The 2014 NHL Draft will be held this weekend, June 27 and 28, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Opening round coverage will begin on Friday at 7:30 p.m. All the action can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.
With the Stanley Cup having come to a close a few weeks ago, the draft serves as the first major course of offseason business for clubs across the league. Buyouts, trades and a great deal of player shuffling should be expected as plans for the the upcoming year will begin to take place.
The Florida Panthers will be on the clock first with the first overall pick. According to numerous credible sources across the league, the Panthers have made it clear that they will be selecting defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the OHL’s Barrie Colts, when the event gets underway.
The Sabres, Oilers, Flames and Islanders round out the top 5 overall picks of the first round.
Our Boston Bruins don’t select until pick number 25. Based on the current state of the organization, we know the black-and-gold is need of depth at wing, and particularly on the right side.
Jarome Iginla is set to become and unrestricted free agent. Reilly Smith will become a restricted free agent. Both players line up at the right wing position. The Bruins could realistically lose Iginla to another buyer. In that event, the team would likely look to fill the void from within the organization based on salary cap hardships. Smith is a guy who they will likely sign to a cap friendly contract.
With that being said, acquiring right wing depth via the draft seems to be a likely play for Peter Chiarelli and company, especially if they are forced to promote a younger winger.
Alex Tuch, who played with the U.S. National Development Team this past season, could be available when the Bruins are on the clock. The 18-year-old shoots right and has tremendous offensive upside. He scored 29 goals and tallied 35 assists in 61 games this past season.
Tuch’s proven scoring ability would give the Bruins a nice piece to work with moving forward. Further development and the right coaching would likely pay dividends with the youngster.
In a draft projection done by Bleacher Report, the Bruins are slotted to select Ryan MacInnis of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.
MacInnis, 18, is a center and the son of Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis. Many liken his style of play to Dallas’ Jamie Benn. MacInnis scored 16 goals and notched 37 assists this past season. He was also listed among the top 20 available North American skaters in the draft.
The Bruins also have picks number 56, 86, 116, 146, 176 and 206.
Goalie is the one position the Bruins are expected to steer clear of in the draft. Boston is set at the NHL level for sometime with Tuukka Rask. They just signed Niklas Svedberg to a one-way contract. Malcolm Subban is expected to take over in Providence.
After last year’s draft deal that sent Tyler Seguin to the Stars, it’s probably best to expect anything from Chiarelli and the Bruins come Friday.