Morning Free Association: June 26 – Entry Draft Recap

Urho Vaakanainen

The 2017 NHL Entry Draft was held this past Friday and Saturday. The Bruins’ picks:

Round 1, Pick 18: Urho Vaakanainen (D)
Round 2, Pick 53: Jack Studnicka (C)
Round 4, Pick 111: Jeremy Swayman (G)
Round 6, Pick 173: Cédric Paré (C)
Round 7, Pick 195: Victor Berglund (D)
Round 7, Pick 204: Daniel Bukac (D)

So, what can we expect out of these draft picks? As always, I highly recommend reading this article from Scott Cullen of TSN, which gives the expected value out of each pick by draft position. Warning: this article might cause you to descend into nihilism and start thinking that draft picks are worthless. What teams are hoping for is that they get two NHL players out of each draft. Not necessarily two top-quality NHL players – just at least players who make it to the NHL and play for a while. Over a 10-year period that adds up to about a roster’s worth of NHL players of varying quality. Each individual draft pick may have very low odds for success, but when you look at them in aggregate – the combined chance of the picks in a draft year producing an NHL player or two – you can see the value in draft picks.

With that in mind, let’s look at this year’s draft. Consensus is that this was a weak draft year, possibly to the point of the quality of players dropping to a second-round level after pick 10 or so. Projected rankings were all over the place to the point where going “off board” with a pick didn’t raise eyebrows like it would have in previous drafts. Some example ranking lists:

Red Line Report
Bob McKenzie
NHL Central Scouting

The Bruins first pick at #18 overall was Urho Vaakanainen, a defenseman from SaiPa of the Finnish Liiga. He’s a good skater and carries the puck well. He has good hockey IQ and prefers to use his gap control and stickwork over physical play on defense. He also has a good first pass breakout from his own end. He’s not flashy and he’s more of a defensive defenseman. Vaakanainen projects to be a second-pair defenseman, which for a #18 pick in a weak draft year is pretty good. You’ll always need players like that. Oh and his name translates to “horizontal woman”. It’s true – a Finnish friend confirmed it.

The Bruins second pick at #53 is Jack Studnicka, a center from the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. He’s a solid three-zone player with leadership qualities, but projects to be a third-line center in the mold of Tyler Bozak. Not great, definitely not flashy, but again, you need players like that. If Studnicka can end up playing 500+ games at 15 goals per season for the Bruins, the scouting team would consider that a very successful pick.

Next up at pick #111 in the fourth round is Jeremy Swayman, a goalie from the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL. Not much to say about him apart from being tall and athletic, with quick hands and good lateral movement. Like any goalie he’ll be a project, and goalie development is, as Steve Dangle says, “Voodoo, wizardry, and bullshit.” Maybe he’ll turn into something, maybe he won’t, and Danial Vladar certainly ranks higher, but it’s a perfectly fine fourth round pick.

At pick #173 of the sixth round is forward Cédric Paré, who’s your prototypical “project player”. He’s a big kid with a physical two-way skill set, but needs a lot of refinement and improvement, particularly with his skating and shot release. Oh and he looks like a cross between Bergeron and Spooner:

Did I mention teams were going off board? The Bruins went way off board with pick 195, selecting Victor Berglund, a defenseman from MoDo in Sweden. The pick was so off board that he wasn’t on anyone’s ranking lists – except PJ Axelsson and his scouting team. Axelsson is very bullish on this kid, who he thinks can be a Torey Krug type. It’s the seventh round, so sure, why not.

Finally, there’s pick #204, defenseman Daniel Bukac of the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. He’s another project player – big, tall, good skater for his size, but still making the adjustment from playing in the Czech Republic to playing in the WHL. But hey, you can’t teach size – 6-4, 195lbs – and it’s the 7th round.

All in all, the Bruins played it safe with their picks this time around, going for a couple of reasonably likely prospects in Vaakanainen and Studnicka, even if they don’t project to be top-tier talent. They have a handful of project players with their fourth through seventh round picks, which is totally normal for fourth through seventh round picks. The B’s still need a new #1 center prospect in their system, but this wasn’t the draft year to go fishing for one of those.

So yeah, it’s Monday. What’s on tap?

Satan81

About Satan81

David Krejci has a full no-movement clause.
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the german hammer
Admin

Sorry I’m not all that talkative today- it’s day 1 of editing and I’m exhausted.

I will put this out there: BoT is doing an episode on cursed jersey numbers this summer, probably within the next month. It’s going to be a different kind of episode compiled of snippets of interviews. Why do you care? Well, I’m looking for anyone who is willing to talk about them to jump on Skype for a quick interview. I already have Satan81 and Phony on board. So, if you’re willing. let me know and we’ll schedule it.

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
Member
Long-Winded Striped Mofo

What is Skype? An island near Skye? Hype you should ignore? A new vodka?

the german hammer
Admin

It’s all of those things but mostly it’s a communication service over which I can record people.

the german hammer
Admin

Also, since man people have been fans for much longer, a list would be a great idea.

Satan 81's Sister
Editor

man people

I’m going to start calling all guys “man people.”

the german hammer
Admin

Obviously that should have been many people While we’re at it, are we women people?

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

Hey all,

Sounded like there were a lot of undrafted talent out there this year, i was curious to see if anyone had any write-ups on those undrafted and if there were any worth looking into offering a walk-on trial to.

phonymahoney
Editor

Not exactly undrafted, but…

With the #Bruins looking for middle 6 scoring I wouldn't mind seeing them roll the dice on Tkachyov. Lot of success in #QMJHL & #KHL. https://t.co/9SvJRD8Af7

— Reed Duthie (@rcduthie) June 26, 2017

the german hammer
Admin

Doc is upset that his guy Max Fortier from the Mooseheads didn’t get drafted in his last year of eligibility and to add insult to this injury, the Habs have invited him for a tryout or something.

phonymahoney
Editor

That makes me wanna hurl.
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phonymahoney
Editor

Morning, pals!

  • Good weekend. Great skating session on Saturday. The skating guy spent a LOT of time with me and it was awesome. I think he feels guilty because he bumped me from Tuesdays because his new project can’t make it on the weekend. That’s OK, when I go to the only weeknight public skate in town on Tuesday, he will be there with the new guy and I know he’ll keep an eye on me (that what he has done anytime we’ve run into each other on non-lesson days). Free instruction is a huge plus.
  • I can’t say enough good things about my skating dude. Awesome, awesome, awesome. IF you ever want to take lessons and don’t mind going to Boston-ish on the weekend, he’s your dude. Usually Warrior or Somerville are safe bets. Somerville is free ice though, so you only have to pay for the lesson, not the lesson AND the skate.
  • Let’s talk about Cedric Pare. The apparent love child of Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Spooner could turn out to be a hell of a sleeper pick:
  • Nice piece on Bruins’ 6th rounder from @Eags37 https://t.co/C6cJV5Zjwo

    — Geoff Baldwin (@DrHandgrenaid) June 26, 2017

  • We went a little more defenseman-heavy than I would have liked, and while I understand that Sweeney and Neely want to take the safe route, which is totally reasonable, I would really like for them to make a sexy pick for once – maybe one skill player per draft, you know? Ugh.
  • That said, I’m not disappointed with Vaakanainen, to be honest. I feel like he was chosen because he kind of fits in the Chara mold, and we have to think about what happens when he’s gone.
  • Studnicka looks like a fun pick as well.
  • Hey @NHLBruins fans, check out your newest forward, 2nd round (53rd overall) pick @JStudnicka23 of #OHL @Oshawa_Generals! #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/360jeVPGwl

    — OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) June 24, 2017

  • I have to move and I am STRESSING about it. Looking at a room in Brighton tonight.
  • That’s all I’ve got, friends.
  • comment image

    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor

    Morning all. Great recap!

    Long-Winded Striped Mofo
    Member
    Long-Winded Striped Mofo

    Hey Pals!
    I knew nothing about draft and trade weekend until we got home last night. Nothing earth shatterkirking from what I read.
    I had a huge serving of humble pie yesterday! I’ve been training for months, no years, for my first time down “the dryway”, the class IV section behind our new house. If I was a baseball batter, I’d be crowing – 5 for 7 with 5 home runs.. If I were a quarterback, I’d be so happy about my completion percentage, but I kayak and two swims (one in a nasty, nasty place) has left me licking my wounds and heading back to training. Nothing can prepare you for what you encounter on the Dryway. I feel a bit disappointed, but very few people ace it first time. I thought aboute that while going through Dragon’s Tooth upside down. Good clean fun! Even got a nice colon douche in the aptly named rodeo hole! I’ll be back!!! Why I don’t know.
    Under ” good news”, I bought another boat! A buddy was selling his brother’s boat as the bro moved to FLA – no whitewater land.
    I’ll be outfitting it to my own peculiar body. Work with whatcha got, no?
    Coffee, lots o bourbon, moar sleep!!!

    Long-Winded Striped Mofo
    Member
    Long-Winded Striped Mofo

    PS, I fucked up the link thing!!!

    the german hammer
    Admin

    No you didn’t. wink

    the german hammer
    Admin

    That Cedric Paré and how he looks makes me wonder if Spooner’s dad got with Patrice’s mom or if Bergy was just very active in his youth, and got with a Spooner woman.

    All in all, I’m not all that unhappy with what the Bruins did in the draft. I had hoped they would pick up Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen because he’s a Finnish goalie and because that name is the best. Oh, and I wish the B’s had drafted Jack Rathbone because he’s a local guy, L shot D, who’s committed to Harvard (I think) and he wants to be in the area because it’s important to him to be around his younger brother, who is on the autistic spectrum.

    The London Bear
    Member

    makes me wonder if Spooner’s dad got with Patrice’s mom or if Bergy was just very active in his youth, and got with a Spooner woman.

    Maybe Jagr’s not the only time-travelling dick wizard!

    phonymahoney
    Editor

    time-travelling dick wizard

    Well, I’m impressed. I enjoyed this term.

    The London Bear
    Member

    Oh that’s “borrowed” from BOT, I can’t take any credit (blame?) grin wink

    the german hammer
    Admin

    Doc came up with the dick wizard part. I suggested that we would be remiss if we just limited him to one time period.

    phonymahoney
    Editor

    I should have known, as HHG usually comes out with wonderful insults and this time… a compliment? One of these days I’ll listen again. It’s hard to do it in the gym because I talk back to you guys all the time, and I already have a tough time not looking like a whackjob.

    the german hammer
    Admin

    You could listen to us in the car? Then you could talk back with no issues.

    the german hammer
    Admin

    Stay tuned for the next BoT in which we discuss this.

    The London Bear
    Member

    Heya!

    Horizontal woman, eh? Sounds rather like an insult.

    Bs European scouts have a decent record so if PJ is confident in Berglund I trust him. Interesting he’s seen as a Krug type – Krug was undrafted, was he not?

    Only a few days until free agency. Sign Pasta already!

    Just watched an interesting film on Netflix, called Look Who’s Back. It’s a German comedy (at least, I think it’s a comedy!), in which Hitler wakes up in modern Germany and is mistaken for a satirist.

    Long-Winded Striped Mofo
    Member
    Long-Winded Striped Mofo

    Horizontal woman, eh

    Women are like pianos. When they’re not upright, they’re grand! I keep finding links that credit this to Benny Hill, but I think it goes back to WC Fields. Anyway, full disclaimer, it ain’t me. It was some other white male sexist pig.

    phonymahoney
    Editor

    hhahahaha

    to be fair, I rather enjoy horizontalness

    the german hammer
    Admin

    Horizontal woman sounds like a comfortable thing to be because I think it means she’s sleeping. I am fond of sleeping. I wish I could do more of it.

    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor

    That film sounds interesting, I’ll have to check it out!

    The Once and Future Bagel Bruin
    Member

    Just watched an interesting film on Netflix, called Look Who’s Back. It’s a German comedy (at least, I think it’s a comedy!), in which Hitler wakes up in modern Germany and is mistaken for a satirist.

    WOW

    The Once and Future Bagel Bruin
    Member

    I finally finished watching all of Frasier. I also watched all of Scrubs before it was removed from Netflix. Today, I cancel my Netflix subscription.

    Nice write up about the draft Satan81! My friends were asking me about it, and now I will just reuse your info.

    The Once and Future Bagel Bruin
    Member

    DROP THE PUCK!

    wpDiscuz