Boston hockey fans can be forgiven if they are not as excited about the upcoming NHL draft, at least in comparison to last year’s festivities.
There was plenty of buzz locally for the 2015 draft, and not just for Bruins fans. North Chelmsford native Jack Eichel, fresh off of winning the Hobey Baker Award and leading Boston University to the NCAA championship game, was selected with the second pick by the Buffalo Sabres.
Noah Hanifin, who grew up in Norwood and attended Boston College, was selected with the fifth pick by the Carolina Panthers.
There was plenty of interest in the Bruins as well, as they had picks 13, 14, and 15 thanks to trades that sent Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings and Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames. The belief heading into the draft was that the Bruins were looking to move up to acquire a top-tier defenseman, perhaps even Hanifin. No trade was made, though, and the Bruins stood pat, selecting Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk, and Zachary Senyshyn with their picks.
While there may not be as much interest this year, there are still a few intriguing story lines.
Four players who have either committed to Boston University or are already Terriers — Charlie McAvoy, Clayton Keller, Kieffer Bellows, and Dante Fabbro — could be selected in the first round. Any of the four would interest the Bruins at No. 14, writes Fluto Shinzawa. Chad Krys has an outside shot at going in the first round as well.
Perhaps one of the NHL teams should hire Michael Schuckers, a professor of statistics at St. Lawrence University. He presented his paper, “Draft by Numbers: Using Data and Analytics to Improve National Hockey League Player Selection,” at the recent MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
He suggests a model to evaluate players that takes into account three factors: NHL Central Scouting rankings, statistical performance prior to selection, and height and weight. Shinzawa has more on Schuckers’s presentation.
Here’s a quick guide to this year’s event:
When is the draft?
The draft will be held this weekend at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. The first round will be Friday starting at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Rounds 2 through 7 will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and will be televised on NHL Network.
Where do the Bruins pick?
The Bruins have two picks in the first round. They have their own pick at 14, as well as the 29th pick, which was acquired from the Sharks in the trade that sent goalie Martin Jones to San Jose.
The Bruins traded their second-round pick, No. 44 overall, to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015 in exchange for Brett Connolly. But they have the 51st pick, which they received from the New York Islanders in the 2014 Johnny Boychuk trade.
Boston’s third-round pick, 75th overall, was sent to Carolina for John-Michael Liles at the trade deadline this past season, and the Bruins also shipped the fourth-round pick, 105th overall, to the New Jersey Devils for Lee Stempniak.
After not having selections in the third and fourth rounds, the Bruins will have picks 135 (their own) and 136 in the fifth round. The latter was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for the Bruins’ 2015 fifth-round pick.
In the sixth and seventh rounds, the Bruins have their own picks at 165 and 195 overall.
The Bruins will turn to director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky to help shape their future. This will be his third draft at the helm with the Bruins. In his first draft in 2014, the team selected David Pastrnak. Shinzawa writes that because of their previous misses, the Bruins are not in a position to whiff.
Who’s No. 1?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have the No. 1 overall pick, and it appears that Auston Matthews is the clear choice to be taken. Matthews, 18, is a center from Scottsdale, Ariz. He scored 55 goals and totaled 117 points with USA Hockey’s under-18 squad to break Patrick Kane’s records for goals and points in a season.
Rather than play in the college ranks, Matthews spent the past season playing in Switzerland’s top professional league. Shinzawa has more on Matthews’ journey to the NHL.
Draft order for first round
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
2. Winnipeg Jets
3. Columbus Blue Jackets
4. Edmonton Oilers
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. Calgary Flames
7. Arizona Coyotes
8. Buffalo Sabres
9. Montreal Canadiens
10. Colorado Avalanche
11. New Jersey Devils
12. Ottawa Senators
13. Carolina Hurricanes
14. Boston Bruins
15. Minnesota Wild
16. Detroit Red Wings
17. Nashville Predators
18. Philadelphia Flyers
19. New York Islanders
20. Arizona Coyotes (via Rangers)
21. Carolina Hurricanes (via Kings)
22. Winnipeg Jets (via Blackhawks)
23. Florida Panthers
24. Anaheim Ducks
25. Dallas Stars
26. Washington Capitals
27. Tampa Bay Lightning
28. St. Louis Blues
29. Boston Bruins (via Sharks)
30. Pittsburgh Penguins
Other top prospects
Patrik Laine, left wing, Finland — Laine spent the past season in the Finnish Elite league. He won the Jari Kurri Award as the best player in the postseason.
Jesse Puljujärvi, right wing, Finland — Puljujärvi had 5 goals and 12 assists in the 2016 World Junior Championships
Matthew Tkachuk, left wing, St. Louis — This past season, Tkachuk scored 30 goals to go with 77 assists in 57 games in the Ontario Hockey League. His father, Keith, who was born in East Boston and played for Malden Catholic and one season for Boston University, is considered one of the greatest US-born players in NHL history, having played 19 seasons.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, center, Canada — The versatile forward had 42 goals and 57 assists in the Quebec Major Junior League and won the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league’s best professional prospect.
Mikhail Sergachev, defense, Russia — Playing in the OHL, Sergachev had 17 goals to lead all blue liners. He also had 40 assists and won the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the league’s most outstanding defenseman.
Olli Juolevi, defense, Finland — Juolevi led all defensemen on Finland’s 2016 World Junior Championship team with 9 assists in seven games. He also had 9 goals and 33 assists in 57 games in the OHL.
Alexander Nylander, left wing, Sweden — Nylander had 75 points (28 goals, 47 assists) in 57 games to lead all rookies in the OHL. He was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. His father, Michael, played 15 season in the NHL, while his brother, William, was taken eighth overall in 2014.
Logan Brown, center, Chesterfield, Mo. — Brown had 21 goals and 53 assists in the OHL. His father, Jeff, played 747 games over 13 seasons in the NHL.
Clayton Keller, center, Swansea, Ill. — Keller, who has committed to play at Boston University in the fall, had 37 goals and 70 assists in 62 games with the US Under-18 team.
Tyson Jost, center, Canada — Jost, who has committed to play at North Dakota in the fall, played 48 games with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia League last season, totaling 42 goals and 62 assists.
Jakob Chychrun, defense, Boca Raton, Fla. — Chychrun had 11 goals and 38 assists in the OHL this past season. His father, Jeff, played 262 games in the NHL, while his uncle, Luke Richardson, logged 1,417 games.
Jake Bean, defense, Canada — Bean was the top-scoring defenseman in the Western Hockey League with 24 goals in 68 games. His father, John, is the chief operating officer for the Calgary Flames.
Kieffer Bellows, center, Edina, Minn. — Bellows, who has committed to play at BU next fall, had 50 goals and 31 assists in 62 games with the US Under-18 team. His father is Brian Bellows, who complied 1,022 points in 1,188 NHL games.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.