The Bruins added a big piece to improve their present on Friday when they acquired Tomas Kaberle from Toronto, but it was the kind of deal that's bittersweet at best for the club's scouts focusing on the future.
The Bruins gave up 2008 first-round pick Joe Colborne, one of the prize prospects in the system whom the club had already invested much time and effort in developing, and their 2011 first-round pick. That's one less chance for the team to reap the rewards of the scouts' hard work all season trekking across the globe analyzing the next class of potential future stars.
If Kaberle has the impact in Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli expects, few in the organization will complain, and they certainly won't be upset to lose another second-round pick if the Bruins reach the Cup finals or Kaberle re-signs in Boston.
Still, it's never easy for scouts to see a player they discovered depart before reaching the big club, and it's always tough to lose a shot at finding the next star in the draft. This trade also shakes up the Bruins' Top 10 Prospect List, with Colborne's departure creating a void to be filled.
Colborne had been ranked third last week, so with him gone and Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron (who is pictured above) first-round picks in 2007 and 2009 respectively, returning from stints with the big club, expect a big shakeup in the rankings this week.
Last week: No. 1 1. Ryan Spooner, C
Spooner had already eclipsed his previous season-high for points in his third year in the OHL, but this week the Kingston center set a new personal best in goals with his 31st tally of the year. It was a big one too, as it proved the game-winner in a 6-5 victory at Peterborough, where Spooner had spent the bulk of his junior career before a trade earlier this season. Spooner had two goals and two assists this week to give him 31-32-63 totals in 51 games.
Last week: Unranked 2. Jordan Caron, LW/RW
Caron's second stint with the big club didn't last as long, as he played just three games this time after dressing for 20 at the start of the season when he made the team out of camp. Caron was also used in a more limited role this time, skating on the fourth line with no points and no shots. He was a minus-1 in the three games, skating just 7:07, 12:12 and 6:21. He did have a goal in his second game back in Providence, giving him 7-11-18 totals in 29 games in the AHL.
Last week: No. 2 3. Jared Knight, C/RW
Knight had just a pair of assists in four games with London (OHL), but remains at a point-a-game pace. The slick forward now has 22-33-55 totals in 55 games, and the 5-foot-10, 198-pound forward has even shown a little feistiness this season with 37 penalty minutes.
Last week: Unranked 4. Zach Hamill, C
Hamill's stint with the big club was a little more productive than Caron's. Hamill played over 10 minutes in each of his three games, centering Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder. Hamill collected his second NHL point with an assist against Montreal and was a plus-1 in the three games. He had a goal in his second game back in Providence, as well as scoring in the shootout as the P-Bruins beat Portland 4-3, and now has 4-25-29 totals and is a plus-5 in 46 games with the Baby B's.
Last week: No. 4 5. Matt Bartkowski, D
Bartkowski picked up an assist in Providence's first game last weekend, but had a rough week after that with no points and a minus-5 rating in the following four games. The first-year pro had a taste of NHL action earlier this year, but with Kaberle's addition stabilizing Boston's back end, it's unlikely he'll see Boston again this year unless several injuries strike at once. That might be for the best, as the talented youngster is still a work in progress with a minus-12 rating to go with 5-12-17 totals, 36 penalty minutes and 122 shots in 50 games this season.
Last week: No. 5 6. Max Sauve, C/LW
Sauve picked up a goal in the first game of a busy week for Providence, but didn't have another point in the following four games. He was also a minus-3 in that stretch with just four shots. Sauve still has 13-6-9 totals with 73 shots and a plus-1 rating over 37 games for the season, his first full year in the pro ranks.
Last week: No. 6 7. Craig Cunningham, C
Cunningham's Portland club had just two games in the WHL this week, with Cunningham picking up an assist in an 8-2 win over fellow Bruins prospect Ryan Button and the Thunderbirds in Seattle. Cunningham is tied for 12th in the WHL with 21-50-71 totals in 56 games, with a plus-14 rating and 44 penalty minutes thrown in for good measure.
Last week: No. 7 8. Jamie Arniel, C
Arniel had a goal and somehow managed to finish a plus-1 in an 8-2 loss at Springfield last Saturday, but had no other points and was a minus-4 in the Baby B's other four games. He still leads Providence with 15-17-32 totals and 180 shots, but is a minus-10 and might have a hard time holding on to that team scoring lead with Hamill now back in Providence.
Last week: No. 8 9. Ryan Button, D
Button came out on the short end of the clash with fellow Bruins prospect Cunningham, though he did collect an assist and finished even in the game despite his club's 8-2 loss. And Button followed that up the next day with an even more impressive performance, picking up assists on all three Seattle goals in a 3-1 win over Spokane. Button is now 3-26-29 on the season with 41 penalty minutes in 55 games.
Last week: Unranked 10. Boris Valabik, D
For the most part, Friday's trades were designed strictly to better Boston's chances to win now. But the deal that sent Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta for Rich Peverley did give the Bruins a potential piece for the future as well, as Valabik was also included in the return from the Thrashers. The towering Slovakian defenseman (6-foot-7, 255 pounds) is still a project despite being in his fifth pro season, but the Bruins believe he can still develop. At the worst, he adds size and toughness to the blue line, but there is some skill there as well. He was the 10th overall pick in the 2004 draft and reported directly to Providence after putting up 0-9-9 totals with 165 penalty minutes and seven fighting majors with Atlanta's AHL affiliate in Chicago this season.