The most exciting Bruin rookie, though, is the 5'10", 175-pound Leveille, Boston's first-round draft pick last June. During the exhibition season, the Bruins took one look at him and were reminded of Yvan Cournoyer, once a flashy forward for the Canadiens. Before straining ligaments in his left knee against Hartford on Nov. 1, Leveille had five goals and two assists. He should be back in the lineup by early December. A dynamic amalgam of speed and strength, Leveille is a terrific checker and has the hardest shot on the Bruins. He and Baron grew up together in Montreal, and Baron says that when Leveille was nine years old, all the other kids used to hang around to see him shoot a puck.
Successfully overhauling a roster as Boston has done requires precise timing. "It's always in the back of your mind," Sinden says. "You don't want to move too early, before a player is ready. And you can't wait too long, or you might be left with no well-seasoned players still at a level in their games where they can help the youngsters coming up. We took a risk that our timing was right. The season is young, but so far we haven't had to pay for going with these kids."