The 2015 NHL Draft is one of the deepest drafts in recent history, boasting instant game-changers and incredible amounts of depth throughout the second round and beyond. Perched at the 14 pick, the Boston Bruins have the ability to select a franchise cornerstone. Whomever Don Sweeney chooses with his first selection as general manager of the Bruins has the chance to immediately make the senior club, or lead a group of interesting and improving prospects. But what if the Bruins had the chance to select a sure-fire home run, someone who could undoubtedly change the future of the franchise?
A Future Star in Boston?
Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Mitch Marner, Dylan Strome, and Noah Hanifin (listed in no specific order) represent the cream of the crop of this year’s draft. Hailed as the best prospect since Sidney Crosby, McDavid represents a sure-fire superstar that comes along once in a generation. While attempting to persuade the Edmonton Oilers to give up the rights to their future could be virtually impossible, the Bruins might look to trade up from the middle of the first round to secure a top talent. Each of the players listed have the ability to either produce points at a rabid pace, or in the case of Hanifin, patrol the blue line for years to come. Investing in a franchise cornerstone would be beneficial to the Bruins because it would give them someone alongside David Pastrnak to build around.
Just imagine it: the hometown boy, Jack Eichel, donning the Bruins’ iconic Black and Gold while striding alongside David Pastrnak over the spoked B in the center of the TD Garden. It’s almost too good to be true. Growing up in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, perched 33.9 miles from Boston. Imagine how elated he would be to have his family and friends watch him in the Garden every home game.
Numerous Possible Challenges in Moving Up
The five skaters identified above were chosen because they have the makeup to be a superstar in the NHL. After the fifth overall pick, the Bruins would be forced to give a lot, while not receiving a much better prospect due to the sheer depth of this year’s draft class.
With that being said, trading for a top pick isn’t as easy as one might imagine. The Bruins, while having depth defensively and in goal developing in the minors, lack top end talent that could attract teams to part with a piece that would be integral to their future. Malcolm Subban (and maybe Zane McIntrye) represents the only prospect that would make other general managers stay on the phone and contemplate moving their pick.
Within the system, the Bruins are short on high-end assets. But what about at the parent club? With little maneuverability in terms of cap space (Yes, I will once again beat the dead horse that is the Bruins’ cap struggles), the Bruins will roll into the 2015-16 season with a roster that looks vaguely similar to the one that accumulated 96 points, yet fell short of qualifying for the postseason. In order to pull off a trade, the Bruins will likely have to part with a major piece of their team. Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara are players that continually pop up into trade rumors. Both players are established veterans who saw a regression in their respective statistical performances this past season, and are therefore deemed overpaid or a victim of the Bruins’ cap predicament. Clearing one of the two would open the bank for Dougie Hamilton, a restricted free agent whom the Bruins should re-sign due to his progression into a top two defenseman.
Would the Trade Be Worth It?
While dreaming of a future with Eichel or Marner in a Bruins uniform could make any Bruins fan happy, that dream is simply unreasonable. The way that the current Bruins roster is constructed is not conducive to a rebuild. Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, and David Krejci (not to mention Lucic and Chara) are a few of the team’s core who are entering the prime of their career. Taking a step back by trading away a team leader and proven performer to acquire a future All-Star is not what the Bruins need. A few gaps in the roster (such as a top six winger) would go a long way towards the team marching down Causeway Street with the Stanley Cup lifted above the duckboats with millions of bystanders screaming their lungs out. Would this vision be unreasonable too? The Bruins aren’t too far from the 2013-14 team that captured the President’s Trophy for the best regular season record. The core is intact. The time is now to make the final push to regain dominance, not to regress and begin the long uncertain journey of a rebuild.
Cam Kerry is on Twitter, and competed against the organization that Jack Eichel used to play for. Now, he drools to Eichel’s highlight tapes.