Why Another Year Of Chara Is A Great Move

NHL: Boston Bruins at Calgary Flames

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Back in March, The Boston Bruins announced that captain, Zdeno Chara, had agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season. At 41 years of age, the 6’9″ 250-pound defenseman earned himself $5 million for one last dance plus a potential bonus $1.75 million in performance-based incentives. The fans reacted well to the news, but after the Bruins crashed out of the playoffs, some questioned if Chara was still up to the task. Here’s why I think his contract extension was a masterstroke by GM Don Sweeney.

Last season Chara showed that he can still compete at Hockey’s highest level. He played in 73 regular season games with a plus/minus of +22, great numbers for a player on the wrong side of 40. He also chipped in offensively, with 7 goals, 3 of which were game winners, and 17 assists. He established a solid partnership with Charlie McAvoy, the combination of youth and experience flourished, and they looked comfortable as the Bruins top defensive pairing. Chara’s experience allowed McAvoy to play with more freedom, boosting his confidence. While I think his ice time will be reduced this season, there’s no doubt that McAvoy will benefit from another season alongside Chara.

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Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Bruins captain boasted impressive individual numbers last season, but not everything can be quantified onto a stats sheet, his leadership is priceless to the Bruins. Time and time throughout the season we saw him bring the players together and give rousing team talks, rallying the squad just when they needed it. The Bruins have a young roster when compared to most NHL teams, and it’s important for them to blend the talented youth with experience. Chara sets high standards for the team, and I believe his contribution as captain is often overlooked. Strong leadership is a key ingredient to any cup winning team, there are few better role models for them than Zdeno Chara.

We’ve all been bored this off-season, but be careful what you wish for because next year will be a roller-coaster in comparison. Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, Noel Acciari, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo are all coming to the end of their current entry-level contracts at the end of next season. I would be surprised if Sweeney doesn’t want to keep all of them on the roster, but with salary cap restrictions, it will be challenging to hold on to everyone.

This is where the Chara’s contract extension really comes into its own. Firstly, this allows younger players, particularly McAvoy another season under his wing, which is excellent for his continued development. Secondly, at the end of next season, both Chara and fellow defenseman, Adam McQuaid, are set to become unrestricted free agents, assuming that neither player is re-signed, the Bruins will free up $7.75 million worth of cap space. I think we’d all like to see the young talent tied down for as long as possible, especially if they have strong campaigns again next year. The extra cap space gives Sweeney more flexibility when he enters negotiations, and he also has the option of exploring the free agency market, which will be much stronger next year then it was this time around.

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While he can’t go on forever, I’m not ready to say goodbye to Chara, and I’m glad the Bruins aren’t either. Sweeney is putting together a talented roster and having his captain around for another campaign will help the team on many levels. I think the cup window will remain open for a few more years. Next season will be tough as the Atlantic Division is only getting stronger, but the future looks bright for this young team, thanks in part to our captain, Zdeno Chara.

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Cap Crunch: A Look At The Bruins Cap Situation

(Photo Credit: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

By: Shane Roush  |  Follow me on Twitter: @BruinsFan374688

The salary cap. A constant worry for all NHL General Managers. The more money you have, the more flexibility comes with it. The Bruins paid the price and were in “cap jail” after winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. Role players and fourth-liners like Chris Kelly and Greg Campbell were given deals that had plenty of term, but by the second year, you could see they were declining at a rapid rate. That forced Peter Chiarelli’s hand at the time, and he had to ship away from the likes of Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton to name a few. Those players could not fit in with Bruins’ cap situation and Boston paid the price, missing the playoffs in 2014 and 2015. Let’s see how the Bruins can handle their current cap, so they do not have to deal with problems like this again.

Coming into the 2018-19 season, the roster appears to be set. They have committed all but $2,959,333 of their $79,500,000 cap number. Don Sweeney has done a great job getting extensions for Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak done well below market value. Pastrnak signed a six-year, $40 million extension last September at an affordable $6.67 million AAV. Marchand’s deal appears to be looking better every day for Boston. The forward signed an eight-year, $49 million deal with an annual hit of $6.125 million. For a player with 170 points in his last 148 games, Boston found the perfect time to extend him. Pair these two with Patrice Bergeron, who is under contract for another 4 years, and your first line is locked up for a shade under $20 million.

Next season is where it could start to get tricky for Neely, Sweeney, and the rest of the front office. The Bruins have some young, emerging talent that will need new deals by the start of the 2019 season. The most important player in that bunch has to be Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy shined during his debut in the 2017 playoffs and built on his great start by playing a solid two-way game for Boston in his first full season last year. McAvoy showed glimpses of being the next great Bruins defenseman behind the likes of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, and Zdeno Chara. I feel that the Bruins will do whatever is necessary to keep McAvoy in the picture for a long time coming.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The problems don’t stop there for the front office. Crucial and potentially young core pieces such as Ryan Donato, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen will all be restricted free agents at the end of the upcoming season. It’s tough to decipher what type of deals the three players will get. But what we have seen from them in a short sample size makes me believe the Bruins will want these guys around for the long haul. Carlo is a right shot defenseman — a position that is very valuable throughout the league. Heinen has shown his hockey IQ throughout his time in Boston, and his versatility is nothing to scoff at as well. He’s played wing, center, and the point on the power play. And Donato could be the trigger man that David Krejci needs to solidify the second line, with Jake DeBrusk playing the other wing.

The Bruins have $16.5 million in cap space at the end of the 2018-19 season committed to 16 players. Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid both come off the books at season’s end. Do the Bruins give Chara another 1-year deal if he continues to show he can still play? Or does his $5-plus million salary go to extensions for the kids? We have also heard Torey Krug rumors for months, and it makes you wonder, with 8 NHL-caliber defensemen, if a move is brewing. A Krug trade could bring some cap relief to Boston and/or valuable assets. But a trade could also leave Boston with a gaping hole on their first power play unit.

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In all, these are excellent problems to have. An abundance of young forwards and a deep defense gives the Bruins front office plenty of options. Unlike a few years ago, the Bruins have flexibility with their cap. Depending on how some players produce will determine their next contract with the Bruins, or if it’s best to go another direction. Now we sit back and wait for the season to start to see how these questions become answers.

What The Bruins Should Expect From Prospect Zboril

 

610600856.jpg.0( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images )

By: Jamie Gatlin   |   Follow Me On Twitter: @JamieGatlin1217

In 2015 the Bruins had three consecutive picks in the first round of the NHL draft. They had the 13th, 14th, and 15th overall picks. With the 13th pick, the Bruins took Jakub Zboril who was considered a reach at that spot in the draft. Of those three picks, only Jake DeBrusk — picked 14th overall — has made it to the NHL. Zboril may soon join DeBrusk in Boston and is coming off a very good season in Providence. His path to NHL has not been easy, and at first, it looked as if the former first-round pick may turn into a bust.

After being considered a reach at 13 overall, Zboril’s first developmental camp was a disaster. He looked out off place both on and off the ice. Zboril suffered an injury the year before the draft and was still having problems with his knee. At developmental camp, he failed his conditioning tests and was ripped on social media. But since that first developmental camp, he has shown the tools that made him a first-round pick. After recording 33 points for the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2014-2015, Zboril had only 20 points in the 2015-2016 season. He was able to rebound the following season, putting up 41 points 50 games for the Sea Dogs.

One of the reasons why Zboril has been criticized is the because of the players picked after him. With the 16th pick in the same draft, the Islanders took Mathew Barzal. Last year Barzal took the NHL by storm as a rookie scoring 22 goals while adding 63 assists. While Barzal was tearing up the NHL, Zboril was in Providence — where it took him 40 games to score his first professional goal.

But Zboril finished his first season in Providence on a roll, which gives the Bruins hope. He finished the season with four goals and 15 assists in 68 games. He will enter training looking to prove himself and earn a spot in Boston. It will not be easy since the Bruins already have eight defensemen under contract next season — not including Zboril.

Zboril is a two-way defenseman that plays to his strengths in all three areas of the ice. He is not afraid to take a hit to make a play. Before the draft, he drew some comparisons to Keith Yandle, who has had a very productive career. This year’s training camp will not be Zboril’s last chance to crack the Bruins roster. The B’s will still have him under control on his rookie deal through the 2019-2020 season. With Zdeno Chara likely to retire sooner rather than later, the Bruins need another a top-four defenseman alongside Charlie McAvoy. Zboril could be that player, and after looking like the bust of the draft class, he has made huge strides the past two seasons.

Making the team out of camp is highly unlikely for the former first-round pick. He still has some improvements to make in Providence before he is NHL-ready. Zboril does have a chance to leave an impact and help the Bruins later this season. Injuries are inevitable over a season, and that could be his first chance to make his mark. The Bruins still have faith in him and will give the former 13th overall pick every chance to succeed. The rest is up to him.

Bruins Players Set Example On The Ice & In The Community

Patrice's Pals3(“Patrice’s Pals” – Photo Credit: BostonBruins.com)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

If you’re a professional athlete, there’s a level of expectation from fans, media, and management to “give back.” After all, you’re playing sports for a living and making large sums of money for it. Life can be a whole heckuva lot harder. Yet, for players on the Boston Bruins — both past and present — giving back has never been an issue. In fact, it’s been as consistent as a Zdeno Chara slapshot, Patrice Bergeron assist, Brad Marchand breakaway, or Tuukka two-pad stacker. You can count on all of the above just like you can count on anyone wearing a B’s sweater to do their part in the community.

It’s setting this example both on and off the ice where the best Bruins players have excelled most recently. And it’s the reason why some of our favorites from yesteryear continue to be talked about and admired today. Here are just some of the ways generous gents wearing the Black N’ Gold have shown the best kind of charity to local New England charities over the years, and why we think the world of them for it (I’m sure I’ll miss mentioning some of the charitable ways the B’s have bettered their community, but that’s a nice problem to have I think)!

Bruins Wives’ Charity Carnival

Bruins Charity Carnival Shirt(“Charity Carnival” – Photo Credit: Etsy)

This was my first introduction to generosity with a capital ‘G’ for players wearing the spoked capital ‘B.’ As you can see from the vintage shirt pictured above, the slogan B’cause we care, were ‘Bruin’ up a better Boston, fit the team, city, and organization to a ‘T’ (another Boston wink & nod). While no longer in existence, the Bruins Wives’ Charity Carnival raised money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and featured the most popular B’s roster players of the era — along with their spouses — playing hockey games, holding competitions, fielding Q&A’s, signing autographs, and plenty more, all in the heart of “The Garden,” old and new. If I still lived in Western Massachusetts, I’d have driven to my parents’ home and raided the basement to find all my old Charity Carnival programs, pictures, pins and the like. It was an eye-opening experience for any young B’s fan not only because you got to meet your favorite players, but also because you met many kids your age benefiting from the CFF. To see first-hand what “giving back” looks like had a profound effect and I’ll forever be grateful to the B’s for instilling that commitment to community within me.

The Cam Neely Foundation

Nashville Predators v Boston Bruins(“The Neely House” – Photo Credit: CamNeelyFoundation.org)

No. 8 was my favorite player growing up, and as soon as I was a grown-up working in local media and often partnering with area children’s hospitals and clinics, Cam Neely became even more of a favorite of mine. That’s because in 1995 he started the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care in honor of his parents, both of whom passed away due to cancer. Since then, the former B’s All-Star and current team president has worked alongside a dedicated foundation team to “donate over $30 million to Tufts Medical Center to design, fund and complete projects with immediate tangible results that have had a positive impact on thousands of families” dealing with cancer treatment, care and hospitalization, according to its website. We always knew Neely to be quite the prolific goal scorer, but these goals are achievements with life-changing results that have positively impacted countless Boston-area children and their families. Maybe we need a new hockey nickname for the B’s boss: “the Gr8 one!”

The Boston Bruins Foundation

Bruins Foundation.jpg(“The Boston Bruins Foundation” – Photo Credit: NHL.com)

This summer, Bruins owner Charlie Jacobs made a big announcement: the Boston Bruins Foundation, which started in 2003 as a way for the team to give back to the organizations that matter most to the fans in Boston, successfully raised more than $3 million to 150 area non-profit charities. Among them, “the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, Operation Hat Trick, local Boys & Girls Clubs, Franciscan Children’s Adaptive Skating Program, and Massachusetts Hockey,” to quote but a few from the celebratory press release. One of the most notable beneficiaries of the Foundation and one that B’s legend Bobby Orr was integral in helping was the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey league team. The Bruins largest 50/50 raffle of the 2017-18 season donated a total of $200,000 to the team’s community relief efforts in the wake of the tragic bus crash that claimed the lives of 16 players and team personnel in April.

Bruins Broncos(Photo Credit: BostonBruins.com)

Other noteworthy sponsorships, partnerships, and collaborations from the Boston Bruins Foundation (with photo credits courtesy of all the respective events) feature both current B’s players and respected alumni all working together to improve, enhance, enlighten, and entertain the hard-working people and families who cheer on the Bruins:

  • The 15th Annual Boston Bruins Golf Tournament
  • The 3rd Annual Bowl with a Bruin Fundraiser (and yes, that’s candlepin bowling pictured for all you non-New Englanders out there)

Bourque Foundation

  • The 2018 Pan-Mass Challenge

Bruins Pan Mass Challenge

Patrice’s Pals

Pictured at the top of this article is Patrice Bergeron with kids from the Children’s Hospital, Boston as well as area youth hockey players. They are all Patrice’s Pals, which brings patients from local hospitals and other children’s organizations to the TD Garden to experience a Bruins home game where these deserving children are able to feel the excitement of a professional hockey game as VIP guests,” as the Bruins official website states.

(Photo Credits: BostonBruins.com)

Ever since No. 37 first took the ice for the B’s back in 2003 (FIFTEEN YEARS AGO…THAT’S INSANE), he’s been an integral, essential part of the team’s success. Bergy is a leader who sets an example through his dedication, hard work, and perseverance, Bergeron does the same when it comes to his community work. You could argue he puts the puck in the net just as frequently as he puts smiles on the faces of countless kids and families across New England. I’d say he does that even more! It’s hard to imagine where the Boston Bruins would be right now, both as a hockey franchise and as a charitable pillar in the region, without Patrice Bergeron. We could all be so fortunate to call him “Pal!”

Chara’s PJ Drive

Chara Cradles to Crayons(Photo Credit: Cradles to Crayons)

For the past 3 years, B’s Captain Zdeno Chara, whom everyone loves to call “Big Z,” has truly made a big difference around Greater Boston by leading the charge for the team’s annual “PJ Drive.” Like Bergeron, Big Z is as integral to the team’s success off the ice as he is on it, working as a mentor, leader, volunteer, and spokesman for numerous charitable causes & organizations, none-so more endearing than the PJ Drive, which benefits area youth in need. “Over 100,000 Massachusetts children have received PJ’s through the Bruins PJ Drive over the past ten years,” according to a team press release. The only other “PJ” with this much success in Boston is Mr. Axelsson (who I featured in a blog post about the B’s best scouts earlier this summer — you always “feel the need for Swede” when Per-Johan is around)!

Cuts For A Cause

This upcoming season will be the Bruins’ 11th season participating in the “Cuts For A Cause” program that benefits children’s cancer research at the Tufts Medical Center. As you can see in the video above, and as #BehindTheB has chronicled over the past few seasons, this event is a fan and player favorite. It’s also an incredible bonding experience for the boys in Black N’ Gold and is often referenced throughout the year as the time many players became even closer to one another and the Boston community at large.

Our friends at Bruins Daily on Twitter shared a few years ago just how positive and difference-making this event can be for the city. “Well done,” indeed!

Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s

Thornton Golf(Photo Credit: Twitter)

You’d be hard pressed to find any person around the city of Boston who didn’t/doesn’t love what Shawn Thornton brings/brought to the table for the team and the community. Just take a look at the homepage for “The Shawn Thornton 22 Foundation,” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. It’s one thing to be a Stanley Cup champion in town, and it’s something even more impressive to be a champion of the people. And that’s exactly who Thornton was, is and will continue to be in retirement. From his aforementioned Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s golf outing to his road & marathon races to his everyday volunteerism, he and his foundation are all about raising awareness, funding innovative research, and helping to relieve the burden and improve the quality of life for patients and their families, as his website illustrates. But here’s the paragraph that brings a smile to people’s faces:

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“While in Boston, Shawn took on a very active role in the community, becoming a fan favorite of many local residents. He is no stranger to public or media appearances and is extremely involved in the charitable world. He regularly visited local hospitals, sat on the board for a variety of charity events, and was a spokesperson for Athletes for Heroes, a program that supports the children of fallen or severely injured soldiers. In 2009 Shawn received the John P. Bucyk Award which honors the Bruins player who has contributed the most to charitable and community endeavors.”

“The Chief” himself would be proud of all the recent and current Bruins players who go above and beyond the “B” to set an example on the ice and in the community. And good news for Boston fans all over New England — I don’t think this admirable trend is going away anytime soon!

Bruins Have Difficult Choices To Make In Training Camp

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.35.58 PM.png(Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Jacob Albrecht | Follow me on Twitter @bruinsfan3725

The Bruins have a good problem going into training camp this September: too many good players that could earn a spot on the big club’s roster when the puck drops on the 2018-2019 NHL season. This “problem” is mostly centered around the forward core, and Don Sweeney, Bruce Cassidy and the rest of the staff have an abundance of options throughout all the forward lines.

Let’s start with the top 6 and what will undoubtedly be the top line (centered by Patrice Bergeron) and the second (centered by David Krejci.) It’s essentially guaranteed that Brad Marchand will line up on Bergeron’s left side, but the right side is more in question. David Pastrnak could retain his role there due to the incredible success that trio had last season, as seen below.

The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line put up 99 goals, 129 assists, and 228 points in total throughout the 2017-2018 regular season. They were the best and deadliest line in the entire NHL — success that continued into the playoffs. Pastrnak scored six points in just one game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s hard to argue splitting these guys up, but there are a few solid options.

Danton Heinen, Anders Bjork, and Ryan Donato could all take that spot on Bergeron’s right flank, moving Pastrnak down to Krejci’s right wing. Bjork has had his fair share of struggles with injuries, but with the little time he’s spent at the NHL level, he’s shown he can play. He only managed 4 goals and 12 points in 30 games this past season, but given significant time in the top 6, those totals could quickly rise. Heinen is a much more attractive option at the moment considering he played a full season last year and put up 47 points — no insignificant amount for a rookie. Here’s a great look at the compete level and talent that Heinen could bring the top line:

If Heinen were to move up to the top line, that would spread out the scoring and talent more evenly with the duo of Pastrnak and Krejci on the second line. After his heroic performances in the playoffs and the unforgettable heart he brings to the team, it’s all but a guarantee that the left wing to Krejci would be sophomore winger Jake DeBrusk. Hard to argue with this:

The last option for the top 6 would be rookie (sensing a trend?), Ryan Donato. He’s only provided a small sample size so far, but what he’s provided has been very impressive. In his NHL debut alone he scored his first NHL goal and added 2 more assists, all while playing with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. The chemistry that trio showed up with for that game and subsequent games is a strong argument for them to stick together for the start of 2018-2019. Here are the highlights:

If Donato plays on Krejci’s right side with DeBrusk on the left, that leaves the top line the same as it was this past season — Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak. Heinen would be the odd man out and would slide down to a top-9 role, playing right wing on the third forward line with David Backes opposite him on the left wing.

The third and fourth lines are where roster spots for opening night’s puck drop are more significantly up for grabs. Most important is who will center the third line with Riley Nash gone to Columbus via free agency. The candidates are plentiful — 2017 2nd-round pick Jack Studnicka, 2015 2nd-round pick Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, and 2016 1st-round pick Trent Frederic are all prospects vying for that spot. Studnicka has high aspirations for this season and plans to make the NHL squad; we’ll have to wait until camp begins to see how likely of a possibility that truly is. Regarding current roster players, Backes could slide back into the center position considering he’s played significant time as a center in his career. Sean Kuraly, coming off a new three-year deal, could move up to the third line from the fourth-line center position he played last year. This would leave his old spot available to Noel Acciari or any of the prospects mentioned earlier.

After the center positions are cleared up, it’s just down to the wingers. Any combination of Bjork, Heinen, Donato, Backes, Acciari, and prospects such as Studnicka and Forsbacka-Karlsson (have fun fitting that on a jersey) could round out the bottom 6 wings. At the end of the day, the decision lies with Don Sweeney, Bruce Cassidy, and the players themselves because their performances in training camp and preseason will either earn or lose them a roster spot.

Boston Bruins Depth Chart: Centers Throughout The System

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Elsa/Getty Images North America)

By: Max Mainville   |   Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Within the past decade or so, the Boston Bruins have been known throughout the National Hockey League as an organization with great depth at the center position, headlined mainly by Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

However, the depth of the Bruins down the middle goes way further than just Bergeron and Krejci. Especially heading into the 2018-19 regular season, the depth is even greater with the likes of Ryan Donato, Sean Kuraly, and Chris Wagner who are most likely getting NHL time once the season officially begins on Oct. 3.

Even outside of the NHL, the Boston Bruins have an insane amount of players who are listed under the center position. All prospects in the system will be found from eliteprospects.com. Additionally, some players are listed as a center but play the majority of the time on the wing. For those players, Frozen Pool will determine their line usage and if they should be considered a true center on the Boston Bruins roster.

NHL Probables

Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly

According to the line combinations courtesy of Frozen Pool, as previously mentioned, those are the top centers on the Bruins as of last season. Of course, Riley Nash was once a part of that group, but he signed a three-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets this past offseason.

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

We all know how amazing Patrice Bergeron is and how important he really is to the Bruins organization entirely. He captures what it means to be a hockey player with great sportsmanship and class on and off the ice. His 963 career NHL games are 37 shy of 1,000, which would make him the fifth man in Bruins history to hit the games played milestone. Not to mention his four Frank J. Selke Trophies — tying him with Bob Gainey for most in NHL history — Patrice Bergeron is one of the best two-way forwards in the league, and it is well deserved.

Bergeron has always had great chemistry with wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and last season was another example of that. The line was used the most in Boston, 13.54% of the time. The trio scored 228 points during the season and another 53 in the playoffs.

David Krejci is one of the best second-line centers in the NHL and on a team worse than the Bruins, he could very well be a top-line center. A consistent 50-point scorer and a brilliant playmaker, Krejci’s only downfall at this point of his 769-game career is his injuries. Krejci has only played in two 82-game seasons since he started his career in 2006-2007, most recently in the 2016-17 campaign.

Last season, Krejci found his groove with Jake DeBrusk on his left side and Ryan Spooner on his right side, playing with those two for 5.85% of the entire season — the fourth-most commonly used line on the B’s. However, Spooner was traded to the New York Rangers near last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Rick Nash, who became the right winger for Krejci. But Nash has not signed an extension with Boston, leaving his future very much in doubt.

A solid No. 2 center with great passing, David Krejci could very well finish his career in Boston.

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Danton Heinen had one of the best rookie performances on the Bruins last year, scoring 47 points in 77 games for Boston, the fifth-highest point total of all players. He managed to rebound from a poor first eight NHL games back in the 2016-2017 season to be one of the top point-producing players on the team.

Heinen often centered the third line with David Backes and Riley Nash alongside him. That line was used the third-most on the team, behind only the first and fourth lines. Even though he is listed on most websites as a center/left wing, he proved last year that he deserves the third-line center position. On occasion, Danton did play some minutes on the left side of the fourth line, but again, he showed enough versatility to produce on the third line.

With one year remaining on his entry-level contract, Heinen could be looking to have an even better campaign to secure a larger contract at the end of this upcoming season.

Sean Kuraly is in my opinion the last of the potential guaranteed centers on the 2018-19 Bruins roster. Coming off a 14-point season, playing the majority of his time on the fourth line, Kuraly did what he needed to earn a three-year deal that he signed back in March of 2018.

His name really first became known by Bruins fans when he scored two goals — including the game-winning goal in double-overtime — against the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It was never certain that the Dublin, Ohio native would get NHL time in the 2017-2018 season, which he expressed that in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch.

“It starts all over again,” he said. “Did I help myself by scoring two goals in the playoffs and playing my role? Absolutely. But it really does start over. We have so many good, young players going to camp.”

Clearly, he would get the spot, playing in 75 games last year and accumulating 6-8-14 totals as well as 143 hits — third on the Bruins roster from last season.

POSSIBLE NHL CENTERS

Ryan Donato, Trent Frederic

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PHOTO CREDIT: (boston.cbslocal.com)

Ryan Donato will play next year for the Boston Bruins, and the chances of him not playing are quite slim. But Donato falls into this category because he may not play at the center position for the 2018-19 season. Instead, he will most likely play on the wing alongside one of the guaranteed centers of the Bruins (see above).

In his rookie campaign last season, Donato won over the hearts of Boston fans by scoring nine points in only 12 games. The Boston native scored five goals, including his first career NHL goal in his first game, finishing a give-and-go play with Torey Krug.

With the impressive end of the season by Donato, he has made it clear that he deserves a shot in the National Hockey League after time in the NCAA with Boston University. Whether Ryan gets third-line center time with Boston or plays on the wing of another center, he will get ice time for the majority of the season for Boston.

In my previous article, I talked about the future of Bruins prospect Trent Frederic. I mentioned in the piece that Frederic will most likely get first- or second-line ice minutes with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, but he is in this category because I see him joining the roster in replace of either Krejci or Bergeron should injuries take place.

Coming off of an eight-point, 13-game season with Providence last season, Frederic is ready for an important role with the Baby Bruins this season, but if needed, I believe that he could add another element to the NHL roster if an injury does occur. Both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci played only 64 games last year, meaning the chance for another injury that sidelines either is fairly likely. If so, the former Wisconsin Badger should get that opportunity.

AHL Probables

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Colby Cave, Cameron Hughes

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson is one of the most highly praised prospects in Boston, and there may be a good reason for that. Drafted in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, JFK now has one full AHL season under his belt, playing 58 games in the 2017-2018 campaign. During the time with Providence, Forsbacka-Karlsson scored 15 goals and added 17 assists for 32 points.

Heading into the upcoming season, Forsbacka-Karlsson will be in a battle with Trent Frederic for the top-line center role, and it could end up leading to frequent lineup changes as the season progresses. Curtis Joe of EliteProspects.com said the following about JFK before the 2015 NHL Draft.

“A player who has worked hard at his all-around game, but needs to gain more consistency. That being said, he can be an offensively effective center; possesses a high level of hockey intelligence and plays with intensity. A smooth, yet not dynamic skater. An excellent passer; can turn a “nothing doing” play into a scoring chance.”

Colby Cave can be considered a veteran of the Providence Bruins as he looks to lead the team into his fourth straight year. Cave joined the Bruins organization back in 2014-15 after a 5-year career with the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League where he posted 95-107-202 numbers in 287 career games.

Since he joined the P-Bruins, Cave has tallied 37 goals and 60 assists for 97 career points in the 224 games thus far. Fellow Black N’ Gold Hockey writer Jen Stasio mentioned the possibility of Cave becoming the next captain of the Providence Bruins in an article published back in July. The idea shows his leadership is valued and will be a great depth player in the Bruins organization.

Cameron Hughes may not be the most well-known Bruins prospect, and he may not have the highest potential, but he does provide some solid depth for the Providence Bruins, and it is a good possibility that he becomes the fourth-line man in the middle for the AHL Bruins.

The Edmonton, Alberta, Canada native began his career with the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League but found himself playing with the University of Wisconsin, where he earned the captain’s ‘C’. Hughes has played previously with fellow Bruins prospect Trent Frederic. After the 37 games in the 2017-2018 season, he transitioned to Providence where he tallied three assists in 14 games with the club.

The Rest Of The Prospects

Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen, Cedric Pare, Curtis Hall, Jakub Lauko

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PHOTO CREDIT: (Getty Images)

Jack Studnicka is one of the top prospects for the Boston Bruins. In fact, Corey Pronman from The Athletic ranked Studnicka as the third-best Bruin prospect, behind only Ryan Donato and Urho Vaakanainen. Here is an excerpt from the article talking about Studnicka.

“He is a very smart center who drove play anytime he was on the ice. Studnicka has the vision and tough to QB a power play well, while also having the work ethic to be one of his team’s better defensive forwards. The biggest thing for Studnicka is improving his strength and skating, but when I watched him in the summer, he looked noticeably quicker than during the summer.”

This past summer, Studnicka played for Canada in the World Junior Summer Showcase and he impressed the coaching staff and his teammates after his 5-point performance in the exhibition tournament.

“He’s a hard worker. He grabs the puck and takes it to the net, makes plays in the O-zone,” said teammate Calen Addison. “That’s what they really like about guys is when they’re relentless, and they know they don’t quit working, and that’s the type of player he is.”

Oskar Steen was drafted back in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Steen is a smaller forward, but that doesn’t mean he won’t become anything later on in his professional hockey career. The 5-foot-9 Swedish center has been playing with Färjestad BK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and looks to remain there for the upcoming 2018-2019 campaign. Steen recently scored four points in seven games at the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York.

Cédric Paré of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is another player drafted in the second-to-last round of the NHL Draft, but Pare may have the best chance on getting that entry-level contract out of all the sixth-round selections. After two full seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs, Pare was traded to the Rimouski Oceanic.

Bruins Assistant General Manager Scott Bradley said the following about the Quebec, Canada native back in June of 2017.

“He’s got a lot of energy. I think it’s undervalued. His skating, I think over the course of the year he’s picked it up with his skating. His stride has lengthened a little bit. What we liked is his energy and he did score in the Memorial Cup. He didn’t have great numbers, but he had limited minutes playing on the fourth line and I think this year, he’ll be one of their top guys, one of their top-six forwards that will get a lot of ice time and, hopefully, get some good development.”

Boston Bruins: Sweeney Staying The Course

Sweeney

Photo Credit: Angela Rowlings, Boston Herald

By: Drew Johnson   |    Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins created quite the buzz this offseason. It started with reports indicating that General Manager Don Sweeney was looking to make a big addition. The Bruins were in the running to sign both Ilya Kovalchuk and John Tavares. Even though they went down swinging, it indicated that Boston was willing to pull the trigger on a potential home run.

But missing out on the home runs didn’t discourage Sweeney. In fact, it allowed him to add a few minor pieces to the puzzle. In addition to re-signing restricted free agent (RFA) Sean Kuraly, the Bruins brought aboard Jaroslav Halak, Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner, and John Moore. They weren’t exactly blockbuster deals, but is a blockbuster really what the Bruins need right now?

Bruins’ Road Ahead

Tavares and Kovalchuk are stellar players. So are the Buffalo Sabres’ newest addition, Jeff Skinner, and the consistent subject of trade rumors, Artemi Panarin. They would be great Bruins for sure, but there is a plan that Sweeney must see through.

It should not be forgotten that the Bruins have a healthy pool of prospects. It’s almost as if Boston has found the Fountain of Youth. With this in mind, adding a big, long-term player is not a necessity. These young skaters need time before we can pinpoint exactly where they will land within the roster in their respective primes.

Sweeneymeister

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Adding a rental at some point may bode well, however. The Bruins, unfortunately, gave up a lot for Rick Nash who has turned out to be just that — a rental. If Boston finds they need to bulk up heading into the playoffs, then giving up one of their prospects (which at this point could be considered to be a surplus) and a mid-to-late-round pick may land a seasoned veteran with skill but also locker room presence. We’ve seen these types of deals across the league, often between a team in the running and a team looking to rebuild.

Outside of those circumstances, adding a big piece just doesn’t make much sense. Boston would likely have to give up quite a bit, and that is not something they need to do right now. They’ve successfully avoided a rebuild, and why risk that by trading a bunch of prospects and early picks in order to land a guy who they may not be able to afford to keep around? The Bruins must re-sign Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Ryan Donato, and Danton Heinen next summer. It will be an expensive task, and handcuffing himself to a big contract isn’t something Sweeney ought to explore. It would force the Bruins to pursue bridge deals — short, mid-money deals that lead the way to larger contracts — with some of those RFAs mentioned above when they should free themselves up to give them long-term deals.

Boston has mastered the transition game — one that doesn’t take place on the ice but in the office. By the time the likes of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask are ready to retire, Boston’s wealth of prospects will be reaching their primes. This will keep the Bruins competitive for the long haul, and a Stanley Cup feels almost imminent within the next few years. There is no need to abandon that road. So be patient, and wait for this plan to fully unfold.

Kevan Miller’s Importance to the Bruins

Ottawa Senators v Boston Bruins(Photo Credit: Causeway Crowd)

By: Jamie Gatlin   |   Follow Me On Twitter: @JamieGatlin1217

The 2018-2019 season will be Kevan Miller’s fifth year in the NHL. Miller has spent his entire career with the Bruins and had his fair share of up and downs. He has missed significant time due to injuries and struggled when matched up against other teams’ top lines. Last year he flourished as the Bruins gave him a steady spot on the third line defensive pairing. Miller showed his value when he was put in a position to succeed and was one of the Bruins’ most productive players. He began last season paired with Paul Postma and Rob O’Gara. It was not until the Bruins’ 19th game of the season that he found his permanent partner in Matt Grzelcyk. Along with Grzelcyk, Miller stabilized the Bruins’ third defensive pairing.

One element that made the two so successful was that Grzelcyk allowed Miller to stay on the right side — his natural position. Before the move, Miller had been switching between the left and right side. Miller does not make his impact offensively as in five seasons he only has 12 goals. He did have a career-high 15 assists last season, including two short-handed points. Miller makes his impact with physicality and defensive play. He logged big minutes on the penalty kill last season and averaged 19:28 of ice time a game. When paired with Grzelcyk, the two were very good at recovering pucks and moving them up the ice.

Miller was more confident last season, which showed in how he dealt with the younger Bruins defenseman. When David Backes was sidelined last November, Miller was named one of the alternate captains. Head coach, Bruce Cassidy highlighted Miller’s importance in January when referring to Grzelyck’s growth.

“I think his partner really helps,” Cassidy said. “I think [he and Miller are] a good tandem, they make each other better. That’s what you want out of a line, out of a defense pair.”

He credited Miller for Grzelcyk’s growth as the rookie improved. Miller is not afraid to stick up for his teammates, who have been evident throughout his career. Miller’s value shows a dramatic change from where it stood 2 years ago.

The Bruins signed Miller to a 4-year extension worth $10 million in the 2016 offseason. It was a move heavily criticized as it seemed like the Bruins had overpaid an average defenseman. Miller was coming off his third season in Boston and had the second-best plus/minus rating on the team the season before. The Bruins needed help on the blue line and Miller was not seen as the answer. He will never be a top defender or put up offensive numbers like his teammates Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy. But Miller is a reliable stay-at-home defenseman, which is what the Bruins need him to be. He affects the game in many ways that do not show up on a stat sheet.

The key for Miller is staying healthy and making sure he is not matched up against other team’s top lines. He provides the Bruins with depth and like Chara has served as a mentor for the Bruins’ next wave of talent. Miller has 2 years left on a deal that was once heavily criticized. After last season his extension is not judged as harshly, and he will look to continue changing the narrative this upcoming season.

Rene Rancourt: Bruins Legend

Rene Rancourt Bruins Bear(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

Oh, say can you sing like Rene Rancourt?

Well, for those who thought his mellifluous mic could soon be theirs, the search was recently on (and now narrowing according to our friends at 98.5 The Sports Hub) for the B’s next anthem singer. But oh what Star-Spangled shoes you’d have to fill! After an impressive 42 years belting both the U.S. and Canadian National Anthems on original Boston Garden ice, FleetCenter ice, TD Banknorth Garden ice and lastly TD Garden ice, the inimitable Rancourt has hung up his trademark tuxedo for retirement.

Let’s take a look back at some of the lyrical love, memorable moments, and fired-up fist pumps Rancourt left us that will not be soon forgotten in Boston — or anywhere throughout the world of hockey for that matter!

Show Me The (Fen)Way to “Oh, Say”

Just minutes before Louis Tiant took the mound at Fenway Park in the above 1975 World Series Game 6 clip, bringing every fan to their feet, another then-Bostonian did the same with a rousing rendition of the American National Anthem. That man was Rene Rancourt.

“One of the greatest thrills of my life was to sing in the World Series because they generally hire very famous singers at the World Series,” he told Vice Sports during an interview in 2016. And that famous singer he was referring to? None other than the Songbird of the South Kate Smith herself (click the link to hear her timeless take on “God Bless America” at a Bruins/Flyers game from 1974), who had fallen ill only hours before the first pitch. Thankfully, Rancourt’s pitch was first up for backup after he had impressed venerable Red Sox organist John Kiley with his vocal prowess on the radio. After all, Rousing Rene was a product of the Boston Conservatory opera program and had come from a choir background, so he obviously had the pipes to produce a patriotic performance. And just like Carlton Fisk’s unforgettable home run during that game, Rancourt’s anthem was equally unforgettable; Kiley, also the Bruins organist at the Old Garden, soon recommended he go from Yawkey Way to Causeway Street to continue his respectful rendition of American tradition honoring our Red, White & Blue for the Black N’ Gold. The rest, as they say in opera, is la historia.

Rene Rancourt 1976Rene Rancourt in 1976 – his first year singing the National Anthem at the Boston Garden (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(Fist)Pump It Up!

You can thank Randy “Stump Pump” Burridge, the feisty B’s forward from the mid to late 1980’s, for giving Rene Rancourt his signature move after performing the anthem. Rancourt, as he described to the Boston Globe (and in other recent interviews), got the idea after seeing Burridge pump his fists in the air whenever he scored a goal.

And in 1988-89, Burridge scored a lot of goals — 31 to be exact — so Rancourt had plenty of time to practice and perfect the pump, as well as his unmistakable “salute” upon conclusion of the anthem:

What a tradition both of those gestures became for Boston fans on home ice. You knew exactly what to expect when the red carpet rolled out for Rene–perfect diction and enunciation, resonating-to-the-rafters vocals and a salute-to-fist-pump finish that truly got you pumped up to watch the game. He became as iconic as the spoked-B emblazoned on the team’s jersey; when you thought of playing Boston in Boston, you also thought of Rene Rancourt. And how could you not when every home game — and I mean EVERY home game (he once said he only missed one performance in his 40+ years of singing because he was sick) — started like this:

A True RENEaissance Man

So we all know Rene Rancourt can sing the anthem and with plenty of puck panache and acoustic aplomb. But did you also know he’s an accomplished wedding singer? Eat your heart out, Adam Sandler, because Mr. Rancourt’s been doing it since the 60’s when his then-girlfriend, now-wife Maria helped him start a wedding band. “A society orchestra,” he called it during his Globe interview.

In fact, Rancourt joked that singing in a wedding band with Maria and performing at weddings “paid the bills” in between his anthem stints for the B’s. But what he truly enjoyed, especially later in his career, was paying it back to the Boston fans. And there was no better time for a generous gift from Rene than to hear him sing your favorite Christmas carols and holiday hits at intermission of the Bruins home game closest to the 25th of December:

I remember him belting out all of the above tunes year after year to non-stop festive fanfare and sporting spirit. This was the only home game I could ever make it to for years because my professional work life in broadcasting rarely afforded me time off. But around Christmas, the schedule was always a little lighter, so it made coming back to Boston for a few days all the more doable and all the more memorable. And you better believe I’d time it to not miss the “Rene Caroling Game.” No such game for me was more memorable than in 2010 when the first few thousand fans in attendance went home with a coveted Rene Rancourt ornament and also had the chance to meet him during the second-period intermission. Needless to say, or better yet like he did sing, “there’s no place like home for the holidays.” Thanks, Rene!

During the 2nd intermission of the Bruins’ Pre-Christmas home game on Dec. 23rd, 2010, Rancourt rolled out the red carpet for “pump pics” with fans. (Photo Credit: Evan Michael)

Holding (Ran)Court When It Counts

There are moments in sports that are more groundbreaking, more unifying, more emblematic of the goodness of people than anywhere else, including politics. And Rene Rancourt was at the center, or should I say center ice, of one of those indelible moments. It was only 48 hours after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing in April of 2013 that the Bruins were scheduled to play the Sabres at home. The city, still in a state of shock, disbelief, and recovery, was in need of a sign of hope, togetherness, strength. And it goes without saying how BOSTON STRONG everyone in attendance at this game became once Rancourt started singing. Only two lines into the anthem, right after he uttered proudly the word “proudly,” he let his voice trail off so the crowd could be heard. In unison, 17,565 hearts and voices seamlessly took over and sent a message to the rest of the nation and the world that Boston was stronger than ever, with a resolve more fervent and passionate for its citizens and its country than anywhere else at that time.

Watching this clip, even all these years later, still gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes. And it couldn’t have happened without Rancourt truly feeling the significance of the moment and truly being IN the moment. This wasn’t just another regular rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was a cathartic experience of joy and togetherness, of indomitable strength and unflinching spirit, of the courage and will of a people to not be defeated, even in the aftermath of tragedy and terror.

In his own words, when interviewed by our friends at NESN just before his retirement, here’s how Rancourt described that day, that anthem and that moment: “Nothing comes close to that…The marathon bombing game, where the Bruins just happened to be the only professional sports team playing right after it. I think it was two days after. I was petrified to get out there. I planned, of course, to stop singing in the middle of it, but I was very, very afraid of doing that. The reaction was something I will never, ever forget. That’s my proudest memory.”

Naturally, fans, media personalities, and Bruins bloggers across social media agree:

As Animated As They Come

To say Rene Rancourt was an animated character, what with his salutes, fist pumps and overall energetic performances, would be an accurate statement. Turns out, it’s also quite the understatement since he literally became animated for the short-lived — but beloved — Bruins YouTube series “The Bear and The Gang.”

(Photo Credits: BearShorts.com)

It was at times “out of this world” but certainly didn’t make you feel “deserted” when it came to entertainment value. There was also a sitcom-style pilot that featured Rancourt’s rather spot-on acting chops parodying his own anthem ending in what looked to be Brad Marchand’s basement. I tell you what…if he sang before every hockey video game I played, I’d play a lot more hockey video games (my favorite will always be NHL ’94 which rather fittingly featured Bruins goalie Andy Moog on the cover).

Banner Yet Waving Goodbye

As we say goodbye and give a grateful fond farewell to the institution that was Rene Rancourt, we should all remember that sometimes the most inspirational people in our lives can be the ones who we aren’t necessarily close to, but who make us feel close to each other — who bring us closer together just by being who they are and doing what they do. Rene was just that kind of person. And we only need to look back on his long career and legacy to be reminded of it.

(Photo Credits: Twitter)

Thankfully, the Boston Bruins organization and the city of Boston as a whole will always help us do that with tributes like this:

Interviews like this:

And celebrations like this:

Not one, not two, not even three…but FOUR 👊👊👊👊  fist pumps to you, Mr. Rancourt, for an incredible career in Boston — one that forever shaped B’s fandom and will continue to do so even after a new voice takes over. Because some voices will always ring, and sing, loudly and proudly in our minds no matter how much time passes.

Oh, say it isn’t so? Thankfully, this time it is!

Bruins Prospects: Trent Frederic Preparing For 2018-19 Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

As the Boston Bruins prepare for the final offseason events and get ready for the upcoming 2018-2019 NHL regular season, the team’s AHL affiliate franchise, the Providence Bruins, are also getting ready for another season – especially some key young players. One of those young players is St. Louis, Missouri native, Trent Frederic.

Frederic was drafted twenty-ninth overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, but it was not just a simple draft pick for the B’s. On June 26th, 2015, the Boston Bruins traded long-time forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goaltender Martin Jones, defenceman Colin Miller, and the pick thirteen in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (Jakub Zboril).

However, it would not end there. Four days later after acquiring Martin Jones, the Bruins would trade the goalie to the San Jose Sharks, deciding on running with Tuukka Rask instead of Jones. Coming back to the Bruins from San Jose, forward Sean Kuraly and the Sharks’ first-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Sharks would make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016 but would fall short of the ultimate hockey trophy in a series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This would give the Bruins the 29th overall pick in the 2016 Draft, their second one of the opening round. Boston would select defenceman Charlie McAvoy with their first pick, so a forward near the end of the round would seem to be a solid draft for the Black and Gold. As we now know, Trent Frederic would be that 29th selection. But two years after the draft, is Frederic close to making the National Hockey League?

trent-frederic

PHOTO CREDITS: (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)

In the 2016 NHL Final Central Scouting Rankings for North American Skaters and Goaltenders, Frederic was ranked down at the 49th overall pick, but the Bruins did not have a selection until pick forty-nine and did not want to risk losing out on the 6’3″ forward.

“We really needed a big centerman,” head of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky said. “At 29, we just said, ‘Hey, this is a guy that we really wanted,’ and we didn’t want to risk waiting until 49. It’s a need and we believe he’s going to play. Yeah, it’s high, but you take a chance. We believe in his ability. He’s going to a good school and a good program and he’s going to take some time.” Frederic will play for the University of Wisconsin in 2016-17. (Quote found from Boston Herald)

And just as the head of amateur scouting, Keith Gretzky stated, Frederic would indeed play the 2016-2017 campaign for the University of Wisconsin. In 30 games with the U of W, Frederic amounted fifteen goals and eighteen assists for thirty-three points. At season’s end, he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the first Wisconsin Badger to earn the honors since Dany Heatley in 1999-2000. Frederic also finished fourth among all college freshman in points-per-game, (1.18) and was second for most shorthanded goals on the season with five.

The performance impressed the Bruins management, as Gretzky would once again say in an article by the Boston Herald back in the Summer of 2017. 

“He plays top line at Wisconsin. … Obviously, time will tell what he’ll be in pro hockey but there’s more skill to his game than people thought coming out of the draft,” Bruins player development coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner said. The Bruins went off the board when they took Frederic but it looks like that might pay off for them in the end.

For the second-straight season, Frederic would play with the University of Wisconsin, scoring another thirty-two points in 36 games. Once his time with Wisconsin came to a close, the Bruins offered Trent a three-year, entry-level contract – allowing him to play with the Providence Bruins or the Boston Bruins. In addition, Frederic would join Providence for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign on an amateur tryout agreement.

Frederic played in only thirteen games with Boston’s AHL affiliate team, scoring five goals and eight points. However, his highlight performance of 2018 was during the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York. Although the United States lost the opportunity to play in the Gold Medal game following a 4-2 loss to Sweden in the Semi-Finals.

In the Bronze Medal game against the Czech Republic, the United States scored nine goals, four of which came off of Trent Frederic’s stick. His four goals in one game nearly set a new record for most goals by an American in a single World Junior Championships game. Wally Chapman (vs Switzerland 1984) and Chris Bourque (vs Norway in 2005) are the only Americans with more goals in a single game, scoring five.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images North America)

With the international success and the brief experience in the American Hockey League under his belt, Frederic could very well contend with a bigger role in Providence for the upcoming 2018-19 regular season. In an article published by Black N’ Gold Founder Mark Allred, Mark and Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast co-host, Josh Bemis discussed their Providence Bruins lineup predictions. It should be noted that Josh covers the Baby B’s on thesinbin.net website, a great site for minor-pro hockey news.

Bemis’s Roster Projections

Forwards

Cehlarik  –  Frederic  –   Szwarz

 Koppanen  –  Forsbacka-Karlsson  –  Bakos  /  Kuhlman

Gabrielle  –  Cave  –  Senyshyn

Blidh  –  Hughes  –  McNeil

Defense

Zboril  –  Goloubef

Lauzon  –  Clifton

Breen  –  Vaakanainen  /  Johansson

Goaltenders

Vladar

McIntyre

Allred’s Roster Projections

Forwards

Cehlarik  –  Forsbacka-Karlsson  –  Bakos / Szwarz

Koppanen  –  Frederic  –  Senyshyn

Gabrielle  –  Cave / Kuhlman  –  Fitzgerald

Blidh  –  Hughes  –  McNeil

Defense

Zboril  –  Clifton

Lauzon  –  Andersson /Johansson

Sherman  /  Vaakanainen  –  Goloubef  /  Breen

In both predictions, Frederic makes the top-six and while nothing is final of course, the thought of Frederic getting the ice-time going forward makes a lot of sense for not only him but the P-Bruins franchise. Providence is also looking to rebound after a tough first-round loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

At the current moment in time, the Boston Bruins have a solid amount of depth at the center position with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Ryan Donato, David Backes, and Sean Kuraly who already have spots on the NHL roster, as well as players like Jack Studnicka, Jakub Forsbacka-Karlsson, Oskar Steen, and Ryan Fitzgerald who are already in the system.

There is a chance that if Trent Frederic impresses this season, he could make the final cut in the years to come when it comes to the big show in Boston. Until then, he will look to have another solid season to add onto the already promising future.