The Boston Bruins‘ first draft pick this year won’t come until the first round is nearly over–they’re going 24th–but general manager Peter Chiarelli already has some plans up his sleeve.
In a conference call, Chiarelli termed the 2012 draft the deepest he’d ever seen and said he already had some draftees he was interested in, although he certainly isn’t going to name names. He’s also been prepping for this draft for a long time, planting seeds and getting deals set up starting some time before the trade deadline back in February.
Drafting 24th means that perhaps some of the most touted players will already be gone by that time, but that doesn’t faze Chiarelli, whose philosophy is to simply draft the best player available no matter what. He does have to think a little differently about drafting, considering that he can’t pounce on the second or ninth overall choice, though.
The Bruins could be looking for a blueliner. Chiarelli said he is interested in perhaps finding a defenseman from this year’s deep draft pool. That dovetails nicely with the pick that The Hockey News bestowed upon the Bruins in their mock draft: Slater Koekkoek. Koekkoek is a 6’2″ left-shooting defenseman with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. The Petes didn’t do very well this season (a 27-34-7 record) and nor did Koekkoek, who suffered a shoulder injury that limited his season to just 26 games. But that’s not the only season he’s ever played: in his first season with Peterborough, he played 65 games and scored 23 points, 16 of them assists. By contrast, this most recent injury-shortened season saw him score 18 points, all but five of them helpers. Imagine if he’d been able to play every game this season!
Other defensemen Chiarelli might be looking to pick up include Olli Maatta (who plays for the OHL’s London Knights alongside current Bruins prospect Jared Knight), Ludvig Bystrom or Matthew Finn. All three were ranked as late first-rounder possibilities by THN.
Stay tuned, though–who knows what Chiarelli might do later this week.