July 8: The Bruins have announced the signing of Asselin, but not to a three-year entry-level contract. In fact, not to an NHL contract at all. Asselin has signed a two-year AHL deal and will begin his pro career under contract with Providence rather than Boston. This change allows the Bruins to maintain some degree of control over Asselin, without having to use up a valued NHL contract slot. The Bruins have nine such slots remaining with at least three more signings guaranteed this off-season.
June 7: According to Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports, the Boston Bruins will be signing undrafted CHL free agent Samuel Asselin to a three-year entry-level contract. Lalancette adds that the Montreal Canadiens had also shown interest in the Quebec native.
Asselin, 20, had his best season of junior this year after being traded to the Halifax Mooseheads early on. In 68 regular season games he scored 48 times, leading the QMJHL in goals and placing tenth in overall scoring with 86 points. The undersized forward was almost as effective in the playoffs, recording nine goals and 17 points in 22 games as the Mooseheads went to the league final. He was named a QMJHL Second Team All-Star for his efforts, though the real prize is the NHL contract he is about to sign.
The Bruins have done extremely well with overlooked QMJHL stars in the past, as star forwards Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron were both selected outside of the first round. Obviously reaching that kind of level is a stretch for a player like Asselin, the team obviously believes he has shown some NHL potential this season. He had attended development camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the past but failed to earn a deal.
Asselin will turn 21 next month and will have to deal with a jump to the professional ranks in 2019-20, likely suiting up for the Bruins’ AHL affiliate. Not only will he have to continue to produce offensively, but if he wants to make it all the way to the NHL—especially as a center—he’ll have to compete physically and tighten up defensively. His faceoff skills are already strong, winning 54.1% of his draws this season, but it will only get tougher as the competition increases.