A little over a week after signing 6-foot-5, 230-pound college free agent Nick Wolff to an entry-level contract, the Bruins went to the opposite end of the spectrum when it came to adding another key piece to their prospect pipeline.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Bruins have signed St. Cloud State defenseman Jack Ahcan, another college free agent, to a contract. Terms have not yet been disclosed.
Whereas a bruiser like Wolff is expected to bring some size and physicality to Boston’s system, Ahcan’s game very much falls in line with the many smaller, playmaking blueliners that have made a name for themselves with the Bruins over the last couple of seasons.
Just 5-foot-8, Ahcan has built a reputation in the collegiate ranks as an offensive sparkplug that’s still very responsible in his own zone.
The 22-year-old skater just wrapped up his senior season with the Huskies — which was unfortunately cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahcan, who served as a team captain over the last two seasons, wrapped up his career at SCSU with 21 goals and 103 points over 144 games.
Given that smaller defensemen like Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk are currently excelling up in the NHL ranks, the Bruins have made a concerted effort over the last two years to add blueliners with similar profiles to their system.
At the conclusion of the 2018-19 NCAA season, the Bruins signed 5-foot-9 freshman defenseman Cooper Zech out of Ferris State — another blue-chip prospect that was already given the keys to Bulldog’s power play in his lone collegiate season.
While today’s NHL has allowed smaller, more skilled defensemen to carve out defined roles with their respective clubs, patience should be preached when it comes to developing these blueliners down in the minors — despite the gaudy numbers they posted during college.
After all, Krug spent a whole season down in Providence before being pressed into duty during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, while Grzelcyk also appeared in 84 games with Providence over two seasons before becoming a regular in Boston.
As such, don’t expect a player like Ahcan to leapfrog a couple of other names once training camp gets underway this fall (or winter?). Still, there’s a reason why the Bruins targeted a player like Ahcan — a college veteran praised for both his leadership and potential up at the next level of play.