With the Stanley Cup finals now underway, the 2009/2010 NHL entry draft is right around the corner. Unlike like last years edition, this years draft has a much deeper talent pool with the likes of tops prospects John Tavares and Victor Hedman. Obviously, unless the Bruins make a major trade to move up in the draft, they aren't going to land either of these two great young players. So the question remains, what do the B's do witht their 25th overall pick?
The first question would have to be, what are the Bruins needs. The answer; none really. Even with losing a couple UFA's (which is unevitable) the Bruins are still pretty deep and their development system is ripe with players who could be brought into the fold from Providence. One idea would be to use the 25th pick in a trade to fill some holes which were exposed during this years conference semi finals where the Bruins were ousted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 7 games.
If the Bruins are to use the 25th overall pick, who do they choose and at what position? Personally I would like to see the B's use the pick on a defenseman. One player I've had my eye on for a bit has been Stefan Elliot from the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. Elliot is ranked 17th amongst North American players and recently finished the WHL season playing 71 games and recording 16 goals and 39 assists for 55 points with a +20 +/- rating. Elliot is considered a late 1st round to early 2nd round pick. Despite this he has drawn comparisions to fellow defenseman Ryan Ellis of the Memorial cup champions, the Windsor Spitfires. Ellis has been ranked 15th amongst both North American and European players but some are expecting Ellis to get picked as high as 10th overall. The difference between the two players? Ellis is going to be one of he top powerplay quarterbacks in the league. He is small (5'10", 173 lbs) and needs to develop his skating but he should become a top 3 defenseman. Elliot is bigger (6'0" 180 lbs) but also needs to work on his skating. Where Ellis is pure firepower, Elliot is more a shut down defensman who is responisble in his own end.
Another player I have heard rumours about the Bruins picking is centreman Kyle Palmieri from the US Under 18 team. Palmieri is ranked 20th amongst North American skaters. Last season Palmieri played 30 games for the U-18 team scoring 15 goals and adding 15 assists giving him a point per game average. Palmieri is commited to Notre Dame for next season so that could mean he may stay with the Fighting Irish for as long as 4 seasons. Although I don't know much about Palmieri, everything I've read about him says he has good hands and see's the ice really well. He's the type of player who you can look to, to score a goal when the game is on the line. He seems more a project player than a player who could be ready in a couple of seasons.
The Bruins are headed into this draft still stinging from an early exit from the playoffs. The draft is an excellent opportunity to keep this team competitive for years to come. With guys already in our system such as Joe Colborne, Zach Hamil and Brad Marchand, the future looks bright. This could lead to the Bruins first round pick being traded but if the Bruins do decided to pick, these are just two of the options they could look at to help build this teams future.