The draft board pages include every player who was left unprotected in the 1998 Expansion Draft. The overwhelming majority of players who do not carry over are either old, unproductive, injured, primarily used for fighting, marginal players, minor league veterans, or unsigned European prospects. The majority of pending UFAs (Group III, Group V, and Group VI) will not carry over. Exceptions to these rules are provided if the incumbent team left almost nothing of value available to choose from, in which case everyone gets at least a closer look.
As we are capped by league restrictions to selecting no more than six pending free agents, we must be judicious with our choices.
The Bruins finished 2nd in the Northeast Division with 91 points, but were bounced in the first round by Washington in six games.
Goalies: Jim Carey, Joakim Persson
Defensemen: Dean Chynoweth, Dave Ellett, Grant Ledyard, Dean Malkoc(Gr.II – RFA), Milt Mastad(Gr.II – RFA), Anders Myrvold(Gr.II – RFA), Charles Paquette(Gr.II – RFA), Barry Richter, Jon Rohloff, Andrei Sapozhnikov, Andrei Shaldybin, Andrei Yakhanov
Forwards: Ken Baumgartner, P.C. Drouin(Gr.II – RFA), Bill McCauley(Gr.II – RFA), Trent McCleary, Kirk Nielsen(Gr.II – RFA), Andre Roy(Gr.II – RFA), Mike Sullivan
Boston left a total of 20 players unprotected, and the only two who we’re going to consider at all are defenseman Barry Richter (the only D out of twelve) and forward Mike Sullivan.
D Barry Richter – 28-year-old defenseman, originally a 2nd-round pick of Hartford (1988)
The case for taking Richter – An offensively gifted defenseman, Richter put up 156 points in four years at the University of Wisconsin. He turned pro in the Rangers organization, and had 35 goals and 137 points in just two seasons in the AHL with Binghamton.
In the two years since, he’s been with the Bruins, going back and forth between the NHL and AHL. He had 16 goals and 45 points this past year in the AHL on a team that was 30 games under .500. He can produce, he just needs a chance.
The case against taking Richter – Boston had an abominable power play in 1996-97, and Richter didn’t make any difference on it despite a 50-game look with the Bruins. He didn’t get a callup this past year at all, even though the Bruins produced so little offense from the back end that Kyle McLaren was the second-leading scoring defenseman.
Richter is an AHL-level player with no guarantee that he sticks in the NHL. If we want someone like that, why not just take John Slaney from Phoenix? He’s played over 120 games in the NHL over the past three seasons, with some dominant IHL performances in between.
F Mike Sullivan – 30-year-old forward, originally a 4th-round pick of the New York Rangers (1987)
The case for taking Sullivan – He’s spent the last seven full seasons in the NHL as a defensive specialist – one of the best in the league, in fact. We’ll get close to no offense from him, but his speed and defensive skill will make a big difference in our zone and on the forecheck. As the game becomes tighter checking with a greater emphasis on defense, we could use such a valuable asset.
In addition, we have a trade offer from Phoenix. It’s not much, just a 7th-rounder for Sullivan if we take him, but it’s a pick we don’t have otherwise.
The case against taking Sullivan – The fact that we’ll get no offense from him is an important consideration; there are other defensively-skilled forwards that we can choose from who will bring offense to the table as well. If the league opens the game back up a bit, they would have value and Sullivan would not.
The trade of a 7th-rounder for Sullivan is barely worth considering. The odds of getting a future NHL player in the 7th is extremely unlikely, compared to being able to take someone who could actually bring uncommon offense from the back end (like Richter).