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2013 Draft Class "Committed to Winning, Team Game"

Monday, 07.01.2013 / 12:10 PM
By Caryn Switaj - BostonBruins.com / Bruins Blog
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2013 Draft Class \"Committed to Winning, Team Game\"

NEWARK, NJ - Entering Sunday's one-day NHL Draft at the Prudential Center, the Bruins' first selection was coming at No. 60 in the second round.

Their first rounder (29th overall) was owned by the Dallas Stars. When the Bruins traded for Jaromir Jagr at the deadline, Dallas acquired a conditional second-round pick that became a first-round selection if the Bruins reached the Eastern Conference Finals.

As such, General Manager Peter Chiarelli said "of course" he would have interest getting into the first round.

"I think any GM who went into the draft without a first round would have to do that," he said.

When trade talks slowed on Sunday, the Bruins stayed firm to their picks, which included a selection in each round, 2-7 (overall picks: 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210).

Chiarelli said on the trade front, he'll wait and see what happens leading up to the compliance buyout deadline (each team was allowed two buyouts this season because of the lower salary cap) and the free agency period.

Having their first selection at No. 60 meant a long period of waiting, but once the Bruins got rolling, they ended up with six picks they're confident all fit the Bruins' style of play.

When the day concluded around 10:30 p.m., they had drafted two defensemen, Linus Arnesson and Wiley Sherman, along with four forwards, including Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Fitzgerald, Anton Blidh and Mitchell Dempsey.

"We ended up drafting a couple defensemen that fit the system that we play, and then the forwards, we added some speed, some skill in the forward group. So, we kind of added a little bit of everything," said Bruins Assistant Manager Jim Benning from the draft floor, after the draft had ended.

"I think we were able to stick to our policy of having Bruin' style players," added Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Wayne Smith. "People who are committed to winning and committed to the team game. And I’m confident every one one of those players will do everything they can to try and bring the Cup to Boston. I know that they are excited about it."

The strategy the B's always try to employ is 'best player available,' as emphasized by Chiarelli in the days leading up to the draft, when he and his staff were finishing up pro and amateur meetings in preparation.

"What we tried to do is take the best player available when we picked," said Benning. "We sat here for four and a half hours before we got our first pick at the end of the second round. So we were excited when Arnesson was still there on the table for us."

Here's a breakdown of the Bruins' draft selections and the take from management/scouting on each pick:

Round 2 - Pick No. 60 - Defenseman Linus Arnesson

Linus Arnesson (pronounced AHR-neh-sihn), a 6-foot-1, 179-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden, played last season for Djurgarden of the Swedish Junior League, and was a member of Sweden's 2013 silver-medal winning team at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

"There’s an element of skill and toughness in all players. Arnesson is a real solid defender," said GM Peter Chiarelli, who went on to characterize him as a versatile defenseman who is a good skater and not necessarily a "banger," but a "solid, two-way defenseman."

"We were really excited about getting our first pick Linus Arnesson. I think that we had envisioned that we weren’t going to be able to get him so any time you can get a player who played in the World Junior tournament as an underage player, we get excited about those types of players," said Director of Amateur Scouting Wayne Smith.

World Juniors' squads are made up of under-20 players, and Arnesson made Sweden's team as an 18-year-old.

"Steady defenseman, takes away ice, very difficult to take one-on-one, responsible, sticks up for his teammates. He plays a good puck moving game and has size to go with it."

The Bruins' European head scout, Jukka Holtari, liked the good follow-up the organization had gotten on Arnesson.

"Every time we see him, he plays a steady game. Excellent defensive skills, smart, anticipates play well. Pretty much one of those guys that you like the more you see him," said Holtari.

"And if he turns out the player we wish him to be, it’s going to be the style of [Andrew] Ference or [Dennis] Seidenberg. One of those guys you appreciate more after seeing more."

Round 3 - Pick. No. 90 - Forward Peter Cehlarik

Left wing Peter Cehlarik (pronounced CHUH-lair-ihk) is a 5-foot-10, 168-pound forward from Slovakia, who spent last season with Lulea in the Swedish Junior League, putting up 37 points (17 goals, 20 assists), and also played eight games with Lulea's Swedish Elite League team, putting up a plus-8 rating.

"Cehlarik’s got a little bit of hands and little bit of Handzus," said Chiarelli, referring to current Chicago Blackhawks' center Michal Handzus. "He can dish [the puck], good vision, good size. Two-way player."

"Smart, skilled, well-sized. Young Slovak guy who has played two years in Sweden in Lulea programs. Little bit of a secret player early in the season," said Head European Scout Holtari.

"He played very well in Sochi in the Under-18 World Championship for the Slovaks and there [wasn't anything more] about a secret player then."

"If he turns out what we wish him to be, the style of play reminds a little bit of Anze Kopitar -- the style of play has some similarities."

Round 4 - Pick No. 120 - Forward Ryan Fitzgerald

The B's first of two New England natives came with their third pick, 5-foot-10, 170-pound center Ryan Fitzgerald from North Reading, Mass., who played at Malden Catholic before skating with the Valley Junior Warriors of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, where he put up 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) and 50 penalty minutes in 26 games. He is committed to play at Boston College in the Fall.

Ryan's Bruins' and NHL bloodlines run deep. His father, Tom Fitzgerald, is a former NHLer and Bruin who is currently the Assistant GM for the Pittsburgh Penguins. His uncle, Scott Fitzgerald, is the B's Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting. Ryan's good friend, Matt Grzelcyk, was drafted by the Bruins in 2012.

"We’ve had Ryan in and he tested well and he’s a good kid," Chiarelli had said, a round before drafting Fitzgerald. "You may see us at one point get a New England kid."

"In the fourth round, we were really excited to get Ryan," said Assistant GM Jim Benning. "He’s a real smart hockey player. He plays hard. He competes hard. He’ll fit right into our culture, our competitiveness. I think he’s going to be a real good player for us."

Round 5 - Pick No. 150 - Defenseman Wiley Sherman

The Bruins followed up with another New Englander a pick later, in the fifth round, when they drafted 6-foot-6, 196-pound blueliner Wiley Sherman, from Greenwich, Connecticut. The stay-at-home defenseman plays for the The Hotchkiss School and will play at Harvard University in 2014. He plans to take on a larger leadership role next season with Hotchkiss and contribute more offensively, upping his 10-point output in 26 games in 2012-13.

"We drafted him because he is 6-foot-6, he’s a raw player right now but he’s athletic, he’s a good skater, he can make a good first pass," said Assistant GM Jim Benning. "We're hoping he develops into a defensive, stay at home D-man, make a good first pass, play physical. If he hits his high side, we are hoping he can kind of play like a Hal Gill style of game."

Round 6 - Pick No. 180 - Forward Anton Blidh

With their third selection from the Swedish leagues, the Bruins chose left wing Anton Blidh (pronounced 'Bleed') from Frolunda's teams in the Swedish Junior League and U-18, combining for close to 90 penalty minutes. He put up 17 goals and 10 assists for 27 points and in the Swedish Junior League through 43 games.

"Blidh plays a Bruins' style of play," said Director of Amateur Scouting Wayne Smith. "He is an up and down, hard-nosed kid."

Round 7 - Pick No. 210 - Forward Mitchell Dempsey

With their final pick in 2013, the Bruins selected Cambridge, Ontario native, forward Mitchell Dempsey, from the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. In an injury-marred year, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound left winger put up five points (1-4) in 36 games.

Director of Amateur Scouting Wayne Smith has watched the 18-year-old play for the past four-plus years.

"Mitchell Dempsey is a big strong kid who had injury problems, high ankle sprain and pneumonia this year, unfortunately. We were very familiar with him and we took a chance that he’s going to have a comeback season this year," said Smith.

"Having seen him him play in Midget and earlier, I am really excited about the possibilities that he has. He was a first round pick in the Ontario Hockey League and he’s a big, strong kid. I think he’s going to do everything to try and make this hockey team."

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