The Bruins are currently clinging to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, with the Atlanta Thrashers coming on strong (having won four straight) and just one point out of knocking Boston out of it again.
In beating the Rangers yesterday, the B's opened up a five-point cushion which is good, but this team is still so Jekyll and Hyde, you don't know how things will end up in April. Kudos to Tuukka Rask, who again was in net yesterday and again got the win to keep his club in the playoffs. I think that if he continues his run and gets the puck in the playoffs (assuming Boston gets there), then Tim Thomas going to Philly or somewhere else for as much as Peter Chiarelli can wheedle out of them is a fait accompli. Maybe the two can coexist, but Thomas is so competitive, and you just know he wants to be playing somewhere, anywhere.
Now, Toronto has been winning a lot lately, which is impressive because I can't for the life of me figure out how those AHL-caliber forwards are scoring. New Jersey's Yann Danis was simply gross in the shootout, giving up all three shots to the Leafs, while Jaroslav Halak was unable to beat out Jonas Gustavsson. Oh, well. Toronto is four points behind Tampa and the New York Islanders to get out of 29th place, five points behind Florida and six points behind Columbus.
Many Boston doom-and-gloomers are predicting that they will do just that (climb in the standings and knock Boston out of the Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin sweepstakes), but it's still a tough road to hoe for them.
Anyway- as of today, the Bruins are still looking at the 2nd overall position, although no team finishing 2nd has ever won the lottery.
Now, the interesting thing is- if the winning trend continues in the Western Conference, should the Bruins drop out of the playoffs by season's end, they'll have a top-10 pick in the draft by virtue of a lot of non-playoff teams in the West finishing with better records than Boston.
This is not a desired outcome, but if the Bruins are going to miss out on the dance, this is a good time to do it, as they have a poorer record than many of their counterparts in the West. This is not the year to be fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
OK, without further ado- here are the picks. No change in the top-two rounds based on last week:
Boston Bruins 2010 Draft Picks (Draft position after 1st round estimated based on current standings; lottery not taken into account)
2nd overall- Toronto (64 points; 26-34-12)
15th overall- Boston (76 points; 32-27-12)
32nd overall- Toronto
45th overall- Boston
*Boston traded rights to Tampa Bay second round pick (33rd overall) previously acquired with Mark Recchi for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums, to Florida as part of package for D Dennis Seidenberg
No pick- Traded to Buffalo as part of Daniel Paille trade
95th overall- Carolina (68 points; 30-34-8)
105th overall- Boston****Conditional to Buffalo if Paille scores 16 goals. If condition not met, Buffalo gets Boston 5th-round pick in 2010
135th overall- Boston*** (To Buffalo if Paille scores 15 goals or less)
165th overall- Boston
195th overall- Boston
Boston Bruins 2011 Draft Picks
Toronto (Completes Phil Kessel trade)
Minnesota (Completes Chuck Kobasew trade)
Boston* (To Anaheim if D Steven Kampfer signs with Boston)
Phoenix (Completes Derek Morris trade- becomes 3rd rounder if UFA Morris re-signs with Coyotes)