WILMINGTON – It did not take long for Matt Grzelcyk to notice the talent.
He had heard all about the young, gifted defenseman that was on his way to Boston University. So when Charlie McAvoy stepped onto the Agganis Arena ice last fall as a member of the Terriers, Grzelcyk was not surprised at the freshman’s immediate impact.
“Right away, honestly,” said Grzelcyk of when he realized McAvoy had that special something.
“He was pretty heralded coming into college. With him only being 17, he really didn’t show any signs of [inexperience] right off the bat. I knew he was going to be a fun player to play with.”
And so a bond was formed.
Boston University coach David Quinn paired McAvoy with Grzelcyk – the two-year captain of the Terriers – to form one of the best blue line duos in college hockey. The two instantly connected, combining for 13 goals, 48 assists, and a plus-27 rating, while helping to pace BU to a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
McAvoy’s 25 points led all Terrier defensemen, while Grzelcyk’s 23 points ranked second.
WILMINGTON – Trent Frederic hasn’t had much time to breathe in recent weeks.
The 18-year-old was drafted by the Bruins with the 29th overall pick in last month’s NHL Entry Draft and has since been taking summer classes at the University of Wisconsin, where he will suit up as a freshman this fall.
The whirlwind continues this week at the 10th Annual Boston Bruins Development Camp. But being on the ice is also allowing Frederic to return to his comfort zone.
“I’m super excited,” Frederic said Tuesday afternoon, following the first day of Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena.
“I was a little bit nervous, but when I got here all the nerves went away and I just started playing and doing the testing. The staff’s great and the other prospects are great, so it’s pretty awesome.”
Frederic has been touted as a strong defensive center, who plays a heavy style. He sees himself the same way, but is also looking to add more to the offensive side of his game.
BOSTON – For the last few weeks, Don Sweeney has been focused on the future of the Bruins organization.
The B’s general manager – and the rest of the hockey operations staff – have spent countless hours identifying the players they best believe will make Boston a team to be reckoned with for years to come.
But much of the work at the Scouting Combine, NHL Draft, and during the opening days of free agency is done from offices and conference rooms. The executives and scouts have not seen ice – outside of the occasional beach cooler – in quite some time.
As a result, Sweeney is very much excited about being back at the rink for the 10th Annual Boston Bruins Development Camp, which runs Tuesday-Friday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
Twenty-six players, including all six 2016 Draft picks, will participate in the camp, where all on-ice sessions will be open to the public.
BOSTON – David Backes has twice scored 30 goals in a season.
He has potted at least 20 goals in three straight campaigns and six times overall. He was an All-Star and the Frank J. Selke Trophy runner-up in 2011.
The list of accolades is lengthy.
But perhaps his biggest – and most important – asset is his ability to lead.
Backes wore a letter for seven of his 10 seasons in St. Louis, including the last five as captain. And when the Bruins began to court Backes last weekend that was very much on their minds.
The possibility of adding Backes to a roster that includes other accomplished veterans like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Zdeno Chara was too tantalizing for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to pass up – particularly with the amount of young players beginning to emerge throughout Boston’s system.
BostonBruins.com – The Boston Bruins signed forward Tim Schaller to a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 on Friday.
Learn more about Schaller:
Weight: 219 pounds
Birthday: Nov. 16, 1990 (25 years old)
Hometown: Merrimack, N.H.
2015-16 totals: 1-2—3 in 17 games
Contract: 1 year, two-way, $600,000 AAV
Last team: Buffalo Sabres
BostonBruins.com – The Bruins signed goalie Anton Khudobin to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.2 million on Friday.
Learn more about Khudobin:
Weight: 203 pounds
Birthday: May 7, 1986 (30 years old)
Hometown: Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan
2015-16 totals: 3-3-0, 2.70 goals against average, .909 save percentage
Contract: 2 years, $1.2 million AAV
Last team: Anaheim Ducks
BostonBruins.com – The Bruins signed forward Riley Nash to a two-year contract worth $900,000 per season on Friday.
Learn more about Nash:
Weight: 200 pounds
Birthday: May 9, 1989 (27 years old)
Hometown: Consort, Alberta
2015-16 totals: 9-13—22 in 64 games
Contract: 2 years, $900,000 AAV
Last team: Carolina Hurricanes
Liles was inked to a one-year contract worth an average annual value of $2 million. Cross and Randell were signed to one-year, two-way deals worth an AAV of $600,000.
Liles was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes at last season’s trade deadline, in exchange for prospect Anthony Camara, a 2016 third-round pick, and a 2017 fifth-round pick. In 17 games for the Bruins, the 12-year NHL veteran registered six assists.
Cross, who was drafted by the Bruins with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, has played the last five seasons with Providence, amassing 11 goals and 52 assists in 217 games. The Boston College alum (he won two national titles with the Eagles) made his NHL debut last season, playing three games for Boston and registering one assist.
BostonBruins.com – The Boston Bruins signed forward David Backes to a five-year, $6 million contract on Friday.
Learn more about him:
Weight: 221 pounds
Birthday: May 1, 1984 (32 years old)
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
2015-16 totals: 21-24—45 in 79 games
Contract: 5 years, $6 million AAV
Last team: St. Louis Blues
BOSTON – Torey Krug grew up in a hockey hotbed.
He knew what it was like to live in a city and a region enthralled with the game.
Krug’s hometown of Livonia, Mich., sits just 20 minutes west of Detroit – prime Red Wings territory and smack dab in the middle of Hockeytown’s reach.
So when he arrived in Boston as a 20-year-old, fresh out of Michigan State, Krug had high expectations for hockey culture.
It did not take long for those expectations to be trumped.
“I knew that Boston people were hard-working. They work for what they get and they earn it,” Krug said after signing a new four-year contract with the Bruins on Thursday afternoon.
“They’re very deeply involved and tied to their sports teams. But what I didn’t know was how big of a hockey town it is. I grew up in Detroit, which is nicknamed Hockeytown, but going through the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Finals, it really spoke volumes to me.
“And the passion that the fans have for hockey out here and the way the game is, with all the college teams…It seems to be a different culture out here.”