Bruins bolster center depth by signing former Harvard captain John Farinacci to entry-level contract


John Farinacci was considered one of the top collegiate players available after the Coyotes lost his draft rights.

Harvard University forward John Farinacci (25) skates during the second period of an NCAA hockey game against Ohio State on Friday, March 24, 2023, in Bridgeport, Conn.
Farinacci, 22, was originally taken by the Arizona Coyotes in the third round (76th overall) of the 2019 Draft. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)

With the Bruins in desperate need of help down the middle, Don Sweeney and Boston’s front-office staff went the collegiate route in order to strengthen their center depth.

The Bruins announced Wednesday afternoon that they have signed Harvard center John Farinacci to a two-year entry-level contract with an annual NHL cap hit of $910,000.

The 6-foot, 185-pound forward was one of the most coveted collegiate free agents out on the market. Farinacci, 22, was originally taken by the Arizona Coyotes in the third round (76th overall) of the 2019 Draft.

But Farinacci did not sign his entry-level contract with Arizona, with the Coyotes officially losing their exclusive rights on him on Tuesday.

A right-shot pivot, Farinacci played three seasons with the Crimson, scoring 25 goals and posting 61 total points in 79 games. Despite missing the first half of the 2022-23 season due to injury, Farinacci closed out his career with 10 goals and 19 points in just 20 games as a senior.

He won a gold medal for Team USA in the 2021 World Junior Championships, scoring five goals and recording seven points over seven games.

Even though Farinacci hails from Red Bank, New Jersey, he has plenty of local ties to the area beyond his collegiate squad.

The nephew of former Bruin (and Harvard coach) Ted Donato — and cousin of former Bruin Ryan Donato — Farinacci played two seasons at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline from 2017-19.

Farinacci will likely open the 2023-24 season down with the Providence Bruins, but should get some extended looks with the NHL club during training camp and preseason action. A poised center known for his two-way skillset, Farinacci is already likely considered one of Boston’s top center prospects alongside Matthew Poitras.

“Of the players available, Farinacci has the brightest NHL outlook,” Flo Hockey wrote of Farinacci. “He is a 6-foot, 190-pound right-shot center who plays a strong two-way game. … He is a mature player, who has a good work ethic on the ice, plays a gritty style down low and knows how to get to the net. He could easily slot into an organization in a depth role, potentially playing in the NHL immediately in the right situation. It’s more likely, however, that he starts in the AHL.”

Originally posted 2023-08-16 17:25:26.