Today, the Boston Bruins announced they have signed Johnny Beecher to his Entry Level Contract while also announcing an extension to Jakub Zboril.
It is believed Beecher’s deal is worth $832,500 per season with a $92,500 signing bonus for a cap hit of $925,000, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Drafted with the 30th overall pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Beecher completed his third season with the University of Michigan. In his three seasons he has played in 81 games compiling 19 goals and 20 assists. Once his season came to an end with Michigan, Beecher turned pro signing an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Providence Bruins to finish out the season. He appeared in nine games for the Baby-B’s and scored three while adding two helpers. He would add another helper in two playoff games.
As with all ELC’s, Beecher’s deal is a two-way deal. He will become waiver eligible after he plays in 80 NHL games or the start of the 2025-2026 season, whichever comes first. There are no performance bonuses in the deal.
Beecher is very well adjusted to the defensive part of the game and kills penalties. What was lacking at Michigan was the opportunity to play key offensive situations. My best guess is that he will begin the season in Providence next year and while he continues to develop defensively, will be put in key offensive situations do that the Providence coaching staff can work on developing the offensive part of his game.
Moments before the Beecher signing, the Bruins announced a two-year extension with Zboril. The deal carries a cap hit of $1,137,500 per season that pays Zboril $975,000 in the first year and $1,300,000 in the second year. Zboril was set to become a Group 6 Unrestricted Free Agent on July 13. When this deal expires at the end of the 2023-2024 season, Zboril will be a UFA. Zboril is not eligible for performance bonuses and there is no signing bonus.
As I wrote here yesterday, extending Zboril would give the Bruins 8 defencemen with one-way contracts at the NHL level. As a left shot blueliner, there is also Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk, Mike Reilly and Derek Forbort to compete with. But he can also play the right side and his direct competition there is Connor Clifton.
Zboril was off to the best start in his professional career before an ACL injury and subsequent surgery put him on the shelf after 10 games for the remainder of the season. He has been skating for the last 4 weeks and all indications are that he is ahead of schedule at this point.
The Zboril extension also comes with questions. I don’t believe the Bruins will re-sign Josh Brown, who would make it nine NHL defencemen. But it does require asking yourself if one of Grzelcyk, Reilly or Forbort will be moved in the offseason. Cap space and the number of bodies seem to indicate it is highly likely someone from the blueline will be moved. Sure, there is risk that Zboril will need some time to get back to where he was, but a two-year deal suggests the Bruins brass aren’t to concerned about that. And they do have three other bodies on the left with Jack Ahcan in waiting down in Providence.
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