After the 1999 season, the Boston Bruins were one of the worst teams in the league. They had a bunch of draft picks to try and improve the team and bring them back to the promised land. Did the 2000 draft class help win the Bruins a Stanley Cup? Continue reading to find out more about each draft pick’s career and what they contributed to the team.
Lars Jonsson: What could have been
The six-foot two-inch two hundred seven-pound defensemen was described by Elite Prospects as “a defenseman with good size and offensive skills. Is a very smooth skater and can log the puck up ice efficiently. Has good hands and a hard point shot. Very useful with the man advantage. Is however a bit prone to injuries and defensive lapses.”
Based on this account it seems like Jonsson would be a pretty good player for the Bruins. In real life, Jonsson never lived up to the hype as he never suited up for a game with the Boston Bruins. Jonsson played only eight games in his NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers before going home to play in Sweden.
Martin Samuelsson: Short career with Bruins before returning to Sweden
Boston also had another first-round pick in the 2000 draft. With the twenty-seventh overall pick, the Bruins selected Martin Samuelsson. The second Swedish player taken by the Bruins in the first round was just unsuccessful as the first.
Samuelsson was the first forward the Bruins took in this draft. In his 14 games in the NHL Samuelsson registered one measly assist for the Bruins. After playing the short stint for the Bruins, Samuelsson played a season with the Providence Bruins. Samuelsson left North America after the 2004-05 season and went home to Sweden. He played for multiple teams in Sweden before announcing his retirement in 2008.
Andy Hilbert: Journeyman had success with Bruins
With the Bruins’ third pick in the draft and their first pick in the second round, the Bruins selected another forward. This time they picked an American by the name of Andy Hilbert. Hilbert was the most successful Bruins draft pick from the 2000 NHL draft.
In his nine-year career, Hilbert played for five different NHL franchises. Hilbert played in 307 NHL games during his career. He scored 42 goals and added 62 assists for 104 career points. As mentioned before Hilbert was quite the journeyman in his career. After being selected with the 37th overall pick by the Bruins, he made his NHL debut in the 2001-02 season. He spent the next three seasons in the Bruins organization as he split his time playing for the Bruins and Providence Bruins.
After having an amazing season with the Providence Bruins, the Chicago Blackhawks wanted his services. He signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks before the 2005-06 season. After playing 28 games for Chicago, Hilbert was sent to play in the AHL. He played extremely well during his time with the Norfolk Admirals as played five games and got 7 points. The Pittsburgh Penguins decided to take a chance on him. The risk definitely worked out for the Penguins. Hilbert played 19 games for Pittsburgh and he posted 18 points.
After the 2005-06 season the Penguins and Hilbert, unfortunately, decided to go their separate ways. Hilbert decided to sign with the New York Islanders. With the Islanders Hilbert constantly scored around 30 points for the club. In his first three years on long Island Hilbert potted 71 total points. At the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, Hilbert changed allegiances as he now would suit up for the Minnesota Wild.
During his very short stint in the Twin cities, Hilbert played four games but he did not have any points for the Wild. He was sent back to the AHL to play for the Houston Aeros. Hilbert played his final game as a professional hockey player for the Aeros as he never was able to get into another NHL game.
Ivan Huml: First Czechoslovakian forward was taken by Bruins
The Bruins had another pick in the second round of the 2000 draft. With the 59th overall pick, Ivan Huml was selected by the Bruins. The first Czechoslovakian forward taken by the Bruins in this draft had a decent little career. Coming into the draft Elite Prospects describe Huml as “A big forward who can play anywhere up front. He skates very well and owns good playmaking ability. Could improve his consistency and defensive game”.
This account proved to very accurate as his consistency was the main reason why he couldn’t stick in the NHL. During parts of three NHL seasons, Huml suited up for the Bruins in 49 games. During his short NHL career, Huml scored 6 goals and added 12 assists for 18 total points.
After his career in North America ended, Huml decided to go home and play in Europe. He bounced around many European leagues before finally sticking in the Czech league. He actually is still actively playing as he will be suiting up for the Pirati Chomutov at the age of 39.
Tuukka Mäkelä: Another draft pick that never played for the Bruins
After drafting four players that played at least one game in the NHL the Bruins finally made a pick that never played in the NHL. Tuukka Mäkelä was a Finnish defenseman drafted in the third round 66th overall. He never actually played a game in America. After he was drafted he played one season in Canada for the Montreal Rocket of the QMJHL. After his short stint in Canada, he returned home to Finland. He played for multiple teams in Finland, Italy, and even made an appearance in England playing for the Nottingham Panthers. He announced his retirement from hockey after the 2014-15 season.
Sergei Zinovjev: Russian junior success never translated to the NHL
The Bruins actually got some games of their second pick in the third round. Boston selected Sergei Zinovjev out of USSR. After having a fantastic junior tournament for the Russian U-20 team the Bruins decided to draft the forward with the 73rd overall pick in the draft. Matias Strozyk of Elite Prospects described Zinovyev as “A very skilled offensive center with an excellent understanding of the game. A creative player with good stickhandling and excellent passing game. A reliable goal and point scorer. Weaknesses include physical game. A very good two-way player.”
Unfortunately, Zinovyev wasn’t able to translate his game over to North America as he only played 10 games in the NHL for the Bruins and only registered an assist. After his short time in North America, he won’t back to his home and played for various Russian teams. He announced his retirement after the 2013-14 season.
Brett Nowak: Career minor leaguer never lived up to his college potential
The Bruins drafted yet another American forward in the 2000 NHL draft. This time they drafted Brett Nowak with the 103rd pick. Nowak was a forward from New Heaven Connecticut, he played his college hockey at Harvard University. During his college days, Nowak was very successful as he was a point per game scorer for the Harvard Crimson. He could not transfer his success from the college game to pro hockey as he never played in the NHL and split his career between the AHL and the ECHL.
From 2003 to 2006 Nowak battled in the minors to try and earn a promotion to the NHL. The premonition never came so Nowak announced his retirement from the game of hockey in 2006.
Jarno Kultanen: Defensive defenseman did not stick with Bruins
Boston actually made a decent selection with their 6th round pick in the 2000 NHL draft. The Bruins selected a Finnish defenseman by the name of Jarno Kultanen with the 174th pick in the draft. Kultanen played in 102 games for the Bruins over three total seasons. Kultanen was definitely a defensive defenseman as was only able to score 2 goals and add 11 assists in his NHL career. After playing for the Bruins he was demoted to the Providence Bruins.
He played 59 games for the Providence Bruins and managed to score nine goals and added 25 assists. Kultanen realized his time in North America was running out and decided to go home and play for HIFK of the Liiga. He played for various teams in Finland and Sweden until 2010 when he announced his retirement.
Chris Berti: Ontario Hockey League was Berti’s apex
In the seventh round, the Bruins decided to pick a Canadian Forward by the name of Chris Berti. Berti actually never played in the NHL, AHL, or ECHL. Berti played his best hockey during the 2001-02 season for the Erie Otters. In 61 games he scored 15 goals and added 22 assists for 37 total points. After playing for the Otter Berti took his talents to the classroom.
Berti decided to attend the University of Western Ontario and he played hockey for the school. After three seasons playing for the University of Western Ontario Berti hung up the skates and has not played competitive hockey since.
Zdenek Kutlak: Big two-way defenseman only saw limited action with the Bruins
In the eighth round of the 2000 draft, the Bruins decided to add yet another defensive prospect. They drafted Zdenek Kutlak out of Czechoslovakia with the 237th pick. Ulf Andersson of Elite Prospects described Kutlak as “a big defenseman with a strong two-way game. Likes to be physical in his defensive work. Has good vision and hockey sense, and a very hard shot.”
Kutlak used his big frame and strong two-game to get into some action for the Bruins. In the NHL he suited up for the Boston Bruins in 16 games over the course of 3 seasons. Kutlak was only able to score one goal and add two assists in his short career. After his time with the Boston Bruins ran out he went back to Europe and played for various teams. Kutlak is actually still playing professional hockey as he suiting up for the HC Pribram of the Czech3 league.
Pavel Kolarik: Oldest Bruins draft pick played in only 23 games for the team
The Bruins selected perhaps the oldest draft pick in NHL history in a 28-year-old Pavel Kolarik. Kolarik was the second Czechoslovakian defenseman taken by the Bruins in this draft. Boston selected Kolarik defensemen with 268th pick in the 2000 draft. Kolarik actually got into some NHL games for the Bruins.
In 23 games for the Bruins, he was unable to produce any goals during his NHL career. Kolarik left North America after the conclusion of the 2001-02 season. He returned to Czechoslovakia and played the rest of his career in his home country. At the ripe age of 46, Kolarik retired a the end of the 2017-18 season.
Andreas Lindström: The last pick in the Bruins’ draft did not play for them
With their last pick in the draft, the Bruins selected another Swedish forward by the name of Andreas Lindström. Lindström is another Bruins draftee that never played a game for them or in North America, never leaving his home country of Sweden. He played for various Swedish teams during his career. He last suited up during the 2015-16 season for Haparanda HC.
Bruins 2000 Draft Conclusion
As you can the Bruins did not have the most successful draft as they did not draft any player of significant quality or any person that played a significant role on a successful NHL team. Hopefully, the Bruins can improve their drafting in the near future. If you want to read about the rest of the Bruins draft picks continue reading the series.
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Bruins Off season overview click here
Craig Smith signs with the Bruins click here.
Bruins Off season outlook click here
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