Bruins take next step toward signing former first-round pick
The Boston Bruins are one step closer to getting one of their recent first-round picks into the NHL.
On Wednesday, the team announced they’ve signed 21-year-old forward Johnny Beecher to an Amateur Tryout Agreement, also known as an ATO. Beecher will leave the Michigan Wolverines after three years and 39 points in 81 games. Boston originally drafted Beecher 30th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Signing an ATO for now ensures that Beecher can start practicing with the Providence Bruins in the AHL immediately, and give the NHL club more time to hammer out his entry-level contract. According to Mark Divver, Beecher was on the ice practicing with Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Wednesday.
In a statement as part of the team’s announcement, Boston GM Don Sweeney left open the possibility of Beecher joining the NHL Bruins at some point in the 2021-22 regular season or Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“We are appreciative to Mel Pearson and the Michigan coaching staff as they did a great job with his overall development,” Sweeney said. “The Bruins and Johnny are leaving all options open with regards to his availability for the remainder of this season and playoffs. We will continue to communicate with his agent, Cam Stewart, while Johnny starts to play games and as we work towards finalizing his ELC.”
Similar buzz for a jump to the NHL has surrounded the Bruins’ most recent first-round pick, 19-year-old Swedish forward Fabian Lysell. But Beecher obviously has more overall seasoning, playing three years in an elite college program. Lysell has been producing for the Vancouver Giants in Canada’s Western Hockey League, though, with 21 goals and 60 points in 50 games.
Beecher would make sense as a fill-in for the Bruins’ bottom-six forwards, if the need arises. He would immediately bring size (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) and a heavy game to the table. At full health, the Bruins are pretty set down the middle, so it’s possible Beecher’s NHL debut still doesn’t come until the 2022-23 season.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.