BRIGHTON -- The Bruins have signed NCAA players Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Charlie McAvoy to entry-level deals over the past week, and both will be a part of their playoff run.
General manager Don Sweeney hopes to get Notre Dame junior Anders Bjork in the mix, as well, and indicated there are ongoing discussions with Bjork's representatives.
"We've had talks with Anders' advisors and we're letting him sort through things. It's his decision," said Sweeney. "We're just going through it just like we did with JFK and Charlie McAvoy."
The fear with a gifted player like the 5-foot-11, 183-pound Bjork is that he returns to Notre Dame for his senior year and potentially turns into a Jimmy Vesey-style free agent next offseason. Clearly there would be a great deal of interest in a speedy, well-rounded winger who finished with 21 goals and 52 points in 39 games for Notre Dame this season as a 20-year-old, after opening eyes last summer as the best forward at Bruins development camp.
"It's part of the CBA that exists, so we need to operate under those guidelines," said Sweeney. "We establish a very strong relationship with our players through the development process, and we're always hopeful that they want to play for the Boston Bruins. That's the ultimate goal."
Sources had indicated to CSNNE.com prior to the NCAA tournament that there wasn't expected to be much difficulty signing Bjork, who wants to play for the Bruins. But he also has strong ties to Notre Dame: His father Kirt was an All-American hockey player there and his cousin, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Erik Condra, also played for the Irish. So there might be real incentive for Bjork to return to Notre Dame for another chance at the NCAA title after falling a couple of games short this season.
The most interesting aspect of the entire situation is that Bjork might be the most NHL-ready of any of Boston's potential NCAA signees. The former fifth-round pick could move into a top-6 spot on the left wing of David Krejci's line if he chooses to turn pro.