On Tuesday, August 30, 2016, the Boston Bruins’ General Manager Don Sweeney announced the contract signings of four players: forward Dominic Moore (one-year, one-way), formerly with the New York Rangers; defenseman Chris Casto (one-year, two-way); forward Brian Ferlin (one year, two-way); and defenseman Alex Grant (one-year, two-way).
Both Ferlin and Casto should be well known among the Bruins faithful, having played with the Providence Bruins this past season, with Casto completing his third full year with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate and Ferlin having spent two years in the minors. This past season for Casto saw him reach career highs in goals (7), assists (16), and points (23). The University of Minnesota-Duluth alumni was signed as a free agent upon the completion of his collegiate career. Ferlin was sidelined for much of this past season, playing in only 23 games, a result of an upper-body injury experienced in the season opener. The Jacksonville, Florida native was chosen by the Bruins in the fourth round (121st overall) in the 2011 Draft. Both players are 24 years old and should certainly be on the radar of anyone who will be attending the on-ice sessions of the Bruins training camp this September. With the buy-out of the Dennis Seidenberg contract, Casto could certainly push for a permanent position with the NHL club.
The signing of Moore has some of the Bruins’ Twitterverse wailing and gnashing their teeth, predominantly because of the lack of goals he scored this past season. The numbers that appear on the statistics sheets often blind hockey’s faithful to the assets a player can bring to a team—making for a stronger team in the long run. Such are the assets that Moore offers the Bruins.
The recipient of the 2013-14 Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, he was recognized as the player that year who “best exemplified the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” Having sat out the 2012-13 season to tend to his wife, Katie, who passed January 7, 2013 of liver cancer, he returned to hockey as a member of the New York Rangers in the fall of 2013 and would be an important cog in their long playoff run in 2014.
His experience, maturity, dedication to the sport, coupled with that perseverance and sportsmanship he exhibits will prove important this coming season. He will take on a significant role in the locker room, much the same as has been seen in the past from Shawn Thornton and Chris Kelly. That role, though never tallied on the stats sheet, is every bit as essential as the goal scorers. It helps establish identity, which the Bruins have struggled with these past couple of seasons.
Rounding out the signings is the addition of Grant, a 27-year-old defenseman who split his time this past season between the Arizona Coyotes (NHL) and their AHL affiliated Springfield Falcons. During his time with the Falcons, he notched 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points. Like Casto, he too will be striving for a permanent spot on the Boston roster, and while he hasn’t had much NHL experience as yet, that shouldn’t suggest to people that he can’t play at that level. Team chemistry should never be underestimated. However, given the two-way aspect of his contract, it also affords the Bruins a look at others of their Providence defensemen without having to rush any recently acquired prospect.