With the 24th pick in the draft, the Bruins went against all those that said they would draft defense and selected goaltender Malcolm Subban. While the 18-year-old is a few years away, Haggerty said the B’s could have drafted their goaltender of the future to follow in Tukkaa Rask’s footsteps.
“Subban probably won’t be ready for another four or five years at the NHL level, and by that time Tuukka Rask will be in his 30’s. It makes sense to start looking ahead to somebody else that might be the goalie for the future after Rask,” said Haggerty. “The funny thing about Subban is he’s obviously talented, athletic, and somebody with the chance to be very good. Any time you go for that with the 24th pick, and you’re kind of shooting for it a bit, is not a bad thing. But you hear varying reports on him; some guys like him and think he has an extremely bright future and could be one of the best and an all-star goalie someday. Other guys say he has trouble with certain techniques and simple things that a goalie should be able to do; that his glove hand isn’t that good because he started playing goaltender at 12 years old and he kind of got a late start on it.”
“I guess they feel like they can’t get a great gage on him and how good he is going to be right now because he’s still improving so much; he’s not close to a finished product or close to as good as he can be. But the feeling is pretty high on him, and if you can get that with the 24th pick — a player that has potential All-Star ability — you’re doing pretty well,” noted Haggerty.
Chiarelli had told Haggerty prior to the draft the Tim Thomas situation would play a big role in the Bruins’ decision to draft a netminder. On Friday, it was made public that Thomas had waived his no-trade clause, giving the Bruins an extra week to try to deal the former Vezina winner.
With that, Haggerty is positive Thomas’ days in Boston are over.
“No question, he’s gone. As soon as that season was over he was a goner. Looking back on it now, I really questioned it at the end of the year given the statements he was saying. It seemed to me he was a guy that didn’t want to come back. I think it’s more obvious now that both, he doesn’t want to come back to Boston and I don’t think the Bruins want him back. I think the most likely thing is he is going to get traded somewhere from probably not much of anything.”
Even though Thomas has hinted he would be taking next season off to be with his family, Haggerty thinks if Thomas ends up getting traded, he will play for his new team.
“If he goes to a team that may be a place that is desirable for him play I think there is definitely a chance he goes back on what he’s saying and plays next year,” said Haggs. “Maybe he was planning on there being some kind of lockout and he was getting a head start on going to Colorado and building up his canned food collection in his bunk and he’s going to hang out there for six months until hockey gets going. If I had to predict, I think Tim Thomas is going to play for another team at some point next year, and that will be when Bruins fans wake up and realize they’ve been snookered by their former hero and Conn Smyth winner.”
NHL free agency begins on July 1, although at this point the Bruins are not expected to be major players on any of the big names available. Instead, Haggerty believes the B’s will look to add a veteran winger via trade, after the free agent frenzy calms down a bit.
“It sounds like after free agency goes on a couple of days, (Chiarelli is) going to pick at what’s out there trade-wise and try to make a move there,” he said, noting Chiarelli would like to add a Mark Recchi-type veteran. “There are a lot of guys that could be available. The top of the rung would be a Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, Jarome Iginla, Ryan Smith, Steve Sullivan — those kind of guys. Veteran guys that bring a lot to the table leadership-wise and could be pretty good. Will any of them want to come to Boston? Will any of them be available via trade? We’ll have to see what happens after July 1.”
What does Haggerty think of the other Bruins’ draft picks? And where will coveted free agent forward Zach Parise land? Find out all that and more with Joe Haggerty on Toucher & Rich!