Looking at the results of the NHL draft lottery, it’s easy to conclude that the Edmonton Oilers and the Boston Bruins were the big winners.
Both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are considered sure-fire prospects at the center position and both will likely be ready for their first NHL duty next season.
For the Oilers, winning the lottery means they have to make a difficult choice, but they should also get a player they can build their franchise around for the next several years, much like the Tampa Bay Lightning did with Steven Stamkos.
For the Bruins, however, it’s a very different type of victory.
Boston traded Phil Kessel to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 1st and 2nd round pick in this year’s draft, plus a first rounder in the 2011 draft.
Kessel has been the Leafs most productive player with 55 points and a 10.7 GVT on the year. He also has a solid 4.9 Corsi rating. That said, many in Toronto are cursing GM Brian Burke for giving up so much in order to get him, especially now that the Bruins ended up with the 2nd overall selection from the Leafs pick.
Bruins fans, on the other hand, are mired in an endless stream of fist bumps and silly grins as they ponder their good fortune.
Just look at the Bruins current top 3 centers, before they ever acquire Hall or Seguin.
Krejci 52 pts, 9.0 GVT, 2.5 Corsi
Bergeron 52 pts, 8.9 GVT, 11.8 Corsi
Savard 33 pts 7.0 GVT, 0.0 Corsi (in only 41 games)
What the Bruins could really use are a top winger to play with those prolific centers, or a top-notch defenseman to pair with Zdeno Chara, which is why the lottery was so important.
Few teams can boast the depth at center that the Bruins have. In this regard, they have the right trade pieces to acquire either the winger or the defense they need. They’re already a playoff team, so any moves made in the offseason will only further their team talent level.
They could trade a veteran like Savard and his $7M salary to a team like the Calgary Flames for Robyn Regehr and another salary to make the cap work. The Flames would get the #1 center they desire to play with Jarome Iginla, while the Bruins would gain a shut-down defenseman.
Savard could also be flipped to a young team like LA in exchange for a young defenceman like Jack Johnson. The Kings would get some veteran scoring while the Bruins would spread out their talent to other positions on the ice.
To take a different route, the Bruins, with both Krejci and Bergeron under the age of 25, could opt to keep their current set of centers and trade the #2 pick for a proven commodity like Corey Perry from the Ducks or one of the Blackhawks ample top defensemen.
The last option in my mind would be to package any of the other top picks they have, including their own #1 this year and next along with the Leafs #1 next year, and a center for a player like Rick Nash. Could the Blue Jackets really turn down 2 or 3 first round picks and Bergeron for the big winger when they have no hope of winning in the near future?
In the end, Brian Burke HAS managed to build a team with great potential, it’s just that the team he’s handed a bright future is the Boston Bruins.