By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Tonight the ECHL Jacksonville IceMen are at the Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, to take on the red-hot (4-0) Florida Everblades at 7pm ET. The Jacksonville club currently sits in the fourth spot in the South Division with a 1-3-0 record. Although not official if the IceMen are an actual “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins the 2020-21 season or not, some B’s prospects and AHL only Providence Bruins players have been making news with arrivals. These transactions aren’t labeled as loans, so it can cause a little speculation of an agreement as per the ECHL website; they are, in fact, labeled as assigned.
Two future Bruins work-in-progress players could make their North American Professional debuts tonight for Jacksonville, who were recently added by the ECHL Commissioners Exempt List. Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan and forward Matt Filipe are now eligible to join the Jacksonville club to get some games and prepare to be ready for a potential 2021 NHL training camp tryout. Another name to add to the list of activated IceMen players is Goaltender Callum Booth, who signed a one-year, two-way free-agent contract in October 2020. Booth has been a minor-pro journeyman who’s spent time with the former ECHL “AA” affiliation with the Atlanta Gladiators. Callum was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2015 and has played in the coast for Florida, Reading (PA), Greenville (SC), Atlanta, and most recently Jacksonville. Booth has got as high as the American Hockey League appearing in 15 games for the Charlotte Checkers.
Defenseman Jack Ahcan was signed in March of 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down. I believe if the Covid-19 virus didn’t happen, Jack would’ve reported to the Providence Bruins for increased development and a key part to a backend that I’m excited to see AHL Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach orchestrate soon. Jack had a good career playing for Division I Hockey St. Cloud State University. Ahcan is a mobile defenseman with a tremendous amount of offensive skill, moving the puck east to west. It’s going to be interesting to see his defensive game in league with mixed-age veterans. Jack went undrafted but is a solid piece in the development scheme of the Bruins organization, who posted 21-82-103 numbers in his four years at St. Cloud (144 Games).
Jack’s best season in the NCAA came in his junior season where he posted 6-28-34 totals in 39 games as a 5′-8″ 190-pound blueliner. Ahcan also made the 2016-17 Team USA roster in the U-20 World Junior Championships where he earned one assist in seven games played capturing the gold medal. He was the 2015-16 USHL defenseman of the year playing in his only season in the top tier league in the United States with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders where he posted 14-30-44 numbers in 56 games.
Matt Filipe on the other hand is an intriguing member of the Bruins organization to me. Your prototypical New England kid joining the B’s is a dream come coming out of the NCAA with the Northeastern University Huskies. The 6′-2″ 200-pound Massachusetts native could be a solid roll of the dice concerning future needs up the middle or on the left side. Filipe is another player who I thought would spend his first pro season with Providence but with the availability of a roster spot in Jacksonville, this is the next big thing. Playing in the ECHL is a challenge and comes with a heavy style game that the forward could get used to as he continues to developing.
Filipe’s numbers in the NCAA were decent at 31-44-75 in four complete seasons before signing with the Bruins. His best point-producing season for Northeastern was last year (2019-20), where he contributed 9-13-22 numbers in 30 games. Also important not to forget that Matt and his Huskies club have won the Beanpot Trophy three straight years, so winning is important and is a good attribute for the hunger factor on any resume.
To watch tonight’s Jacksonville IceMen play the powerhouse Florida Everblades and future ECHL games that Bruins players of interest appear in, please go check out FloSports.com.