Bruins Offensive Draft Possibilities Per The Draft Analyst

( Photo Credit: Amazon.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan one of my favorite times of the year is the National Hockey League Entry Draft. This summers festivities are set to kick off from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia with the first round on Friday night June 21st and wrapping up rounds two through seven on Saturday, June 22nd. The B’s have five of seven selections in this years event losing the second-round pick to the New Jersey Devils in the Marcus Johansson 2019 trade deadline deal and the fourth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 deadline deal that brought former Bruins Tommy Wingels to Boston.

So as of right now with under a week to go until Bruins Manager Don Sweeney and other members of his staff step to the podium with their first-round pick at number 30, the B’s will go into day two from Vancouver selecting in the third-round (#92), the fifth-round (#154), the sixth-round (#185) and ending the two-day trip to the West Coast of Canada picking in the seventh-round (#192) a pick from the New York Rangers in the Adam McQuaid trade in September of 2018.

Now, not being an NHL Entry Draft expert myself, I enjoy following and reading those who do extensive amounts of research to properly form an opinion about a player and add personal rankings to their work. The Draft Analyst Steve KournianosThe Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos has been doing his own personal hockey prospect ranking for the last four years and does a fantastic job. In this years 2019 rankings I found his Bruins draft possibilities very interesting and wanted to do a write up of the players he mentioned.

To purchase your own copy of The Draft Analyst 2019 Draft Report for a low cost of $5, please go to thedraftanalyst.com website All information in BOLD in this article does not belong to myself or BNG team and is shared with permission from The Draft Analyst website owner Steve Kournianos.

Below are The Draft Analyst Bruins offensive draft possibilities and opinions of what this team needs when it comes to future assets lining up with potential departures of current roster players.  Hope you all Enjoy!

Forwards

The Draft Analyst said in his draft report that this 2019 NHL Entry Draft is going to be loaded with power play specialists. He mentions the Bruins are riddled at the center depth outside of 2017 second-round pick Jack Studnicka and could always use another two-way forward with goal scoring capabilities or plays with a pass first mentality. Have a look at these players as TDA thinks they’d be solid additions the the Bruins future needs.

Ryder Donovan

( Photo Credit: DuluthNewsTribune.com )

TDA Player Rank: 56th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 6’-3” 184-pound versatile forward from Duluth, Minnesota. Check out this prospect and many others from TDA Report HERE. Last season the 18-year-old Donavan played in 23 games for Duluth East High School posting 12-25-37 numbers. After his commitment was over with his high school team he appeared in nine games in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints only producing one assist.  Donavan is committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2019-20 NCAA Division 1 season.

A jersey-flapping winger with size and a massive reach, Donovan is a smart playmaker with excellent puck-protection skills. He played on the top line and first units for both the power play and penalty kill. He puts forth a consistent effort every shift, and the intensity of his forecheck can at times mistake him for a depth-line checker than an offensive force. All areas of Donovan’s skating are outstanding — his first-step quickness, ability, balance, lateral movements and edge work work in concert to get him a least a stride or two out of an opponent’s reach. Donovan’s vision and passing abilities are advanced, and he is more than capable of turning any shift into a scoring opportunity. He times his backdoor or cross-ice passes perfectly, and he can stick fake an opening from a clogged lane. Donovan can play physical and finish his checks with authority, plus sacrifice his body in efforts to hunt down pucks. The only concern was when you consider his size, Donovan was not as dominant as one would have thought, especially in the state tournament. Still, the skill, speed and size combine for a tantalizing option that might be enough to sneak him into the late first round.

John Farinacci

( Photo Credit: New England Hockey Journal )

TDA Player Rank: 45th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 5’-11” 185-pound center from Red Bank, New Jersey. You can see this prospect and other fantastic TDA Reports HERE. Last Season the 18-year-old forward had 12-21-33 numbers for Dexter Prep School in Brookline, Massachusetts. Farinacci is committed to play at Harvard University for the 2019-20 NCAA season.

A poised, cerebral playmaker with excellent vision and strong hockey sense, Farinacci is a New Jersey native headed to Harvard in the fall. He’s an outstanding stickhandler through neutral zone traffic, but he’s also capable of speeding his way into open ice and making high-percentage plays. Farinacci was Team USA’s top-line center and power-play facilitator at the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament, and being an alternate add for the NTDP makes him used to the spotlight. He handles pressure extremely well and is counted on to take (and win) big faceoffs or match up against opposing top lines. Farinacci is a very good penalty killer who keeps his stick active and seems confident in making risky reads that break up cross-point passes. His straight-line speed is above average but he’s shifty and quick in tight spaces, and is proficient at snapping off quick, accurate shots through traffic. It’s cliché to say a Harvard-bound kid thinks the game at a high level, but Farinacci is consistent in his effort in all three zones, and his choices with positioning usually are on the money.

Connor McMichael

( Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images )

TDA Player Rank: 25th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 5’-11” 174-pound center from Ajax, Ontario Canada. Check out this prospect and so many other 2019 NHL Draft eligible players from TDA HERE. Last season the 18-year-old center played in his second season in the OHL and his first with the London Knights where he posted 36-36-72 numbers in 67 games.

McMichael is an intelligent two-way puck magnet who serves a dual-threat inside the offensive zone thanks to his outstanding vision and knack for creating turnovers that lead to quality scoring chances. Hamilton made him the 11th overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection and was the centerpiece in the trade that brought Robert Thomas over from London. The stats may say he has been more of a finisher this season than a playmaker, but his ability to turn seemingly harmless possessions in the offensive zone into high-danger opportunities is something that keeps opponents honest. Still, his 36 goals (26 at ES/SH) were second only to Arthur Kaliyev in terms of OHL first-year draft eligibles and tied for the London team lead with 2019 NHL first rounder Liam Foudy. McMichael has great hands and roofs the puck from in tight, and he can pick the corners with his wrister. He makes a lot of touch, backdoor or no-look passes, and his jukes and gear shifting while keeping his head up is similar to a point guard crossing over a weak-ankled defender. There’s a lot of Marc Savard to his game, and he likely puts up bigger numbers once his role is expanded.

Antti Saarela

( Photo Credit: Iltalehti.fi )

TDA Player Rank: 67th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst had to say about the 5’-11” 183-pound center from Laitila, Finland. This is the fourth annual TDA Report so go and check out Steve’s archived reports HERE. Last season the 17-year-old forward had 7-8-15 numbers for the U20 Jr. “A” SM-Liiga Lukko club in 21 games and in the same year jumped up a level to play in the Lukko Pro team in the Finnish Liiga league contributing 2-8-10 in 24 games.

A thick, sturdy two-way center with top-six potential for the way he impacts the game at multiple levels. For starters, Saarela is a physical pivot; one who uses strength and power to separate bigger players off the puck. He likes to deliver hard hits anywhere at any time, to the point where he can come across as a heat-seeking missile. Playing with this type of physicality doesn’t hide his contributions as a top-line center who can create chances or finish from in close. Saarela plays a similar game to his brother Antti, who was a third-round pick of the Rangers in 2015. He has very good speed, strong balance with a quick first step, plus he can accelerate through traffic in the neutral zone. He enters the zone clean and controlled, and although defenders have to respect his outside speed, Saarela also has a penchant for fearlessly taking the puck strong to the net. He has a firm grasp of his duties a center and does not tip his hand during odd-man rushes. Saarela having soft hands and good vision comes in handy in those situations.
Saarela is one of the better 200-foot centers in the draft. He is an excellent penalty killer who is very good on faceoffs and keeps his feet moving throughout the duration of the kill. His hard work while down a man leads to shorthanded chances, but he’s also a tenacious forechecker who is comfortable gunning for big hits without giving away much in positioning.

A huge amount of thanks again goes out to The Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos for his continued efforts to educate interested fans that want to learn more about the NHL’s next ones. Please consider giving him a follow on Twitter using the hyperlink above and bookmark his thedraftanalyst.com website. Also, check out his fantastic The Draft Analyst Podcast that can be found on worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Bruins Defensive Draft Possibilities Per The Draft Analyst

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )


By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan one of my favorite times of the year is the National Hockey League Entry Draft. This summers festivities are set to kick off from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia with the first round on Friday night June 21st and wrapping up rounds two through seven on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019. The B’s have five of seven selections in this years event losing the second-round pick to the New Jersey Devils in the Marcus Johansson 2019 trade deadline deal and the fourth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 deadline deal that brought former Bruin Tommy Wingels to Boston.

So as of right now with under a week to go until Bruins Manager Don Sweeney and other members of his staff step to the podium with their first-round pick at number 30, the B’s will go into day two from Vancouver selecting in the third-round (#92), the fifth-round (#154), the sixth-round (#185) and ending the two-day trip to the West Coast of Canada picking in the seventh-round (#192) a pick from the New York Rangers in the Adam McQuaid trade in September of 2018.

Now, not being an NHL Entry Draft expert myself, I enjoy following and reading those who do extensive amounts of research to properly form an opinion about a player and add personal rankings to their work. The Draft Analyst Steve KournianosThe Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos has been doing his own personal hockey prospect ranking for the last four years and does a fantastic job. In this years 2019 rankings I found his Bruins draft possibilities very interesting and wanted to do a write up of the players he mentioned.

To purchase your own copy of The Draft Analyst 2019 Draft Report for a low cost of $5, please go to thedraftanalyst.com website All information in BOLD in this article does not belong to myself or BNG team and is shared with permission from The Draft Analyst website owner Steve KournianosSteve Kournianos.

Below are The Draft Analyst Bruins defensive draft possibilities and opinions of what this team needs when it comes to future assets lining up with potential departures of current roster players.  Hope you all Enjoy!

Defensemen

The first area the Bruins could address is the ever important “power play quarterback” with the uncertain future of mobile defenseman Torey Krug. Per CapFriendly.com the 28-year-old Krug has one full season remaining under contract and with the bottleneck of B’s defensive prospects in the next year or two, adding another mobile blue liner with offensive capabilities is never a bad idea.

Tobias Bjornfot

( Photos Credit: Last Word On Hockey / Youtube Screen grab )

TDA Player Rank: 26th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst said about the 6’-0” 202-pound left handed defenseman from Upplands Vasby, Sweden which you can see on his website HERE. Last season the 18-year-old Bjornfot posted 11-11-22 numbers in 39 games playing for his Djugardens J20 Superelit club.

The top defensemen for Djugardens J20 and for Team Sweden at several international tournaments, Bjornfot is an excellent skater with or without the puck who contributes in all situations. He can run a power play by using quick thinking and staying in motion, and he owns a heavy slapshot with a massive backswing. He is a significant goal-scoring threat from the blue line. Bjornfot’s wrist shot seems to be his preferred weapon of choice, probably since he can beat goalies clean from any distance inside the the offensive zone. Bjornfot is a clean, crisp passer but isn’t all that creative or one to be classified as a playmaker. He does, however, generate offense with his wheels and quick- strike mentality — several times a game he catches opponents in a line change by whipping turnaround passes up ice or exploding into an opening for an end-to-end rush. He’s a very good 1-on- 1 defender, sometimes dominant but also at times far too respectful of opposing speed. When he’s engaged, Bjornfot has shown to stick to puck carriers like Velcro, and he usually makes the right reads if he sees a dangerous play developing. He wins a lot of foot races and is willing to take a hit in the corner to move it cleanly. Bjornfot’s thick frame comes in handy when he battles along the boards, but his quick stick and powerful one-armed shoves can force an opponent to lose his will to keep possession.

Thomas Harley

( Photo Credit: Craig Abel / Getty Images )

TDA Player Rank: 33rd

Here’s what  The Draft Analyst said about the 6’-3” 188-pound left handed defenseman from Syracuse, New York. You can also view his words about this player and hundreds of other NHL Entry Draft eligible players HERE. Last season the 18-year-old Harley posted 11-47-58 numbers with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL in 68 games played.

Easily one of the best passers among defensemen in the draft, Harley is a cool-as-a-cucumber puck distributor with a smooth, effortless skating style and strong hockey sense – at least on his side of the red line. Harley earned his role as a top-pairing defender to help exploit the strengths of the Steelheads’ many talented forwards. The first thing you notice about his game is his composure with the puck during the attack — Harley rarely gets rattled and appears very confident while distributing the puck in all directions. His vision and pass accuracy are both incredibly advanced for a teenager, and he doesn’t hesitate with his decisions. Harley is an upright skater who uses quick bursts and sharp pivots to buy himself time and space and attack deep into the opposing zone. He also is a fine backskater with very good closing speed, and he displays solid edgework when he is forced to take the puck around his net. Harley can run a power play and owns a low, booming shot, but he is not very active during the man-advantage, which could be explained by the experienced forwards he shares the ice with. Still, he knows how to find or create open lane.
His play on defense comes across as nonchalant, as Harley affords puck carriers too much room at his line and doesn’t play physical enough considering he’s an elite North American draft eligible on a top pairing in the OHL. A native of Syracuse who has dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship, Harley ran Canada’s top power-play unit at the under-18 world championship with acceptable results.

Anttoni Honka

( Photo Credit: Jiri Halttunen / JYP )

TDA Player Rank: 40th

Here’s what The Draft Analyst said about the 5’-10” 179-pound right handed defenseman from Jyvaskyla, Finland. You can also take a look at TDA full website HERE. Last season the 19-year-old Honka posted 3-5-8 numbers in 27 games played for his Jukurit club in the Liiga league.

Swift-skating puck rusher who knows how to handle the puck and has the kind of mobility that keeps forecheckers honest. Anttoni, whose older brother Julius currently plays defense for the Dallas Stars, is the most offensively-gifted among the handful of top-tier Finnish rearguards eligible for the 2019 draft. He’s a gambler with or without the puck, and his ability to anticipate danger before utilizing his top-end skating helps tighten the gap between the opposing puck career and him. Honka’s positional play in his own end is above average, as he makes an effort to stay as close to the slot as possible until possession changes hands. He is far from physical, but he stands up at the blue line and isn’t rattled at the sight of a bigger, faster forward barreling his way. His puck management is relatively sound, although he can look a little nonchalant and be the culprit behind unforced turnovers and errant passes. He was criticized (and ultimately benched) for some sloppy play at the under-20 world junior championship, but the potential improvement and exceeding the standards for the average puck mover remains incredibly high.
Honka keeps his feet moving at all times and is a threat once he drops down into the circles. He owns an average yet accurate shot which he uses with confidence, but he’s agile enough to pump fake and glide into a better look at the net. Honka is a hard, crisp passer with soft hands who beats pressure with authoritative stretch passes, subtle banks or well-timed saucers. Although his shot is average, he can run a power play from the top of the umbrella or remaining active from either point.

Lassi Thomson

( Photo Credit: Marissa Becker / Kelowna Rockets )

TDA Player Rank: 43rd

Here’s what The Draft Analyst said about the 6’-0” 190-pound right handed defenseman from Tampere, Finland. You can get this info below and a ton more draft nuggets HERE. Last season the 19-year-old Thomson posted 17-24-41 numbers in 63 games for Kelowna in the WHL.

Smooth-skating Finnish rearguard who typifies what offensive defensemen are expected to do with the puck on their stick and a full sheet of ice before them. Thomson may be a bit of a risk taker while controlling the puck, with an occasional sloppy pass or unforced error. But the common end-result is that pressure is applied on opposing schemes designed to slow him down. He loves to initiate breakouts with his wheels and drive deep into the offensive zone, but his consistent pass accuracy to teammates in stride also stretches out the neutral zone and allows friendly puck carriers to gain time and space. The kid loves to shoot the puck, and for good reason – he owns an excellent shot with a quick release and requires little backswing to generate power. Thomson quarterbacks the top power play unit and is a shooting threat thanks to a very hard and accurate shot, but he also keeps his feet moving and will jump into openings below the circles. There are moments where he’ll fight for positioning and play physical, but those instances are few and far between. A lack of consistency in his slot/crease coverage, plus the way he overcommits when defending odd-man rushes are things that should be improved upon for the future. His time in Kelowna, as successful as it was, may be short lived, as Thomson is reportedly heading back to his native Finland to play for Ilves next season.

A huge amount of thanks again goes out to The Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos for his continued efforts to educate interested fans that want to learn more about the NHL’s next ones. Please consider giving him a follow on Twitter using the hyperlink above and bookmark his thedraftanalyst.com website. Also, check out his fantastic The Draft Analyst Podcast that can be found on worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

Stay tuned for my release of the offensive possibilities for the Boston Bruins in the upcoming Entry Draft and another tremendous assist from the aforementioned Mr. Kournianos.

Bruins Prospect Lauko Helps Rouyn-Noranda Capture Memorial Cup

( Photo Credit: Sportsnet )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

After a great 2018-19 regular season that produced a 59-8-0-1 record and 119 points, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies team seemed like the club to beat entering the postseason. The Huskies pretty much ran through the playoffs beating Shawinigan in the first-round series 4-2, Sweeping Victoriaville 4-0 in the Quarter Finals followed by another 4-0 Semi-Final sweep of Rimouski to beating the round-robin Tournament host Halifax Mooseheads capturing the organizations first ever Memorial Cup.

Boston Bruins prospect and first-year QMJHL player Jakub Lauko had a good season after the B’s organization selected him in the third round of the National Hockey League Draft last June. The 19-year-old Czech Republic native had a critical decision to make after leaving the draft podium concerning his development and how aggressive both he and the Bruins organization wanted to go. The options on the table during the offseason for Lauko was to either return to his Czech Republic country or take a stern approach and mold his skill set with a team in North America and the tighter offensive game.

Lauko was a 2017 Canadian Hockey League import draft selection in the second round so with Rouyn-Noranda holding his rights it was a no brainer to place him in the “Q” a decision that’s certainly paid dividends. During the regular 2018-19 season, Jakub posted 21-20-41 numbers in 44 games and then in 19 playoff games had 6-7-13 totals leading up to the annual round robin tournament. In the Memorial Cup tournament, Lauko certainly picked up the pace on the score sheet and his game away from the puck. In five games leading up to the Huskies championship since the clubs beginnings in 1996, the 6′-0″ 170-pound versatile forward posted 2-6-8 numbers as one of the key factors to winning it all.

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The crafty forward was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract in late September of 2018 and as a rookie forward in North America he certainly capped off an impressive showing as a member of one of the greatest CHL teams ever. His effort during the regular season, a 2019 QMJHL President Cup Champion, and recipient of the CHL Memorial Cup Ed Chynoweth Award for most points in the tournament and a 2019 Memorial Cup winner have this Bruins prospect off to a good start and an impressive resume thus far. Although these experiences might be small to some out there, these are important events to a young man’s hockey career and feed the hunger for more as he takes a step closer to the NHL.

Now with all these great accomplishments mentioned above and in such short order, it leads to many speculations of his arrival and when he’ll, in fact, wear the Black N’ Gold as many fans shoot from the hip on the shiny new toy mentality and need to see this guy sooner rather than later.  To me, he’s a fantastic piece to the future of the NHL Bruins, but like all prospects, he’s a work-in-progress. The days of rushing prospects through the system are all but over unless you have that gem like a Patrice Bergeron or David Pastrnak of past years, properly developing players and using the junior and minor-pro levels to continue and mold a player to be an all-around pro.

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Even though Lauko had a great year in the QMJHL that lasted from September to last night, I believe he and the B’s organization should entertain the idea of an additional season of work back with his Rouyn-Noranda club for the entire 2019-20 campaign. This will only increase the need to form a better two-way game, and I’ve heard from a few folks close to the Huskies team that he struggled and showed frustration with how he was being taught the defensive style. Something he might not have been used to under the coaching eyes of an international staff and larger ice surface he was around over a year ago. That two-way game certainly found it’s way into the young forwards head as the Huskies staff never gave up, and it definitely showed after his return from the 2019 IIHF World Juniors Under-20 team representing his Czech Republic country.

I always use Jake DeBrusk as a perfect example of proper development. Do you honestly believe a player like him would have the NHL rookie year like he did without a full season with the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins? Anything could’ve happened, but in my opinion, I don’t think so.

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Bruins Prospect Lauko Helps Huskies Win Second League Title

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagues Rouyn-Noranda captured the second league championship in the clubs existence with a victory last night over the Halifax Mooseheads from the Scotiabank Center in front of 9,602 hockey fans. The Huskies capped off a tremendous record-breaking 2018-19 campaign bringing the Dogs to a regular season record of 59-8-0-1 and 119 points. This year’s QMJHL postseason had the Huskies on a mission beating Shawinigan in the first-round 4-2, back-to-back sweeps in the second and third round of Victoriaville and Rimouski respectfully, to raising the teams second champion in four years with a 4-2 final round series victory over Halifax.

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Boston Bruins prospect and Huskies forward Jakub Lauko played very well in the 2019 playoffs posting 6-7-13 numbers in 19 games played. Although he was a key member of the Huskies success in the regular season posting 21-20-41 numbers in 44 games in his rookie season right into the postseason, he was unable to participate in last night game due to injury.  After scoring a goal in the first period of game five, the 19-year-old Czech Republic native sustained an injury later in that game which had both sides very cautious moving onto game six. The third-round selection of the NHL Bruins gave a solid effort in last night’s pregame skate but was unable to make the gameday lineup. He was in fact on the ice afterward for the championship festivities to celebrate with ownership and fellow teammates.

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Next stop for Lauko (health permitted) and his Rouyn-Noranda club is the annual Memorial Cup tournament this year held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The round-robin festivities get started on Friday, May 17th, 2019, and end on May 26th. All tournament games will be played at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax a place the Huskies know quite well. The four-team tournament is compiled of league champions from the Canadian Hockey Leagues top major junior clubs in the Ontario Hockey League, QMHL, and the Western Hockey League. The Host city who wins the bid always gets a free pass into these games regardless of where they sit after the regular season or postseason success.

It remains to be seen what kind of injury the young Bruins prospect sustained and whether he’ll be able to participate in the popular tournament starting this weekend. I’ve had the pleasure of getting locker room interviews with him at last summers Bruins Development Camp which was held at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts for the second straight year after leaving the Rissutcia Memorial facilities a place the B’s practiced and trained for over 30 years.

In my opinion, Lauko is a very skilled player with tremendous upside and glad he and the Bruins organization agreed on a three-year entry-level contract shortly after the B’s drafting him and seeing what kind of player they have on their hands a Dev Camp. Another great decision was to place him in the QMJHL with the Rouyn-Noranda club, a place Lauko was selected in the 2017 CHL import draft where he went 107th overall in the second-round. Not saying a return to his home country for further development would be a bad idea or hurt his development, but rather placing him in North America to get used to the smaller ice surface before making the jump up to the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins or even if he’s lucky enough to secure a spot on the National Hockey League Boston Bruins roster in the next year or two.

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I know many fans and followers of Jakub want to see him rise to the highest level in the world, but after contacting local scouts in the area, many have said he has NHL speed but he’s a work-in-progress and his development shouldn’t be rushed.  One a May 4th,2019 episode of The Pipeline Show Podcast ( Highly Recommended Follow/Subscribe ) hosted by Guy Flaming the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies broadcast voice Jean-Paul Charlesbois mentioned in the show below that Lauko has NHL speed with great hands and an accompanying shot but there are areas that he needs to work on respectfully before making the jump to the NHL that so many want to see sooner than later.

A few evaluations that caught my attention in this interview with Jean-Paul was the mention of defensive skills improvement and the fact that he wasn’t “keen” on the idea of being taught a two-way North American style game which he has since accepted and adjusted over his rookie season into this year’s playoffs. He may have NHL speed and good hands but the mention of better puck handling skills to me at least screams he’s not ready for the NHL quite yet. The interview with Huskies broadcaster starts at the 16:24 mark and ends at the 32:00 minutes of the show below if you want to hear for yourselves.

Lauko who signed a three-year, entry-level on September 28th, 2019, is eligible for a return to Rouyn-Noranda to continue his development and work on those attributes mentioned in the podcast above. or he has the potential to possibly be moved up to the AHL to play in Providence. Regardless of his placement next season, I’d like to see one more year of him in the QMJHL, then a full season in the AHL before full-time NHL duties. B’s forward Jake DeBrusk is a perfect example that I gravitate to when thinking about the importance of taking your time with the developing youth and give them a season in Providence.  I’m no expert or fortune teller but it’s hard for me to think that Jake DeBrusk would go onto have a successful rookie season without the experience and guidance of his time with the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL B’s.

No Brainer For Next Providence Bruins Team Captain

( Photo Credit: @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

With the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins season over with the first-round Calder Cup Playoff elimination to the hands of the AHL’s best Charlotte Checkers, next seasons team will obviously see some new additions, but roles could also change when talking about leadership. Current Captain Jordan Szwarz who just finished his third season with the Providence club and posted 66-82-148 numbers in 185 games in that timeframe is on an expiring contract, and future playing in the Ocean State is uncertain.

The 27-year-old Szwarz who joined the Providence team as a free agent signing before the 2016-17 campaign immediately took on a leadership role with his arrival wearing the assistant captain label for his first two-years ultimately being named to the highest honor of captain for the length of last season.  So with the potential departure of Szwarz who’s played a significant middle depth role with the Bruins organization in emergency situations seeing 12 games in Boston earning three points, who could step into that role and lead the 2019-20 Providence Bruins?

His Name Is Weymouth, Massachusetts Native Paul Carey

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Carey, a 30-year-old versatile forward came to Providence on January 11th, 2019, when he was traded to the NHL Bruins from the Ottawa Senators straight up for defenseman Cody Goloubef. This was Carey’s second tour of duty with the AHL Bruins as he played 17 games after being traded from the Colorado Avalanche to Boston on March 2nd, 2015. In those 17 games, Paul posted seven points but the second trade that landed him in Rhode Island this year had him on the better part of the score sheet and made an immediate impact upon his arrival.

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While in Ontario, Canada with the Ottawa Senators organization, Carey’s numbers were different as he seemed heavy on the “pass first” motto with 5-22-27 numbers in 29 games with the AHL’s Belleville Senators but with his addition to the Providence lineup and solid 30 games going the opposite from his days in Belleville posting 22-11-33 numbers to end the regular 2018-19 season. His first ten games with Providence was certainly a “system shock” and a time of adjustment posting 5-4-9 numbers but his last 20 games were honestly a pleasure to watch going 17-7-24 to end the year.

Here’s Why Paul Carey Is My Pick For The Next Providence Captian

Carey’s stats as a journeyman AHL’er are 106-136-242 in 346 career games so at his age the trend is to decline on the stat sheet and overall game, but in Paul’s situation as a player in his 30’s, the anomaly of him getting better especially with his point production is astonishing to me. Another thing that caught my attention has been the powerful words of the developing depth talking about leadership in Providence and members of that team who’ve gone out of their way to be a solid pro and lend advice to players about to cross the threshold of professional hockey careers at the highest level.

A perfect example was in an April 3rd, 2019, article by Boston Bruins reporter Eric Russo when he interviewed first-time recall Zach Senyshyn who had these positive things to say about the leadership core in Providence with mentions to veteran forwards Carey, Szwarz, and Lee Stempniak as seen below from Eric’s article quote below.

“I’m still a young kid and really learning from the older guys,” said Senyshyn, who posted back-to-back 40-plus goal campaigns with the Soo Greyhounds in his final two seasons with the club. “Having guys like Lee Stempniak and Paul Carey and Jordan Szwarz, learning from those guys, has really helped me take my game to the next level. A lot of that has to do with them.”

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As a Boston Bruins fan and one that follows the lower developmental depths of this NHL organization, naming Carey as the next captain of the Providence Bruins is a no brainer for me. Remains to be seen if Szwarz is brought back and the recent two-year, two-way contract agreement between the B’s and Carey just lines up this tremendous honor for me and believe if he’s not in the mix of the NHL Bruins lineup next season after training camp he’d be a solid pro and will do what it takes to continue to be a mentor in Providence.

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Bruins Give Gritty Forward Blidh Contract Extension

( Photo Credit: NHL.com / BostonBruins.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Over the weekend I was contacted by a close source that the Boston Bruins had a deal in place with forward Anton Blidh as the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins were going through their exit meetings. The exit meeting came as the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins were back in the Ocean State on Monday after being eliminated by the AHL’s best in the regular season the Charlotte Checkers. Although the Providence club made the postseason for the seventh straight year, they were no match for the powerful Checkers losing the first-round best-of-five opening series 3-1. I tweeted this below as soon as I heard the news and what do ya know, I pretty much nailed it.

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Well, the B’s did, in fact, lock up the 24-year-old Swedish native to a two-year, two-way contract worth an annual cap hit of $700K. Per Cap-Friendly, Anton was set to make $650K at the NHL level and $80K in the AHL, so with today’s official announcement, he could make around the same if he stays in the minor system and used as that depth player in case of emergency’s. Blidh was three points shy of tying his career high of 26 points (11-15-26 2017/18) in 71 games last season. This past regular season the hardnosed forward posted 10-13-23 numbers in 74 games during the 2018-19 campaign.

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The former sixth-round selection of the B’s in 2013 certainly brings an impactful dynamic when it comes to playing that power forward role. He can be a pest along the boards and around the top of the crease forcing loose pucks and creating lucky bounce chances. One of my favorite attributes to his game and role in the developing depth of the Providence organization is his willingness to have a teammates back and not afraid to throw down when the opposition is taking liberties. Erik K. Piri of the Elite Prospects website in 2014 said “Blidh is a gritty winger who plays with a lot of energy. Can kill penalties and is a terrific shot blocker. Also owns some offensive instincts and a willingness to go hard to the net. Loves to agitate and rile up opponents.” 

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In 21 career NHL games, Blidh has contributed a goal and an assist and in 263 career games in the AHL all with Providence, he has 41-38-79 numbers and 219 career penalty minutes. Career +27 in the AHL for those who love to talk plus/minus. It remains to be seen what’s going to happen to Anton when the question of where he could play. As fantastic twitter follower BruinsNetwork mentioned above, contracted players, especially on the fourth line, may have Blidh placed in Providence, or he could be that cap friendly asset if the NHL Bruins don’t want to entertain a Noel Acciari return in 2019-20.

No matter if Anton is placed in the NHL or AHL he’s going to continue to be a value in the depth of this organization and a player that can be inserted into any lineup at any time. His leadership was tested last season as he wore the “A” behind team Captain Jordan Szwarz and with Jordan currently on an expiring contract himself, Blidh could be a solid choice to be the leader if there’s a Szwarz offseason departure.

Help Wanted: Join Our Digital Content Team!

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Our Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast and affiliated blackngoldhockey.com website is looking to fill several open positions on our Boston Bruins related digital content team. We are seeking enthusiastic individuals that are team-oriented and willing to participate in group discussions. Applicants don’t need to have sports journalism degrees to join our team, but we do ask that you either have previous writing experience or possess decent punctuation and writing skills. Knowledge of the media program WordPress is preferred but not required. We do offer a training program for those who might not be familiar with WordPress.

We are looking for more contributors in the following areas:

  • National Hockey League Boston Bruins Writers
  • American Hockey League Providence Bruins Writers
  • Premier “AA” ECHL Affiliate Writers
  • Bruins CHL Prospects Writers ( OHL / QMJHL / WHL )
  • Bruins European Prospect Writers ( KHL /  Czech Extraliga / SHL / Finland SM-Liga / German DEL / IIHF World Juniors etc. )
  • Bruins NCAA Prospect Writers ( Men’s Division 1 Only )
  • NWHL Boston Pride Women’s Hockey Writers
  • Bruins Player Analytic Writers ( Corsi / Fenwick / Heat Maps )
  • Bruins Youtube Video Contributors  ( Minimal Writing Required ).
  • Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast Co-Host. We are looking to add another member to our show covering the Providence Bruins and B’s prospects in all developmental leagues around the world. This is a weekly show during the regular season.
  • Editors and Copy Writers Are Needed! These Specialties Come With Reduced Article Publications Per Month. Workload Can Be Discussed During the Interview Process.
  • On-sight reporters for weekly Black N’ Gold video reports from the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Mass. Audio and video equipment will be provided to the right candidates.

If you are interested in any one of the open positions above, please continue forward with our website requirements below to see if you have the time and dedication to be a team member with us.

  • Must have a Twitter account or means of establishing one.
  • Article length is to be 500 words or more unless you have access to the “Breaking News” group where a maximum of 250 words is acceptable to get the news out faster. Deeper In-depth articles are accepted, but please stay under 2500 words because a majority of our readers are viewing from mobile devices
  • From September 1st to when the Boston Bruins regular season and playoffs are over, each member is required to post four articles a month. During the offseason, the required total monthly posts to keep an account with us is two.
  • We have a Slack channel for team communication and activity on there is mandatory, or at least please acknowledge important group announcements. Slack can be viewed via mobile phone app or on any PC.
  • We ask that you be a team player and take a few minutes to support other group members with the kind gesture of sharing everyone’s work on your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter and so on. Everyone here at BNG is expected to have each other’s backs with the ultimate team support.
  • If an opportunity comes up to attend a Boston Bruins related events as a media member/guest, these privileges will go to those who go above and beyond. To be granted access under the BNG team umbrella, you must be a member that we can count on and show up to these events as a professional and not a fan. Bruins fan attire that will not be acceptable in any media situation includes team jerseys, t-shirts, and so on. Please dress appropriately.
  • Besides original articles, if you happen to get an article idea from any member of “Big Media” you need to give those folks credit by hyperlinking their twitter account when mentioning the author and also hyperlink the article you got the information from. Plagiarizing other media members work without the appropriate mention from where the news came from will result in immediate termination.
  • Last but not least, please write your articles as a professional. These means do not bash any player or the Bruins organization for something that you don’t agree with. Bring respectful angles to your argument instead of this sucks and that player is terrible types of contributions.

If you’ve read through everything above and are interested in applying for one of the many open positions available, please send an email to blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourself and provide a writing sample of your previous work if available. We hope to hear from you as we look to grow our team! Take Care and Go, Bruins!

Mark Allred – Founder & CEO

Fanatics Authentic Line Of Boston Bruins Hand Signed Memorabilia

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

If you’re a diehard Boston Bruins fan and either want to start a personal fan cave or already have a shrine that you’d like to add to, please take a look at the fantastic officially licensed items below from the National Hockey League. All items to come with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic.

If you’d like to find other Bruins related items or fan memorabilia from other major sports such as the NBA, MLB, NFL, Nascar, NCAA, and other NHL teams, please click the official Fanatics Banner to the right of our website. All purchases through our connected links from our partnership with the Fanatics company are commission based without any extra charges to the customer. We are simply a middle person looking for alternative ways to cut our Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast and affiliated blackngoldhockey.com which is being viewed now. We thank all who’ve used our connected links in the past and continue to do so. We enjoy what we do and can’t do it without the overwhelming support from our listeners and readers.

Fanatics Shopper Quick Links: Boston Bruins  |  Red Sox  |  Celtics  |  Patriots |  NBA  | MLB  |  NFL  |  Nascar  |  NHL 

(Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Phil Esposito Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ White Jersey Skating Vertical Photograph – $79.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Phil Esposito. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Phil Esposito Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ White Jersey Skating Horizontal Photograph – $79.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Phil Esposito. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 8″ x 10″ Raising Cup Photograph – $79.99

This 8″ x 10″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 8″ x 10″ White Jersey Horizontal Skating Photograph – $79.99

This 8″ x 10″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Raising Cup Photograph – $89.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Mini Stick with “HOF 2005” Inscription – $149.99

This mini stick has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely with the inscription “HOF 2005.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Vintage Goalie Stick With HOF 85 Inscription – $119.99

This stick has been personally hand-signed by Gerry Cheevers with the inscription “HOF 85.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Bobby Orr Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Logo Hockey Puck – $189.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Bobby Orr. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Logo Puck With HOF 85 Inscription – $44.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Gary Cheevers with the inscription “HOF 85.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Phil Esposito Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 90th Anniversary Logo Puck – $69.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Phil Esposito. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2017-18 SP Authentic #18 Card – $49.99

This highly collectible trading card has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. The card is then encapsulated in a tamper proof acrylic case which also includes an ID tag and hologram to guarantee the authenticity of the item. This will make a great addition to the collection of any true sports fan. Please note that autographs may vary.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey #13 Card – $39.99

This highly collectible trading card has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy. The card is then encapsulated in a tamper proof acrylic case which also includes an ID tag and hologram to guarantee the authenticity of the item. This will make a great addition to the collection of any true sports fan. Please note that autographs may vary.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2011 Stanley Cup Champions Logo Hockey Puck – $79.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Mini Goalie Mask with “HOF 85” Inscription – $69.99

This goalie mask has been personally hand-signed by Gerry Cheevers with the inscription “HOF 85.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Black Mitchell & Ness Jersey – $499.99

This jersey has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Brandon Carlo Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey #17 Card – $19.99

This highly collectible trading card has been personally hand-signed by Brandon Carlo. The card is then encapsulated in a tamper proof acrylic case which also includes an ID tag and hologram to guarantee the authenticity of the item. This will make a great addition to the collection of any true sports fan. Please note that autographs may vary.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Deluxe Tall Hockey Puck Case – $99.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud. Each case is made of 1/8” thick acrylic and features a black acrylic base. It has a clear acrylic removable lid engraved with the team logo and a collage of images. This product is officially licensed by the National Hockey League. The display case measures 10” x 5” x 5.5.”

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Deluxe Framed Autographed 16″ x 20″ Black Jersey Shooting Photograph – $249.99

This 16” x 20” photograph has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud. It measures 26.5” x 27.5” and comes ready to hang in any home or office.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Deluxe Framed Autographed Black Adidas Authentic Jersey – $637.49

This jersey has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. Each framed jersey comes double matted in a black wood fame, has two photos, and has two engraved team logos. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud. It measures 36” x 44” x 2” and comes ready to hang in your home or office.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Goal vs. Winnipeg Jets Photograph – $59.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Official Game Puck – $59.99

This hockey puck has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Goal Celebration Photograph – $52.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy & David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Spotlight Photograph – $112.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy & David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Brandon Carlo Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ White Jersey Skating with Puck Photograph – $37.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Brandon Carlo. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Brandon Carlo Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Black Jersey Skating Photograph – $37.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Brandon Carlo. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Boston Bruins Karson Kuhlman: Expect The Unexpected

( Photo Credit: Boston Informer )

By: Greg Aker  |  Follow Me On Twitter @akesNpains1

When it comes to name recognition, Karson Kuhlman isn’t your ordinary household name.  Outside of northern Minnesota and the greater Boston area, most hockey fans don’t know much about him.

 A 23-year-old from Esko, Minnesota, Kuhlman is starting to get the attention that he has long deserved.  A 2014 graduate of Esko High School, Kuhlman got his shot at some big-time hockey at a fairly young age. He rose through the youth ranks as a standout player and caught the attention of potential suitors further down the road on his hockey journey. Having played high school hockey in what is arguably the most competitive state from top to bottom in the entire country, Karson shined. He totaled 50 points as a freshman in only 25 games. After a stellar sophomore year, he headed south to get his feet wet in the United States Hockey League. He played the maximum amount of games allowed to retain his high school eligibility with the Dubuque Fighting Saints after he was selected 48th overall in the 2011 Future’s Draft.  With multiple appearances at national camps and countless games in elite leagues, Kuhlman had name recognition.

Following his junior season, Karson left for good. He jumped into the Fighting Saints lineup just in time to help his team win the 2013 Clark Cup, awarded to the USHL playoff champions. In his first full season playing with Dubuque, Kuhlman led the team in goals (25), was second in points (44), and earned a spot on the league’s Eastern Conference All-Star Team.  His former head coach, Jim Montgomery (and current head coach of the Dallas Stars), took a job as the head coach of the storied Denver University Pioneers and hoped to land him. After official visits to the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of North Dakota, it was on the car ride home from Grand Forks, N.D. that Kuhlman told his father that he wanted to be a Minnesota Duluth Bulldog.

 In college, Kuhlman started to fly under the radar a bit, and many that know his story often question why. He was told by multiple NHL organizations that he was a potential draft pick. It never happened. Talking with Karson’s mother Jennifer, she mentioned Karson was and continues to be his biggest critic. Not being drafted by a professional club only further motivated him. He didn’t let it bother him, continued to work hard, and has always lived “in the now.” Nothing about his college career would jump out at you on paper.

He posted 80 points over the course of four seasons, a fairly modest total for a kid now jumping into an NHL lineup. Still, what makes Karson special is what doesn’t always show up on the point sheet. He was selected as an assistant team captain of the Bulldogs as a junior and captained the team as a senior.  His leadership qualities were so strong that head coach Scott Sandelin didn’t name a third captain after underclassman, and then assistant captain Adam Johnson left for the professional ranks within the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Kuhlman played in every single game of his college career. 166 straight if anyone is counting. Former UMD assistant coach and 8-year NHL veteran Derek Plante had this to say about the current Bruin: “Karson is the hardest working player that I have had the pleasure to work with.

It comes as no surprise that he is continuing to have success at the highest level. He is the player that every coach wants on his team and is a joy to be around.”  His senior year as a collegiate player wasn’t promising to start. The Bulldogs were hoping to rebound from a devastating loss in the National Championship to the University of Denver the previous April. Onlookers didn’t have high expectations for the 2017-2018 UMD Bulldogs. Instead of accepting the predicted outcome by others, Kuhlman worked extra hard and instilled his leadership in his teammates. The end result was the program’s second-ever national championship.  You can probably guess who was named the tournament’s most valuable player. It was Karson Kuhlman.

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 Kuhlman attended professional development camps during his collegiate career in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Boston. Only four days removed from winning a national championship, Kuhlman signed a two-year NHL contract with the Boston Bruins. Kuhlman joined the Providence Bruins on an Amateur Tryout Agreement for the remainder of the 2017-2018 season, tallying a lone assist over the course of two games. Kuhlman has totaled 12-18-30 over 58 games for Providence this season, but it’s what he has shown at the professional level that has been most impressive.

He has played alongside virtually every forward in the Boston lineup over the course of 11 games. He has factored in the scoring column and sits at a +5. Karson Kuhlman is versatile. He kills penalties. He plays a tremendous two-way game. He plays instinctively and intelligently regardless if he has the puck or not. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. It’s these qualities that have gained the attention of Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, and rightfully so. Like he has proven time and time again throughout his life, he won’t let anyone out-work him. What he lacks in skill he makes up for it through dedication and hard work.

 Karson Kuhlman isn’t your ordinary household name, but the fact that he will play a factor for the Boston Bruins moving forward just might change that. 

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

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Bruins Extend Affiliation With Providence, So Is ECHL Deal Next?

( Photo Credit: Commercial Construction & Renovation )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins came to an agreement last week on a ten-year extension with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. This agreement with the top minor-pro affiliate of the B’s was one that just made sense from both sides. One, geographically having prospects and others so close to areas of operations is never a bad idea for emergency purposes, and two you can’t beat the fan support and the consistently high attendance numbers when the team is playing at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

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The Providence Bruins have been one of the most successful franchises when it comes to minor-pro development and has been a pipeline of the NHL B’s since the 1992-93 season. Previous to last weeks agreement the Providence club has amassed a record of  1030W-782L-96T-84OTL-60SOL in 2,053 games played over 26 years as an affiliate of the parent Boston Bruins team.  Providence has seen it’s a fair share of current Boston Bruins players such as Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Tuukka Rask. Since the teams, inaugural season (1992-93) the Bruins have seen three regular-season titles, five division championships, one conference championship, and of course the franchise’s only Calder Cup Championship that the club captured after the 1998-99 regular season campaign.

This is not the first time a successful minor league franchise called the city of Providence home. The NHL Bruins also housed developing players of interest with a team called the Providence Reds who per HockeyDB.com had affiliations in the AHL’s inaugural campaign in 1936 to 1938 and making returns in 1958 to 1962, and for the final time from 1963-64  to the 1968-59 season. The Reds were no joke back in the day as the organization saw nine regular-season titles, 13 division championships, and four Calder Cups. Hockey Hall of Famers such as goaltender Frank Brimsek (1937 to 1939), forwards Milt Schmidt (1936-37), and Ed Westfall (1963-64).

The 2018-19 regular season for the Providence team is quickly coming to a close with six games remaining. The B’s have a 35-24-8-3 record after 70 games and sit in the fourth position in the Atlantic Division and currently occupy the seventh position when you look at the Eastern Conference and the Calder Cup Playoff outlook. The Providence club looks to secure a postseason birth for the seventh straight season after being knocked out for three consecutive years prior to the current postseason streak.

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This season has certainly been a challenging one for second-year Head Coach Jay Leach, and the AHL Bruins from key developing players departing via emergency recalls to player injuries and finding suitable replacements to fill the roster. I believe in the current path of development from an organizational standpoint, but if you ask me how deep this Providence club can go in the postseason I’d love to think they can go all the way but with the up and down the regular season I’s be certainly happy with a Conference Final. Providence visited the third round briefly during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs losing to the eventual Conference Champions Syracuse Crunch who beat the B’s in a best of seven series 4-1.

Regardless of my personal prediction or hope for a conference final appearance the Jekyll and Hyde home vs. road playoff schedule has to get better with the regular season records on either side of the coin. As mentioned the B’s have six games remaining and have done a fantastic job on home ice thus far with a record of 27-7-4-1 but have been sub-par away from the Dunk compiling a 13-17-4-2 record. Aside from the home and road rollercoaster this season the Bruins are going to have to figure out what’s not working on the road and figure it out quickly. The Checkers have a home record of 23-6-5-0 and the way things are lined up with travel the Checkers could easily get the first two games at home with an elimination contest back at the Dunk for game three. Lets’ hope that doesn’t happen.

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Above is a playoff primer courtesy of theahl.com website. As you can see a postseason appearance for the seventh straight time is not going to be easy especially against the leagues best Charlotte Checkers who already clinched a playoff spot with a regular season record of 46-16-7-1 good for 100 points thus far. These two teams have a 2018-19 regular season series of  4-3-1 with Providence winning only twice at Bojangles Coliseum and needing more than 60 minutes to get it done. The Bruins record at home against the Checkers is actually not bad if the B’s can extend the first round series and play another home game.  Home cooking at the Dunk this season against the Charlotte club has produced a record of 2-1-1.

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What’s next for the Boston Bruins and the future plans for an ECHL affiliation?

This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot and trying to crack the code of what’s going on with the decision of where this Bruins organization could place prospect if needed at the ECHL level? First and foremost I believe the Atlanta Gladiators have a fantastic franchise and a return to the state of Georgia is always a good possibility. Another option is to find a location closer to areas of operation particularly with the above mentioned Providence club and the need for a constant pipeline of players that are able to participate quickly and play at the AHL level in emergency situations.

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One area of New England that I’m paying close attention to is the city of Manchester, New Hampshire and the current dumpster fire that’s going on with the ECHL Manchester Monarchs franchise. This metro area once was one of the Northeasts best-attended venues when the AHL Monarchs were in the Queen city before the NHL’s LA Kings came and took the AHL club and ECHL club and swapped them around making the trip for prospects in a matter of hours instead of lengthy cross country travel. Since the AHL moved westward it seems like the fan base walked out with it as season ticket numbers and overall fan attendance has dwindled to what seems like 500 fans.

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As a former season ticket holder of the AHL Monarchs and personal experience gathered from a fun place to enjoy a hockey game, it’s disturbing to hear that the ECHL is just not the product for this area and if something can’t be done soon they might miss their window to gain popularity again in the New Hampshire city with so much tradition in the sport. Purely speculating here but news in January of 2019 had the ECHL Manchester Monarchs seeking for new ownership and later reports of the organization ceasing operations for the 2019-20  season.

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I know that the current agreement with the Monarchs and their affiliation with the Lod Angles kings is ongoing and seems to be in good order regardless of the ownership news but minor-pro deals are pretty much fly by night operations and walk away from deals as seen in the past from a franchise like the AHL’s Portland Pirate and their agreement with the Cross Insurance Arena. If the Kings would like to place another minor-pro franchise closer to California, this would be a tremendous time to revitalize the Manchester hockey fandom with representation from one of New England’s most popular and respected professional franchises.

Now just spitballing here but if the Bruins were to in fact be affiliated with an ECHL franchise in Manchester I’d have to believe the numbers would be better than the current product just knowing that the Bruins label would be involved. Also, a key factor is how many actual prospects would be involved as the current number of Bruins property playing with the Atlanta club is zero. This season B’s prospects Jesse Gabrielle and Joona Koppanen were the only ones to play in Atlanta as they spent a few games there at the start of the season. Gabrielle was later reassigned to play with the Wichita Thunder halfway through this season.

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With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming up with the players and owners going toe to toe again soon, I believe it would be wise for both to come to common ground and agree on adding 10 more contracts to the max contracts allowable which are currently set at 50 contracts. What an increased number of contracts could do in my opinion is add more spots to develop and make better use of the ECHL and the availability that NHL teams have with their Premier “AA”  affiliations. This will certainly increase development at the middle levels and could accelerate the progression of deserving players for looks and evaluating purposes. Ten extra contracts to play with would be a fantastic way to sign undrafted players worldwide and ones that just finished college and available to be signed as free agents.

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Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Click Here for The Providence Bruins Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com