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Preview: Bruins' Brass Ready for NHL Draft

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

PHILADELPHIA - The NHL Draft kicks off tonight on Friday, June 27 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with Round 1 set to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN).

The Bruins own the 25th overall pick.

Rounds 2-7 will take place on Saturday, June 28, at 10:00 a.m. ET. The Bruins own the 56th overall pick in the second round, the 116th pick in the fourth round, 146th in the fifth round and 206th in the seventh round.

Their third round pick (86th) was a conditional pick traded to Philadelphia for Andrej Meszaros on March 5, 2014 at the trade deadline. Their sixth round pick (176th) was traded to St. Louis for Wade Redden at the trade deadline on April 3, 2013.

Boston didn't have a first-round pick last year in 2013. The Black & Gold selected defenseman Linus Arnesson 60th overall in the second round. He was signed to an entry-level contract on June 1.

As the Bruins get set for the first round, General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke on Friday morning about this year's draft and the expectations.

"It’s a different draft. It thins out, and when it thins out, teams have a lot of different lists," said Chiarelli. "So normally, if we’re 25, we’re looking at the 17th or 16th player on our list, normally. But maybe we’re going to get the 13th player on our list now because it kind of branches out once you get down past 10 or 11, and everyone has their own kind of favorites because it thins out."

"So there’s a lot of skilled forwards in the mix and that’s kind of one of the things we’re looking for. We’re looking for size, strength, D — I don’t know if we’re going to get that in the first round — but there’s a lot of skilled forwards."

Earlier in the week, Chiarelli hadn't ruled out putting the Bruins' first-round pick into play, and trying to move or move down, depending on who's available at that time. He noted the club has a tight draft list of their potential picks.

"Even to move up to like 17 or 18, it’s going to cost a lot," he said. "So I talked about how this draft’s going to branch out after maybe 10, 11 or 12 — it may be that you’re going to get a pick at 25 that you think you’d have to move up to get 17, just because of that. So you have to see how it’s going around that area. I don’t expect to move up."

To get a player that would have the chance to play in the NHL next year, Chiarelli believed the Bruins would have to move up from No. 25.

When the 2014 NHL Draft does begin, Chiarelli and his staff will be guided by Director of Amateur Scouting Keith Gretzky. This marks Gretzky's first draft in his current role. He was promoted last offseason, after spending two seasons with the Bruins as an amateur scout. He previously headed up the Coyotes' draft efforts from 2006-11.

Chiarelli is confident in his group as they get set for what's widely considered a "thinner" draft than recent years.

"I feel we have a real tight list," said the GM. "I think we’ve had some real productive meetings with Keith at the helm and he’s got a different perspective on things but he also knows what the Bruins ideals are and kind of the ingredients that we want in players."

"I have complete confidence in Keith in running this draft and we’ve got some real good guys behind him and above him that can really give him good lateral support. Like a guy like Scott Bradley has been terrific in that regard in giving Keith tutelage and pointing him in the right direction and giving him support."

"So I feel good about our amateur group and I am looking forward to this draft."

Draft time also allows for possible movement around the League, with NHL brass all gathered together. And with seven new general managers at the helm in the past six months, they've been "feeling their way through the market," according to Chiarelli.

"So I think maybe that has resulted in a little more activity than normal, a little more conversation than normal."

While GMs have the chance to build their clubs long-term, the draft is also a prime opportunity to make trades, move picks, and trade up or down for selections.

"For me, yeah, it is [quiet], I don’t anticipate making a trade," Chiarelli said of the activity surrounding his own club. "There might be a minor one, but I don’t anticipate making a big trade this weekend."

"So you guys can come off the high alert," he smiled to the gathered reporters.

As for other teams, who have already made a number of trades in the hours leading up to the draft, there could be more activity.

"There’s probably going to be a couple [blockbuster trades]. I think every year, there’s a couple. There’s been more activity — I mentioned this in my conference call — there’s been more activity," he said. "We’ve got some new guys that are pushing agendas, new GMs, so there’s more activity for that. You’ve got a weaker free agent pool, so there’s more activity. The draft is a little thin, so the picks aren’t as valuable, so the teams are more willing to make some deals, so there’s been more activity for that."

"Now, activity versus pulling the trigger — that’s a different thing. So we’ll see about that."

With the NHL and NHLPA announcing the upper limit for the salary cap set at $69 million, that could speed up activity as well.

Tune in to Round 1 of the NHL Draft at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Rounds 2-7 take place at 10:00 a.m. ET Saturday on NHL Network. and the Bruins Mobile App will have your full coverage, along with live updates on Twitter @NHLBruins.

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