BUFFALO -- The Bruins were every bit as active as the other 29 teams at the NHL scouting combine this week and that meant plenty of meetings with players, along with the typical measuring and testing for the 100-plus prospects.
Plenty of the top prospects had interviews with the Bruins contingent regardless of whether or not they will still be available at the No. 14 spot in the first round, and that is par for the course.
The Bruins scouts and management-types want to be prepared in case a player drops into their laps at the 14th spot, or if they manage to pull off what they couldn’t last season in moving upward in the first round. The leading prospects for the Black and Gold if they stand pat at the 14th spot are defensemen, and Dante Fabbro, Jake Bean and Charlie McAvoy all met with the Bruins representatives this week in Buffalo.
Along with that trio, the Bruins brass met with Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Kieffer Bellows, Alex Nylander, Jakob Chycrun, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mikhail Sergachyov, Olli Juolevi, Tage Thompson, Logan Stanley and Andrew Peeke along with a host of other prospects.
Boston University-bound defenseman Chad Krys was one local, Connecticut-born player that the Bruins didn’t meet with while in Buffalo.
Bruins GM Don Sweeney came away impressed with the talent pool that will be available in three weeks and is looking forward to making three choices in the top 44 picks in the draft.
“The quality of the draft is really good,” said Sweeney. “We saw some really, really impressive kids over the course of the last [five] days where we fell very good having two picks in the first round, and [another] again in the second round. We feel like we’re going to get good players.
“I believe there will be pockets of the draft where you could get runs on certain positions if somebody thinks things are going to thin out at a certain time. So we have to be aware, and try to forecast that a bit. The top part of the draft, in particular, is really strong.”
The interview process is always an interesting one at the combine, and that was no different this season. Peeke said that one team asked what kind of hockey pants he wears in a line of questioning that made him pause for a second. Sweeney said he got a kick out of question posed by the one of the draft prospects.
“We had a player [on Friday] ask us how old that [Zdeno] Chara was,” said Sweeney with a smirk. “I told him if he had the chance to step on ice with us then he'd realize that Chara isn’t as old as maybe he thinks that he is."
For the record, Chara is set to turn 40 the middle of next season and that would make him old enough to be a father to every one of the 100-plus prospects that ran through Saturday’s battery of tests at the combine.