Tag Archives: Scouting

Evaluating the Scouts

Some Bruins fans love to use their 20/20 hindsight and call out all the players the Bruins should have drafted. I’ve also wondered, what if the Bruins had just followed the NHL Central Scouting rankings for each draft, who would they have ended up with? Let’s take a look. Here’s the way it works, each year before the draft, the NHL puts out their own rankings of all the available players. I took that and I crossed names off as they were actually drafted and then when it was the Bruins’ turn to pick, looked at who is the best player available, according to the NHL scouts. Here’s how that went.

2015

We all know 2015 went really badly from the perspective that it was a very deep draft, there were a lot of good players available when the Bruins had three choices. Jake DeBrusk has turned out to be approximately what he was projected to be, around the 19th best player in that draft. Zach Senyshyn has been a huge miss, and then there’s Jakob Zboril. Due to slower development and injuries, the jury is still out. But those are the three guys they took. We always hear about Barzal, Connor, Chabot, Boeser and so many other players, but based on the 2015 NHL Central Scouting rankings, who would the Bruins have gotten? Yes, Matt Barzal and Kyle Connor, but the third one might surprise some people, Jakob Zboril. The best goalies available were Ilya Samsonov and Mackenzie Blackwood.

Let’s take it a little further and look at the second round where the Bruins took Brandon Carlo at 37 and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson at 45. The highest ranked players at 37 were Jansen Harkins, Michael Spacek, Blackwood or old friend Daniel Vladar. For the second pick, the same players were still available, but if the Bruins had taken Harkins at 37, then the next man up would be Filip Chlapik. Going as far as the third round, when they took Jeremy Lauzon, the best player in the rankings was Jeremy Roy.

2016

In 2016, the Bruins took Charlie McAvoy at 14, but according to the NHL Central Scouting, the highest rated available was Jakob Chychrun. Chrychrun is a pretty good player, but he’s not as good as Charlie McAvoy. That pick is a win for the Bruins. The Bruins also had a second first round pick at 29 where they took Trent Frederic. The highest ranked player was 21st, Alex Debrincat. He eventually went to Chicago, dropping all the way to 39. In the second round, the Bruins took a guy who is now an NHL defenseman, but was traded to the Rangers in the Rick Nash deal, Ryan Lindgren. He was drafted 49th. The highest ranked players at the time were Kale Clague and Carl Grundstrom. I feel pretty good about the Bruins scouting and drafting on that pick.

2017

This is the last year to look at as not enough players have had time to develop yet from 2018 on. But this year, the Bruins took Urho Vaakanainen at 18. The highest ranked players available according to the NHL Central Scouting were either Eeli Tolvanen or Klim Kostin. Meh. I’m not too excited about any of those players and I wouldn’t get too excited about “missing” on any of those. Looking into the second round, the Bruins took Jack Studnicka at 53 and the highest ranked players available for that pick were Rickard Hugg and Alexei Lipanov. To which I can just say “Who?” as neither of them have NHL experience and I don’t think either will ever get any.

There you have it, the answer to “What if the Bruins fired all their scouts and just used the NHL’s own rankings?” The thing to keep in mind though is for every Debrincat, all the other teams missed on him too. Each team has their own hits and misses including the Flyers, Stars and Capitals 2016 first round picks who have played a combined 15 NHL games.

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