Bruins reportedly linked to top college free agent, Mass. native


Collin Graf led Quinnipiac in scoring this season with 49 points over 34 games.

Providence, RI- 3/31/24- Quinnipiac forward Collin Graf (11) skates against Boston College in the first period of the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal in Providence, Rhode Island.
Collin Graf lead the Bobcats in scoring in each of the last two seasons. (Danielle Parhizkaran/Globe Staff)

With the Bruins selecting in the first round of the NHL Draft just twice over the last six years, Don Sweeney and his staff have turned to undrafted collegiate free agents in an effort to replenish the franchise’s prospect pipeline.

As such, it should come as little surprise that Boston has reportedly been linked to several intriguing prospects who submitted strong returns during the 2023-24 season — including arguably the top free agent in the the collegiate ranks in Quinnipiac’s Collin Graf.

Graf, who hails from Lincoln, Mass., is free to sign with any NHL team after the Bobcats were eliminated by Boston College in the NCAA Regional Final in Providence on Sunday. The junior winger should attract plenty of suitors, given the resume he compiled during his time with Quinnipiac.

After transferring from Union College following his freshman season, Graf scored 107 points (43 goals, 64 assists) in 74 games over two seasons with the Bobcats. The former Boston Jr. Bruin led his team in scoring for both of his seasons at QU — including the 2022-23 season that ended with Quinnipiac winning a national title.

Even though several teams will likely line up for a chance to add a young player like the 21-year-old Graf, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli noted in the latest episode of Daily Faceoff Live that the Bruins will likely be one of the frontrunners for his services.

“Collin Graf is undoubtedly the No. 1 NCAA free agent to be signed,” Seravalli noted, as transcribed by Daily Faceoff’s Colton Davies. “I’m told that this is certainly in the works and could potentially happen as soon as [Monday] but teams that are interested and in the mix have been told this morning do believe he is headed out east to the Eastern Conference.

“Some sources are speculating the Boston Bruins — Don Sweeney and the Bruins’ executive staff were at the game yesterday in Providence to watch these two teams. They got a first-hand viewing of Collin Graf where some would say he had a tough regional tournament.

“It’s probably easier to list the teams who haven’t been in on Graf and a lot of Western Conference teams as well like the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and San Jose Sharks. The Edmonton Oilers have spent a long time watching Graf and another team in the East is Pittsburgh. Graf is from Massachusetts, he’s a Boston Jr. Bruins player so that makes a lot of sense.”

New England Hockey Journal’s Mark Divver also reported on Monday that he was “hearing rumblings” about the Bruins and their interest in Minnesota captain Jaxon Nelson.

Nelson is a big-bodied center at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He had a strong finish to his final season with the Golden Gophers, scoring 11 goals over his final eight games. The 24-year-old forward native finished the 2023-24 season with 19 goals and 31 points over 39 games. 

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