Bruins add to organizational center depth by signing Harvard captain


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The Bruins have to take as many kicks at the center can as possible, and they took one on Wednesday.

The team announced that it has signed John Farinacci to a two-year entry-level contract that carries an annual NHL cap hit of $910,000.

Farinacci, 22, is a right-shot center who was a captain at Harvard this past season. He is listed at 6-feet, 185 pounds.

Farinacci missed the early part of the season with a herniated disk, but averaged over a point per game once he returned, putting up five goals and 15 assists in 19 games. He also won 54.8% of his faceoffs.

Farinacci played three seasons at Harvard, missing the 2020-21 season because Ivy League schools did not compete due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and totaled 59 points (23 goals, 36 assists) in 78 NCAA games.

He also helped the United States win gold at the 2021 World Junior Championship, scoring five goals and adding two assists in seven games while playing as the team's third-line center.

The Red Bank, New Jersey native was originally selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the third round (76th overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft, but did not sign with them this summer and became a free agent on Tuesday.

Farinacci is regarded as a strong two-way player with a high hockey IQ who gets to dirty areas and could still develop more offensively. He is the nephew of Harvard coach and former Bruin Ted Donato.

"I see myself as a 200-foot centerman," Farinacci told reporters on a Zoom call Wednesday afternoon. "I think I can play on both ends of the ice, good on faceoffs. I think I can play any role that I need to. I kind of pride myself on being somebody that can do that. I think my hockey sense, intangible-wise, is probably my biggest strength.

"Obviously not comparing myself at all, but a guy that I watched a ton and really tried to emulate myself after was Patrice Bergeron," he added. "I think the way that he played the game was amazing. That's a guy that I try to play like as much as I can."

Farinacci said he talked to a couple other NHL teams on Tuesday after hitting free agency, but that "nothing could compare" to being a Bruin and that it was ultimately a "pretty easy decision" to sign with Boston.

It is not out of the question that Farinacci could compete for an NHL roster spot right away, but he will more likely begin the season in Providence to continue his development.

Here are some Farinacci highlights:

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