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September 25, 2013
Top 10 Prospects 2013
Boston Bruins

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Boston Bruins Top 10 Prospects

1. Ryan Spooner, Center
2. Alexander Khokhlachev, Center
3. Torey Krug, Defense
4. Joe Morrow, Defense
5. Matt Fraser, Left Wing
6. Peter Cehlarik, Center
7. Ryan Fitzgerald, Center
8. Malcolm Subban, Goaltender
9. Linus Arnesson, Defense
10. Matt Grzelcyk, Defense

Organizational Ranking: 21st

System Overview

The Bruins possess a slightly below-average system. Spooner, Khokhlachev, and Krug are all highly gifted, but after that, their top prospects either get dinged for uncertainty, average upside, or for being too far away. There are a lot of skilled players in the Boston system, however, as they have made mid-round gambles based on upside as of late.

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1. Ryan Spooner, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 01/30/1992
Age: 21
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 175
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 59 GP, 17 G, 57 P (Providence, AHL)
Acquired: Second round, 45th overall in 2010 by Boston

Year in Review: Spooner had a great season, as he led Providence in scoring, and was the leading scorer among AHL rookies.

The Good: Spooner is a top-end skater with tremendous mechanics and technique. His first few steps are really good, and he can uniquely change gears in mid flight. He is agile, and he can get to a good top gear as well. Spooner's hockey sense is top end, as he will show the offensive instincts to set up chances with regularity, as well as make quick decisions. He is a skilled player who can create in his own.

The Bad: Spooner's size and strength are his most notable weaknesses, as he projects as a fringe physical player in the NHL. His defense has shown notable improvement, but he is never going to be a top penalty killer in the NHL.

Projection: He could be a fringe top line or great second line forward.

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2. Alexander Khokhlachev, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 09/09/1993
Age: 20
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 172
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 29 GP, 22 G, 48 P (Windsor, OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 40th overall in 2011 by Boston

Year in Review: Khokhlachev bounced around between the KHL, the top line on Russia's World Junior team, back to the OHL, and then to the AHL. Most of his success was in the OHL.

The Good: Khokhlachev is a highly-skilled offensive player. His puck skills are top of the line, as he possesses great coordination, and he can simply dazzle with the array of moves in his arsenal. Khokhlachev is also a pretty quality playmaker, and he sees the ice at a desirable level. He has really improved his skating to the point where it is arguably a strength, particularly his first few steps. Khokhlachev works hard, and he has improved his defense.

The Bad: Khokhlachev's size and diminutive frame are his most notable issues, as he has a ways to go to adjust to the pro-level physical game. He also has some instances where he will try to do too much individually.

Projection: He could be a great second line forward who plays on a top power play unit.

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3. Torey Krug, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 04/12/1991
Age: 22
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 180
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 63 GP, 13 G, 45 P (Providence, AHL)
Acquired: College free agent

Year in Review: Krug was one of the top defensemen in the AHL, especially in the second half. He stepped into the NHL playoffs and contributed to Boston getting to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Good: Krug is a high-end skater who moves well in every direction. He is a very agile player whose edgework and first step can make him difficult to check. He is great with the puck, as he can dangle and make pretty difficult offensive feeds. Krug's instincts in the offensive end are clearly top end. He has a solid shot from the point as well. Krug thinks the game at a fine level in his own end, although he plays an aggressive offensive style.

The Bad: Krug's frame, especially for a defenseman, is his most notable flaw, and it raises question marks about if he will need to be sheltered in the NHL. He could still use a little fine tuning with his defensive positioning, and he could gain some more strength.

Projection: He could be a good top-four defenseman who plays on the top power play unit.

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4. Joe Morrow, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 1st (PIT)
Date of birth: 12/09/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 204
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 66 GP, 5 G, 19 P (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Texas, AHL)
Acquired: Trade from Dallas, first round, 23rd overall in 2011 by Pittsburgh

Year in Review: Morrow struggled in his rookie pro season, as his defensive game limited his minutes. He was part of the Tyler Seguin trade.

The Good: Morrow is a very well-rounded offensive defenseman. He is a high-end skater, with great speed, agility, and edgework to make all the plays. Morrow is a skilled puck handler who moves the puck at a very high level. His passes are crisp and efficient. Morrow also has a bomb from the point, as he is very dangerous on the power play.

The Bad: Morrow was bad defensively in his rookie pro season. He simply struggled with the pace, physicality, and required positional awareness needed at the AHL level for a defenseman. He also needs to get stronger.

Projection: He could be a top-four defenseman, but he carries above-average risk on his projection.

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5. Matt Fraser, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: 5th (DAL)
Date of birth: 05/20/1990
Age: 23
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 209
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 62 GP, 33 G, 46 P (Texas, AHL)
Acquired: Free agent

Year in Review: Fraser had another quality AHL year, where he was one of the league's top goal scorers, and he was named to the Second All-Star team. He was also part of the Tyler Seguin trade.

The Good: Fraser, to no surprise for those who look up his stats, is a goal scorer, and a very good one at that. He has a plus release, as the puck flies off of his stick with power. He has other elements to his game as well, as he is a solid skater with a good first step and smooth mechanics. Fraser has decent hands to go along with fine size, which allows him to protect the puck well, and he will attack the high percentage areas. Fraser shows a good two-way work ethic.

The Bad: Fraser's defensive reads could be a lot better, as he has not progressed in that area as hoped. He is not an overly creative or instinctual playmaker.

Projection: He could be a second line winger.

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6. Peter Cehlarik, Center
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 08/02/1995
Age: 18
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 196
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 38 GP, 17 G, 37 P (Lulea, J20 SuperElit)
Acquired: Third round, 90th overall in 2011 by Boston

Year in Review: Cehlarik trended up all year, and he finished the season off with a great stint in the SHL and a quality Under-18 showing.

The Good: Cehlarik is a big, strong forward with quality offensive abilities. His frame has developed fine, and he shows the ability to control the puck well down low. Cehlarik also has pretty good puck skills and offensive instincts. He makes quick decisions, and he sees the play developing well. He is a pretty advanced player for his age in terms of his reads and pace.

The Bad: Cehlarik's one notable flaw is his skating, as he has a heavy first step, and he can look a little sluggish out of the gates. His top speed is not the best.

Projection: He could be a second line center.

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7. Ryan Fitzgerald, Center
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 10/19/1994
Age: 18
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 170
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 26 GP, 14 G, 30 P (Valley Jr., EJHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 120th overall in 2013 by Boston

Year in ReviewL Fitzgerald was the EJHL Rookie of the Year, although he was a little up and down during the season.

The Good: Fitzgerald is a very gifted puck possessor with a lot of raw talent. His puck skills are top of the line, as he is a very creative player who makes a ton of offensive plays when he has the puck on his stick. Fitzgerald also thinks the game at a pretty high level. His vision is plus, he can slow or speed up the tempo when necessary, and he knows how to make the tough plays. He works hard and will engage.

The Bad: Fitzgerald's size is his biggest flaw, as he will likely be a replacement-level physical player. His skating is decent, but for a smaller guy, he lacks the top gear you usually want.

Projection: He could be a second line forward.

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8. Malcolm Subban, Goaltender
2011-12 Ranking: 9th
Date of birth: 12/21/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 201
Catches: Left
Statistics: 46 GP, .934 SV% (Belleville, OHL)
Acquired: Drafted first round, 24th overall in 2012 by Boston

Year in Review: Subban had a great final OHL season, where he led the league in save percentage and was Canada's starting goaltender at the World Juniors.

The Good: Subban is a highly-skilled and athletic goaltender. He has the ability to make tough stops with regularity due to his side-to-side agility and his great reflexes. Subban has quick limbs, and he can get to pucks outside of his body. He is a smart goaltender who reads the play well, and he squares up a lot of pucks. He is a good puck handler who can help move the puck out of his zone effectively.

The Bad: Subban could still use a little fine tuning on his mechanics. His glove placement gets a little out of line at times, and he can be too aggressive with his leg kicks, resulting in big rebounds.

Projection: He could be an average starting goaltender.

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9. Linus Arnesson, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 09/21/1994
Age: 19
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 31 GP, 0 G, 1 P (Djurgardens, Allsvenskan)
Acquired: Second round, 60th overall in 2013 by Boston

Year in ReviewL Arnesson was decent in the SHL-2, won a silver medal at the World Juniors, and was the top defenseman at the November U20 tournament.

The Good: Arnesson is an above-average skater who moves well in all directions. He pivots well, has a quality stride, and gets good power from each step. Arnesson plays a physical brand of hockey, and with his skating skill, he can close gaps on his opponents very well. He separates a lot of forwards from pucks due to these attributes. He is a smart defensive player who gets in lanes, knocks pucks loose, and stays with his assignments.

The Bad: His offensive ability is below average to fringe, and while Arnesson can make a first pass well, he is not that skilled or aggressive when it comes to joining in on the offense. He could still get stronger.

Projection: He could be a fringe second pairing or great third pairing defenseman.

10. Matt Grzelcyk, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 13th
Date of birth: 01/05/1994
Age: 19
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 171
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 38 GP, 3 G, 23 P (Boston University, NCAA)
Acquired: Third round, 85th overall in 2012 by Boston

Year in Review: Grzelcyk was one of the better freshmen in college hockey, and he was named to his conference's All-Rookie team. He was a final cut from the USA World Junior team.

The Good: Grzelcyk is a really good skater, with the four-way mobility and quickness to lead rushes and get through each zone quickly. He is a gifted offensive defenseman, with great vision and above-average puck skills. He makes tough passes with regularity, and he can set up a lot of scoring chances by hitting his options through tight lanes. He is a creative player who sees chances develop well. He plays hard, and he can make decent defensive reads.

The Bad: Grzelcyk is small, really small for a defenseman, and that will be his question mark as he turns pro. He has a lot of room to bulk up.

Projection: He could be a second pairing defenseman, but he has a fair amount of risk on his projection.

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The Next Five

11. Seth Griffith, Right Wing: Griffith is a high-end playmaker with a great skill level. He is small, an average skater, and he could improve his defense.

12. Niklas Svedberg, Goaltender: Svedberg was the AHL Goaltender of the Year. The 24-year-old is an athletic player, but he still has rounding out to do on the technical side.

13. Jared Knight, Right Wing: Knight missed most of the year due to injury. When healthy, he is a great skater who plays a tough brand of hockey with a roughly average skill level.

14. Zach Trotman, Defense: Trotman is a smart two-way defenseman with good mobility. He will not wow anyone, but he brings a lot of good elements to the table.

15. Anthony Camara, Left Wing: Camara is a power winger with a great shot and solid speed. He may not have much offense to his game, but he shows flashes of solid vision.

The Sleeper: Wiley Sherman, Defense

Sherman is a huge defenseman, who as a high school player, is going to take a while to work out the kinks in his game. However, he has intriguing puck-moving skill for a big guy.

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Boston Bruins Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2013 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Dougie Hamilton, Defense
2. Ryan Spooner, Center
3. Alexander Khokhlachev, Center
4. Torey Krug, Defense
5. Reilly Smith, Left Wing
6. Joe Morrow, Defense
7. Matt Fraser, Left Wing
8. Peter Cehlarik, Center
9. Ryan Fitzgerald, Center
10. Malcolm Subban, Goaltender

Hamilton is one of the game's best young defensemen. He is a skilled, mobile puck mover with great offensive instincts. His defensive game continues to develop as well. Smith is a speedy, smart hockey player with quality finishing skills. He struggled to establish himself at the NHL level this season but has the tools to be an above-average NHLer down the line.

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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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/25)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/25)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/26)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (09/26)

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