(Photo Credit: Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

Boston Bruins prospect Riley Duran had his name written all over the Providence Friars’ weekend sweep of The University of Massachusetts Lowell. Duran notched a goal and an assist in each contest of the home-and-home series, improving his season stat line to 7-5-12 in 23 games. The junior forward and Woburn, Massachusetts native, was drafted 182nd overall in the sixth round of the 2020 National Hockey League Draft by Boston.

Now in his third season at the NCAA level, Duran has continued his upward trajectory toward landing himself in a Bruins uniform, with the possibility of him signing an entry-level contract with the Bruins after his collegiate season. While that is purely speculatory, Duran has showcased his professional caliber skill during his time at Providence, especially this weekend. A booming one-timer, and his poise with the puck stand out among the rest, and he was indeed one of the best players on the ice in both games.

Duran finds himself comfortable on the left face-off dot on Providence’s top power play unit, where he unleashed a pair of rockets for goals this weekend. In Friday night’s 7-2 win, Duran started on the right flank, where he’d eventually drift over and switch lanes with Nick Poisson into a one-timer position. He got his opportunity and didn’t let it go to waste. Duran’s bomb was no match for Lowell goaltender Edvard Nordlund.

Duran’s tally in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win was a mirror image of Friday’s blast, teeing up a missile past Luke Pavicich to provide the Friars with a 1-0 lead. An evident strength in his game, Duran is a real threat on the man advantage when positioned on his one-timer side. And he isn’t solely a goal scorer–Duran also highlighted his passing ability on the power play, picking up a secondary assist on a Chase Yoder goal. Duran picked up the puck in his specialty office on the left side, skating the puck toward the blue line before slinging a pass below the goal line, setting up an uncovered one-timer in front of the goal.

The 6’1” forward certainly has all the offensive tools necessary for a professional opportunity down the line. He’s big, quick, and has a knack for finding high-danger areas around the net. However, Duran’s game still has room for improvement. In one instance on Friday, Duran attempted an ill-advised toe-drag at the opposing blue line on a zone entry that was ultimately broken up and sent the other way. In recent comments from Providence Bruins head coach Ryan Mougenel on prospect Fabian Lysell, individual play at the professional level must come at the right time, and attempting to dangle on the blue lines will not fly at the next level. Besides that misstep, Duran played a clean game and found himself on the score sheet twice. As Providence sits 14-7-2 on the season primed for a run into the Hockey East Playoffs, Duran’s performance will be something to watch.