Bruins Expansion Draft Outlook By Shaun Petipas
With the Boston Bruins season coming to a disappointing close there are a lot of questions that need to be answered going into the offseason. The first of the many that is going to be answered is who are the Bruins going to lose in the expansion draft to the newest team in the NHL the Seattle Kraken.
It is almost certain that the Bruins will go the route of protecting seven forwards and three defenseman. Who will the Bruins leave unprotected?
It is my guarantee that the Bruins will protect Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo. These were the Bruins most consistent and reliable guys on the back end in front of Tuukka Rask. That leaves most of their young defenseman unprotected and open for the Kraken to snag.
At the top of this list is Connor Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. Lauzon and Zboril were both selected in the 2015 draft that has gone down in history as one of the biggest mistakes in the Bruins recent history.
Zboril was one of the Bruins three first-round picks in the draft and was selected 13th overall. His offensive ability shined and eventually is what got him drafted but the Bruins haven’t seen much of that since making his black and gold debut. He has zero goals and nine assists in 42 games for the B’s. He could be on the Kraken’s radar as he is only 24 years old and has a lot of room to grow with the first-round potential he was given.
Lauzon is a little different as he was drafted in the second round of the 2015 draft and was a bit of a surprise to B’s fans early on in the season on the top pair with McAvoy. The Bruins utilized him the most in defensive situations and penalty-killing. The 24-year-old played 41 of the 56 games and averaged a sturdy 18:43 on ice but it was the playoff woes that might scare off the Kraken. Lauzon didn’t look like he was ready for playoff hockey but there is still a lot of time for him to grow into his game.
Clifton has become a fan favorite in Boston and would be devasting to lose for fans. Cliffy Hockey was drafted in the 2013 draft in the 5th round and has emerged as fringe or third defensive pairing for the Bruins. Clifton looked good in the playoffs, but it still wasn’t enough depth for the B’s to get past the Islanders. My opinion would be that the other two mentioned before would be taken by the Kraken but don’t be surprised if he gets snagged instead.
If you’re thinking that the Bruins could lose one of their forwards you can exhale because all of their important core guys are protected either by No Movement Clauses or they are free agents and the Kraken most likely won’t bite on those guys. So, guys like Bergeron, Marchand, Coyle, Pastrnak, Smith, Hall and Krejci won’t be getting scooped up. With Hall and Krejci not needing protection being free agents that leaves guys like Jake Debrusk, Trent Fredric Nick Ritchie, Curtis Lazar and Karson Kuhlman possibly getting the protection. If Boston were to leave any of these options unprotected, it wouldn’t be the end of the world and in all honesty maybe a change of scenery wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Debrusk.
Who knows what the offseason may hold for the Bruins, but it looks like a young defenseman may be on the way out the the Pacific Northwest to build another expansion team.