On Wednesday, the Bruins signed Jared Knight
and Ryan Spooner
to entry-level contracts, gave an extension to Stefan Chaput
and made Kevin Dean Bruce Cassidy's assistant for the P-Bruins.
"We wanted to see a full year of development up until and including the development camp and we saw improvement and we saw that willingness to get better and that’s why we decided to sign him now," said Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli of Spooner. "The same applies to Jared.
"It’s easier to sign these guys right away and get the signings out of the way but we wanted them to work for it.
"They’re both very good players, very good prospects but we want them to work for it and that’s why we waited this long," he said.
Knight, a 5-foot-11, 202-pound forward, spent a majority of the 2010-11 season with the OHL’s London Knights and three games in Providence. He scored 25 goals in 68 games for London and added 45 assists for 70 points, both career highs.
Knight added two assists for two points in three games played with Providence.
The 19-year-old played two prior OHL seasons with the Knights for a 51-36-87 line in 130 games played and the Battle Creek, Michigan native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the second round, 32nd overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Spooner, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward, played with three different teams in the 2010-11 season. With the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) Spooner appeared in 50 games with 25-37-62 totals. After a trade, he added 14 games with the Peterborough Petes (OHL) and posted a 10-9-19 line. Finally, the 19-year-old also played three games with the Providence Bruins notching two goals and an assist for three AHL points.
Spooner played in 13 career OHL playoff games between the Petes and the Frontenacs, with 4-4-8 postseason totals.
The Kanata, Ontario native was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round, 45th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
"Both of them got a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, Specifically Spooner," said Chiarelli. "His testing improved from when we did the last [testing] until now. And you can see he's a little bit bigger, a little bit faster, a little bit more committed.
"Knight was always strong, he seemed a little more comfortable with his game...and they both had good junior years."
Both Knight and Spooner must return to the junior ranks if they don't catch on with the NHL Bruins in September.
"Yeah, it’s really hard for a player that’s 20 or under to make an NHL team," said Chiarelli. "They’re not usually, generally speaking...strong enough at that age...[and] the competition that you face in preseason is not that same, albeit it’s close, it’s not the same as that you face in the regular season.
"So it’s a matter of getting stronger, having confidence in their game. I know Spooner stayed until the very end last year, he had a good camp. Knight had a good camp, too, but we released him a little bit earlier than Ryan.
"You know, it would be a pleasant surprise if both those guys challenged and we expect them to open some eyes. But it’s a tough road to make our team at that age," he said.
But even if they return to Junior Hockey, Chiarelli expects their progress to continue.
"It’s just physically and mentally maturing," said the B's GM. "You just want them to be...mentally stronger and physically stronger for another good year and help their team win.
"We always like to have these players bring a winning resume to the table, so it’s just a matter of competing and helping your team win."
And Knight and Spooner's time with the AHL's Providence Bruins should help them along those lines.
"Yeah, we try and bring most of our guys in upon the completion of their junior season," said Chiarelli. "If they don’t get into games they’ll practice and kind of live the professional life for days, weeks, whatever.
"I did see them both play and they both did themselves very well when they played. You know that, and the development camp, and training camp its all part of the process in getting ready to be an NHL player."
Chaput Stays Put...
Chaput, a 23-year-old, 6-foot, 192-pound forward spent the 2010-2011 season with three AHL teams including Providence, the Syracuse Crunch, and the Charlotte Checkers.
Chaput earned 3-47 totals in 15 games played with the P-Bruins, a 3-4-7 line in 27 with Syracuse and a 0-3-3 in 20 games with the Checkers.
Chaput spent the three prior seasons with the Albany River Rats (AHL) playing 91 games and posted 14-35-49 totals.
"we had rights to him and we decided to send him a qualifying offer we liked his two way game at the end when we acquired him," said Chiarelli. "We wanted to see where he would go.
"He’s still a relatively young player and pays a solid two way game. We weren’t ready to cut bait with him. We liked what we saw at the end."
The forward, a native of Montreal, QC, was originally drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 5th round, 153rd overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
A New Dean to Educate the P-Bruins
Dean, a 12-year professional playing career, joined the Lowell Devils in 2006 as an assistant coach and helped the AHL team to 137 wins during his four-year stay.
For his fifth year as a coach in the Devils organization, Dean moved on to the Trenton Devils (ECHL), where he served as head coach this past season earning a 27-37-2-6 record.
"It’s about compatibility with the head coach. It’s about willingness to teach and to coach because those are two different things, and it’s important," said Chiarelli of Dean's skill set. "It’s a duo, it’s a tandem group down there -- the head coach and the assistant coach -- and there has to be some compatibility and they’re working closely together every day with important players for us.
"So you just can’t have a person filling in there. It has to be a person who’s conscientious about development and conscientious about coaching and teaching."
Dean was drafted 86th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey and the defenseman played four years at the University of New Hampshire.
In 1990, Dean joined the Utica Devils of the American Hockey League and his NHL debut came in the 1994-95 season with the New Jersey Devils, with whom he enjoyed a Stanley Cup Championship. All told, the blueliner compiled 7-48-55 totals in 331 NHL contests with 138 penalty minutes.
"He’s got a college pedigree which helps him connect, to a certain degree...with some of the college kids we have," explained Chiarelli. "He was a defenseman that figured out a way to play and stay in the league. So we expect him to help with the development of our kids, run our defense down there, and work closely under Bruce Cassidy."