The Boston Bruins have dipped into the college free agent market, agreeing to terms with Miami senior Austin Czarnik on an entry-level deal.
Czarnik, 22, is a former Hobey Baker finalist and the second-leading assist man in RedHawks history. He’s captained the club in each of the last two seasons and should have some immediate chemistry in Boston, as Reilly Smith was Czarnik’s former linemate at Miami during the 2011-12 campaign.
Though undersized — listed at 5-foot-9, 167 pounds — Czarnik is a skilled player that can create for others. He finished tied for third in the country in assists this year, with 36.
Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, there appeared to be a number of NHL clubs interested in securing Czarnik’s services. It’s interesting to note that Boston won out shortly after it was linked to another skilled, undersized forward — Columbus’ Cam Atkinson — at the March trade deadline.
Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson and Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
Dubnyk went 4-0-0 with a 1.22 goals-against average and .962 save percentage to lead the Wild (44-25-7, 95 points) to four consecutive victories, including their franchise-record 10th straight on the road.
Atkinson shared first in the NHL with four goals, ranked second with seven points and led the League with a +6 rating as the Blue Jackets (36-35-4, 76 points) won all three of their games, including their franchise-record eighth consecutive on the road.
O’Reilly led the NHL with seven assists and eight points to power the Avalanche (35 28 12, 82 points) to two victories in four starts.
Dubnyk now has a .930 save percentage, second to only Carey Price (.937) among regular starters. With all due respect to Braden Holtby, Cory Schneider and a handful of other goalies enjoying excellent seasons, what Dubnyk has done for the Wild should really make him a Vezina Trophy finalist, along with Price and Pekka Rinne.
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford may have been pulled in the first period of Friday’s game, but the team in front of him was just as culpable after some defensive lapses against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Columbus had a pair of goals on breakaways in the opening period, including a beautiful short-handed tally from Cam Atkinson, who recorded the hat trick in the Blue Jackets decisive victory over Chicago.
And Jonathan Toews has had enough of the defensive miscues.
“We just gave away too many Grade-A scoring chances. We’re doing that to our goaltenders way too often lately,” said Toews, as per Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild won again, defeating the Calgary Flames earlier in the evening. That moves Minnesota to within one point of the Blackhawks for third in the Central Division.