Over the last two decades, the Boston Bruins have done very well with some draft picks, and not so well with others. In the last 10 years, the Bruins have made three trips to the Stanley Cup Final and some of those players that contributed to the team’s success were drafted in the previous decade.
With that said, here are five of the Bruins’ top draft choices in the 2000s. Some are still having success with the team, while some have moved on and are still playing at a high level in the NHL.
5. Phil Kessel, 2006
A gifted goal scorer, Phil Kessel was selected fifth overall in the first round of the 2006 Draft out of the University of Minnesota. That year, he played in just two games for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League before being assigned to Boston.
In three seasons with the Bruins, he scored 66 goals and had 60 assists. His best season in Boston was his final season in 2008-09 with 36 goals and 24 assists. He added six goals in the playoffs for the Bruins, who were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Kessel was traded by the Bruins to the Toronto Maple Leafs in September of 2009 for three draft picks, and he immediately signed a five-year contract. The Bruins made good with two of those picks as they selected Tyler Seguin in the first round in 2010 and Dougie Hamilton in the first round of 2011. Jared Knight was the third pick of the deal, and Boston chose him in the second round of 2010.
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Kessel would spend the next seven seasons with Toronto before he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins. After four years and two Stanley Cup championships with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017, he was traded in June of 2019 to the Arizona Coyotes.
4. Milan Lucic, 2006
2006 ended up being a loaded draft class for the Bruins. Milan Lucic was drafted in the second round at 50th overall. He returned to the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League during the 2006-07 season where he scored 30 goals and had 38 assists before making his way to Boston.
Lucic was a very physical forward and at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, his game quickly became a staple for the Bruins. He played eight years in Boston with 139 goals and 203 assists. His best regular-season was in 2010-11 when he had 30 goals and 32 assists.
In the playoffs that year, he had five goals and seven assists to help the Bruins end a 39-year Stanley Cup drought with a Game 7 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on the road.
Things went downhill as far as production for Lucic toward his final years in Boston as he had just 18 goals in 2014-15 and that played a role in the Bruins trading him to the Los Angeles Kings in June of 2015. After spending just one season with the Kings, he signed a free-agent deal with the Edmonton Oilers, before being traded last offseason to the Calgary Flames.
3. David Krejci, 2004
Selected in the second round at 63rd overall, David Krejci has had a nice career for himself in Boston and recently recorded his 700th career point. He spent 2006-07 with the Providence Bruins and had quite the season with 31 goals and 43 assists in the AHL.
The following season was split between Boston and Providence, but Krejci made the transition to the NHL full-time in 2008-09. He quickly became one of the Bruins top playmakers and found himself as a top-six forward. His first full season in Boston saw him record a career-high to date with 73 points on 23 goals and 50 assists.
During the 2010-11 season, he had 13 goals and 49 assists, before he took his play to another level in 25 playoff games. He scored 12 goals and had 11 assists in the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup championship. He had two goals and four assists against the Canucks and led the NHL in playoff scoring that year.
During the 2012-13 playoffs, he had 9 goals and 17 assists for the Bruins, who lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the Final. Last season, he had four postseason goals and 12 assists as Boston ended up losing in seven games to the St. Louis Blues. This season, Krejci has 13 goals and 30 assists as the second-line center. He has 494 career assists in 935 regular-season games and has become one of the Bruins leaders both on and off the ice.
2. Brad Marchand, 2006
A third-round pick at 71st overall, Brad Marchand is one of the game’s biggest agitators but has turned into one of the more valuable pieces to the team’s success. He spent three years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and two years with the Providence Bruins after being drafted before breaking into the Bruins lineup on a full-time basis in the 2010-11 season.
His first full season in Boston saw him score 21 goals and dish out 20 assists. In the playoffs that year, he had 11 goals and 8 assists to help the Bruins raise the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972. He saved his best performance for last as he scored two goals and had an assist in a 4-0 Game 7 win in Vancouver.
Marchand has been in trouble with the league and served multiple suspensions over his career for on-ice incidents, but he has seemed to have cleaned up his act lately, which is good news for the Bruins. At 32 years old, he has seen his play-making ability go up over the last three years. He had 51 assists in 2017-18, a career-high 64 in 2018-19, and has 59 in 70 games in 2019-20. This season, he is second on the team in goals with 12 and has a team-high 22 assists in 28 games.
While he certainly has had trouble avoiding meetings with the NHL disciplinary office, he has become one of the Bruins top forwards and plays a major role in the team’s success. If continues down this road, he could one day find himself in the conversation for the Hall of Fame. Just maybe.
1.Patrice Bergeron, 2003
Drafted 45th overall in the second round, Patrice Bergeron has been one of the best and consistent centers in the league over the last two decades. He broke into the Boston lineup full-time at the beginning of the 2005-06 season and the rest is history. He was named captain of the Black and Gold in January after Zdeno Chara left in free agency to join the Washington Capitals in December.
In his 17 years for the Black and Gold, Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy four times and has established himself as one of the leagues best two-way forwards. He currently centers the Bruins top line with Marchand and David Pastrnak.
He has 362 goals (111 on the power play) and 532 assists in his career and has played in 1,117 regular-season games. In the 2011 playoffs, he finished tied for third in scoring with 6 goals and 14 assists. He scored two goals in the Game 7 and Cup-clinching win at Vancouver.
He has scored 30 goals or more six times in his career, including this year with 31, marking the third straight year of 30 or more. At 35 years old, it’s easy to see him with Marchand and Pastrnak on the Bruins top-line for a few more years.
All five of these draft picks are still playing in the league two decades later. Four contributed to the Bruins Stanley Cup championship in 2011, while three are still going strong today for a Bruins team that is sitting on top of the league standings with 100 points during the COVID-19 shutdown. Regardless of what happens, these five players stand above everyone else during the Bruins draft picks of the 2000s.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.