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September 10, 2012
Top 10 Prospects
Boston Bruins

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Boston Bruins Top 10 Prospects

1. Dougie Hamilton, Defense
2. Alexander Khokhlachev, Center
3. Ryan Spooner, Center
4. Torey Krug, Defense
5. Jared Knight, Right Wing
6. Maxime Sauve, Left Wing
7. Zach Trotman, Defense
8.Seth Griffith, Left Wing
9.Malcolm Subban, Goaltender
10.Brian Ferlin, Right Wing

Maxim Chudinov is ineligible due to reasons specified in the series introduction.

Organizational Ranking: 16th

System Overview: Boston's system is anchored by arguably the top defense prospect in hockey, Dougie Hamilton, whose development curve continues to spike upward. They have a pretty top-heavy system with very impressive prospects after Hamilton in Khokhlachev, Spooner, and Krug, but after that tier, the quality falls off to either project players or high probability/average upside prospects.

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1. Dougie Hamilton, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 06/17/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 193
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 49 GP, 17 G, 72 P (Niagara-OHL)
Acquired: First round, ninth overall in 2011 by Boston

The Good: The CHL Defenseman of the Year took his stock to another level this season, which says a lot about a former top-10 pick. He's an above-average skater and puck-handler who can do both at tremendous levels considering he's 6'4''. Hamilton's always been considered a very smart player, but he was switched to defense recently and looked a little raw last year; this season, the high level of game-processing ability shone through. Hamilton projects to move the puck at a high level, lead the rush with his speed, and make plays by himself—which for a player his size, makes him an elite prospect. He's got a good wingspan and can be a good stick-checker.

The Bad: Hamilton could be a little meaner and use his body more. While much improved, his defensive decisions could still use some fine tuning.

Projection: He could be a #1 defenseman.

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2. Alexander Khokhlachev, Center
2010-11 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 09/09/1993
Age: 19
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 172
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 56 GP, 25 G, 69 P (Windsor-OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 40th overall in 2011 by Boston

The Good: Khokhlachev is an extremely skilled player with high-end hands and hockey sense who projects as a potential puck possession weapon if everything goes right. He has the ability to make dazzling individual moves while also being a very creative playmaker who can make top feeds. He's got good agility and edgework, while also being a pretty determined player off the puck. His conditioning was an issue last year, but that area of his game seems fine now.

The Bad: Khokhlachev is a small and very slight player who can be pushed off the puck easily. His speed is average, and below-average for a player his size. His defensive zone coverage could use work as well.

Projection: His potential is between a fringe #1 and a very good #2 center.

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3. Ryan Spooner, Center
2010-11 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 01/30/1992
Age: 20
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 175
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 57 GP, 29 G, 66 P (Kingston/Sarnia-OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 45th overall in 2010 by Boston

The Good: Spooner is a terrific skater with top-end speed and he has a unique element to his game in terms of his acceleration. His ability to change gears is elite, as he can simply be gliding on the ice and then be able to instantly shift to top speed. Spooner is a very creative player who has plus playmaking skills to go along with impressive hands.

The Bad: He's a small player, and while he'll drive the net and engage with his body, he's not all that effective doing so. Spooner's defense, which was previously a major hole, has shown significant improvement. Spooner needs to put on a lot of strength.

Projection: He could be an above-average second line center.

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4. Torey Krug, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 04/12/1991
Age: 21
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 180
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 38 GP,12 G, 34 P (Michigan State-CCHA)
Acquired: College free agent

The Good: Krug had a great season, finishing the year as a Hobey Baker finalist and CCHA player of the year. He's got plus tools across the board, as his skating, puck skills, and hockey instincts are all very high quality. Krug has brilliant edgework and is a very agile skater who closes gaps efficiently and can be a shifty player to check. He's a dynamic offensive player who can lead rushes, dangle through opponents in full flight, and generate offense from the offensive blue line. He's got solid defensive instincts and is generally positioned well.

The Bad: Krug has only one real weakness, and that's his stature. 5'9'' defensemen can survive in the NHL, but it'll still be a major hurdle Krug has to pass along with getting stronger.

Projection: He could be a good second pairing defender and play on a top PP unit.

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5. Jared Knight, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 01/16/1992
Age: 20
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 196
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 52 GP, 26 G, 52 P (London-OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 32nd overall in 2010 by Boston

The Good: Knight is a good skater who can hit a blistering top gear. When you combine the fact his work ethic is as good or better, Knight regularly looks like an energy bug every shift. He's also a very physical player who forechecks well, lays big hits, drives the net, and is a pest for opponents to deal with. He's a little undersized, but is very strong and should make the transition to the pro game fine strength-wise.

The Bad: Knight doesn't have a glaring weakness, but his hands are average and he doesn't really have a lot of offensive creativity. He's more of a basic player when it comes to plays he makes with the puck.

Projection: He could be a great third line winger.

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6. Maxime Sauve, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 7th
Date of birth: 01/30/1990
Age: 22
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 170
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 39 GP, 11 G, 26 P (Providence-AHL)
Acquired: Second round, 47th overall in 2008 by Boston

The Good: Sauve is a high-end skater who can change gears effortlessly and really make defenders back up when he barrels down the ice in transition. He has above-average hands and solid offensive hockey sense which helps him create chances, but his skating is his real calling card. He has a fine work ethic and doesn't mind driving the net or engaging.

The Bad: Sauve is what one scout calls "made of glass", as his durability has proven to be a major issue so far in his career. He's also a pretty skinny player who is behind the curve development-wise for where a player his age usually is.

Projection: He has top-six upside, but that is looking like an unlikely projection.

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7. Zach Trotman, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 08/26/1990
Age: 22
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 195
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 40 GP, 11 G, 21 P (Lake Superior State University-CCHA)
Acquired: Seventh round, 210th overall in 2010 by Boston

The Good: Trotman is a solid to above-average skater who is pretty mobile in all directions and skates very well for a 6'3'' player. He has a decent amount of skill who became a better puck-mover in each of his three years in college and has really emerged as a player who has some offensive upside. His physical game is solid and he will engage his checks just fine.

The Bad: Trotman's decision-making has been his main historical weakness, and while he's improved in that area, his defensive reads aren't always the best and he can still force plays.

Projection: He could be a #4 or #5 defenseman.

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8. Seth Griffith, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 01/04/1993
Age: 19
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 180
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 68 GP, 45 G, 85 P (London-OHL)
Acquired: Fifth round, 131st overall in 2012 by Boston

The Good: After going undrafted in 2011, Griffith got selected after finishing in the top 10 in OHL scoring. He's a very good playmaker who regularly impresses with his vision, as well as his ability to slow the play down and make the right plays. Griffith is an above-average skater and puck-handler who works pretty hard and regularly finds way to create offense.

The Bad: Griffith is a small guy, who despite his efforts, is not really all that effective in the physical game. He's skilled, but lacks really dynamic offensive qualities that could make his projection uncertain. He has a tendency to overpass, too.

Projection: He could be a below-average second line forward.

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9. Malcolm Subban, Goaltender
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 12/21/1993
Age: 18
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 188
Catched: Left
Statistics: 39 GP, .923 SV% (Belleville-OHL)
Acquired: First round, 24th overall in 2012 by Boston

The Good: Subban is a very athletic goalie whose skating is a strength (like his brother P.K.), with great lateral agility and strong push-offs. He's got good recovery ability on top of impressive reactions with his limbs. He's an aggressive goalie who loves to challenge shooters but does so knowing he has the speed and athleticism to recover. He's got a nice frame and can square pucks up into his chest pretty well.

The Bad: Subban's rebound control isn't great, and his kickouts tend to be too strong, forcing the puck into high percentage scoring areas. His technique needs fine tuning. His stance and positioning arenít "by the book".

Projection: He could be a below-average starting goaltender.

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10. Brian Ferlin, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 06/03/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 201
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 26 GP, 8 G, 21 P (Cornell-ECAC)
Acquired: Fourth round, 121st overall in 2011 by Boston

The Good: Ferlin is a solid skater who may be a blazer and his stride isn't perfect, but he generates a fair amount of power and moves pretty well. He's a big, strong forward who is physically developed already and can be an effective power forward in the cycle or when driving the high percentage areas.

The Bad: Ferlin isn't the most creative offensive forward, and while he has some skill, his offensive projection is certainly below average. He's also not as aggressive with attacking opponents with his body or attempting to engage.

Projection: He could be a bottom-six winger.

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11. David Warsofksy, Defense: Warsofsky skates well, has high-end offensive skill and an elite shot, but he's also 5'8''.

12. Matt Bartkowski, Defense: Bartkowski is a mobile defender with a fine physical game but little offensive skill, and doesn't bring significant defensive value, either.

13. Matt Grezelcyk, Defense: Grezelcyk is a great skater with a lot of offensive talent, who like Warsofsky, loses value due to a diminutive frame.

14. Carter Camper, Center: Camper is a skilled player with solid speed and a good work ethic. It's questionable if he can break through to the NHL, but his first pro season went very well.

15. Tommy Cross, Defense: Cross has nice size, mobility, and some skill, but his hockey sense is lacking.

The Sleeper: Zane Gothberg, Goaltender

Clarke Saunders is the older player and may initially get more starts with North Dakota, but Gothberg has the ability to potentially take the starting job and run with it as a freshman.

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Boston Bruins Lightning Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2012 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Tyler Seguin, Center
2.Dougie Hamilton, Defense
3. Alexander Khokhlachev, Center
4. Ryan Spooner, Center
5. Torey Krug, Defense
6. Jordan Caron, Right Wing
7. Jared Knight, Right Wing
8. Maxime Sauve, Left Wing
9. Zach Trotman, Defense
10. Seth Griffith, Left Wing

Seguin certainly had a coming out party this season, and after some struggles in his first NHL season, he's making his case that he could end up being the best player from his draft class. His skating, hands, and hockey sense are all plus or better, and he's already emerging as a star in the league. Caron was simply okay in his first season. He's projecting now as a player with enough talent to be a third line forward with a solid power game, but he lacks significant upside and the skating to get past that level.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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