Along with any off-season, comes the biggest moment for the prospects of hockey. The National Hockey League draft in June brings along some high-level players that will one day make up the entire league. Last year, the draft was headlined by Auston Matthews. A year before that, Connor McDavid. A year before that, Aaron Ekblad. A year before that, Nathan MacKinnon. This year, it will be either Nolan Patrick from the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL or Niko Hischier from the Quebec Mooseheads in the QMJHL.
Obviously, the Bruins don’t have one of the first two picks this year, those belong to the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers. Due to the first round exit to the Ottawa Senators this post-season, the black and gold should have around the eighteenth overall selection in the year’s draft.
Before we get into who the Bruins should draft on June 23rd in Chicago, Illinois, let’s time travel back to some of the most recent Bruins 1st round picks of the past ten years.
2016: Charlie McAvoy – 14th overall | Trent Frederic – 29th overall
2015: Jakub Zboril – 13th overall | Jake DeBrusk – 14th overall | Zachary Senyshyn – 15th overall
2014: David Pastrnak – 25th overall
2013: No 1st Round Pick
2012: Malcolm Subban – 24th overall
2011: Dougie Hamilton – 9th overall
2010: Tyler Seguin – 2nd overall
2009: Jordan Caron – 25th overall
2008: Joe Colborne – 16th overall
2007: Zach Hamill – 8th overall
Like every draft, you get some future superstars, but you also get busts. Players who don’t end up being who they were projected to be. Sometimes, the first round doesn’t produce the best players. In the last ten years or so, Boston has had better draft selections in the later rounds then they have in the first round. Here are some.
2015: Brandon Carlo – 2nd round – 37th overall | Jesse Gabrielle – 4th round – 105th overall
2014: Danton Heinen – 4th round – 116th overall
2012: Matt Grzelcyk – 3rd round – 85th overall | Matt Benning* – 6th round – 175th overall
2010: Ryan Spooner – 2nd round – 45 overall | Zane McIntyre – 6th round – 165th overall
2006: Milan Lucic – 2nd round – 50th overall | Brad Marchand – 3rd round – 71st overall
2003: Patrice Bergeron – 2nd round – 45th overall
* Matt Benning’s career has flourished in Edmonton this season.
Arguably two of the best players on the current Bruins team went in the second and third round. Showing that no matter who goes in the first round, there might always be the “steal” of the draft in the rounds where many lose interest.
So, who will General Manager Don Sweeney announce on the podium this June? I may have a hunch.
Conor Timmins – OHL – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
In the previous two drafts, the Bruins have selected at least one blueliner with one of their first round picks. The most recent player has joined the big leagues already and has most likely secured himself a spot in the lineup come October.
However, good defensemen are a rare commodity in today’s NHL and teams often are looking for top prospects that can one day be a key member to their blueline.
That is the exact reason why the Boston Bruins should draft Conor Timmins with their first round selection, assuming he isn’t taking prior to their pick.
Conor Timmins has played for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League for the past two consecutive seasons. His first year, he struggled, only putting up 4-9-13 totals in 60 games during the regular season as well as one assist in 12 playoff games.
Although, it was his campaign this season that has put him on the radar of more NHL teams. In 67 games this year with the Greyhounds, Timmins put out an impressive 7-54-61 total along with an outstanding +53 rating. He also showed improved offensive skills in the postseason, putting out 1-7-8 totals in 11 games in these past playoffs.
Back in January, Bob McKenzie released his mid-season draft predictions, including the top 80 prospects in this year’s entry draft. Conor Timmins was ranked 31st on that list behind many other defensemen. Fast-forward to March and fellow TSN analyst Craig Button predicts that Timmins moves up to the 25th pick. Many other analysts across the hockey community have had Conor Timmins as high as the 18th pick, some higher. The season that he has had raised his stock value quite significantly, lowering the chances slightly of the Bruins selecting him as Boston will most likely have the eighteenth overall pick.
Below is a brief prospect review courtesy of OHL Writers.
“Timmins plays in any situation for the Greyhounds. Despite being “only” 6’1” he plays with the physical intensity of someone more like 6’5”. He does not shy away from the physical battles in corners, along the boards or in front of his own goal. He can and does throw open ice hits. He’s even been seen taking a faceoff or two in his own zone a la Raymond Bourque. His plus-24 to date speaks volumes to his two-way game*.”
“Offensively, Timmins thinks the game very well and along with his vision makes him dangerous from the point. Whether its finding seams to set up teammates or getting a diversity of shots through to the goal, he is very proficient. He quarterbacks the OHL’s 8th most potent powerplay exceptionally well. He ranks fifth among Greyhounds in powerplay goals with 3 and second in powerplay assists with 7*.”
**The stats were taken at the mid-season point, not the end of the season.
From the analysis and the good words from commentators and journalists, it sounds although Conor Timmins would be a perfect fit for the Boston Bruins. It could also add to the potential of the Bruins trading away someone like Torey Krug for more offensive power on the forward lines. Timmins and McAvoy could end up being a powerhouse one day, not to over-hype them. Conor Timmins already has chemistry with Boston prospect, Zachary Senyshyn as they played together in the OHL.
Nonetheless, the Bruins should explore all of their options and I feel Conor Timmins is the best one.
(VIDEOS OF CONOR TIMMINS BELOW)