[Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr]

By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

The Boston Bruins signed Georgii Merkulov as an undrafted free agent in April. He came to Providence after a successful season in college with Ohio State University. In 36 with the Buckeyes, he led the team in points with 20 goals and 14 assists for 34 total points. Before his one season with OSU, Merkulov played two seasons in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms. The young forward played in 74 games with the Phantoms netting 20 goals and dishing out 53 assists for 73 points.

After signing his entry-level contract, Merkulov reported directly to Providence and made his presence felt right away. In his first AHL game, the young forward had two assists and netted a shootout goal. In eight games with Providence, Merkulov netted one goal and dished out four assists for five total points. His play in those eight games shows that the transition from NCAA to pro may not be too significant for the young forward from Russia.

Georgii Merkulov is an exciting player to watch. He is one of the more talented forwards in the Bruins’ system. The young forward has excellent skating ability, great hands, a great shot, and excellent vision on the ice. The main area of his game that he will need to work on is his defensive ability. One thing working in Merkulov’s favor is his excellent work ethic. Merkulov is an exciting young player. His skill and skating ability will help Providence a great deal this season. The native of Russia could end up being a top-six forward for Providence right away this season.

Georgii Merkulov will likely spend the entire 2022-2023 season in the AHL with the Providence Bruins. I say that knowing anything is possible, sometimes injuries happen, and a call-up is needed, but barring injuries, Merkulov will be in Providence all season. That’s not a bad thing either. The young forward has a lot of skill, but the only way he’s going to get NHL-ready is by playing every day in the AHL. As fans, sometimes, when we see and hear about a player playing well in the AHL, our first instinct is to call him up right away, and that’s not always the best thing for the player. He will be one of the top players to watch in Providence.

Georgii Merkulov has top-six forward potential at the NHL level. It’s a matter of reaching that potential. As I stated, Merkulov has a fantastic work ethic which will work in his favor. He probably needs more than one year in the AHL, which isn’t a knock on him. Some players need more time in the AHL to reach their full potential. The most likely scenario, in my eyes, is that Merkulov becomes a bottom-six forward for the Bruins in the future. I do believe he is a must-watch this season in Providence. I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!