This post was originally published at The Hockey Writers
Assuming the Boston Bruins retain the 9th overall pick, here are the five young men who are the most likely players available and desirable to B’s GM, Peter Chiarelli and Bruins’ management.
In all probability, the Bruins won’t get the opportunity to select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Couturier, and Gabriel Landeskog. However, if any of those names manages to find his way down to 9th, assume the B’s will draft him.
Ryan Murphy, D [5’10, 176] Kitchener Rangers (OHL) – Despite putting up a lackluster performance at this year’s Draft Combine, Murphy is one of the most highly-sought young men in the upcoming NHL Draft.
On talent alone, Murphy is a top-5 pick. He’s certainly a risk, with his concussion history and diminutive stature. If he had a spotless injury history and two or three more inches in height, you’re probably looking at a top-three or even number one overall pick. Scoring more than a point per game with Kitchener this season (24-55-79), Murphy is scorer whose explosive potential from the blueline is so valuable in today’s NHL.
That being said, there are certainly several players of his height and weight playing defense at a high level in the NHL. Look at Erik Karlsson, Tobias Enstrom, Brian Rafalski and Lubomir Visnovsky; all offensive defensemen with size issues who’ve performed excellently in the NHL. Sure, Murphy needs to put on some pounds and strength to hold up to the rigors of League play. That being said, while his defense is a work in progress he’s made significant strides over the past year.
Murphy has elite skating ability both laterally and north-south. He possesses a plus-plus shot with excellent power and release. His puck skills are top notch as is his ability to create offense for himself and others. Murphy is a dynamic player whose floor is a potent powerplay specialist and whose ceiling is a dynamic and dominant offensive defenseman.
Murphy fits with the Bruins, not only because of his ability to instantaneously take over as top defensive prospect and down the line become the type of potent blueline talent the B’s haven’t had since Raymond Bourque wore the captain’s “C”.
Why the Bruins Take Him: Because his upside is ridiculous; Because they think his risk factors are overstated; Because he fills an organizational need and is the best player available; Because he’s dynamic with a unique skillset.
Why the Bruins Pass: Because they worry about hid concussion history; Because they find his Draft Combine performance worrying; Because a faller is just too good to pass up.
Chance of him falling to the Bruins: 40%; Chance of the Bruins taking him if available: 80%
Ryan Strome, C [6’1, 183] Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL) – The talented forward from Niagara was one of the major climbers this season, rocketing up draft boards to be a borderline top-5 pick by the start of the Ontario Hockey League postseason. However, a mediocre performance in those playoffs has allowed some doubts to creep into the minds of scouts, and his value has taken a bit of a hit....
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