Boston Bruins Prospects – Fall 2012 Rankings: Honorable Mentions

The Boston Bruins own a deep and talented prospect system. In the following rankings, I’ve listed the more than thirty Calder-eligible young men under contract or control of the Bruins’ organization.

Because of the system’s depth, I’ve split the rankings into five parts.

Part Two: 30-21, Part Three: 20-11 Part Four: 10-6Part Five: 5-1

Methodology:

Unlike some prospect-rankers, I don’t value all prospects equally. While I rate excellent defensemen and goaltenders as slightly more valuable than their forward counterparts, they’re significantly more risky (and goaltenders more so than blueliners). Consequentially, these players are devalued slightly in my rankings.

However, risk (and NHL-readiness) are small pieces of the puzzle compared to ‘upside’. I hold ‘upside’ in the highest regard – enough to diminish all but the greatest risk. For example:

A forward with first-line potential but significant risk is more valuable than a more ready, less risky forward with second-line potential. Similarly, a high-risk defenseman with first-pairing upside is worth more than a very low-risk defenseman with #4/5 upside. In other words, in all but the most extreme examples, Potential trumps Risk.

Additionally, I include my “Current Favorable Projection” (CFP) for each prospect (where I expect them to land should their career advance positively); an Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) for significant NHL action under the same circumstances; and other rankings for the prospects.

 

Honorable Mentions: While I officially ranked thirty players in the Bruins’ system, these six honorable mentions deserve recognition for their value to the organization. They are listed in no particular order.

 

Adam Morrison, G – 6’3, 194 lbs., Glove: L; 2/9/91

Other Rankings: Kirk Luedeke (NEHJ) – 25; Bill Ladd (HF) – NR; Corey Pronman (HP) – NR

2011-12 Club: Saskatoon Blades (WHL)/ Vancouver Giants (WHL)

Projected 2012-13 Clubs: Providence Bruins (AHL)/ S.C. Stingrays (ECHL)

Formerly of the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, the 21 year-old goaltender performed admirably in his first season as a full-time starter, grabbing 35 wins, a 2.75 GAA and a .901 Sv% in 55 games following an early-season trade from Saskatoon.

Morrison, previously a third-round pick for the Flyers, went unsigned (without even a camp invite) before he signed with the Bruins as a free agent. Morrison has a good frame (6’3) and reflexes and projects as a long-term prospect in the Bruins’ system.

Unless he shows-up at training camp and dazzles, he’s likely fated to fall behind Michael Hutchinson and Adam Morrison on the depth-chart to start the season. Therefore, expect him to start the year with the Stingrays (ECHL).

Current Favorable Projection: NHL Backup (ETA 2016)

Previously Unranked

Ben Sexton, C – 5’11, 193 lbs., Shoots: R; 6/6/91

Other Rankings: Kirk – HM; Bill – NR; Corey – NR

2011-12 Club: Clarkson University Knights (ECAC)

Projected 2012-13 Club: Clarkson University Knights (ECAC)

A seventh-round selection in 2009, Sexton spent each of the past two seasons with Clarkson. He put together a solid year in 2011-12, tallying more than a point-per-game for the Knights and reinvigorating his value.

He doesn’t possess the speed or offensive skill to make it as a top-six forward and his modest size negates much of his bottom-six value. He’ll need to develop some more ‘sandpaper’ before his value takes another jump.

His final season in Clarkson is nothing short of ‘huge’. If he brings his production (ad physical-game) along even further, Boston could offer him a contract in the spring. If not, he may venture into the waters of post-collegiate free agency.

CFP: Top-Six AHL Forward (ETA: 2014)

Previously Unranked

Alex Fallstrom, RW –6’2, 203 lbs., Shoots: R; 9/15/90

Other Rankings: Kirk – 29; Bill – NR; Corey – NR

2011-12 Club: Harvard University Crimson (ECAC)

Projected 2012-13 Club: Harvard University Crimson (ECAC)

Acquired from Minnesota in the Chuck Kobasew deal, Swedish national Fallstrom had his best season to-date in 2011-12; finishing fifth for the Crimson in points (25) and second in goals (13).

Still, Fallstrom’s offensive stock remains lukewarm. He possesses decent hands but his value lies as a projectable defensive forward and bottom-six talent. His size undoubtedly helps there and while he’s not a game-changing physical presence, he has the grit you’re looking for in a bottom-sixer.

Fallstrom has one more year at Harvard before he turns pro. If he improves on last year’s totals and maintains a solid own-zone game, his ranking should reflect that.

CFP: Bottom-Six Defensive Forward. (ETA: 2015)

Previously Unranked

Matt Benning, D – 6’0, 205 lbs., Shoots: R; 5/25/94

Other Rankings: Kirk – HM; Bill – NR; Corey – NR

2011-12 Club: Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)

Projected 2012-13 Club: Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)

The Bruins’ kept it all in the family with the selection of Matt Benning in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Draft. He spent the past two seasons with Spruce Grove of the AJHL earning a reputation as a tough kid in his own zone. He’s got a mean streak (despite being soft-spoken off the ice) and very aware of defensive coverages.

His performance at Development Camp left much to be desired. Despite being the youngest player in Wilmington, his skating and overall athleticism need to make major strides before he hits the pros. He missed much of the second-half of Camp with a groin injury so there wasn’t much of an opportunity to win analysts over.

Fortunately for Benning – and Boston – he’s a long-term ‘project’ who should be spending a while college and the minors. There’s no rush to move him along before he’s ready and he’ll spend 2012-13 in the USHL, but there’s decent long-term upside as an own-zone stud.

CFP: Bottom-Pairing Shutdown-Defenseman (ETA 2018)

Previously Unranked

Colton Hargrove waits for instruction at the Boston Bruins 2012 Development Camp. (Photo: Bob Mand)

Colton Hargrove, LW – 6’2, 215, Shoots: L; 6/25/92

Other Rankings: Kirk – HM; Bill – NR; Corey – NR

2011-12 Club: Fargo Force (USHL)

Projected 2012-13 Club: Western Michigan University Broncos (CCHA)

With their final pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Bruins picked a Texan forward with plenty of grit and sandpaper. Hargrove spent two years in the USHL with Fargo as an overager. He put up some modest totals but earned respect defending his teammates and playing a tough, 200 ft. game.

Hargrove heads to Western Michigan U. in the fall. Even among the bottom echelon of the Bruins’ prospects, Hargrove’s upside is extremely limited. He won’t be contributing for some time, but there’s significant value here. Hargrove’s age and lack of offensive flair dampen enthusiasm for his potential, but he plays with a pro-style, great attitude and drive.

He’ll likely play three or four years at WMU before the Bruins come calling, allowing him to mature even further, but when he arrives in the pro ranks, expect him to contribute quickly.

CFP: Third/Fourth-Line Defensive Forward (ETA: 2016)

Previously Unranked

Mark Goggin, C – 5’11, 180 lbs., Shoots: L; 7/29/90

Other Rankings: Kirk – HM; Bill – NR; Corey – NR

2011-12 Club: Dartmouth College Big Green (ECAC)

Projected 2012-13 Club: Dartmouth College Big Green (ECAC)

After 35 games in three years with the Big Green, Goggin’s totaled a mere 12 points – that won’t cut it. Thanks to injuries, he didn’t score a goal for nearly two calendar years.

With sub-ideal size and modest skill, this former seventh-round pick (2008) has a year to go with Dartmouth College – a year he’ll have to show some marked improvement and impressive production to earn a pro contract.

CFP: Borderline Pro Forward (ETA 2014)

Previously Unranked

 

Follow Bob Mand on Twitter at @HockeyMand

Bob Mand
Bob is a Contributing Editor and Boston Bruins Correspondent for The Hockey Writers. He also works as managing editor at NHLMockDraft.org. He has also worked as an editor and lead columnist for Bruins Talk Radio.

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