Sweeney: McAvoy will sign ATO, play in Providence

Sweeney: McAvoy will sign ATO, play in Providence

BRIGHTON, Mass – Boston University D-man Charlie McAvoy will indeed forego his final two years of college eligibility and has agreed to an ATO (Amateur Tryout Agreement) with the Boston Bruins that will allow him to begin practicing and playing with the Providence Bruins farm club. Bruins GM Don Sweeney said that McAvoy will begin practicing with the team immediately, and was spotted at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday presumably to sign his official contract with the Black and Gold.

The plan at this point is for McAvoy to suit up with Providence this weekend, and for the Bruins to continue negotiating with him on an entry level contract in the meantime. From the Bruins perspective the best course of action is to watch the 19-year-old play and perform in the pro hockey environment while it will give McAvoy a chance to show it if he thinks he’s ready for NHL action right now.

Sweeney didn’t rule out McAvoy playing in Boston at some point this season, and said the Bruins are keeping their options open with their top prospect.

“He’ll be headed down [to Providence] to play in games this weekend,” said Sweeney of McAvoy, who finished with five goals and 26 points in 38 games this season for the Terriers after being taken 14h overall by Boston in the first round of last summer’s draft. “It’s the first step. He’s made the decision to leave [Boston University] and we’re excited about that process. It leaves some options open, and I’ll continue to have ongoing discussions with his agent and we’ll see where that leads.

“His development has been very good. He was relied on heavily as a younger player [at BU], he grew into a leadership role this year and he obviously had a tremendous World Junior [performance] this year. He’s very, very talented and very young, and he’s gone through some growing pains as a result of that. But he played a lot and played in all situations, so it gave us a lot of good chances to watch him.”

It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see McAvoy go the same route as Brandon Carlo last season, and finish up the year in the AHL while helping him get ready for an NHL D-man job at training camp in the fall. There’s also the simple matter of not wanting to burn a year of his entry level contract by having McAvoy play an NHL game this season, and that’s part of the reason why the B’s and McAvoy’s agents continue to have discussions while the youngsters gets his feet wet down in Providence. 


Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while welcoming in spring with open arms.


*Interesting exercise from ESPN putting together the best all-time lineups for a number of college hockey programs. We know about a lot of the powerhouse programs, but UVM could put together a pretty damn good lineup based on the players that have come out of the Catamounts program, including former and current Bruins Tim Thomas and Kevan Miller.


*Jack Eichel scoffs at the notion that his ankle injury should have caused the Sabres star to shut it down for the rest of the season.


*Nice work by Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni to put together a Star Wars jersey again this season for the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins.


*Rob Rossi has got some major issues with ESPN the Magazine omitting Sidney Crosby from their Most Dominant Athletes of the last 20 years list. Yeah, I’d say that doesn’t make any sense. Not that anybody really cares about ESPN the Magazine or anything.


*Strange times with the CWHL as Cassie Campbell Pascal has resigned from her role as a CWHL Governor ahead of the league’s marquee weekend.


*The Golden Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury are both tied together in their rise toward the top of the NHL this season.


*For something completely different: Never before has a mustache been talked about as much as the CGI mustache for Henry Cavill in Justice League, and now it’s gone forever.


Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.