By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
For the first time in five years, the Boston Bruins do not own a first-round pick in the NHL Draft.
That pick left the Bruins in the trade that brought Rick Nash (but not a Stanley Cup) to Boston for the stretch run, just like the first-round pick that left the Bruins organization in a similar trade for the Stars’ Jaromir Jagr back in 2013. (The biggest difference with the Jagr trade in 2013 versus the Nash trade of 2018 comes with the fact that 2013’s trade didn’t officially include a first-round selection leaving the Black and Gold’s possession until the B’s made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.)
With six round one selections in the last three years alone, though, you could make the case that the Bruins have more than covered themselves despite the loss of their 2018 first-round selection. But B’s general manager Don Sweeney, who spoke about the process prior to the draft combine in Buffalo, will continue to comb the market in search of a first-round pick.
“I think, as everybody gets approaching the draft itself and going through the interviews, it gets hard,” Sweeney said of trading up into the first round. “I’d had previous discussions, and whether or not those change between now and after interviews and such, we’ll have to find out in the next couple weeks. I do think it will be difficult, yeah, but there are teams with multiple picks. You never know what some team may want to do based on where – everybody’s really had or will have coming out of this, their amateur and pro meetings, so things kind of take shape within your own team and what your teams are.”
Teams with multiple first-round picks include the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, and Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers, with first-round picks acquired from both the Bruins (for Nash) and Tampa Bay Lightning (for Ryan McDonagh), lead the first round with three picks in total.
The Vancouver Canucks, who possess the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft and find themselves in an odd spot as a team both trying to compete and retool, are also apparently open to trading the pick should the right deal present itself.
What the Bruins would have to part with obviously varies depending on the value of the pick they would receive in return.
The Bruins are not exactly loaded with high-priced talent that they would want to move, and they would ultimately be reluctant to move on from any of the young guns that have already made an NHL impact just to move into the first round.
But Sweeney expects this year’s draft to feature one of the more active trade markets in recent memory.
“There’s a sense that there will be some activity,” Sweeney said of the trade market as a whole. “I think in around the draft, there’s several teams with multiple picks, say in the top 50, so I think there will be some jockeying. There’s some teams that have made some coaching have made some coaching changes. I think there’s opportunity to explore player transactions at this time. Everybody is sort of anticipating what the cap and how much it’s going to go up, and whether that will dramatically affect anybody’s decision making. There’s some big numbers and some players that teams are going to look to sign that could impact.
“We’ve got players that we may look at our earlier stage, so those all could be impactful things and decision in planning of your own player movement, plus outside player movement,” Sweeney continued. “But, there has been some chatter.”
In addition to a first-round pick, it’s believed that the Bruins will use draft weekend as a way to find a potential upgrade to their defense (specifically on their left side behind the 41-year-old Zdeno Chara) via trade.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.