Late Tuesday evening, the Boston Bruins announced that they’ve acquired the rights to Providence College Defenceman Michael Callahan from the Arizona Coyotes for the Bruins 7th round draft pick at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Callahan was originally drafted in the 5th round – 142nd overall – at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
As a senior and in his final season in the NCAA, the Coyotes had until August 15, 2022 to sign Callahan to his entry level contract or he would become an unrestricted free agent. The cost to acquire Callahan suggest one thing: that he wasn’t going to sign before then.
This move will not have any bearing in what the Bruins do with other potential NCAA free agents as all indications are they will be active when that market opens up.
During the tenure of General Manager Don Sweeney, The Bruins have maintained some depth on the blueline. Urho Vaakanainen appears to have graduated to the big club as did Jakub Zboril earlier in the year until his season ending injury. The latter however becomes a group IV unrestricted free agent on July 1 and while I expect he will re-sign with the Bruins, there is no guarantee. So, Sweeney has to replenish the cupboard. Vaakanainen is a restricted free agent at the end of the year.
Still in Providence with NHL contracts are Brady Lyle, Victor Berglund and John Moore. Jack Ahcan and Nick Wolff are restricted free agents while Tyler Lewington is unrestricted. And of course, there are some other players in college that they own the rights too. So, there is room to add some bodies.
Callahan is a two-way defenceman who isn’t the new age type that can skate his way into transition, but more the type who can make that tape-to-tape pass to his forwards in transition. He is an “efficient” skater meaning to doesn’t spend energy with wasted strides and therefore he can log big minutes.
His skating technique is quite good and has that first step acceleration to be first in to retrieve pucks, but he can also beat the forecheck. He mobility in any direction and with a very active stick allows him to defend against the rush and keep the opposition to the outside where he isn’t shy about contact against the wall. He has the frame for that but I would like to see it more consistently and I believe under the tutelage of Adam McQuaid, he should get there.
In college Callahan was able to play in any situation including the point on the powerplay. He has an excellent shot. But if I’m being honest, I don’t think the offensive abilities he has translate to the NHL. But as they say, we’ll know more once he spends some time in the AHL.
I like this trade by the Bruins, if they can get pen to paper on a contract. I do believe there are a couple of options that are going to be available that the Bruins will show interest in.