To hear Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli tell it, the Bruins’ decision to wait until this summer to sign their 2010 second-round draft picks was part of an organizational strategy.
Well, the “carrot” approach worked, and today both Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner put their signatures on entry-level contracts with Boston.
“We wanted to see a full year of development up until and including the development camp and we saw improvement and we saw that willingness to get better and that’s why we decided to sign [Spooner] now, and the same applies to Jared,” said Chiarelli to a pool reporter. “It’s easier to sign these guys right away and get the signings out of the way but we wanted them to work for it. They’re both very good players, very good prospects but we wanted them to work for it and that’s why we waited this long.”
Both Knight and Spooner enjoyed productive seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with 70 and 62 points, respectively. Next month, Knight will attend an evaluation camp for the U.S. World Junior Championship squad, while Spooner will do the same for Canada.
Despite their signed contracts, don’t go putting too much money on either Knight or Spooner cracking the Bruins roster for the duration of the 2011-12 campaign, though.
“Yeah, it’s really hard for a player that’s 20 or under to make an NHL team. Generally speaking, those players aren’t strong enough at that age,” said Chiarelli. “So you know the competition that you face in preseason is not the same, albeit it’s close, it’s not the same as that you face in the regular season. So you know it’s a matter of getting stronger, having confidence in their game. I know Spooner stayed until the very end last year, he had a good camp. Knight had a good camp too but we released him a little bit earlier than Ryan. You know, it would be a pleasant surprise if both those guys challenged and we expect them to open some eyes. But it’s a tough road to make our team at that age.”