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NHL Draft 2011: Bruins In A Fine Place With Draft Less Than A Week Away

Not ten days after his team won the Stanley Cup, Peter Chiarelli will approach the podium at the Xcel Center in St. Paul to announce who the Bruins will select with their ninth overall pick - the second top-ten pick in two years for the team. 

Or he might announce that he's traded the pick. 

Or he might announce that he's auctioned it off. 

Or he might just wave it callously over the heads of fans and management alike in Montreal, Tampa, Vancouver and Philadelphia. 

But whatever he does with it, next year's outfit is going to be in pretty good shape. 

The Bruins are losing only Mark Recchi to retirement - Marc Savard may not be far behind him, but that's still very much up in the air, Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle are the team's two lone UFAs, and only Brad Marchand has earned himself a pay raise (which he'll get as the team's lone RFA).

So Chiarelli - who's been careful to protect his team's draft picks before shipping them out, as Broad Street Hockey notes - and the Bruins have the opportunity to take a chance with this pick, the last remnant of the Phil Kessel trade with Toronto. 

They could draft a puck-moving defenseman - Ryan Murphy rates high on this front - or could go after a shut-down guy like Northeastern's Jamie Oleksiak. Or they could take a chance on another high-powered winger like Tyler Seguin in Drummondville's Sean Couturier or Kitchener's Gabriel Landeskog - of course, neither forward is projected to be around when Boston's ninth pick is up, but Chiarelli also has the option to package picks or players and move up.

The emergence of Jared Knight, Ryan Spooner and Jamie Arniel last preseason has afforded them such a chance. Yury Alexandrov may well be the shut-down defenseman they need, and Steven Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski are both able puck-movers, regardless of whether or not the team resigns Kaberle.

The one thing Boston was short on was depth at goaltending, but the acquisition of Anton Khudobin made up for that.

Whatever happens, Chiarelli will likely take the best available player with his ninth pick and allow the prospect time to develop at whatever level he plays at before calling him up to Boston in a couple of years.