( Above Photo Credit: Alan Sullivan Photography )
By: Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The American Hockey Leagues All-Star Classic festivities are set to kick off tonight at 8pm with the Skills Competition from the Adirondack Bank Center, and All-Star Challenge set for puck drop in the four-team 3-on-3 round-robin tournament at 7pm tomorrow night. This is the second time in four-years the city of Utica, New York has hosted the event since pro hockey returned to the area in 2013. Providence Bruins forward Austin Czarnik was selected to represent the B’s and will participate in his first Mid-Season event of his young professional career.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 5, 2018
In tonight’s All-Star Skills Competition, the fast and skilled Czarnik will be involved in a few events such as event three and AHL Live sponsored Rapid Fire, event six and Turning Stone Resort Casino sponsored Pass and Score, and finally, event seven and Dunkin” Donuts sponsored Breakaway Relay. All events the crafty forward will be participating in tonight’s fun test of skills and speed will fit well as the 25-year-old is once again putting in a solid effort this season for the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins. The 5′-9″ 161-pound has had a tremendous career in the AHL, and with all of this solid play and league recognition, it remains to be seen where his talents bring him after this summer as he’s currently on his last season of his one-year extension he signed back in July of 2017.
The 5′-9″ 161-pound has had a tremendous career in the AHL, and with all of this solid play and league recognition, it remains to be seen where his talents bring him after this summer as he’s currently on his last season of his one-year extension he signed back in July of 2017. Czarnik, a Washington Township native has worked hard to become a solid 200-foot player going back to his colligate days with the University of Miami (Ohio) where he posted 169 points in 159 games played. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of college at the end of March in 2015, the offensive-minded versatile forward transitioned his point-per-game style nicely as an undersized talent to the AHL where he’s very close to being a point-per-game career AHL’er with 126 points in 130 games all with the Providence team.
WATCH: Austin Czarnik (@ACzarnik7) with a perfect feed across the ice to Jordan Szwarz to put the Providence Bruins on the board in the third period vs. Hartford. @ABC6 #Bruins @AHLBruins pic.twitter.com/lfRw9Uz4v1
— Ian Steele (@IanSteeleABC6) January 6, 2018
This season Czarnik has 11-29-40 numbers in 37 games played and leads the team in overall points, assists, and is fourth in goals, one behind veteran Kenny Agostino who has 12. He also leads the team on the power-play with five goals as he plays that Ryan Spooner style game on the man advantage being the pivot man between the forwards near or behind the net and defensemen along the point. His leadership and willing to learn even though he’s spent a few seasons in the highest developmental league has instilled a lot of trust from first-year Head Coach Jay Leach to be a key voice on and off the ice to younger players who recently started minor-pro hockey.
Last night Providence suffered an unfortunate 5-2 loss to the surprisingly hot Springfield Thunderbirds and after the B’s went 11-2-1-0 in the final month of 2017, the transition to the new year has been somewhat concerning as the games in January 2018 have produced a 4-6-0-1 record which is the worse of the current 2017-18 campaign. Regardless of the “teams” struggles, Czarnik remains to put a solid individual effort together this season, and with a goal in last night’s loss, he has goals in his previous two games and accrued points in his last six appearances which is a career and 2017-18 season high.
I believe Austin has, in fact, earned consideration for at least another one-year deal. His presence continues to be a valued in the minor system when it comes to “depth players” and could be heavily considered as one to recall if a position needs to be filled up the middle or on the right side. Czarnik’s career NHL numbers of 14 points in 55 games shouldn’t be a knock on him nor his NHL potential, as most players like him take the longer road to higher-level careers. For me, I see value in a players role above immediate top-level pro success as an NHL franchise can’t continue without the facilitating franchises in the lower leagues of development and training. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what Czarnik can do in the remaining 32 games and the process over the summer when it comes to his restricted free-agent status.
With 1-2-3 last night, @ACzarnik7 moves up to 9th in AHL with 39 pts in 36 gms. Talking to John Ferguson Jr. last night, he mentioned Gourde & Marchessault as players who followed similar development path before breaking through in NHL
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) January 27, 2018
As a fan that pays close attention to all levels of the Bruins organization, gauging his first full NHL career season is not an easy thing at all when drafted players from the team may hold higher value. Depending what happens to players like Sean Kuraly, Riley Nash, Fran Vatrano, Tim Schaller, and Ryan Spooner and their individual contract status, Czarnik would most likely be passed over for a player like Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson for his stronger 200-foot two-way game but might find space in other areas of the top 12 offensive structure. Also can’t neglect the fact that he could have a faster climb to NHL success with another NHL franchise who might also want to add a player like Austin on the cheap if the Bruins don’t see a potential future as both sides went into the 2015 entry-level signing on the cheap and worth the gamble.
Support Your Baby B’s!!!
If you’d like to watch tomorrow’s stars today, I highly suggest you take advantage of the cheap tickets and family atmosphere that’s available at every Providence Bruins home game at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. You can get ticket information and other great info by clicking HERE to enter the official Baby B’s website.
Also, if you do happen to go and support the team at the Dunk, be sure to stop by the Providence Bruins Fan Club table behind sections 101 and 102. Fantastic season ticket holders and Fan Club volunteers Jenna Labush, Rhonda Labush, and Steven Labush are always there with other valued members to help with any information and questions. You can also use the address below or visit the Official Fan Club page on the Providence Bruins website by clicking HERE. Follow the Baby B’s Fan Club on Social Media!
PO Box 40963
Providence, RI 02940