The Boston Bruins are likely to add the second first round selection of the famed Kessel
dump fleecing trade to the pro ranks this season. Dougie Hamilton if he can beat out the other young lions, and possibly the return of one or both of Mike Mottau or Greg Zannon, he will still end up the Boston Bruins sixth or seventh defenseman. That’s assuming the Bruins do decide that he doesn’t need to go back to juniors anyway. Which they well could.
There are a couple reasons for this. The first is the simplest, the recent convert from forward to defense hadn’t finished growing in most recent junior season. That means it is highly unlikely he’s filled in his frame with enough muscle to protect himself from injury. Joe Thornton who is of similar dimensions had enough back problems after being rushed into the league he almost retired before he was traded from Boston. Next up is with the cap considerations of the Boston Bruins this year, in terms of cap hit, he might just be more expensive than a designated veteran six or seven guy. Third on the list is that well,Julien likes veterans. He’s not the “rookie ruining” monster the Tylerphiles and Kesselites would have you believe, but there will be no guff from the beardless boys. Fourth, and this is a constant mantra of the Chiarelli era is “flexibility”.
Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of young players cycle through the roster as they get hot or someone else gets cold. If the team is at home young players who need more ice time are sent to Providence, and called back later. Some players aren’t of course called back at all. Which means that players like Tommy Cross, Kevin Miller, Torey Krug and one or two others have as good or better chance to be on the opening night roster. Krug has even played in the NHL already and not looked out of place. Cross is of course the college captain who won just about everything in his academic career.
Then too there is there are the multiple upper body injuries suffered by Adam Mcquaid in the last two seasons. One more knock on the head or tweaking of the neck could down check a steady contributor for quite some time leaving a crucial set of minutes to be filled. I don’t see Julien and company being comfortable with putting two rookies out if a veteran is not added. And with the goaltending situation still up n the air, it might be better to go with six or seven experienced defenseman if only to protect the likely goaltending tandem.
All that said, there is still a good chance the offensively gifted skating giant is on the ice game one. If he is, no one with an ounce of wit should expect him to average more than twelve and a half minutes a night for the season. Barring serious injury to someone else and exceptional play for a rookie, I think ten and a half is a more realistic number. I also expect it will vary greatly based on opponents, his play, and game situations. For that with all his speed, reach and his heavy shot I think it’s possible to ballpark an offensive line fairly well.
If we use Cam Fowler, Victor Hedman, Tyler Myers, and Johnny Boychuk to establish a baseline I think we get a good mix of the system he’ll be playing in, style, and size comparables. A total offensive output on that roughly eleven and a half minutes a night tilting his on ice time slightly towards power play minutes and away from penalty killing, a line of about 21 points is reasonable. It might be a little high, but offense is what he’s best at. Because of the tilt towards powerplay time, the fact that I’ve never seen praise of his defensive game in print, and general inexperience, I’d put out a -6 to go with that.