On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced the signing of Anders Bjork to a three-year entry-level contract, putting to rest many rumors and concerns that the forward did not plan to sign with Boston.
The 20-year-old native of Mequon, Wisconsin, had finished his junior year at the University of Notre Dame—which was in its final season as part of the Hockey East Division. During his third year with the Fighting Irish, Bjork served as an alternate captain and finished the season with 21 goals and 31 assists for 52 points—all career highs for the 5-foot-11 forward. Also during the year, he assisted the Fighting Irish in reaching their first Frozen Four appearance since 2011. At the end of the season, Bjork had earned a selection to the Hockey East All-Star Team and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
Prior to his collegiate career, Bjork compiled 33 goals and 32 assists for 65 points in 117 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program over two seasons. He has also represented the United States in international competition four times—his most recent was as part of Team USA at the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championships; playing in five games.
Many comments were made after his team was eliminated from the Frozen Four and he did not immediately commit to the Bruins organization that he was perhaps going to take the same route as Jimmy Vesey. Vesey had been drafted in 2012 by the Nashville Predators and then informed them at the end of his 2015-16 collegiate season that he was not going to sign with them—ultimately signing with the New York Rangers on August 20, 2016. In Bjork’s case though, it really had nothing to do with wanting to make his own path.
“It was really tough. It was a tough process, for sure. There are a lot of factors and I wasn’t really sure. I kind of just wanted to make the right choice for my hockey career. But, I also had to think a lot about my degree and school and stuff like that,” Bjork told reporters after the deal was announced.
He credits his time playing in the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championships as giving him the time and space he needed to work it out.
“I think the World Championship experience was a good one, especially for [making a decision}, because it gave me time to think,” Bjork elaborated. “Obviously, I was playing—playing with pro guys and a lot of NHL guys over there. [It] was a great experience and talking with them about it was helpful.”
And as for the his wanting to pull on the Spoked-B?
“Yeah, obviously very excited and honored to be a part of such a great organization now. I was very fortunate to get drafted by the Bruins and it’s pretty cool that I’ve done well enough to earn a contract with such a prestigious organization,” Bjork shared. “So, it’s one thing to sign an NHL contract, but it’s another to sign it with an organization like the Boston Bruins that has so much history and is so prestigious as I said.”
He clearly understands that he won’t just skate right onto the roster. He knows that there will be work, and perhaps the Bruins development camps that he has attended in the past have served their intended purpose of clueing the young prospects into what it takes to become an NHL level professional.
For now though, he can bask in the glow of his future before getting down to work, and the fans and rumor mills can find something else to talk about.