The Boston Bruins announced on Friday the signings of Boston College forward Ryan Fitzgerald and Swedish defenseman Emil Johansson. Both players were draft picks of the Bruins and will head to Providence, where they’ll finish out the remainder of the season with the Providence Bruins.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 24, 2017
Fitzgerald, a 2013 fourth-round draft pick of the Bruins, just finished off his senior season at Boston College. In four years with the Eagles, Fitzgerald tallied 66 goals and 66 assists for 132 points in 152 collegiate games. Fitzgerald served as an alternate captain for Boston College this season and is capable of playing both the center position or sliding over to the right wing.
Last season, he was honored by being selected to Hockey East’s First All-Star team after compiling 24 goals and 23 assists in 40 games. This season, he put up 12 goals and 19 assists in 34 games.
Fitzgerald grew up north of Boston in North Reading, Mass. He’s the son of Tom Fitzgerald, former NHL player and current assistant general manager for the New Jersey Devils. Ryan Fitzgerald is also cousins with current Bruin Jimmy Hayes, as well as New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes, and Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk.
Fitzgerald’s entry-level contract will begin next season. Until then, he’ll head to Providence, where he’ll join the Providence Bruins for the remainder of the season on an amateur tryout agreement.
Johansson, who was selected by the Bruins in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL draft, just closed out his third season in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). The defenseman appeared in 49 games with Djurgardens IF, tallying seven goals, ten assists, and 26 penalty minutes.
Prior to his time with Djurgardens IF, Johansson played with HV71 of the SHL. In two seasons with HV71, the Växjö, Sweden native scored 11 points in 85 games.
The defenseman has also represented his country in 59 games, notching eleven points while earning a plus-18 rating with Sweden at international and international junior levels.
Johansson’s contract will also begin next season. He’ll finish out this season with the Providence Bruins on a professional tryout agreement.
More to Come
These two signings should get the ball rolling for Don Sweeney and the Bruins, who are expected to dive deeper into their prospect pool in the coming weeks. All eyes have been on Boston University, which is home to two of Boston’s collegiate prospects, including their leading prospect, Charlie McAvoy.
Sweeney commented on the coming signings after the Bruins stayed relatively quiet at the trade deadline. Instead of playing around with the NHL roster at the deadline, Sweeney and company opted to take a passive approach, and continue to develop from within.
“We have college kids that may decide [to go pro] and make that decision a little easier,” Sweeney said, per Ty Anderson of WEEI. “Those are case-by-case situations. But we do have some players that we’re going to make decisions on or they’re gonna make decisions in the coming weeks. And we have flexibility to be able to do that — to add those players contractually and bring them into the fold if that’s what we decide to do and that’s what they decide to do.”
The Bruins have six prospects on NCAA tournament teams: Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson and Charlie McAvoy of Boston University, Anders Bjork of Notre Dame, Ryan Lindgren of Minnesota (he won’t play due to injury) and Ryan Donato and Wiley Sherman of Harvard. With the NCAA tournament underway, many of those prospects will make the decision to sign in the coming days upon the conclusion of their college seasons.