June 20, 2012

2012 NHL Draft: Later options for the Bruins

By Kirk Luedeke

With only five total picks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Boston Bruins will have to find value later on in a pool that has decidedly mixed reviews in terms of depth and quality.

Here is a quick look at some players who might be had in the third round and fifth-seventh rounds for the B’s.

Potential third-round options

BU recruit and USHL standout Robbie Baillargeon (Photo courtesy of Indiana Ice) 

Chris Calnan, LW Noble & Greenough (HIGH- MA)

The Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer this season finished as the 69th-ranked North American skater on Central’s final list. The Norwell, Mass. native had an excellent scouting combine in Toronto earlier this month and distinguishes himself with a high compete level and the 6-foot-2 frame to be an effective power forward at the next level. The Boston College recruit was drafted 10thoverall by the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL in that league’s draft last month, but where he plays next season is yet to be determined. He will matriculate at the Heights in the fall of 2013.

James Melindy, D Moncton (QMJHL)

The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder is underrated coming out of the Quebec League this season. With fine mobility, Melindy also possesses some interesting offensive upside. While not flashy, and sometimes appearing to be a little more laid-back in his approach than he should be, this rearguard has all of the physical attributes NHL teams look for. Red Line Report had him as the 65th-ranked player in the independent scouting service’s 2012 draft guide, saying: “Big, fast maturing d-man is on the rise.”

Gianluca Curcuruto, D Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

What happened? Like Nick Ebert (another once-projected player in the first round who will drop), the Richmond Hill, Ontario native was unable to impress scouts this year despite fine size (6-1, 195) and mobility. A former top pick by the Greyhounds out of the Mississauga Reps who grew up a Philadelphia Flyers fan, Curcuruto may be one of those players who felt the pressure of his draft year too much. In the late third, he’s fine value as Red Line’s 70th player.

Ryan Rupert, C London (OHL)

One half of the nasty and abrasive Rupert twins, Ryan is the more skilled and talented of the two. In fact, many believe he is the reincarnation of Brad Marchand, a smallish (5-foot-9, 186) but ultra-annoying pest who can really skate and whose offensive upside may not be appreciated. Both he and brother Matt must work on keeping emotions under control.

Robbie Baillargeon, C Indiana (USHL)

Skilled playmaking center out of Enfield, Conn. can also skate on the wing. The versatile, hard-working former Cushing Academy star is headed to Boston University in 2013. Although he needs to add weight and strength, Baillargeon makes up for that by being several steps ahead of the opposition, and his heady game should translate well at the next level.

Mitch Moroz, LW Edmonton (WHL)

If the B’s can’t land highly-regarded power forwards like Tom Wilson or Brendan Gaunce in the first round, Moroz would be a nice consolation in the third round. He’s a nasty piece of work who racked up 20 fighting majors for the Oil Kings but also showed off some offensive potential during his club’s run to the WHL championship and Memorial Cup tourney. His skating is pretty decent for his size (6-2, 208) and he’s one of those late risers who might not even make it to the 85th pick.

Matia Marcantuoni, C Kitchener (OHL)

Injuries deep-sixed the talented and speedy centerman’s year, but this guy was projected as a first-rounder coming into the year. The team has a solid read on him from the previous year, so if he slides to the end of the third, he’s a nice flyer to take.

Alexandre Mallet, C Rimouski (QMJHL)

Older, 1992-born center is like Mitch Moroz: tough, rugged and willing to drop the gloves anytime, anywhere. Although the upside is a bit in question, he has the physical traits and attitude to appeal to the Bruins.

Late rounds

Jacob Slavin, D Chicago (USHL) 

Colorado two-way defenseman gets very little credit, but has the pro attributes and potential to get much better. 

Malden Catholic's Brendan Collier (Dave Arnold Photography)

Brian Cooper, D Fargo (USHL)

The Bruins like their undersized defenders who can move the puck effectively, so why not Zane Gothberg’s teammate? Speed and quick feet plus vision and smarts compensate for his sub-6-foot frame.

Mitchell Heard, C Plymouth (OHL)

Could this 1992-born forward be the Craig Cunningham of the 2012 draft for Boston? Does a bit of everything, and could go right to Providence and help the system right away.

Matt Grzelcyk, D U.S. NTDP (USHL)

Small but fast and smart. His dad has been a member of the Boston Garden for more than 40 years and the youngster grew up in the shadow of the B’s building in Charlestown. Lifelong fan and BU recruit gets drafted by hometown team a leading story in Boston? Yes, please.

Chris Tierney, C London (OHL)

This talented and unheralded pivot was buried on the fourth line early on, but got an opportunity at mid-season and surged. A good skater and outstanding penalty killer, his offensive potential may just be blooming. Flying under the radar but maybe not enough to last to the end of the third.

Brendan Collier, LW Malden Catholic

Like close childhood friend Grzelcyk, Townie would see dream come true to be drafted by the B's. The skilled winger and two-time state champion will help any team who takes a chance on him.

Dylan Willick, LW Kamloops (WHL)

Versatile two-way player was passed over last year but has character in spades and can fill a checking role effectively.

Ludvig Rensfeldt, F Sarnia (OHL)

The Blackhawks did not come to terms with their second-round selection from two years ago. A big-bodied winger with size, his offensive hockey sense has been questioned, but might not be a bad roll of the dice later on.

Michael Houser, G London (OHL)

CHL MVP's dream season ended in heartbreaking fashion, giving up Anton Zlobin's sudden death goal in the Memorial Cup final. Although the Keystone State native has been passed over twice mainly over concerns about congenital problems with his feet, he's overcome so much to be one of major junior's best players. Nobody has worked harder or gotten as far on sheer determination like Houser has. On that we bestow the finest compliment you can give to a goalie: Winner.

Kirk Luedeke can be reached at kluedeke@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kluedeke29.