VANCOUVER - The NHL and the NBA are twin leagues in many ways. Their seasons begin around roughly the same time, their championships often happen within the same week of each other, and, unsurprisingly, their drafts occur very close together.
With the NBA Draft concluded on Thursday night, the NHL Draft began on Friday and concluded on Saturday. The two Boston teams went into these drafts with different mindsets. While the Celtics were drafting to try to plug the holes of their sinking ship this off-season, the Bruins, having lost in Game 7 of the Final, were able to draft for depth.
In the first round with the 30th pick, the Bruins selected center John Beecher of Elmira, New York. Beecher's development has largely been through the US National Team, and his speed is what sets him apart. But don't expect to see him don the spoked B just yet - Beecher is headed to the University of Michigan where, like potential future teammates Torey Krug and Charlie Coyle, he will continue to grow at the NCAA level. Their Bruins second round pick was traded to the New Jersey Devils previously as part of the return for Marcus Johansson. In the third round, Boston selected Canadian winger Quinn Olson, and Russian defenseman Roman Bychkov in the fifth round. Finnish center Matias Mantykivi became the Bruins' pick in the sixth round and the team concluded the draft by selecting another left winger in American Jake Schmaltz.
Most of the attention and speculation is, understandably, centered around Beecher. What can he bring to the table? Beecher may not necessarily continue at the center position when he makes the leap to the NHL, but at the very least, he still could serve as a valuable depth option on the second line of wingers. He is anticipated to be a good option for size and for skating ability, which are two great qualities in a forward, but his offense is not quite at the starting level. Bouncing around a couple different national teams, Beecher recorded only 32 goals. There's no denying the potential is there, however, for Beecher to exceed expectations. As 30th picks go, though, he is definitely a safe option.