Bruins 2011 Draft Watch has confirmed that the Boston Bruins signed free agent C Carter Camper of the Miami University Redhawks. Camper, 22, is a native of Rocky River, OH and is a 2011 Hobey Baker finalist after posting 19 goals, 57 points in 39 games this season.
Although Camper is undersized at 5-9, 175 pounds, the forward is one of the best pure playmakers out there in free agency. Elite hockey sense and soft hands make him capable of creating offense from just about anywhere in the zone. His superior vision and anticipation along with a natural feel for the puck and underrated shot (heavy and accurate) have been instrumental in his never having scored fewer than 15 goals or 40 points in any of his four collegiate seasons.
He tallied a career-high 20 goals in 40 games during the 2009 season, when his Redhawks were less than a minute away from winning the national championship before Nick Bonino's goal sent the game to overtime. Current B's prospect and future Providence teammate Colby Cohen then scored the winning tally for Boston University in sudden death. In four seasons in Oxford, Camper scored 69 goals and 173 points in 156 games.
Camper is an okay skater, but lacks a quick first-step and high-end speed. Nevertheless, he's agile on his edges and compensates well for the lack of elite mobility with his tremendous instincts, vision and ability to get the puck to open teammates.
He'll need to get stronger and continue working on his defensive awareness and positioning, but Camper appears to be a solid project player with some interesting upside. At the very least, he should make the Providence offense much more dangerous, as Camper has been a consistent scorer at every single level, and won't likely need much transition time even in the AHL.
As an aside, Camper played on the USHL's Lincoln Stars along with current Boston prospects Matt Bartkowski and Cohen during the '06-07 season, tallying 23 goals and 71 points in 56 games.
UPDATE: Mark Divver of the Providence Journal reports that Camper has signed an entry-level contract will be in Providence today. He is expected to play in the team's final three games.