By: Joe Travia | Follow me on Twitter @NHLJoeTravia
It has been a busy day to start the offseason for the Boston Bruins. Shortly after news broke that young defenseman Jakub Zboril signed a two-year extension with the club, the Bruins announced that 2019 first-round draft pick (30th overall) Johnny Beecher had signed his three-year entry-level. The contract has an annual cap hit of $925,000.
Beecher, a 6’3, 210-pound center who possesses a rare blend of size and top-end speed, played three seasons at the University of Michigan, where he recorded 19 goals and 20 assists in 81 games. He was able to get his first taste of pro hockey in Providence this year after the Wolverines season concluded, appearing in nine games for the P-Bruins on a professional tryout. While his offensive numbers in college were not eye-popping, he transitioned well to the pro game, scoring three goals with two assists in nine total games.
The development of Beecher will be essential to keep an eye on for Bruins fans. While the Bruins will likely give Beecher every opportunity to make the roster out of training camp, the most probable scenario is that he spends the 2022-2023 season in Providence working to develop his offensive tool kit. With Patrice Bergeron’s career winding down (and possibly over), the Bruins need to develop their next wave of young center prospects. With Beecher, UDFA signing Georgii Merkulov, and 2021 third-round pick Brett Harrison all in the pipeline, the future is starting to look a little brighter at the position.