NHL Notebook: Why Jack Ahcan believed Bruins offered best chance to realize NHL dreams — and why fans should be excited about him

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

The possibilities seemed endless for Jack Ahcan back in March.

For as much as NHL teams were likely kicking themselves at not taking a flier on the skilled defenseman during his draft eligible years, they weren't going to make the same mistake again when the then-22-year-old skater wrapped up his standout career at St. Cloud State back in March.

By the time COVID-19 halted and eventually stamped out the Huskies and every other NCAA club's season, Ahcan had already positioned himself as one of the top collegiate free agents on the market. In a game that has continued to embrace speed and skill, Ahcan fits the bill as the type of playmaking presence needed on an NHL D corps in 2020 and beyond — with the 5-foot-8 defenseman racking up 103 total points (21 goals, 82 assists) over 144 games at St. Cloud.

The disappointment of not seeing his senior season through stung for the Huskies captain in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-prompted shutdown of sports across North America, but those doldrums were quickly negated when Ahcan's phone started ringing shortly thereafter. In total, Ahcan, his family and his agent spoke with 10 teams in March — all of which were looking to make their pitch to the free agent by way of phone calls and video conferences.

Ahcan, who grew up 15 miles south of Minneapolis in Savage, Minnesota, certainly had his ties to the Midwest, especially given the fact that he continued his collegiate career just a little over an hour away from the Twin Cities in St. Cloud. Despite his status as an undrafted — and regularly overlooked — talent, Ahcan had managed to develop a rapport with the Avalanche, having taken part in their 2019 development camp as an invitee.

So even with Ahcan's roots buried in the North Star State and his tangible connection to the Avs, why then did the gifted defenseman believe his best route to the NHL was to chart a course with the Bruins?