My good friend John was the first to break the news on Twitter and later the Boston Bruins made it official. They have signed restricted free agent Jack Studnicka to a two-year extension. The first year of the deal is a two-way deal that will pay him $750,000 in the NHL and $200,000 at the AHL level. The AHL portion guarantees the 2017 second round draft pick $300,000, meaning that if he doesn’t get NHL playing time that would earn him $300,000 in total, he will earn that in Providence.
The second year of Studnicka’s deal is a one-way deal that pays him $775,000.
Studnicka has done everything that has been asked of him in his time in Providence. He was asked to add some bulk and muscle to his frame two off-seasons ago and showed up to camp visibly bulked up. He had a very good camp and those that were there felt he deserved a shot on the opening night roster.
However, it became a numbers game. Studnicka at the time was waiver exempt and the Bruins were full on their forward roster with players under NHL contracts that needed to clear waivers. Remember Karson Kuhlman? The Bruins finally had to try and pass him through waivers and the Seattle Kraken put in a claim.
But this season, Studnicka would have to clear waivers to go to Providence. With Jay Leach behind the Kraken bench, it’s not hard to imagine him convincing his bosses to put in a claim. Leach was Studnicka’s head coach in Providence for two seasons.
Once again, it becomes a numbers game. Studnicka is already buried behind twelve forwards on one-way deals in the NHL. Chris Wagner and A. J. Greer could be waived to open up a roster spot for the 23-year-old. And the Bruins are still waiting on Pavel Zacha, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, which would put him behind 13 forwards with one-way NHL deals (assuming the Bruins would waive Greer and Wagner).
So, it’s all up to Studnicka. He’s going to have to have an even better camp then last season and force the hand of management and the coaching staff. This writer doesn’t feel he would pass through waivers. One thing to note: If a team were to put in a claim, they would have to keep him on their NHL roster the entire seasons. If they were to attempt to send him to the AHL, they would have to first offer him to any other team that put in a claim.
It’s now or never Jack. We’ve seen your abilities in the OHL and the AHL. Now you have to show you can do it in the NHL.
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