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2013 NHL Draft: A closer look at the Bruins' draft class

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Bruce Bennett

The Bruins selected two defensemen and four forwards in the 2013 NHL draft, and the profile of this year's draft class was very much unlike Peter Chiarelli's in years past. With only one selection out of the OHL and three from the Swedish League, one has to wonder if the amount of time spent courting Carl Soderberg had an effect on the Bruins' scouting this year.

PICK #1: Linus Arnesson, 60th overall
Height Weight Position DOB Hometown Current Team NHL Comparable
6'2 190 Defense 9/21/94 Stockholm Djurgardens (Allsvenskan) Marc Staal

Arnesson was projected by the various scouting services to go as high as #38 or as low as #97, so the general consensus is that the Bruins picked him right around the average point he was projected to go. When the Bruins emphasize that they picked guys who play "Bruins-style hockey" they weren't kidding; the scouting services descriptions of him basically nail him down as such. From McKeen's hockey:

"A ‘substance-over-flash’ type who brings a calm, business-like approach .. responsible, used in all situations .. excels defensively - stays aware, feet in constant motion, diligently reads developing plays .. sturdy, solid all-around skater - moves his large expansive frame fluently in all directions with good quickness and body form .. generates a sharp burst from a standstill .. lateral agility is also an asset .. transitions are seamless - and enable him to back up and stay square .. defends the rush in textbook fashion .. closes his man out and manages a strong gap .. exploits his mobility and skating prowess to create space on both sides of the puck .. solid potential as a shot blocker .. strong on his skates and able to pin opponents to the boards or remove intruders around his net .. will benefit from growing his physical involvement and adding some bite."

ISS compares him to Marc Staal, but with the description of his simple defensive game, for Bruins fans Seidenberg or Ference would be a reasonable comparable. The consensus is that his hockey sense and puck-moving skills are definite weaknesses, but that his defense-first mindset is excellent.

Arnesson was also a member of Sweden's 2013 World Junior team as an 18-year-old. America says thank you for taking silver, Sweden.

PICK #2: Peter Cehlarik, 90th overall
Height Weight Position DOB Hometown Current Team NHL Comparable
6'2 195 LW 8/2/95 Zilina, Slovakia Lulea (SweJrs) Colin Wilson

Cehlarik might be the hidden gem in the Bruins' draft this year. Originally projected to go in the mid-second round, the SEL-trained Slovakian fell to 90th, where the Bruins nabbed him. Even ranked where he was originally, the general consensus among scouts was that he was fairly underrated even there.

It was an interesting year for the Slovakian winger, as he started on Lulea's U-18 team before moving up twice; once to the U-20 team where he spent most of the season, and then again up to Lulea's main team in the Swedish Elite league, where he put up six points in eight games. As a 17 year old, that's pretty awesome, considering that he's playing against grown men in one of the top leagues in the world - and he was the youngest player in Lulea's club history to score for their team.

He's been compared to Wilson, but also Anze Kopitar and Michael Handzus -- a good two-way, defensively-responsible player with a good skill package. His weakness is his lack of good speed, but that is something that can be worked on.

In Lou We Trust did a great scouting report on him earlier this year, and it can be found here.

PICK #3: Ryan Fitzgerald, 120th overall
Height Weight Position DOB Hometown Current Team
5'9 170 C 10/19/94 North Reading, MA Valley Jr. Warriors (EJHL)

Ryan Fitzgerald, a local kid from North Reading and son of former NHLer Tom Fitzgerald, is touted by some as "the smartest kid in the NHL draft this year." Although undersized, Fitzgerald makes up for his small stature with excellent hockey sense, patience, and poise. He put up 30 points in 26 EJHL games this year and was voted Rookie of the Year for that league, despite not playing the full season. Prior to the EJHL, he played for Malden Catholic, where he won the 2011 Super Eight championship.

"In most EJHL games this year, Fitzgerald was head-and-shoulders above the competition, but I was most impressed with the way he played for the NTDP U18 team in October. He stepped in as an undersized player and didn't look out of place skating against college teams." – Josh Deitell

I guess we can overlook the fact that he's attending Boston College next year, and justify it with the fact that hey, next year in Hockey East will be fun, as BU and BC will each have a Bruins prospect on their roster.

PICK #4: Wiley Sherman, 150th overall
Height Weight Position DOB Hometown Current Team
6'6 196 D 5/24/95 Greenwich, CT Hotchkiss School (CT Prep)

The Bruins have flat-out said that they mostly drafted Sherman for his size. According to assistant GM Jim Benning, the Bruins are hoping "he develops into a defensive, stay at home D-man, make a good first pass, play physical. If he hits his high side, we are hoping he can kind of play like a Hal Gill style of game."

PICK #5: Anton Blidh, 180th overall
Height Weight Position DOB Hometown Current Team
6'0 187 LW/RW 3/14/95 Mölnlycke, SWE Frolunda Jr

Blidh was Peter Chiarelli's off-the-board pick in round 6, when the Bruins needed to take a time out because Blidh's name wasn't in the system. After a round of boos from the sleepy crowd, Blidh, a product of the same system as PJ Axelsson, became a Bruin.

Blidh is, according to EliteProspects, "A speedy and hardworking player. Good penalty killer. Solid team player. Always gives 100% and has great attitude and work ethics. (EP 2013)." He put up 27 points in 43 games for Frolunda's U-20 team this year, and racked up 90 PIMs, which is great when you consider that his last name is pronounced "bleed."

PICK #6: Mitchell Dempsey, 210th overall
Height Weight Position DOB Hometown Current Team
6'3 210 LW 2/27/95 Cambridge, ONT SSM Greyhounds (OHL)

With their last pick in the draft, the Bruins finally returned to their old haunt the OHL to draft Mitchell Dempsey, a 6'3 left-winger who struggled with injury and illness last year. He had a high ankle sprain as well as pneumonia during the 12-13 season. Dempsey's probably best known for his ability to beat the bajeezus out of people. Yep, we drafted a fighter.

One scout, on Dempsey: "Dempsey is your prototypical blue-collar hard working grinding forward. He made his hits on the fore-check and did a great job on the back check by grinding his man out along the boards to take the puck and show that element of physicality."