Defenceman Matt Finn from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.
Other Possibilities: Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville Bulls (OHL); Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough Petes (OHL); Tom Wilson, W, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Previous 5 Picks:
19) Tampa Bay Lightning: Henrik Samuelsson, RW, Edmonton Oil Kings
20) Philadelphia Flyers: Nick Ebert, D, Windsor Spitfires
21) Buffalo Sabres: Tomas Hertl, C, Czech Republic
22) Pittsburgh Penguins: Nicholas Kerdiles, LW, USNTDP
23) Florida Panthers: Mark Jankowski, D, Stanstead College
Throughout their system the Boston Bruins have great depth. Alexander Khokhlachev and Ryan Spooner were game-breakers at the junior level, and despite there being no guarantee they can bring the same kind of production to the next level they should be solid pros (Assuming Khokhlachev makes it back to North America). Along with that, the spoils of the Phil Kessel trade have already given the Bruins a potential high-end NHLer in Tyler Seguin, a defenceman who will be in the NHL next season in Dougie Hamilton, and Jared Knight, a well-rounded forward who is difficult to play with.
The Bruins did have a very veteran blueline at the NHL level this year, and when you work with a core like that for a few seasons, there comes a point where you have to introduce a healthy dose of youth. That’s where Matt Finn comes in.
Finn isn’t flashy. He plays well in his own end and while he has the ability to carry the puck, he doesn’t carry the same excitement level like a Mat Dumba or Morgan Rielly. With that being said though, Finn carries a measure of safety with his game, in no small part because of how well he thinks and processes information.
During his rookie year what many noticed about Finn was that he always found a way to put himself in good position with and without the puck. The added pressure of his draft eligible season didn’t sway that concentration, and an off-season of work helped lead him to offensive highs in goals (10) and assists (38). The totals are indicative of the fact that Finn pushed the puck up ice a little more, aided in no small part by an increase in ice time and all-around responsibility (5-on-5, power play, and penalty kill).
Some might look at the Boston Bruins and Finn’s size (6’0, 197 lbs) and argue that the Storm defender isn’t a fit for the ‘big bad Bruins.’ But his size hasn’t been a hindrance at the OHL level where he isn’t the most physical defender, but he doesn’t shy away from contact or avoid bigger or more physical players when they come down his side of the ice.
While it’s the popular train of thought, you don’t have to be a bruiser to be a successful defenceman at the next level. Finn will prove that and become a valuable two-way defender in the NHL using great positioning and smarts to forge his career.
The St. Louis Blues are now on the clock…