By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The Boston Bruins announced earlier today that the National Hockey League team had signed defensive prospect Ryan Mast to a three-year, entry-level deal. The 6′-4″ 212-pound blueliner is a 19-year-old Michigan native playing in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sarnia Sting and recently finished his second full season with Sarnia after missing the entire 2020-21 season due to the pandemic.
In two seasons with the OHL, Sarnia Sting, the former sixth-round selection at the NHL Entry Draft in 2021, has appeared in 117 games in the OHL, contributing 10-32-42 numbers. His career high in the OHL was last season when he appeared in 59 games, posting 9-22-31 numbers. This past year was my first season paying attention to Ryan regularly, watching his games on the CHL.tv package, which can be found HERE for those interested. He’s a big kid with decent defensive intelligence and hard to play against. Obviously, at this point of his development, it’s a work-in-progress, but he’s still so raw and has a ton of upside. Mast had his mistakes over the past year, but his good moments outweighed his developmental flaws.
As a 19-year-old Mast will go back to the OHL next season for what could be his last competitive year of Canadian Junior Hockey as an American-born defenseman. Ryan’s willingness to get better and learn more about the game was displayed at last week’s development camp at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts. As a media member for the entire week of development camp, Mast and former Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid were never far apart when the former NHL’er needed to point out on and off-ice critiques. Ryan was also close enough to act like a sponge and absorbed what the player development coordinator had to say when he needed to ask questions.
With this Mast entry-level deal done, his contract will slide for the upcoming year as he returns to Sarnia, as previously mentioned. If he can take a more significant jump in his development in his final and forthcoming season of CHL hockey, it will put Ryan on an excellent path to the NHL. I’d guess Mast plays an entire season with AHL Providence to start his entry-level contract officially. Mast has the potential to start his NHL career as a third-paring defenseman, but with hard work and training, maybe that potential brings him a little higher to a second pairing and be a better version of current NHL Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. Although I see Mast as a stay-at-home defenseman, he looks good for a bigger mobile player when he pinches in offensively.