( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277

After being with the Boston Bruins organization for three years of an entry-level contract, undrafted goaltender Kyle Keyser entered this season on a new one-year, two-way contract with much to prove. His professional development has seen some ups and downs in previous years in the American Hockey League and lower ECHL “AA” minor-pro affiliates, mainly due to injuries.

The 2021-22 AHL campaign and the final year of his entry-level contract saw the former OHL Oshawa Generals netminder post his best career numbers. In 33 games last season working as a tandem with former Providence Bruins veteran Troy Grosenick, Kyle posted a regular season record of 11-14-11 with a 2.75 goals-against-average, and .908 save percentage.

Grosenick and the NHL Bruins couldn’t come to terms on an extension with the rumor of Troy asking for three years on a two-way contract. The Boston Bruins passed on retaining the veteran goaltender, instead looking to the free-agent market and signing Kieth Kinkaid. Kinkaid has been a welcoming addition to the NHL Bruins depth and an inspirational leader to younger players like Kyser, who continue to develop at the AHL level and need a veteran to lean on when advice is needed.

In what could be Keyser’s last year with the Boston Bruins organization, the 6′-2″ 180-pound netminder is off to a fantastic start in auditioning for further time with the original six NHL franchise. So far, in three games this season, Kyle has a perfect 3-0 record with an impressively eye-catching 1.67 GAA and .944 Save%. Kinkaid hasn’t been awful in his first games as a member of the NHL B’s organization having a 1-1-1 record thus far with a 2.67 GAA and .923 Save%. As the NHL Bruins have a solid goaltending tandem with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman under the new direction of recently hired Jim Montgomery, Providence sits in the same position with Keyser and Kinkaid under the direction of head coach Ryan Mougenel.

Kyle has been a serviceable goaltender and a good soldier for the NHL Bruins organization’s depth in the crease thus far in his professional career, and I hope he has great success this season. If he keeps up his tremendous play at the AHL level this season, he could also increase his value not only to the NHL B’s organization but also be a solid resume builder for other teams looking to add to their own goaltending depth. If Keyser cannot be locked up for future services with the Bruins organization, he will, in fact, be playing for a contract somewhere else in North America with probably a better path to the NHL over here with Boston, who’s seemingly going to be set with Ullmark and Swayman moving forward.

Swayman, a restricted free agent at the end of this season, will most likely get a bridge deal after his entry-level contract years are over to keep him in the fold. Jeremy could also sign long-term if he has an outstanding year this season, with the cap rumored to be going up significantly in the next year or two. Ullmark, who’s in his second full season of a four-year $20 million contract, is playing the best hockey of his NHL hockey career and hitting career heights as he’s at that age when pro hockey netminders flourish.

Although NHL success for Kyle Keyser might seem minimal with the way, the Bruins are currently set up in the crease moving forward, with his recent play for the Providence Bruins make him an asset to be traded to a team who might have a better path for him to succeed for NHL crease consistency? A few days ago, the Boston Bruins traded forward Jack Studnicka to the Vancouver Canucks for two prospects in defenseman Jonathan Myrenberg and goaltender Michael DiPietro.

With the Bruins acquiring an additional goaltender already playing at the AHL level with the Canucks top minor-pro affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks what’s to become of the NHL Bruins depth in goal with Providence? Traditionally in the AHL, it’s not a great idea to ride a three-headed goaltending rotation at this level of pro hockey. Often in the minor-pro ranks, the regular season games are played on the weekends to maximize the availability of fan and family participation. In my opinion, if the three-headed goaltending rotation was to work in some way, practicing a veteran or younger prospect all week and getting them into game action once a week is less than ideal.

If I’m correct in thinking this, something has to give in the goaltending depths of this Bruins organization moving forward. Do the Bruins want to get goaltender Michael Dipietro involved with the AHL Providence Bruins this season, making Keyser expendable for the recently traded Vancouver asset? Do the Bruins move Kinkaid to a team that might be interested in taking his contract and experience to facilitate DiPietro’s AHL Providence arrival?

Longtime AHL and NHL Bruins writer Mark Divver provided some interesting insight into what could happen with the bottlenecking that’s going on in the crease with the AHL Bruins. Could the Bruins loan DiPietro to AHL Abbotsford in an effort to keep him playing with an already full Providence crease, or could this loan idea be a posturing ploy for a hockey trade that might be in the works for an area the NHL Bruins want to address and use the DiPietro asset as leverage?

Regardless of the above speculation, you have to give credit where it’s due with goaltender Kyle Keyser’s play and the unbeaten season thus far. With the start, last night going to Keyser, look for Kyle to get two games in the three-game weekend schedule as previously, to start the 2022-23 season, Kinkaid had the Friday night opportunities.

Providence Bruins Home Game Ticket Information

If you want to see the 2022-23 Providence Bruins regular season home games at the Amica Mutual Pavilion, tickets are available exclusively through purchasing a 22-23 Providence Bruins Season Membership.

Fans can choose from Black Level (20 games), White Level (10 games), or FlexTix Season Memberships. To become a member and reserve seats, please visit providencebruins.com/memberships or contact CJ Tsoumakas at 401.680.4738 or tsoumakas@pseagency.com.
Single-game tickets can be purchased at the Providence Bruins’ official website at providencebruins.com.

Watch the Providence Bruins Home and Road Games Via Live Stream on AHLTV

Also, if any Boston or Providence Hockey fans want to watch the NHL Bruins’ top minor-pro affiliate in action, please go to theahl.com and get an affordable AHLTV package that suits your viewing needs. You can access every team in the AHL in the regular season and playoffs for $104.99, Full AHL regular season access with no playoffs for $84.99, or you can pay monthly for only $22.99, and there’s single-day access for only $7.99.

AHLTV also offers individual team packages of $64.99 for single-team Home and Away games in the regular season, $44.99 for the single-team away games, and finally, $44.99 to watch your team play at home for the upcoming regular season.