The Boston Bruins announced Monday that they had signed unrestricted free agent Brett Ritchie to a one-year deal worth $1 million. The 6’4, 220-pound forward winger spent the last seven seasons with the Dallas Stars organization. He scored four goals and two assists for six points with 57 penalty minutes in 53 NHL games with Dallas in 2018-19 and had his best offensive season in 2016-17 when he posted 16 goals and eight assists for 24 points with 38 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in 78 games.
The Bruins lost rugged winger Noel Acciari Monday as the Rhode Island native signed a three-year deal worth $5 million, but B’s general manager Don Sweeney believes Ritchie can replace some of what Acciari brought to the Bruins lineup during his four seasons in the Boston organization.
“Yes, certainly from size, right shot, physicality, scored 16 goals two years ago, so obviously he had a little higher shooting percentage that year than he did the next two years,” Sweeney said. “Do we expect him to reach that? We hope, we do, put him back in some situations that – you know, he’s played for three different coaches in the last three years. We went through all the metrics in terms of where he can help us with puck possession. He’s not a penalty killer that Noel is so distinct difference between the two players in that regard, but I do believe we had a vacancy on that side.
Now we’re hopeful Brett will come in, recognize the opportunity in front of him and take advantage of it to playing with potentially one of three pretty good centers. Get to the hard areas of the ice, you know, you look at where he scores his goals, and he can really shoot the puck, and he’s got size. That’s not going to go away, so he does check some of the boxes, not completely all of them.”
Sweeney is also hoping Ritchie’s size can be utilized in front of the net, -potentially on the power play.
“Yeah, he’s got some net-front,” Sweeney said of the new Bruins winger. “To be able to recover pucks and obviously he’s a big body there, and he can shoot the puck. He’s got areas of his game that we’re going to hopefully continue to work on and some gaps there, but again, the puck possession, the ability to skate, certainly getting in on the forecheck and puck separating in that regard and getting into the hard areas have to be staples of his game.”