( Photo Credit: Mike Ashmore Article on FloHockey.com )

By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Today the Providence Bruins announced that the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Boston Bruins had recalled goaltender Michael Dipietro from the ECHL Maine Mariners. The 23-year-old Windsor, Ontario native was acquired in a trade from the Vancouver Canucks in October of 2022 along with defensive prospect Jonathan Myrenberg for the Bruins forward Jack Studnicka.

The 6′-0″ 201-pound netminder was loaned to the Canucks top minor-pro affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks, after the trade to Boston, where he remained until being reassigned to the AHL Providence Bruins in late November 2022. Since joining the ECHL Maine Mariners, the NHL Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate, Dipietro, has played well, working as a tandem with veteran netminder Francois Brassard.

Speculating here, of course, but I believe this recall is due to the possibility that Providence Bruins goaltender Kyle Keyser might have a hand injury. On Sunday afternoon, Keyser was the starter in the 5-3 victory over the Hershey Bears at the Amica Mutual Pavillion in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. After a pretty aggressive scrum in Keyser’s crease that Sunday afternoon, he came out of the group with the body language of a hand injury, shaking his hand in pain.

So far in this 2022-23 season with Maine, the former third-round selection of the Canucks in 2017 has a regular season record of 13-7-0 with a 2.58 goals-against-average and .916 save percentage. The former OHL Windsor Spitfire was one of the best netminders in his draft class, but it seemed the Vancouver Canucks mismanaged using his talents or the fact that he needed to be playing. During the NHL bubble and the height of the pandemic, the prospect netminder was the third goaltender and didn’t play for a whole season.

The move to Boston opened doors for goaltender Dipietro and the Boston Bruins organization. Michael gets a fresh start with a new team that seems eager to keep him playing and back on track development-wise, but on the other side, his addition provides depth for the future in the crease. Dipietro is in the last year of his contract and is set to be an RFA this off-season. This move might be a sneakingly solid pickup if the NHL B’s do not want to entertain a netminder Kyle Keyser return after the current campaign.

Keyser is in his last year of a one-year, two-way deal and has been up and down in his minor-pro development since leaving the OHL Oshawa Generals. If Keyser is out of the future plans for Boston, the organization could sign both Brandon Bussi and Dipietro to extensions, making them next seasons Providence Bruins goaltending tandem. Bussi is currently on a one-year entry-level contract that expires at the end of this season and has been the clear-cut number one in Providence and a higher echelon tendy in the American Hockey League regarding stats.

Re-signing Bussi and Dipietro doesn’t block the path of other developmental netminders in the system. Philip Svedeback is currently in his first year at Providence College. Reid Dyck is playing in the WHL for the Swift Current Broncos and most likely returning for another year after this season.

Keeping both in the mix makes total sense, with the younger keepers mentioned not breaking through to the minor-pro level just yet. Also, if this is, in fact, Kyle Keyser’s last season with the Bruins organization, the team should use either the upcoming third or fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft to add another netminder to the team’s depth in the crease.