Thanks to their depth on the right side of the blue line and salary cap issues, it’s highly unlikely the Boston Bruins will be able to sign Qunnipiac star defenseman Chase Priskie when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at midnight tonight, despite an NHL source telling Boston Hockey Now that the Bruins “like Priskie very much.”
Today marks the deadline for college free agents who just graduated this past spring to sign with the NHL teams that drafted them. As they were with former Harvard star and Charlestown, MA native Jimmy Vesey in 2016 before he eventually signed with the New York Rangers, the B’s have shown more than an interest in Priskie. Just as Vesey did with the Nashville Predators (the team that drafted him in 2012 prior to Vesey beginning his four-year career at Harvard) prior to the August 15, 2016 deadline, Priskie let the Washington Capitals – the team that drafted him in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft – know in April he would not sign with them.
That means Priskie can sign with any NHL team and according to another NHL source close to the situation, the Bruins are a team he has been considering. However, that same source has informed Boston Hockey Now that despite being “a big fan” of Priskie and “extremely interested”, it’s “highly unlikely”, the B’s will ink the former teammate of current Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton, who had 39 goals and 77 assists in 154 games during his collegiate career.
This makes sense considering – if and when restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo sign – the Bruins will have McAvoy, Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk patrolling the right side with Kevan Miller due back from the injured reserve – barring setbacks – by at the latest November. They also have a reserve player in Steven Kampfer and rookie Urho Vaakanainen waiting in the wings and possibly challenging for a spot in training camp.
Given their remaining $7.2 in salary cap space will likely be used up signing Carlo and McAvoy, there really isn’t room for Priskie who like Clifton, was a member of the 2016 Tigers squad that lost to North Dakota in the final of the 2016 Frozen Four.
Priskie is a Pembroke Pines, Florida native, who grew up playing for the Selects U16 and U18 teams. There’s a feeling amongst many NHL amateur scouts that the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning could make a major push for the native son of the Sunshine State.