WILMINGTON, Mass. — Ryan Fitzgerald was thrilled to see a fellow Boston College Eagle come back home.
Speaking Wednesday after Day 3 of Boston Bruins development camp, Fitzgerald expressed his excitement to see fellow BC alum Jimmy Hayes play for the Bruins following Hayes’ trade from the Florida Panthers earlier this month.
“It’s huge for him,” said Fitzgerald, a fourth-round draft pick of the Bruins in 2013. “I was talking to him the other day. It’s a dream come true for him, and it’s something he’s looked forward to his whole career. So, it’s definitely special.”
Hayes, a 25-year-old winger, spent three years in Chestnut Hill from 2008 to 2011, then saw limited action in three seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. It wasn’t until he was traded to the Panthers early in the 2013-14 campaign that he truly blossomed, scoring 30 goals and compiling 53 points in 125 games with Florida.
Shortly after NHL free agency opened July 1, the Bruins swung a trade for the Dorchester, Mass., native — sending forward Reilly Smith and Marc Savard’s contract to Florida — then signed him to a three-year contract worth $2.3 million per year.
“The Bruins see what everyone else sees in him,” Fitzgerald said. “He signed a great deal, and it’s obviously going to pay off for him.”
While Hayes projects to be a key part of the Bruins’ forward corps this season, it’ll probably be at least another season before Fitzgerald can join him in Boston. The 20-year-old North Reading, Mass., native, who is attending Bruins development camp for a third consecutive summer, will return to Boston College this fall for his junior season after recording 25 points and a team-high 17 goals as a sophomore.
“Coming here, you see a lot of the little cues that all the pros do,” Fitzgerald said. “So being in your third year, you kind of take that and kind of bring it back and apply to the college level. So, when I go back (to BC), I’ll probably just take all the cues I learned here and try to do it there.”
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