By: Mark Allred ( @BlackAndGold277 )
Per Providence Journal Bruins writer Mark Divver, the AHL’s Providence Bruins have offered defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Perter Mueller one-year AHL “only” contract to play the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign.
PTOs for Peter Mueller & Matt Bartkowski of @AHLBruins ran out today. Both have received contract offers to stay on
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) December 12, 2016
Both players were signed to professional tryouts at the beginning of the season and have proved themselves worth the investment at the quarter mark of the 2016-17 season. The Baby B’s are currently in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Both players have shown tremendous leadership as veterans of both the AHL and NHL. With the AHL Bruins the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL B’s is important for players like these two to set an example for developmental players going through the system as they prepare for an NHL career.
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski
— StanleyCup ofChowder (@cupofchowdah) October 14, 2016
The 6′-1″ 196-pound blueliner returned to the Providence organization for the first time since the 2012-13 season where he played in 56 games that year. He had a quick start to the year in his return going on a three-game point streak (1-2-3) but has only contributed four points in his last 15 games. In a total of 18 games played this season he’s posted 2-5-7 numbers and is a minus -2 with 32 shots on goal and 23 penalty minutes.
The 28-year-old Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native has been mainly placed on the third pairing defensive line with veteran and Providence Captain defenseman Tommy Cross for a better part of this season. Although he’s not producing offensively lately, the former seventh-round pick of the Florida Panthers still possesses good mobility out of the D-Zone and still has good speed in both directions. He really never lost his lower-body strength as he’s still good at moving bigger body’s away from the goaltender’s view. Even tho Matt spent most of his time with the Bruins organization before his return, his first career NHL goals came last season when he was with the Vancouver Canucks team. In 80 NHL games last season as a free agent signing with Vancouver, he netted 6-12-18 numbers and wasn’t retained. In 131 career games with the NHL Bruins he has 24 assists but in 192 career AHL games with the Baby B’s he’s 13-63-76.
Forward Peter Mueller
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) October 13, 2016
The 6′-2″ 205-pound forward has recently returned from a professional career overseas with the NLA Kloten Flyers in 2014-15 (34 GP 10-7-17) and the 2015-16 season with the Malmo Redhawks (43 GP 13-12-25) to try his luck somewhere in the North American professional leagues. The Boston Bruins came calling to see if he had anything left in the tank to play in the NHL where it all started for him when he was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes with the eighth selection in 2006.
As many hockey fans know his career started off with a blast going 22-32-54 in his rookie season after a pretty successful Junior Hockey career in the WHl with the Everett Silvertips but declined in numbers and play as he battled a few concussion issues which ultimately kept NHL team away from acquiring his services. Although the Bloomington, Minnesota native didn’t impress the NHL Bruins brass, his veteran leadership as mentioned above might’ve played a huge part in the Providence team coming to a deal today. In 19 games for the Baby B’s he’s posted 7-7-14 numbers and continues to work hard while mentoring forward players like Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, and Danton Heinen.
— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) October 15, 2016
At this moment it’s hard to say if he’ll get an extension with Providence for the 2017-18 year as players like recently entry-level signing forward Jesse Gabrielle and forward Zachary Senyshyn who were both selected in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft will be eligible to play in the AHL next season and will be roster space to accommodate.