The Boston Bruins today announced they have signed 2022 second-round pick Matthew Poitras to a three-year entry level contract that begins with the 2023-2024 season. The deal is reportedly worth $775,000 in base salary with $95,000 signing bonus in each year and $80,000 in performance bonuses in each year. His AHL salary would be $82,500.
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Bruins had to present Poitras with a “bona-fide” offer before June 1 of this year or he would re-enter the draft. NHL teams always make that offer but it’s just red tape – the player rarely signs them. This ensures the team will hold onto the players rights for another year.
Instead of going through all the, the Bruins thought it was in both parties’ best interests to get a deal done now and they did.
Here’s where it gets complicated: Under the NHL-CHL agreement, Poitras is eligible to play in the NHL nest season or must be offered back to the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. The American Hockey League is not an option unless the Storm relinquish their rights. I don’t know of any case where this has happened.
If Poitras plays in 10 NHL games then it would burn the first year of his ELC. If he does not, his contract will slide and not begin until the 2024-2025 season. Let’s make it a little more complicated: Because Poitras signed his contract as a 19-year-old and will be 19 on September 15, 2023 the Bruins could send him back to the Storm for the 2025-2026 season and the contract would slide for a second year. In essence, the 3-year contract could turn into 5-years.
So, what does Poitras bring to the table? He’s turned into an elite playmaker at the junior level. He finished second in the OHL in assists this season with 79 in 63 games. His 1.25 assists per game were tops in the OHL. He led the league with 38 powerplay assists. In the annual coach’s poll, he was named the third best playmaker.
Poitras just made everyone around him better. When things were looking gloomy for the Storm this season, he put the team on his back and he carried them. There aren’t many better with the puck in tight areas. And few can make the precision passes he can make. Despite his size, he battles in the hard areas and he wins most battles. He can work the half wall on the powerplay and make precision passes and find seams no one thinks are there. He can also do it from the point on the powerplay.
Poitras is also excellent on faceoffs and the scary part for the opposition is he will get even better. Some have raised concerns about his defensive game. I’m not buying into that at this point. Does it need some work? Almost everyone at this level does. But he has shown – especially in the playoffs – to come back hard on the backcheck to break up plays and has shown to understand his positioning and how to help out his defencemen.
Congratulations and welcome to Boston, Matthew.
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