The Boston Bruins are one of the most storied franchises in the world of North American sports. The Beantown faithful have been around as long as any fanbase in hockey, so it should come as no surprise that some of the greatest players to ever grace the ice have suited up for the Bruins. All-time greats, such as Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque, started their careers donning the big ‘B.’
The Bruins have shown throughout history to have a knack for getting their hands on some of the best young talent in the hockey world. That tradition largely goes unchanged within the past decade. Boston has routinely taken their first round NHL draft picks and hit home runs, especially within the past six years.
However, there was a time from the early to mid-2000s that saw the Bruins whiff on some draft picks that set the team back.
Here we are examining the past 15 first round draft choices by the Bruins, a period that spans from 2000 to 2015. With each selection we are going to examine the player selected and the impact they had on the Bruins team, while comparing them to selections made after that pick. Essentially we are examining whom the Bruins drafted and comparing them to whom they could have had.
Some stipulations before we dig into the players. First, we tried to assess the Bruins at the time of selection and draft the same position of need that the team initially selected, i.e.: if Boston drafted a left-winger we attempted to do the same.
Secondly, all of the redrafted players need to happen within one full round of the Bruins initial selection. So, if a player was selected 31 picks after the Bruins then we could not select them for the redraft.
Without further ado, here are the past 15 first round picks by the Boston Bruins and whom they would have drafted given the chance.
15 2000 - Brooks Orpik
The Bruins took a big risk when they drafted Lars Jonnson seventh overall. The Swedish defensemen had great size and smooth skating abilities, despite his defensive liabilities and injuries concerns. Jonnson ended up never even signing with the Bruins due to the collective bargaining agreement at the time. The d-man ended up spending two seasons in Philly before returning to Sweden.
Eleven picks after the Bruins took Jonnson, the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted steady and dependable Brooks Orpik. Since making his full time NHL debut in the 2005-06 season, Orpik has been a calming presence on the backend and, though he will not grab a lot of headlines, he is a dependable defensemen who will happily fill his role.
14 2000 - Niklas Kronwall
Martin Samuelsson came into the league, drafted 27th overall by the Wings, as a brilliant size-speed prospect. The Swedish forward came into the league measuring 6’2 and 215 lbs while sporting some good speed. However, Samuelsson ended up playing a mere 14 games with one assist.
Only two picks after the Bruins drafted Samuelsson, the Red Wings selected Niklas Kronwall. The only real knock on Kronwall was his frame, which ultimately had the Bruins draft Samuelsson. Kronwall has spent 11 seasons in the NHL while amassing 339 points. The biggest plus Kronwall would bring to the Bruins is his willingness to jump into the offensive rush.
13 2001 - Michael Cammalleri
With the Bruins still trying to fortify their defensive group, Shaone Morrisonn, drafted 19th overall, seemed like a good idea at the time. Morrisonn was a mobile, stay-at-home defender that the Bruins were hoping to develop into a top four steady presence on the backend. The Canadian only managed to play a combined 41 games and ten points with the Bruins.
The 2001 Draft was pretty abysmal for talent, so a full round after the Bruins drafted Morrisonn, the Kings took Michael Cammalleri 49th overall. The diminutive winger has not been the most efficient player in the NHL, but has proven to be able to supply a solid offensive punch from the second line.
12 2002 - Duncan Keith
The Bruins were hurting in nets despite finishing strong in 2002-02 season, so drafting Finnish Hannu Toivonen made sense. Toivonen came into the league as a huge, butterfly goalie but had a lot of injury concerns. It was not until the 2005-06 season that Toivonen saw the ice, thanks to a contract dispute with Andrew Raycroft. The Finnish goalie played a combined 61 games in the NHL with a 3.37 GAA.
In the middle of the second round, 25 picks later, the Blackhawks took Duncan Keith who is now universally looked at as one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Keith has proven to be an excellent two-way defenseman and has tallied 415 points in 10 seasons.
11 2003 - Corey Perry
The Bruins were still trying to stockpile defensemen when they took Mark Stuart with the 21st pick of the draft. The stay-at-home defensemen had proven to be a steady force for the Colorado College Tigers when they went to the Frozen Four and the Bruins felt confident in selecting him at the end of the first round. Stuart was a solid player in the league, but never the type of player that makes a massive impact.
Though the Bruins were stocked with forwards, there is no denying the talent that Corey Perry had. The winger from the London Knights was coming off a massive junior season in which he tallied 113 points in 66 games. And he has proven to be an elite, All-Star caliber player for the team that originally drafted him 28th overall, the Ducks.
10 2005 - Paul Stastny
If you have not noticed a trend by now, the early to mid-2000s were largely dedicated to the Bruins trying to bolster their defense. Once again, Boston whiffed with the selection of Matt Lashoff 22nd overall. The American defender was projected to be a solid two-way contributor and had a much-adored mean streak in Beantown. Lashoff only managed to play 74 games in the NHL with three teams with a -15 rating.
Paul Stastny would have actually provided the Bruins with a top-tier two-way forward. That was not something that magically developed in the NHL as Stastny had proven his defensive game and leadership abilities at the University of Denver and he was selected 44th overall bu the Avalanche.
9 2006 - Phil Kessel
Despite all the bad publicity and the fat jokes, there are few scorers in the NHL like Kessel. Since being taken fifth overall in the 2006 Draft, Kessel has scored 247 goals in 668 games. That includes five seasons of 30-plus goals for the center.
We all know that Kessel’s biggest knock has been his laziness, something that only got bigger when he was traded to the hockey hotbed of Toronto, but there are few players that can light the lamp like Kessel when he is motivated.
Though Kessel has largely bloomed with the Maple Leafs, the trade netted the Bruins two picks that would help shape the franchise in recent times. The Bruins received the picks that would become Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton from the Leafs as well.
So really, Kessel was the gift that kept on giving for the Bruins.
8 2007 - Logan Couture
Why Zach Hamill ended up being selected so highly (8th overall) perplexes me. Sure he was a creative center with good playmaking abilities, but he's generously listed at 180 lbs and showed limited foot speed. Hamill has pretty much flamed out of the NHL already, playing in 20 games with four points.
Logan Couture entered the NHL with some similar issues to Hamill, mostly the average speed, but his two-way game was fair superior to Hamill. A smart player who has shown the ability to be a playmaker while netting goals himself, Couture has amassed 287 points in 379 games in the NHL and was selected one pick later by the San Jose Sharks.
7 2008 - Jordan Eberle
There were few players in the 2008 Draft that had the size that Joe Colborne possessed. The massive center came into the league listed at 6’5 and 216 lbs. However, he would never even see a game in the NHL with the Bruins, after being selected 16th overall, as Colborne would be traded to the Maple Leafs for Thomas Kaberle. Colborne was rarely played in Toronto but ended up with the Flames, where he has played 144 games in the past two seasons.
Only a few picks after the Bruins selected Colborne, the Edmonton Oilers got a steal by selecting Jordan Eberle 22nd overall. The diminutive forward had some knocks on his game coming into the NHL, but sometimes you can’t measure how well a player is going to be on a piece of paper. Eberle has proven to be a steady offensive presence for the Oilers while notching 60-plus points in three of his six seasons.
6 2009 - Ryan O’Reilly
When the Bruins drafted Jordan Caron 25th overall, they must have assumed they were getting the type of player you wait on to develop fully, but who would become a real impact winger in the NHL. In each of his junior seasons, Caron improved and put up better offensive numbers. However, Caron has ended up flaming out in the NHL so far and scored a mere 28 points in 138 games with the Bruins before being traded last season to the Avalanche.
It is hard to imagine a player like Ryan O’Reilly going as high as the first round (he was selected 33rd overall), with his limited offensive ceiling, but the center is the type of player that affects an entire team. O’Reilly has proven to be one of the toughest and best defensive forwards in the NHL while providing some solid leadership qualities. Though he has put up solid offensive numbers (246 points in 427 games), it has been his positive impact on special teams and in big defensive moments where O’Reilly has proven his worth.
5 2010 - Tyler Seguin
The 2010 Draft was pretty much a no-brainer for the Bruins. The ‘draft strategy’ was basically ‘take whoever the Oilers don’t.’ When the Oilers opted to draft Taylor Hall with the first pick of the draft, the Bruins happily took Tyler Seguin.
The center did nothing but improve each season in Boston before being traded due to the salary cap hell that the Bruins front office found themselves in.
Seguin has continued to grow since being sent to the Stars with 161 points in 151 games with the team.
4 2011 - Dougie Hamilton
Dougie Hamilton has shown the potential to be one of the best offensive defenseman in the NHL during his limited exposure in the NHL. Coming into the draft, Hamilton was seen as the powerful, right-handed shot that could anchor the powerplay unit while starting the rush with his excellent mobility, so the Bruins snatched him with the ninth pick of the first round.
Those projections were not wrong, as Hamilton has been one of the bright lights on the Bruins despite the teams slow collapse over the past three seasons. Though his career has been short so far, Hamilton really flashed his potential in the 2013-14 season when he posted a +22 rating through 64 games.
Due to their continuing salary cap troubles, the Bruins recently traded Hamilton to the Flames for three draft picks.
3 2012 - Oscar Dansk
The Boston Bruins were starting to panic when it came to goaltending after the 2011-12 season. Tim Thomas was walking away from the sport and there was little depth behind Tuukka Rask. So the Bruins decided to select Malcolm Subban (24th overall) to shore up their goalie situation. Subban has been in training camp with the Bruins but has routinely looked overwhelmed when facing the big boys.
The next goalie selected after Subban was Oscar Dansk, with the first pick of the second round by the Blue Jackets. The large Swedish goalie has shown to be a solid and technical hybrid player in nets, though he has yet to show up in the NHL. Dansk has a lower floor than Subban based on his style, which would provide the Bruins a solid, young backup option behind Rask.
2 2014 - David Pastrnak
The Bruins went against their normal type when they drafted David Pastrnak. The Czech forward measured in at 6’0 and 168 lbs at the draft and though his frame still needs to fully develop, it does not appear the winger will get much larger.
In the new NHL though, Pastrnak could very well thrive. Excellent lateral movement and a deadly shot are showing that Pastrnak could prove to be part of the new wave of miniature players, in the same vein as higher draft pick Jonathan Drouin.
Pastrnak has also shown some quality finishing ability at the NHL level, with 27 points in 46 games last season with the Bruins.
1 2015 - Jakub Zbroril, Yevgeni Svechnikov, Zachary Senyshyn
The Bruins had three back to back picks in the first, as they had the 13th, 14th and 15th picks of the 2015 NHL Draft.
There may be no defenseman from the 2015 NHL Draft that’s game translates so well to the NHL as Jakub Zboril, their first pick at #13. Zboril has a great two-way game and loves to drive through the neutral zone.
The only pick we'll reselect is their second pick at 14th overall, Jake Debrusk. The biggest concern is how DeBrusk will use his game at the next level. The Canadian winger is far from massive and we have seen players get bullied around in the transfer from junior to the professional ranks. Instead, Evgeny Svechnikov, selected 19th overall by Detroit, is a massive, offensively minded winger that could give a bump to the Bruins goal-scoring potential.
With their last pick of the first round at 15th overall, the Bruins hit a home run. Zachary Senyshyn has amazingly refined puck skills for a player of his age, which implies that those skills will only improve. Very realistically, Senyshyn could be one of the most fun forwards to watch in five years.
Do you agree with our analysis? Who do you think the Bruins should have drafted someone else with their first round picks in the past 15 years? Let us know in the comments below.