NHL.com's 30 in 30 series, focusing on different aspects of each team for 30 days in August, recently shone its spotlight on the Boston Bruins. In their top 10 list of Bruins prospects, as a Bruins fan I feel they underestimate the possibilities displayed by the young talents.
I think it's right to put Dougie Hamilton first on the list, though. He led all OHL defensemen in scoring last season, putting up an impressive 72 points in 50 games, has represented Canada well at two different international competitions and the general manager of his junior team doesn't expect to see him for a fourth year in Niagara this fall. It seems like all systems are go for Hamilton to try to make the Boston roster and I would not be surprised if he made it.
The only other defenseman on that top 10 list comes in sixth and is someone I'd love to see form a defense pairing alongside Hamilton: Torey Krug. Like Hamilton, Krug scores a lot and does big things. He led all blueliners in his college conference for scoring, was named Best Offensive Defenseman twice and won the scoring total for all players in his conference this year. He has some NHL experience, too, so he could help his potential defense partner Hamilton find his way around TD Garden and learn the ropes.
Right-winger Brian Ferlin is the only winger on the list and stands at ninth place. Like Krug, he spent some time with the USHL's Indiana Ice, where he jumped from 16 points in his rookie year to a 73-point sophomore season while playing two fewer games. He took his talents to college at Cornell University, where his 21 points in 26 games helped him win the conference's Freshman of the Year award. Ferlin is definitely more of a long-term project for the Bruins and will spend at least one more year at Cornell honing his skills.
Exactly half of the list is made up of centers, including good friends and self-defined bromance partners Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight at second and third place, respectively. Spooner is done with his junior career, but he's had a big one, including an impressive 62 points in 50 games for the Kingston Frontenacs in 2010-11. He'll most likely take his scoring skills to Providence with Knight, who's also put together a big junior career with a standout 2010-11 season. Knight also went deep into the Memorial Cup playoffs and his London Knights quite nearly won the Cup itself.
Alexander Khokhlachev, fifth on the list, already knows for sure where he will go this fall: he's headed to Russia to play in the KHL on the team where his dad is the general manager. After two junior seasons where he scored more than 68 points both times, there's not much more he can do at the OHL level except perhaps try to get more than 100 points for a season. Still, going to the KHL could work out well for him. He'll be near family, but he'll also be competing at a much higher level than in junior, a level that could really prepare him for NHL competition.
Seventh-ranked Max Sauve had a good junior career in Quebec, including a 76-point season in 2008-09. He's been with the Providence Bruins since 2010, though struggles with injuries led him to play just 39 games this past season. But if he can just stay healthy, he's shown he has potential and can continue to do well.
Carter Camper, ranked eighth, had a standout four years at Miami University with at least 41 points in all four seasons. After his 2011 graduation, he made his way to Providence and put together 48 points in 69 games, which led the entire team. He also played three Boston games this past season and even scored his first NHL goal. Providence could especially use a scoring touch like his and he can surely earn more Boston call-ups over time as well.
Keeping in mind that Subban has only played goalie for six years, he's already making waves. He improved his record from 10-17-2 to 25-14-0 in two seasons of junior, raised his save percentage and lowered his goals-against average (the good directions for both metrics) and led all North American goalies in the 2012 draft prospects. Recently, he was a big part of Canada winning the Canada-Russia Challenge, too. Still, he would benefit from spending some more time in juniors because goalies develop differently from forwards and defensemen.
Svedberg has championship experience too and on a senior level with the Swedish Elite League. He was part of the Brynas team that won it all this past season and has been putting up pretty good stats. He'll become part of Providence's goalie tandem now that Anton Khudobin is getting promoted up the goalie line of succession to backing Tuukka Rask.
Looking at the stats for all 10 of these young prospects, I personally fail to see how NHL.com could call this a shallow prospect pool. All of these guys have already done great things and have the potential to accomplish even more. Furthermore, Boston's lineup already has a lot of relatively young players itself, so these young guys simply might not be able to crack the big time for a while. Still, to me this prospect pool isn't shallow at all--it's really deep and very promising.
Emma Harger is a Boston Bruins fan who has always felt like the Bruins' prospect system is loaded with impressive guys who promise a bright future for the team.