For those who missed it over the weekend, Chris Botta of Fanhouse had a great piece on Boston Bruins prospect Zach McKelvie, who the team signed as a free agent over the summer. McKelvie starred for Army before signing a one-year deal with Boston.
He still owes the Army a two-year commitment, although his commanding officer — as quoted in the story — has granted him one year to pursue his professional hockey dream. Beyond this season, there’s no telling what will happen.
“I want to stay patient, I want to do what’s best for the Army,” McKelvie told Botta. “I owe them so much and my loyalty is to them. But there are times I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.”
If McKelvie were just an average player, this wouldn’t even be an issue. But the 24-year-old has potential to be a top-notch defenseman prospect for the Bruins. As Botta quoted one scout:
“One of the best skaters in college hockey. He won the NCAA Fastest Skater competition at the 2009 Frozen Four skills challenge. He is already fairly solid, but now that he’ll be out of West Point I can see him playing at 205-210 pounds. He excels 1-on-1down low and has a good, active stick. To succeed at the pro level, he’ll have to work on his vision and his pace.”
So you can understand why the Bruins might be a bit concerned about what the Army will do with McKelvie after 2009-10. TheBruinsBlog.net contact general manager Peter Chiarelli today to react to the story and comment on McKelvie’s future. According to Chiarelli, the Bruins are willing to be as patient as McKelvie.
“When we recruited and signed Zach, we did so with the knowledge that his service to the United States was first and foremost and the Bruins would gladly and proudly take a back seat to that at any time,” Chiarelli wrote in an email. “With regard to next year, we will take it one step at a time but he is such an impressive young man that we would hope that some type of arrangement would made as he would be the perfect individual to represent firstly, the Army and secondly, the Boston Bruins.”
McKelvie projects to be a regular with Providence (AHL) this season. If you take in a P-Bruins game and it seems like he has a little extra to play for, now you’ll know why.