BUFFALO — The Bruins turned heads late in the first round Friday when they selected 6-foot-2 American center Trent Frederic. After the player was selected, he admitted that though he was tough customer, he had a ways to go offensively.
Modesty, right? Maybe not.
In their own words, the Bruins spent the 29th overall pick on a player whom they don’t see being a top-six forward.
“We had him in the right spot because we all liked him,” director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky said after the draft. “That’s the one thing: he’s not going to be a top two line guy. We know that. He has some jam, he plays hard. Look at his penalty minutes. We were really fortunate to get him.”
Draft picks can be scratch tickets, but if you’re going to go off the board (as they did in this case; Frederic was considered a mid-to-late second-round pick by many), why not swing for the fences and go for the most talented guy? The most obvious candidate for such a pick was miniature right wing Alex DeBrincat, who at 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds scored 51 goals in each of his first two seasons in the OHL.
Everyone gave the Bruins flack for taking Zach Senyshyn 15th overall last year, but that move still seems more sensible than this one.
By the time the Bruins picked again at No. 49 Saturday, DeBrincat was off the board, having been drafted by the Blackhawks. The Bruins feared that if they passed on Frederic at 29, they might not get another chance at him. Though he could very well prove to be an NHL player, you’d think the Bruins would have been able to find another potential bottom sixer later.