By KEVIN OKLOBZIJA
Defenseman David Farrance, who has dazzled on the ice for a decade with his flashy skating and slick puck skills, has signed an NHL contract with the Nashville Predators.
His senior season at Boston University ended on Saturday and negotiations began almost immediately between his agent, Brian Bartlett of Pittsford-based Bartlett Hockey, and the Predators.
The 21-year-old Victor resident agreed to terms on a two-year deal at the maximum rookie levels allowed by the collective bargaining agreement ($950,000 per year NHL salary, 10 percent signing bonus, $70,000 AHL salary).
He’ll immediately report to Nashville and must go through a mandatory COVID-19 seven-day quarantine before joining the Predators taxi squad for practice. The remainder of the current NHL season will count as Year 1 of his deal.
The belief is that his top-end skills, which were on display for four seasons in Hockey East, will translate smoothly to the NHL game. His 43 points as a junior were the most by a Terriers defenseman in the Hockey East era (dating back to 1984).
“There’s kind of that breed of offensive, elite-skating defensemen that have been able to make an impact right away,” Bartlett said.
Indeed, Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche by way of UMass-Amherst), Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks/University of Michigan) and Adam Fox (New York Rangers/Harvard) stepped right from the collegiate game into the NHL and looked right at home.
“If those guys could do that at 18, 19 and 20, and he’s coming in at 22 (21 until June 23), there’s no reason to think he can’t step in and contribute,” Bartlett said.
While Farrance is no Makar (who also is represented by Bartlett Hockey), he was the 72nd overall pick (third round) in the 2017 NHL draft and produced 26 goals, 62 assists and 88 points in 113 games at BU, including 19-40-59 in 45 games over his junior and senior seasons. He also was a Hockey East first-team All-Star and Hobey Baker Top 10 finalist as a junior.
He was limited to just 11 games this season (5 goals, 11 assists) because of two different precautionary coronavirus shutdowns within the BU program.
The NHL contract has been considered a foregone conclusion for years, going as far back as 2014-15 when he was the All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year for Victor High School.
Farrance spent the next two seasons with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program before embarking on his four-year collegiate career at BU in 2017-18.
The Predators will have 17 games remaining when Farrance exists COVID-19 quarantine. Two defenseman already have played their first NHL games this season with the Preds, Frederic Allard and Jeremy Davies.