Prospect Ramblings: Hope in AHL; signings keep coming (April 16)

Mark Allan


An RFA after the season ends, is Seth Griffith doing enough to earn a new contract from the Boston Bruins?




With the AHL regular season ending Sunday, it appears Boston prospect Seth Griffith will finish second in league scoring, and that’s not the only promising news for the NHL Bruins.

Entering today’s action, the short but stocky winger had 74 points for Providence, five behind Hershey veteran Chris Bourque. Griffith, though, had played in just 55 games, 16 fewer than Bourque thanks to a knee sprain to start the season.

If the 2012 fifth-rounder (who leads the AHL with 50 assists) had played a full season, he would surely have won a scoring title. An RFA once the season ends, he’s doing what he can to earn a new contract and add to his 30-game NHL resume with the Bruins. If Boston isn’t interested, some other team will be.

Fellow Hershey forward Alexander Khokhlachev sat fourth in league scoring with 66 points and AHL rookie Austin Czarnik was 11th with 58 points. The playmaking winger from Moscow, a 2011 second-rounder, also becomes an RFA in the off-season. Czarnik, an undersized center, has one more season on the deal he signed as an undrafted free agent.

The Bruins need all the good prospect news they can get after missing the playoffs, and they aren’t the only NHL team monitoring the AHL.

Demoted by Colorado when he went pointless in his first six games as an NHL rookie, six-four forward Mikko Rantanen is seventh in AHL scoring with 60 points in 52 games. The Avalanche still have big plans for the 10th overall pick of the 2015 NHL draft.

Defenseman Brandon Montour and right winger Riley Barber, two other AHL rookies among the league’s top-10 point-getters, offer hope to the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals, respectively – not that either of those Stanley Cup contenders need much help in the short term.

Montour, AHL rookie of the month for November, entered today’s action with a sensational 56 points in 67 games from the back end, leaving him tied for 12th in AHL scoring. The 2014 second-rounder won’t become an RFA for two more years.

Barber, a fast-rising 2012 sixth-rounder, began today 20th in league scoring with 54 points