VANCOUVER — Patrice Bergeron again was a Selke Trophy finalist and David Krejci tied his career high in points last season. While both are 33 years old (Bergeron will turn 34 in July), it stands to reason the Bruins have a couple of years left of good mileage from those two stalwarts in the middle of the ice.
But the Boys Club closes for everyone, as Bill Parcells used to say, and it’s no use putting off preparing for the day when those two centermen no longer are in uniform.
With a nod to the future — and another to the fact that, as the playoffs continue to prove, size still matters — B’s GM Don Sweeney held on to the 30th overall pick in the NHL draft Friday night at Rogers Arena and chose 6-foot-3, 209-pound center John Beecher. He is an Elmira, N.Y., native, product of the U.S. National Development Team and rising freshman at Michigan.
While Beecher has size, he is not exactly a plodding throwback to yesteryear. It’s his skating ability that drew Sweeney to him, though the GM said there’s lots of room for development. Beecher will join a growing stable of young center ice prospects that includes Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic.
“He really covers a lot of ice and the game is not going to slow down. It’s not. And he can get to the net and get inside. I think we were an effective hybrid-type team in that regard, being able to play with skill,” Sweeney said. “We’re cognizant, and you guys know, we’re looking at our center ice position from a future standpoint.
“Where we’re sitting right now, we’re comfortable, but moving forward we have to be able to fill in behind some guys who have been very prolific in Boston. I think with Jack and Freddy and Charlie (Coyle), (Sean) Kuraly is another one — obviously Patrice and Krech are still there — we have the makings of being able to carry forward.”
Sweeney did a lot of chattering on his cellphone most of the night, and there was some talking at the B’s table before the crew went up and handed out the jersey to Beecher.
The GM conceded he had talks with teams about moving back, but when asked if it was to pick up more picks or to get a player, he smiled and said “All of the above.”
But there were no fireworks from the Bruins, or anyone else for that matter. But there are seeds that may have sown to create a little stir in the upcoming days.
“There’s been a lot of talk. Obviously, a lot of it was tempered during the draft itself. Not many moves made, but I think coming out (Saturday) and the days leading to (free agency) I think there’ll be some activity,” said Sweeney, who said he’ll touch base with UFA Marcus Johansson’s agent this weekend.
“Obviously, everyone’s intrigued with the interview period that’s upcoming. People may window shop and do what they have to do and then circle back around.”
But it remains to be seen what Sweeney can do without having cost certainty on his restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen. McAvoy always was thought to be a big ticket item if he doesn’t choose to go the bridge deal route. And Carlo earned a few extra schillings with his first playoff performance.
It didn’t sound like Sweeney was expecting that certainty any time soon.
“I think the RFA market is one that’s going to require patience on everyone’s behalf,” Sweeney said. “It just seems that’s what’s going on around the league. We’re not the only team that’s probably going to have to see it this way.”