( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins announced yesterday that the club has come to terms on a one-year AHL-only deal with tough-guy forward Ian McKinnon. The undrafted 23-year-old center from Ontario, Canada, was playing in the ECHL with the Jacksonville Icemen for the last two seasons but was loaned to the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins on February 26th, 2021, per the EliteProspects.com website. Joining the Providence club on a professional try-out, McKinnon appeared in ten games for the AHL Bruins, contributing 1-2-3 numbers and 81 penalty minutes.

In 47 career ECHL games, all with Jacksonville, the 6′-2″ 195-pound forward has 2-2-4 numbers and 142 penalty minutes. The Icemen have an unofficial agreement with the Boston Bruins during these pandemic times to house their prospects if players need to go to the “AA” level for ice time. With defensive prospect Jack Ahcan, forward prospect Matt Filipe, and goaltending prospect Kyle Keyser already spending some time in Jacksonville, it was a no-brainer for scouts to gravitate to McKinnon’s game and what he could offer at the higher level.

Let’s face it; the 2021 Providence club was very talented but also very green in professional experience. I believe the addition of McKinnon was a smart idea as the other two hockey teams that made up this year’s AHL Atlantic Division would often take liberties on the young Bruins core. Ian did a great job policing the frozen sheet with an intimidation factor. Providence Head Coach Jay Leach had this to say below, as seen in the official ProvidenceBruins.com article above.

“Ian came in from day one as advertised – fast, shot ready, and physical,” said Providence Head Coach Jay Leach. “He has an ability to look after his teammates and has earned his way into the American Hockey League. We are thrilled to have him on board and look forward to watching him develop as a regular for us next season.”

In the same article, Providence General Manager John Ferguson Jr. had this to say about tonight’s free-agent signing. “Ian came up to Providence this year and was a solid addition to our group, both on and off the ice,” said Ferguson. “We look forward to seeing what improvements he can make this summer to add to his impact next season.”