in Seattle, without having to compete for icetime with the likes of McAvoy and Carlo. He could have the potential to really come into his own, similar to what Nate Schmidt was able to do after being selected by the Golden Knights.