For the No. 37 selection and second round choice, the Boston Bruins drafted defenseman Yuri Alexandrov from Cherepovets in the Russian league.
According to Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Bradley, Alexandrov is an outstanding player and Boston is thrilled about the pick. The Bruins had him rated high on their master list and were surprised any of the other 29 teams in the NHL did not grab him earlier.
“We are very excited about Yuri Alexandrov,” said Bradley via cell phone from the draft table on Saturday night. “He is a world-class defenseman that we had slated to go in the top 12. For us to be able to draft him at No. 37 is phenomenal.”
The Cherepovets, Russia native is a smooth skater and exceptionally mobile. Alexandrov has good hockey sense and plays his position well. He scored one goal and recorded two points over 37 games with Cherepovets in the 2005-06 season and is projected to be a future No. 3 defenseman in the NHL.
“Although we think highly of him, I think he will probably need another year of development before he comes to play in Boston,” added Bradley. “Now, you never know, but I would guess one more year in the Elite league in Russia would be fitting.”
The 6-foot, 185-pounder was also the captain of the Russian Under-18 team. The defenseman compiled 1-2=3 through six games and was a plus-7 in the plus/minus department at the tournament in Sweden.
As for Alexandrov, the fourth ranked European skater on the Central Scouting Report will never forget June 24, 2006 for two reasons. He turned 18 and was drafted in the second round by a team with rich history and tradition.
The Bruins decided to go with a gritty forward for their No. 50 selection. Milan Lucic
, a Vancouver native, is a rugged forward who can throw punches and put the puck in the net. The left winger played for Vancouver in the WHL where he chipped in with 9-10=19 totals in 62 games played. He also never backed down from a fight and compiled 149 penalties in minutes.
Lucic brings a hard work ethic and is willing to go through a wall if asked, according to Bradley. The 6’2”, 204-pound workhorse brings an element of scoring touch to go with his determination, which is something management is excited about.
“(Milan) Lucic is a gritty forward and I think will be a great role player in Boston,” said Bradley. “He’s tough, but he score goals too, and that’s important. We like him a lot.”
The Bruins think highly of forward Brad Marchand
of the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
In fact, Gorton and company think so highly of him they traded their fourth round pick (98) and early fifth round pick (126) to the New York Islanders in exchange for the No. 71 pick in the third round.
“We’re really excited about Brad (Marchand),” said Bradley. “If we were not excited about him, we certainly would not have traded two picks to get him.”
Marchand, a strong skating center, notched an impressive 29 goals and 66 points in 68 games played for Moncton. He was a key member for the Wildcats in their Memorial Cup run where they lost in the Championship to their league-rival, the Quebec Remparts. He compiled 5-14=19 totals in 20 playoff games.
“I think he draws a lot of comparisons to Martins Karsums and that says a lot,” Bradley said. “Marchand is definitely a value pick and we’re happy to get him where we did.”
Standing at just 5’9”, 183 lbs., Marchand certainly will not be a physical threat when he enters the NHL. Instead, the small, speedy forward will look to take advantage of the new league rules that will prevent opposing defensemen from holding him back as he roars into the offensive zone.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia native is described as a gritty competitor and is not afraid to get his nose dirty. Marchand possesses massive speed, a good scoring touch and is a two-way forward.
Fifth and Sixth Round
The Bruins drafted energy players in the fifth and sixth round. A defenseman in Andrew Bodnarchuk
and a forward in Levi Nelson -- both have strong character and certainly will not cheat in the effort category.
The first of the two selected was defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk
in the fifth round (128), a product of the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 68 games played, the reliable blueliner recorded six goals and 17 assists for 23 points.
Bodnarchuk is a strong skating defenseman and effectively use the poke-check to his advantage. Despite being 5’10”, 172 lbs., the 18-year old is proficient at using leverage to take the opposition out of the play. Bodnarchuk also possesses strong hockey sense and anticipation, which helps him break up plays at the blueline frequently.
In the sixth round, the B’s chose center Levi Nelson from the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL.
The scouting report on Nelson is that he prides himself on effort. The Calgary, Alberta native is speedy and is not afraid to take a hit. He tallied 21 goals and 17 assists for 38 points in 63 games this season with Swift Current.
It is desired that Nelson can play in the NHL in a couple years and provide a strong boost of energy on the third or fourth line.
Bruins Interim General Manager Jeff Gorton was pleased with how the draft unraveled on Saturday for the Hub of Hockey.
The young front office executive had a very tough last few months and handled it professionally. Gorton dealt with the firing of his boss, taking over the reigns, and the hiring of a new boss -- all while trying to prepare for the draft.
Gorton and his staff did an outstanding job at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The future looks bright for this storied franchise.