Haggerty: Plenty of options as Bruins ponder first-round move

Haggerty: Plenty of options as Bruins ponder first-round move

CHICAGO -- Just as the Celtics moved down from their first-round pick before making their selection on draft night, Don Sweeney and the Bruins may do the very same thing in tonight in the first round of the NHL Draft at the United Center.

RELATED: Haggerty's Mock Draft 4.0: Expect a frenzy of pre-draft trades 

The Bruins currently hold the 18th overall selection after getting back into the playoffs last season and Sweeney said the likelihood for the Black and Gold was to move down amid a draft class that isn’t particularly strong.

“We feel good about where we’re picking right now, but we’ve had some talks about moving in either direction,” Sweeney said Thursday. “We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and the [start of the first round]. Our scouts are excited about the players that are potentially available at that spot, and on players on either side movement-wise whether we go up or down in the draft...more likely move back to take a player that we potentially think will still be there.

“There’s some value as a result to that. That’s what we’ve discussed on the amateur side, and on the pro scouting side, we’ve talked about using that pick to acquire [talent] to help our team. We want to be better for next year.”

It’s clear that the first-round pick is absolutely in play for potential trades for either an NHL-ready wing or defenseman who can fill needs. The Bruins have engaged in longstanding discussions with the Minnesota Wild for left-shot defenseman Jonas Brodin. There were also whispers over the past few days that Boston might be angling for Vegas power forward Alex Tuch, just traded from Minny in an expansion draft deal.

NHL players Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes and Adam McQuaid could potentially be on the table for deals and the Bruins might also have to move a top prospect such as Jakob Zboril if it’s part of a deal where a young, veteran NHL D-man comes back to Boston. Sweeney indicated there were a lot of trade discussions leading up to the expansion draft. Those will continue as Vegas GM George McPhee is expected in the coming days to auction off some of the talent plucked with those expansion draft picks.     

“There were a lot of discussions leading up to [the expansion draft],” said Sweeney. “We all believed he was going to take a number of defensemen [for the Golden Knights] and there could be an auction. There have been discussions there, and there have been a lot of names tossed around. Now it will be interesting to see now knowing what the prices were going to be ahead of time, and now that most of the trades have been completed where we’re going moving forward.

“We feel very comfortable with the six guys on our roster right now [on defense]. We feel there’s a lot of depth there and we’ve got some young players, but if there’s a target-specific thing we’re going to continue to look at it.”

One interesting name to think about in an auction-style deal with Vegas: Marc Methot. The big, lefty-shooting D-man is hard-nosed, tough and has been an excellent stay-at-home partner with Erik Karlsson the past few years in Ottawa. Wouldn’t that kind of tough, veteran leader with enough mobility be a great fit as a partner for right-shooting Charlie McAvoy in his first full season in the NHL?

There’s rumored to be plenty of interest in Methot, including in Toronto, if/when he becomes a trade chip for the Golden Knights. One would hope that the Bruins at least kick the tires on a player that could fill that need until their prospects are ready.

What do the Bruins do if they stay at No. 18? Kristian Vesalainen, Isaac Ratcliffe, Callan Foote, Shane Bowers, Eeli Tolvanen and Nicholas Hague would be in the mix, and the B’s would certainly come away with a player that could add to their prospect profile.

Hague is an intriguing D-man prospect who could be a Zdeno Chara replacement in the making given his 6-foot-6 size, his smarts and the strength he’s expected to develop, along with his puck-moving ability.

"We've watched a lot of Missy games this year and definitely one thing that sticks out [about Hague] is his hockey IQ, he can use smarts or physical tools to take control,” said one Eastern Conference talent evaluator. “His stick and overall gap control is something really amazing to witness and when someone with his size can just eliminate time and space to go in any direction....scored 18 from the backend, and didn't get 1st Unit touches in the second half because they needed him as a shutdown D. He's going to be one hell of a Pro!"

If the B’s do move down in the first round it's interesting that, according to the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy, the Bruins have met several times with Boston University goaltender Jake Oettinger, who is expected to be selected toward the end of the first round. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound prospect is considered the top goalie prospect in the draft and might be a safe pick for the Black and Gold with a class that doesn’t boast the kind of high-end forwards and D-men that were in the previous couple of drafts.

One thing is certain: Sweeney and the Bruins expect to be active this draft weekend in the Windy City and get their first real crack at addressing the NHL roster needs on the left side at both wing and defenseman.

It remains to be seen how much they will get done after this week’s flurry of expansion draft activity and how much will carry over into the free agency period beginning July 1. 

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

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Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST  - Smart's importance to C's, dissecting the East

Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter. 


Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

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Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams already eliminated from playoff contention. 

And on Friday, it didn’t take long to see why.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST - Smart's importance, dissecting the Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time taking control of the game and never letting up as they cruised to a 92-83 win.

Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe led the Celtics with 17 points each and Shelvin Mack had 16 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.  

With the win, the Celtics (47-22) snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their record since returning from the All-Star break to 7-3. 

Getting back on a winning track was just part of Boston’s motivation heading into Friday night’s game. 

With several key players out with injuries, the Celtics’ depth was once again on display from the opening tip to the final horn. 

In the first half, reserve guard Shane Larkin led the team in scoring with 10 points. 

And in the third quarter, backup center Greg Monroe was too much for the Magic to handle around the basket.

In the third, Monroe scored 10 of his 17 points off Boston’s bench. 

This was a game that the Celtics showed few signs of the kind of let-up we have seen them display against bad teams from time to time. 

But Orlando opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 77-61 with 9:18 to play. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time-out. 

Orlando was able to chip away a little more at Boston’s lead which peaked at 24 points but was down to single digits in the fourth which provided a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe, the Magic could get back in the game.

But when it mattered, Boston made the plays in the game’s closing moments to secure the victory. 

For the Celtics, the goal on Friday night was two-fold: find a way to win and come away healthy. 

Boston found success on both fronts, a refreshing change the Celtics hope to do more of going forward. 

Marcus Smart underwent surgery on his right thumb earlier in the day, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks which would put his return to the floor at the earliest, sometime near the end of the first round of the playoffs or early into the second. 

Daniel Theis underwent season-ending surgery recently for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

And Boston played without Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), but he might back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an illness, and he didn’t disappoint in finishing with a near double-double of 15 point and nine rebounds.