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Why Didn’t The Bruins Push Hard To Sign Collin Graf?



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As reported here more than once over the last two weeks (and before any other established news outlet did), the Boston Bruins were never in on highly-touted NCAA free agent Colin Graf.

On Thursday, the 21-year-old Lincoln, MA native and now-former Quinnipiac forward signed a three-year entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks that carries a $941,667 salary cap hit.

From the second that Graf and Quinnipiac lost a 5-4 overtime heartbreaker to Boston College in the Providence NCAA Regional Final, numerous so-called NHL insiders continued to say the Bruins were front-runners for Graf because he was from Massachusetts and played for the Boston Junior Bruins (who, by the way, have no affiliation to the Boston Bruins) and that if the Bruins didn’t sign Graf, an Eastern Conference team would. However, prior to the Providence Regionals beginning last Friday, Boston Hockey Now reported that was not the case and confirmed that once again this past Tuesday.

“I don’t know where people are getting this information. It just seems like they’re making it up,” a source close to the situation told Boston Hockey Now on Tuesday morning.

Well, in the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast, Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman shed some light on why the Boston Bruins weren’t going all in on Graf and why Graf wasn’t exactly Bruins or bust. Friedman began by pointing out that – as also reported first by Boston Hockey Now – the Bruins were frontrunners for Graf’s teammate Jacob Quillan, who ultimately signed with the Bruins’ Atlantic Division and Original 6 rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Toronto and Boston went hard at Quillan,” Friedman told co-host Jeff Marek. “That was an Atlantic Division rivalry on the ice and off. The Bruins really liked him; Toronto got him.”

After explaining how 90 percent of the league had spoken to him at ‘one time or another,’ Friedman gave his take on why the highly-coveted prospect chose the Sharks.

“They have a lot of good prospects, but there’s a chance for him to step in and play right away,” Friedman said of the last-place Sharks, who are the favorites to win the NHL Draft Lottery next month. “Basically, they traded for Henry Thrun from Anaheim a year ago because Anaheim was so loaded on defense, San Jose could say, ‘Hey, we got a spot for you,’ and basically, the same thing happened here.

heard the same rumors that the East seemed to be preferable, but he definitely talked to Minnesota, and he definitely talked to Colorado and obviously San Jose – where someone said to me the night before, ‘If you’re talking about teams where he could be going, don’t leave out the Sharks’ – and ultimately he slept on it Wednesday night and chose them.”

But why the seeming lack of interest in each other between Graf and the Bruins?

“One of the interesting things here is that there were reports that Boston wasn’t really that interested,” Friedman pointed out. “I was kind of surprised at that, and I kind of looked into it. I don’t know if it was that Boston wasn’t interested; I just think that Boston went hard after Quillan, so he was their preference, and also, someone said to me where Graf would be successful [with the Bruins] are kind of the roles that [David] Pastrnak is in, like on the powerplay and stuff like that, and as good as this young man might be, he ain’t wrestling David Pastrnak out of a spot on the powerplay. So, someone explained it to me that way. It just wasn’t the right fit, and I think the Bruins knew it, too, and they had a preference for Quillan.”

Interesting, that sounds like everything yours truly reported over the last ten days and was scoffed at by the NHL insiders and plenty of trolls on social media. But hey, what do I know?


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