During Round One of yesterday’s NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings wasted no time in making the trade of of the day.
As defensemen started dropping like flies out of the top-10, Kings general manger Dean Lombardi acquired the 15th overall pick (originally the Bruins’) from the Florida Panthers for their 19th and 59th overall picks, and drafted hulking defenseman Derek Forbort—who had spent the previous two seasons in the U.S. national team’s development program. Forbort, 6’4″ 198 lbs. and often compared to Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, now joins the Kings’ blue-line of young studs: Jack Johnson (3rd overall in 2007) and 2008 first-round picks Drew Doughty (2nd) and Colten Teubert (13th).
Boston’s 15th overall pick was dealt to the Panthers on Wednesday, along with the third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and defenseman Dennis Wideman, in exchange for right-winger Nathan Horton and center Greg Campbell. Now it’s the Kings who reaped the benefits of this transaction; wheeling-and-dealing to steal Forbort.
Even before drafting center/forward Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick Friday night, the Bruins remained fully-loaded with roster players up the middle—Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Marc Savard—as well as centers in the system—Maxime Sauve, Jamie Arniel, Brad Marchand, Joe Colborne, and Zach Hamill.
On defense, however, is where the Bruins could really start building. Yuri Alexandrov, Andrew Bondarchuk, Jeff Penner, and Steven Kampher are a few of the up-and-comers to possibly crack the Bruins’ roster within the next couple of years. A player like Forbort (or trading up to 12th to snag Cam Folwer) could have been a cornerstone defenseman for the B’s future on the blue-line.
But on the other hand, if you think like Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford, then drafting any defenseman in the first-round is essentially a waste of a pick. The former NHL goaltender now GM firmly believes that by the time a defenseman is good and NHL-ready, he’s already a free-agent. This is historically true; for every one Denis Potvin there were probably 1,000 Greg Joly’s in between.
Rounds 2-7 will undergo today, with the Bruins picking 32, 45, 97, 135, 165, 195. With focus on the blue-line, I like 6’3″ defenseman Jon Merrill (University of Muchigan) who is still on the board.
Although the deal—and second overall selection Tyler Seguin—should help the Black-and-Gold and their struggles to light the lamp for this upcoming season, and being in just infant stages of these deals, the question of whether or not the Bruins overpaid for the former Panthers will eventually be answered.