This past summer, there were several former Bruins who dominated headlines across the NAHL in regards to alumni. Nico Sturm, Josh Wilkins, and Jake Keilly all inked professional contracts with NHL teams, but all three of them will begin their careers in different locations and various levels as they work to make an NHL roster full-time. Here’s how the trio, who all played together in 2014-15 with Austin, will start their 2019-20 seasons.
AHL: After a strong training camp and prospect camp for Nico Sturm (Bruins ’14-15) with the Minnesota Wild, the first-year professional was assigned to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. Sturm, 24, already earned his first professional point last season with the Minnesota Wild and the big defenseman is already making an impact in the AHL having earned an assist in two games played. It’s very likely that Wild fans will see Sturm on the team’s NHL roster for several games this season as he polishes his game and continues to grow.
Earlier this summer, Bruins broadcaster TJ Chillot met up with Nico to talk about Austin and his early days with the Wild organization.
Josh Wilkins (Bruins ’14-15) also begins his career in the AHL. For the Raleigh, NC, native and former Providence Friar, Wilkins will start with the Milwaukee Admirals, top-affiliate of the Nashville Predators. Like Sturm, Wilkins is already contributing having earned an assist in the one game the Admirals have played thus far. That point, his first in the professional ranks, came against his former teammate and the aforementioned Sturm when the Admirals and Wild faced-off on October 6th. It was Sturm who won the battle of the former-B’s though, with his Wild earning 5-2 victory.
Over the summer, Wilkins had the opportunity to return to his hometown of Raleigh when the Predators and Hurricanes played a preseason game at PNC Arena. Read more about Wilkins homecoming here: https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/luke-decock/article235555467.html
ECHL: Former Mike Richter Award finalist Jake Keilly (Bruins ’14-15) will start his post-collegiate career with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Keilly signed a deal with the Vancouver Canucks organization at the end of 2018-19 after three seasons at Clarkson University. Keilly battled his way through training camp and was ultimately assigned to the Canucks ECHL affiliate at the end of September. The ECHL season has yet to begin, but Keilly looks poised to take big strides in his first full professional season. Keilly will share the crease with veteran Jake Hildebrand who’s entering his sixth pro-season after four years at Michigan State.