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Bruins notebook

Something may be up

Targeted player could prompt deal

By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / June 24, 2009
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said yesterday that he'd like to move up a slot or two in the first round of the NHL draft Friday night in Montreal.

The Bruins hold the No. 25 pick in the draft, and Chiarelli said they have identified a player that might be available slightly ahead of their current position.

“Our guys have an eye on one player,’’ noted Chiarelli. “I don’t know if we’ll get him.’’

Chris Kreider, the standout winger from Boxford who is slated to enter Boston College this fall, could be the player the Bruins have targeted. Kreider, ranked the 14th-best skater in North America by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, likely will be chosen in the thick of the first round, perhaps as high as No. 10, but possibly in the mid or late 20s.

Kreider, 18, just finished his junior year at Phillips Andover Academy but will enter BC as a freshman, after officially graduating from Masconomet Regional High School. The speedy left winger attended Masconomet for his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Andover, where he was a hockey and lacrosse standout.

“I’ll be happy any which way,’’ said the 6-foot-2 1/2-inch Kreider, a huge Bruins fan. “It certainly would be special if it’s Boston. I’ll be ecstatic to be picked in general, but sure, if it’s my hometown team, that would be special.’’

The Bruins also could have their eye on Zack Kassian, perhaps the toughest customer in the entire draft. The 6-3 Kassian, though, is more likely to be nabbed in the top 12-15 picks. The rockjaw right winger collected 63 points in 61 games this past season with Peterborough (OHL) and he also picked up 136 penalty minutes, a number that compares favorably with the 148 Milan Lucic averaged during his two seasons with Vancouver (WHL) prior to cracking the Boston lineup as a 19-year-old.

The 30 picks of the first round will be made Friday night at the Bell Centre, beginning at 7 p.m. Rounds 2-7 will be Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.

An inviting thought
Tim Thomas, who last week in Las Vegas received the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s No. 1 goaltender, is expected to be invited to the Team USA Olympic camp in August. USA Hockey will release the list of invitees next Tuesday. Bruins right winger Phil Kessel, who connected for 36 goals this past season, also could be on the list. However, it’s highly unlikely that the 21-year-old Kessel, who spent two seasons with the US National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., would be able to participate. He is recovering from shoulder surgery in May and is not expected to be able to be ready to start the NHL season in October. The Olympic camp will be held in Woodridge, Ill., a Chicago suburb, Aug. 16-20.

Picking up a pick
Chiarelli said he would like to add a second-round pick, in part to make up for dealing away this year’s second-rounder, No. 56 overall, to the Islanders when he flipped Ben Walter for Petteri Nokelainen (swapped to Anaheim in March for Steve Montador). Currently, the Bruins have three picks of their own: Round 1 (No. 25), Round 6 (No. 175), and Round 7 (No. 205). They also will add a fourth pick, perhaps as high as Round 3 (No. 86), acquired in the Andrew Alberts deal with the Flyers. But the Flyers must sign Alberts prior to this week for the Bruins to acquire that pick. Otherwise, it turns into a fourth-rounder (No. 112). Boston’s fourth-round pick, No. 116, went to the Wild in the Manny Fernandez acquisition. Their fifth-round pick, No. 145, went to Phoenix in the Alex Auld swap.

Flyers in the ointment
A couple of sources with close ties to the Winter Classic negotiations said yesterday that Boston’s opponent in the Jan. 1 game at Fenway will be the Flyers rather than the Capitals. Organizers agreed weeks ago that a Boston-Washington matchup would be best, given the great numbers of eyeballs that two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin could bring to the screen. However, NBC pushed hard for the Flyers, according to the sources, feeling that it was better to have the fourth-largest US TV market, instead of No. 9 Washington . . . Look for the colleges to take the Fenway ice one week later, Jan. 8, with the likes of Boston University, Boston College, Providence, and Vermont in a Hockey East mini-tournament . . . Maintaining his strict policy, Chiarelli politely refused to comment on ongoing negotiations with Kessel, who will receive his qualifying offer this week, along with fellow restricted free agents Byron Bitz and Matt Hunwick . . . Rumors persist around the league that Chiarelli will deal veteran pivot Marc Savard, who has one year left (at $5 milion) on his deal. Savard would have to waive his no-trade clause, which is something he likely would consider if it brought him closer to his children in Ontario. If Savard were dealt, it would mean greater offensive responsibility for the likes of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. It’s more likely that Chiarelli would ask Marco Sturm, with two years left on his deal (at $3.5 million per season) to waive his no-trade clause.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at dupont@globe.com.

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