(Photo Credits: Lane Turner/Boston Globe Staff)
By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88
Prior to Friday’s announcement of another round of cuts to the roster, the future of the Boston Bruins will come way via those that are currently playing or will play for Providence. Today’s game against Chicago will be the final push for these young players to impress, knowing full well coaches will be watching closely as they narrow down to the core Varsity group. While some have a little more experience than others, one particular player is looking to sharpen his skills in the crease.
At just 20-years-old, Kyle Keyser is looking pretty good and perhaps his time playing with the big boys may come sooner rather than later. As Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy noted:
“He battles…It looks like he’s going to be a good one”
Signed in 2017 after participating in the Boston Bruins rookie camp (as an invite), he joined Providence during the end of his junior season in Oshawa in 2018-19. He played in the AHL during Providence’s playoff run for the Calder Cup that same year. Keyser ended up playing in the AHL’s Bruins final post-game, where they, unfortunately, lost 4-1 to Charlotte. The young Coral Gables, Florida native played four seasons of junior hockey in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) with the Flint Firebirds and Oshawa Generals posting a 71-40-3 record.
(Photo Credits: Aaron Bell / OHL Images)
In 137 career games in the OHL, he also posted a 3.19 goals-against-average. Keyser had one of his best seasons in 2018-2019 with a 32-8-3 record, a 2.75 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage in 47 games. In the 2019 World Junior Championship where he represented Team USA, Keyser had a 1-1 record with a 2.95 GAA in two games that earned him a Silver Medal. The 20-year-old goaltender was also named to the 2018-19 OHL’s Second All-tar Team.
In the recent Bruins overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday night, Keyser’s time came during the third period as he relieved Maxime Lagace. 18 shots were fired towards the Bruins net; all 18 were blocked. In overtime, a lucky shot that bounced off of Chicago’s Patrick Kane went behind Keyser, who had little chance to stop the rebound. Despite the loss, his play was quite impressive and it’s becoming quite clear that when the time comes for Tuukka Rask to pass the torch, the Bruins may have found their next go-to goaltender.
(Photo Credits: The Boston Globe)
Even more impressive about the young netminder is his preparedness and continued focus on the game of hockey. He recently stated that he worked closely with renowned sports psychologist Dr. Saul Miller to help deal with the mental aspect of the game:
“As I’m getting older, I’m just getting more mature with my game and taking the mental side of the game more seriously. For me, talking to my trainers and coaches, it was ‘let’s get to the next level, mentally.’ For me that was really important and something I’ve put a lot of stock in,”
“I feel like I’m playing my game and feeling good about myself and I feel like I’m jump-starting into the season with some confidence…I want to provide that stability in net and when those guys pull on the jersey they know what they’re going to get out of you every night.”
Keyser is amongst the group of players that have been currently sent down to Providence and it remains to be seen if he’ll get more time in between the pipes. What’s promising to know is that he is fully aware of what it takes to play at the next level:
“You always want to play at the highest level you’re able to…I’m going to go in and work hard and play my game. It doesn’t matter where you put me. I’m going to play my same game and I’m going to keep the puck out of the net. That’s my job.”