It has been a busy past few weeks in regards to NCAA players signing with NHL clubs, and the Boston Bruins may have won in signing Austin Czarnik, a star forward with the Miami of Ohio Redhawks. Czarnik has been the captain of the Redhawks for their past two seasons.
Czarnik’s Redhawks were recently knocked out of the 2015 NCAA hockey playoffs by the Providence Friars, and that’s how the senior’s college career will end. Czarnik is 22n years old after four years in the NCAA and will join the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins to close out the season.
Over 159 career games with the Redhawks, Czarnik picked up 46 goals total along with 123 assists. He had 45 points total on this season, nine of them goals, good for 15th overall in the league in point totals.
Czarnik is a smaller player at 5’9 and 167 lbs, but the Bruins have worked well with small players in the past. Former NCAA signee Torey Krug is a short defenseman, while David Pastrnak, a Bruins rookie phenom, is less than 175 lbs.
A possible link with the Bruins could be that Czarnik starred in the 2011-2012 Miami Redhawks season with current Bruins forward Reilly Smith who recently signed a two year extension. The Bruins had been considered the front runners to sign one of the most coveted NCAA free agent prospects.
Boston has struggled in past years with drafting and developing prospects, but that issue has seemed to be resolved a bit. Rookies Pastrnak and former draft pick Ryan Spooner led the team in scoring during March, and if Czarnik can join the team next season they will have a much more youthful looking roster.
The Michigan native has also played internationally, joining the United States junior squad in 2012 where he had four points in six games.
Czarnik’s 123 career assists is second all-time in Miami Redhawks history. He is the 25th Miami player to sign a contract with an NHL team since the year 2000, according to a Miami press release.
This isn’t the Bruins first college player signing this season either. They have also signed UMass Minutemen forward Frank Vatrano, so they had added two players to the Providence lineup. Once the Frozen Four ends this coming weekend, goaltender Zane McIntyre of North Dakota will also be eligible to join the Bruins organization. Center Matt Grzelcyk is another Bruins prospect in the Frozen Four with Boston University, but he still has two more NCAA players left.
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