OTTAWA - During the first round of the 2007-08 Stanley Cup playoffs, when his hometown Canadiens were facing off against the Bruins in what became a seven-game dogfight, Maxime Sauve wasn't in Montreal to watch the series.
Sauve was in Kazan, Russia, for the World Under-18 Championships, helping Team Canada win gold under former NHL coach Pat Quinn.
"He's a 5 skater," said Bruins director of amateur scouting Scott Bradley, using a 1-5 scale to categorize Sauve's wheels. "He has outstanding speed. He's got a little bit of [Philadelphia forward Simon] Gagne in him. He's dynamic. He provides offense. He distributes the puck very well. He can stickhandle in a phone booth."
Capsules of the Bruins' five Day 2 selections, D4
Sauve's championship performance - during the tournament, he skated on the same line as Boston University-bound forward Corey Trivino - was one reason the Bruins took the 6-foot, 170-pound center in the second round (47th overall) of the NHL draft yesterday. In seven tournament games, Sauve dished out six assists. During the 2007-08 regular season, he had 26 goals and 39 assists over 70 games (he was traded from Quebec to Val-d'Or).
"I'm a speed player with good skills and good offense," said Sauve, son of former NHLer Jean-Francois Sauve (Buffalo, Quebec). His uncle, Bob Sauve, is a former NHL goalie, while cousin Philippe Sauve, another netminder, had a stint in Boston.
Sauve was one of five players the Bruins selected in Rounds 2-7 at Scotiabank Place yesterday. As well as Sauve, they picked goalie Michael Hutchinson (No. 77), center Jamie Arniel (No. 97), center Nicholas Tremblay (No. 173), and center Mark Goggin (No. 197).
"I think we're looking for pretty much the same [types of players]," said Bradley, who is transitioning to a new position and will hand over the draft reins to scout Wayne Smith. "But character is such a big issue now. The drive and determination is so important now. You're looking for character kids. All the kids that were picked this weekend have that quality about them."
The character issue was significant for fourth-round selection Arniel, the 20th-ranked North American skater. The Bruins traded their fourth- and fifth-round picks to Columbus for the 97th selection, then drafted Arniel, who had plummeted through the first three rounds after a 2007-08 junior season that included a trade from Guelph to Sarnia, an extended stint at home, and a less-than-productive year in the Ontario Hockey League.
"That was luck," said Smith, whose late father, Wayne, was the former head scout at Guelph. "There were a couple things that happened. There was a lot of miscommunication about the situation when he was traded from Guelph to Sarnia. People who didn't do their homework in this league just probably went by a player who would have been a first-round pick as an under-18 last year."
The 5-11, 183-pound Arniel, nephew of former NHLer Scott Arniel, was positioned even higher than the Bruins' first-round pick, Joe Colborne. So when he dropped like a rock into the fourth round, it made for a longer weekend than he expected.
"I was told I was going to go a lot earlier than that," Arniel said. "I just tried to stick with it there. It was pretty tough through the top two or three. You never know where you're going to go.
"I definitely thought I was going a little higher. Every pick counted down and hurt that much more. But I'm really excited about Boston. They were one of my favorite teams growing up."
In 2006-07, Arniel broke through for a 31-31 -62 line in 68 games for Guelph. But he endured a rocky 2007-08. Arniel, an offensive-minded center, said he wasn't playing the role he wanted under Guelph coach Dave Barr. The sides agreed that a trade would be the best scenario, and Arniel went home to Kingston, Ontario, until the Storm moved him to Sarnia last December.
"Maybe the trade scenario had something to do with it," Arniel said of his dropping stock. "I don't think anybody knew what really happened.
"I'm not the biggest guy, as well. I also didn't have the offensive season I was supposed to have. I think there's a few reasons, but next year's going to be a big year for me. Hopefully, I can turn things around."
In Sarnia, Arniel shared power-play time with first overall pick Steven Stamkos. During end-of-year meetings, Sting coach Dave MacQueen told Arniel that he'd be stepping into Stamkos's spot in 2008-09 as the club's go-to guy. Smith said Arniel could score 100 points.
"Hopefully, I can have a good year next year and prove some people wrong," said Arniel.
In the third round, the Bruins took Hutchinson, who was only the 18th-ranked North American goalie at the midterm rankings. But after earning the No. 1 job and backstopping Barrie to a first-round upset of Brampton in the OHL playoffs, Hutchinson rose to No. 5.
"Just thrilled to be drafted by Boston," said Hutchinson, a junior teammate of Brian Lashoff, younger brother of Bruins prospect Matt Lashoff.
Hutchinson became the No. 1 goalie when Barrie traded Andrew Perugini to Sarnia at the trade deadline. During the 2007-08 regular season, Hutchinson went 12-15-4 with a 3.02 GAA and a .912 save percentage. During the first-round showdown against Brampton, he averaged 44 saves per game.
"I don't think I can say enough about how much that performance helped me," said the 6-3, 185-pound Hutchinson, who will most likely return to Barrie in 2008-09. "At the midterm rankings, I was a little under the radar. After that, I started to feel more confident about the draft."
Tremblay (51-59 -110 in 57 games for Smiths Falls of the Central Junior Hockey League) will head to Clarkson this fall. Goggin (15-21 -36 in 21 games at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn.) will return to prep school for his senior season, then attend Dartmouth as a freshman in 2009.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org