The Boston Bruins have had undeniable success drafting players in recent years. Yeah, there have been some misses too, but overall, Boston’s core pieces have been the product of strong drafting. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Tyler Seguin are all home-grown talent, providing crucial depth to the Bruins team that claimed the Cup in the summer of the 2011.
This year, the Bruins took a different approach in Pittsburgh, drafting a goaltender in the 1st round. While this shift in draft strategy might be due to the sudden loss of Tim Thomas, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the team draft a goalie in the first round. The Bruins selected Malcolm Subban – the brother of the much-hated rival, and Montreal Canadiens defensemen, P.K. Subban – 24th overall.
Subban had his best season last year playing for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, going 24-15 with a 2.50 GAA and .923 Save Percentage. He is also a strong candidate to be the starting goaltender for Canada in this year’s world junior championships.
The goaltender thrives off his athleticism. Quick feet and top agility have been major components to his success. His athleticism provides a quick post-to-post movement, and extremely fast glove hand.
Being that he is smaller, a lot of goals are scored up high on him, or through a screen. While rebound control has been a problem in the past as well, experience should certainly help with that issue. These are the areas Subban must improve upon if he wants to be a successful goaltender in the National Hockey League. While the goalie might be a bit of a project, I like the draft pick for the Bruins, as Subban certainly has the makeup to be a successful goaltender for quite some time. His athleticism alone is an outstanding characteristic.
Another intriguing draft pick of the Bruins was London Knight’s Center Seth Griffith. Griffith is an undersized player, who plays a Marc Savard style of game. He reads the play unbelievably well, even manning the point on the London power-play at times; much to the chagrin of knights fans though, who would often complain about his reluctance to shoot (similar to Bruins fans and Savard). Griffith certainly has the skills to be a productive NHL player (he scored 45 goals this past year, ranking him third in the OHL) but will have to overcome his small frame to make it as a full-time player. If Griffith can improve his puck-battling capabilities, he will certainly have a chance to crack the Bruins roster down the road.
Overall, I wasn’t entirely impressed with the Bruins draft. I have never been too high on USHL players, but refuse to pass judgment until I watch them play.
Craving some hockey? Bruins fans, be sure to check out development camp this weekend, as the likes of Subban, Griffith, and many other top-tier prospects will be on display. Let the games begin!