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BOSTON (CBS) – The NHL Draft couldn’t have gone any better for North Reading native Ryan Fitzgerald.
The son of a former Bruins player, Tom Fitzgerald, the 18-year-old was taken by Boston with the 120th overall pick in the fourth round on Sunday. He remembers being around the team as a kid, and is now wrapping his head around the idea of suiting up himself in the Boston locker room.
“The time I was here I was running around the locker room. It’s weird to think I am a part of this organization now,” Fitzgerald said on Sunday. “It still really hasn’t hit me fully. It’s a great feeling.”
A 5-10, 170-pound centerman, Fitzgerald hopes to some day bring the scoring prowess he showed last season in the Eastern Junior Hockey League — when he racked up 14 goals and 16 assists over 26 games with the Valley Junior Warriors — to the NHL. It may be a few years until he hits the ice with a spoked-B on his jersey, but he’ll take the ice in February’s Beanpot as a member of the Boston College Eagles.
“It’s a win-win for me,” Fitzgerald said of going to Boston College in the fall. “It’s one of the greatest schools in the country and that’s why I picked it. They have a very good winning tradition there and to be able play for Jerry York is going to be big for me.”
Fitzgerald was second on the Warriors in goal production and fourth in points last year, also netting a trio of goals and three assists in six playoff games. He was also named the recipient of the 2013 MIAA John Carlton Sportsmanship Award, which is awarded annually to an outstanding male and female student-athlete in an Eastern Massachusetts High School or Junior hockey.
“I think I’m a very smart player who makes a lot of good plays and makes a lot of kids around him better,” he said of his game. “I play at two areas of the ice; a good utility guy who you can toss out there whenever you need something done.”
“He’s a real smart hockey player,” said Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning. “He plays hard, he competes hard. He’ll fit right into our culture, our competitiveness. I think he’s going to be a real good player for us.”
“I look for him to be a Bruin some point. I don’t think there’s anything that is going to hold him back,” added Wayne Smith, Boston’s director of amateur scouting. “And I know that he is going to die trying and there is nothing that he loves more than this city, this hockey season, so it’s an exciting pick for us all.
In addition to being the son of Tom Fitzgerald, who is now the assistant general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Fitzgerald is the nephew of Bruins Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting, Scott Fitzgerald.