On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, the Boston Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, announced the first of his RFA signings. On Monday, Noel Acciari, and seven others were given qualifying offers, as a result of their RFA status, and Acciari was the first of those to have a deal in place and signed.
“I’m very excited. I just wanted to thank Donny [Don Sweeney] and Cam [Neely] and the Jacobs family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it for another two years and I’m excited about where this team is headed. So I’m glad I can be a part of it,” exclaimed Acciari after the announcement was made.
The Providence College Friars alum played 29 games with the Boston club during the 2016-17 season. The Johnston, Rhode Island native went undrafted, signing with Boston as a free agent on June 8, 2015, a couple months after he and his Friars took home the much coveted Frozen Four Championship, which coincidentally was played at TD Garden—home arena to the Boston Bruins—that year.
The 25-year-old plays a physical game, not afraid to hit someone or take a hit. Most of those who do end up hitting him are surprised to find out it is like hitting a giant block of cement.
“I can’t help that I’m solid and they don’t know it, but, you know I just kind of… be aware of if a hit’s coming and kind of be able to brace myself,” Acciari said of how opponents often underestimate his strength. “Just throw hits when I can, but anyway to get to the puck; go through them or around I’ll pretty much do it.”
Playing such a game can take a physical toll on the body of any player, and given the speed of today’s hockey, can sometimes cause damage that players in the past would not have experienced. While Acciari has assured that he will not change his game, he is mindful of injury, but approaches it from a cogent point of view.
“I don’t like to think about if I’m going to get hurt, or if this is going to hurt me, if this blocked shot is going to hurt me. I think when you’re thinking too much when that happens, that’s when you start to get hurt,” he said. “But, like you said, my type of game, it could happen. But, I don’t want to think about it too much where well, if I throw this hit, this will potentially hurt, because I think that will… I’ll start playing mind games with myself and I don’t want to take myself out of how I’m playing and pretty much focus on what I need to do and play the game I know how to play and I think I’ll be fine.”
Of course, while he is a force to be reckoned with in the checking department, he admitted that he has an area that he needs to concentrate on and improve.
“I think for me, holding onto the puck a little more and being able to possess it down low and just making sure it’s tough to get pucks from me and when to make the play at the net and when not to and just have a little bit more confidence with the puck on my stick rather than just dumping it and throwing it away,” Acciari spoke honestly.
The two-year, one-way contract is worth an average annual value of $725,000 against the Bruins’ cap. The one-way aspect of the contract speaks to the confidence Bruins management has in the 5’11” 205-pound forward, as he would be paid that whether he is playing in Boston at the NHL level or with the Providence Bruins at the AHL level. It suggests that the front office expects him to spend the season with the Boston club.