As the collegiate hockey season comes to a close for many teams, free agents will be seeking National Hockey League entry-level contracts heading into the summer. They could even potentially see some NHL playing time or American Hockey League roster spots. The Boston Bruins had some success with the college free-agent route recently, including the signings of former Boston College captain Marc McLaughlin and former Ohio State center Georgii Merkulov last season. The Bruins will be again scouring the college free agent list to find another gem, especially after using draft picks to improve their lineup this past trade deadline.
Providence College wing Parker Ford is one candidate who could forgo his senior season in the college ranks. The Wakefield, Rhode Island native played four seasons with the Friars and improved every season. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound center/right wing scored 12 goals this past season with 14 assists in 36 games. Over his career at Providence, Ford has played 130 regular-season games, totaling 41 goals and 43 assists.
Before his time in the Hockey East Conference, Ford played two seasons in the United States Hockey League for Sioux City Musketeers and scored 19 goals in his second season. According to Elite Prospects, the 22-year-old “has excellent speed, competitiveness, and defensive instincts. His willingness to forecheck and finish his checks really stands out. Ford challenges the shooter and does an excellent job of sacrificing his body to clog up shooting lanes. He also maintains an active stick and plus-positioning to clog up passing lanes”.
Ford’s teammates with the Friars were Bruins’ sixth-round pick center Riley Duran and goaltender Philip Svedeback, a fourth-round selection of the Bruins in 2021. Both players are unsigned and have not decided whether to return to college hockey. Now a decision will be made if Ford, Duran, and Svedeback run it back again.
This is the time of year when Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney finds talent from the college ranks, and Ford is a candidate to sign with the Bruins soon.