The Bruins have done OK drafting defensemen over the last couple of years.
They grabbed Brandon Carlo in the second round in 2015 and Charlie McAvoy in the first round last year, and both appear to have a pretty solid grasp on a regular NHL spot already.
Throw in up-and-comers like Jakub Zboril, Rob O’Gara and Jeremy Lauzon, and there’s reason for optimism.
However, there’s a small problem: most of the guys coming up (and playing now) are right-handed.
Right-handed defensemen on the current roster include both Millers, Adam McQuaid, McAvoy and Carlo.
Zdeno Chara shoots left, but he’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning, leaving Torey Krug as the only proven left-shot defenseman on the roster.
To begin to address this organizational weakness, we’re proud to select Nicolas Hague of the Mississauga Steelheads with the 18th pick in SB Nation’s mock draft.
(Sky actually did a great write-up on him just the other day, check it out.)
We debated this pick for a while in our staff chat, and it really came down to Hague or Callan Foote. We ended up choosing Hague because he’s a little bigger and is a left-handed shot, something the Bruins need.
Hague is ranked in the Top 20 in most scouting rankings. He finished the 20th-ranked North American skater, falling from 11th in the mid-term rankings.
We thought the Bruins would pick him for a few reasons, but two big ones stood out: he’s enormous, standing 6’ 6” at just 18 years old, and he’s a left shot.
Here are some highlights from his time in the OHL:
Great wristshot, great slapshot, decent vision...what’s not to like?
Skating can be worked on with pro coaches, and while discipline is a concern, it’s usually a safe bet to say a kid who threw punches in juniors isn’t going to come into the pros and do the same thing.
If Hague is still available when the real Bruins pick at 18, they’d be wise to snatch him up.
A left-right pairing of Hague and McAvoy in 2019? Let’s do it.
A caveat: when we made our pick, Michael Rasmussen, the hulking forward prospect from Tri-City, was still available; if he’s still out there in the real draft, it’d be hard to imagine Cam Neely would be able to pass him up.
Read Hague’s NHL.com draft profile.