Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

EDMONTON, AB - JANUARY 04: John Farinacci #25 of the United States celebrates a goal against Finland during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship semifinals at Rogers Place on January 4, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

A look into their backyard has once again provided the Bruins with another potential find, as the Bruins officially inked Harvard center John Farinacci to a two-year, entry-level deal Wednesday.

The deal includes a $910,000 cap hit at the NHL level.

The deal between the Bruins and Farinacci came together less than 24 hours after Farinacci entered the unrestricted free agent market as one of the top NCAA free agents after failing to come to terms on a contract with the Arizona Coyotes.

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    A 6-foot-, 185-pound right shot, Farinacci is turning pro after a three-year run at Harvard, with 25 goals and 61 points in 79 games with the Crimson from 2019 through 2023.

    Farinacci’s 2022-23 campaign included five goals and 19 points in 20 games, as Farinacci dealt with a herniated disc that ultimately required surgery and prevented him from making his season debut until Jan. 13.

    A New Jersey native, Farinacci also appeared in seven games for USHL Muskegon during the 2020-21 season after Harvard canceled its athletics programs that season, with four goals and eight points for the Lumberjacks.

  • VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: John Farinacci reacts after being selected 76th overall by the Arizona Coyotes during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)

    VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – JUNE 22: John Farinacci reacts after being selected 76th overall by the Arizona Coyotes during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Kevin Light/Getty Images)

    A two-way center with a ton of suitors, Farinacci’s jump into the open market came with multiple suitors, but the 22-year-old third-round pick of the ‘Yotes back in 2019 didn’t have much of an interest in anybody but the Bruins.

    “[Playing in Boston] was always in the back of my mind,” Farinacci, who played at Dexter before Harvard, admitted. “Talking with management, I loved everything they had to offer. For me, it was a pretty easy decision.”

    Farinacci is also certainly familiar with the Bruins beyond his local connections on the ice, with Ryan Donato being his cousin and Ted Donato being his uncle. Farinacci is also friends with recent Bruins addition and Massachusetts native Reilly Walsh, as the two played together at Harvard back in 2019-20.

    “There was nothing that could compare to being part of the Bruins,” said Farinacci.

  • The Bruins’ interest in Farinacci made all the sense in the world, too.

    First of all, the team needs young centers and if they can get them for nothin’ but cash, they’ll do it every single time. The Bruins have dipped into this pool before, too, with Boston College standout and Billerica, Mass. native Marc McLaughlin a relatively recent addition at the center-ice position via the college free agent market.

    The Bruins also had plenty of viewings of Farinacci as a Harvard product, too, with B’s prospect Mason Langenbrunner also on the Crimson and Harvard’s facility obviously being a mere stone’s throw away of a five-minute drive from the B’s practice rink at Brighton’s Warrior Ice Arena.

    Oh, and it helps that Farinacci plays the style of hockey that the Bruins also want more of, and actually need more of in the wake of Patrice Bergeron’s retirement.

    “I see myself as a 200-foot center. Good on faceoffs, and I can play any role,” Farinacci said of his game. “I pride myself on being somebody that can do that. I think my hockey sense is my biggest strength. A guy I watched a ton and try to emulate myself after is Patrice Bergeron. That’s a guy I try to play like.”

    (It’s worth noting that Farinacci quickly made it a point to say he’s not comparing himself to Bergeron, but rather that it’s the player he’s watched closely and drawn inspiration from when it comes to developing his own style as a center. At least he’s already got the Bergeron-esque humility part of it all locked down.)

  • MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 26: A detail of the Boston Bruins logo is seen during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on November 26, 2019 in Montreal, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 8-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    A detail of the Boston Bruins logo on a player’s sweater during a game. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    Now, whether or not Farinacci competes for an NHL spot out of the gate remains to be seen.

    From his talks with the Bruins, it sounds as if the Bruins want to focus on his development versus throwing him into the fire right off the bat, but with so many unknowns on the roster in regards to the bottom-six configuration, it stands to reason that Farinacci will have a chance to grind his way onto the NHL roster in 2023-24.

    Farinacci gives the Bruins yet another right-shooting option on that front, with McLaughlin, Patrick Brown, and Jayson Megna among the other notables competing for a bottom-six role with the club.

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