Friday, August 6, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospects Series: The Rest 36-41

Loyal readers, at the risk of being lambasted I'm going to cut off the series at 35 with Ben Sexton and do a quick writeup on the remaining prospects in the system: Cody Wild, Zach McKelvie, Mark Goggin, Alain Goulet, Adam Courchaine and Carl Soderberg.

36. Acquired from the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline last March, Wild is a stay-at-home, shutdown defender who played for the Boston Jr. Bruins and at Providence College before turning pro with the Oilers. He split his season last year between the AHL and ECHL and looks like another journeyman minor leaguer. A Rhode Island native, he's a nice local story to go home to Providence, but aside from his size and decent mobility, there isn't much upside here.

37. A speedy defenseman out of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, McKelvie probably deserves to be somewhere inside the the top-35, but given that I have absolutely no frame of reference on him, and his status being up in the air with the U.S. Army (and trust me- I know all about how vague and nebulous dealings with Uncle Sam can be), he's here. He signed last year but was prevented from being an active participant at Bruins camp because a policy change caused him to return to West Point to serve as a coaching assistant before reporting to his infantry officer basic course and Ranger school at Fort Benning, Ga. The Bruins have been able to maintain his rights and extend his contract, but at present he's in limbo as far as his pro hockey future goes.

38. A skilled, average-sized forward in prep, Goggin was in Wilmington, but injured and didn't do any of the on-ice work. He had a mediocre freshman season at Dartmouth College and that was coming off of a disappointing senior year at Choate. He's fallen off the map a bit after impressing a lot of folks in his first Bruins development camp in 2008 after being a seventh-rounder. He's a good skater with some offensive skills, but simply has not elevated his game or production since the B's drafted him. He has more time to develop, but is looking more and more like a longshot to ever amount to much.

39. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft out of the Aurora Tigers of the OPJHL, Goulet doesn't have great size and lacks jump in his skating stride. However, he's one of those players who sees the ice tremendously well and can really move the puck. His development caught a snag with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he left for the QMJHL midway through his sophomore season to play for his old junior coach. Goulet went on a tear with the Gatineau Olympiques, averaging more than a point per game from the blue line, but admittedly doing so as an older player. He did not sign with Boston last year but spent the season in Providence and has been invited to Bruins training camp once again.

40. Courchaine was signed as a free agent a few years back after going to camp as an invite out of the Ottawa 67s. To be frank, his development simply has not progressed since being offered a contract by the Bruins, as he was an uneven OHL goalie with more downs than ups. He seems to lack the skills and overall ability to be much more than a career minor leaguer, but is signed and has two more years left on his deal. Expect him to probably spend most of the year in Reading of the ECHL, where he can get more playing time than he would in Providence.

41. Soderberg has been a study in frustration since the Bruins traded Hannu Toivonen to St. Louis for his rights coming up on three years ago (and Toivonen has since been dealt by the Blues to Chicago). The former second-round pick in 2004 will turn 25 this season, but has yet to come over to North America and even compete in a development camp or rookie or even main camp for the Bruins since they acquired him. Possessing very nice size and offensive skills, his talent alone should have him nowhere near bottom on the Boston prospect list, but because he's seemed to avoid the NHL like the plague, where else do you put him? Also adding to the uncertainty is the fact that he suffered a serious eye injury in 2008 and still plays with a full face shield. He'll have to lose the mask if he has any inclination of trying to make a run at a spot in Boston. It may be time to accept that he's one of those players who simply doesn't have the ambition or drive to be an NHL player. There's nothing wrong with that, and Soderberg wouldn't be the first. But, it's a shame he and his representation allowed Boston to surrender an asset for him if he didn't have the commitment to at least try and make it work.

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