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 – and that was before a goal against Lehigh Valley vaulted him into a tie for 16th. The former CCHA rookie of the year also has two more seasons on his entry-level deal.
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Signings of players by NHL teams whose junior or collegiate tenures have ended continued unabated in the past several days.
Goal by Juho Lammikko begins at 17 seconds:
Twenty-year-old winger Juho Lammikko inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers after compiling 55 points in 59 OHL games in his second season with the Kingston Frontenacs after coming from Finland. The 2014 third-rounder gained invaluable experience on the gold medal-winning host Finnish team at the 2016 world junior championship. Now that Kingston has been knocked out of the OHL playoffs, the six-two Lammikko has been assigned to the AHL’s Portland Pirates.
Pint-sized dynamo Sam Anas signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild. While helping Quinnipiac University to reach the NCAA national championship game, the 22-year-old forward totaled 50 points in 43 games during his junior season. Only five-eight and 160 pounds, Anas led the Bobcats in goals and scoring as well as tying for first in power-play goals. Anas compiled 132 points in 121 games in three seasons with the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac teammate Devon Toews agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with the New York Islanders a week after playing in the Frozen Four championship game with Anas. A 2014 fourth-round pick by the Islanders, the undersized two-way blueliner had seven goals and 23 assists this season. The late bloomer will finish his studies before joining the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL playoffs.
Defenseman Carl Dahlstrom, Chicago’s second-round draft pick in 2013, signed a three-year contract with the Blackhawks. Although the 21-year-old played in five games for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs during the past two seasons, he was with Linkoping HC of the Swedish Hockey League most of that timeframe.
The Columbus Blue Jackets signed center Justin Scott to a three-year, entry level contract after the 20-year-old set career highs in assists, points, penalty minutes and plus/minus, while leading the OHL’s Barrie Colts in games played. By racking up 16 points in 11 playoff games, he has helped the Colts into the East Conference final against the Niagara Icedogs. He leads the OHL in post-season goals with a whopping 14, which must have interested the Jackets.
The L.A. Kings signed their 2014 seventh-round draft pick to a three-year-entry-level contract. Described, in a complimentary way by Kings’ director of player development Nelson Emerson, as “kind of like a little rat out there” who wins puck battles, five-foot-10 Spencer Watson racked up 17 points in nine playoff games for the Kingston Frontenacs before they were eliminated by the Icedogs. During the OHL’s regular season, Watson led Kingston with 43 goals, which was eighth in the league. Not bad for a little rodent.