Getting To Know The 2018 Bruins Prospect Challenge Invitees

Image result for Dawson Weatherill

(Photo Credit – Larry Brunt – Spokane Chiefs Photographer)

Earlier today, the Boston Bruins released their 2018 Prospect Challenge roster with some additional information about the event. Amongst the many familiar faces at the event will be four camp invitees –– Carson Focht, John Ludvig, Justin Bergeron, and Dawson Weatherill.

Carson Focht – C – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

Carson Focht had some WHL experience under his belt coming into this past season with the Tri-City Americans, 64 games of experience to be exact. Fast forward to a little less a month before his 18th birthday, he was traded to the Calgary Hitmen on January 6, 2018. This deal involved highly-touted Carolina Hurricanes prospect defenseman Jake Bean going to play for Tri-City, along with other pieces being exchanged. A pretty interesting year for such a young player.

The Regina, Saskatchewan native went undrafted in June after scoring 13 goals and adding 20 assists, good for 33 points in 69 split between the Tri-City Americans and Calgary Hitmen. Before heading back to Calgary for what is set to be his first full season as a member of the Hitmen, Carson will head to Buffalo, New York for the Bruins Prospect Challenge to make an impression after going undrafted.

As you’ll see in his draft reel below, Carson has some silky mitts and a nice shot to go with it. He is listed with the same height, and nearly the same weight as Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk on eliteprospects.com. He operates like DeBrusk as well in some of these clips and wears the same number that Jake did with Swift Current and Red Deer in the WHL.

(Via Western Hockey League on YouTube)

John Ludvig – F/D – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

With the 2017-2018 season came John Ludvig’s first WHL season with the Portland Winterhawks. A Native of Kamloops, British Columbia, John took his talents to Portland, Ontario in his first season as a Winterhawk, scoring two goals and adding five assists, good for seven points in 51 games. He added a goal and two assists in 11 playoff games on top of his regular season stat line. A quandary on defense in Portland forced Ludvig to play forward a bit for part of last season.

The left-handed Winterhawks forward/defenseman went undrafted and stands at 6-foot-1, 187 pounds and just turned 18 on August 2, so happy belated birthday, John. He clearly likes to fight, as the clip below shows, so add a guy who can scrap to the talented bunch that will be in attendance at the Bruins Prospect Challenge. There are more where this clip came from, but this one, in particular, is a scrap-and-a-half.

(Via hockeyfightsplus on YouTube)

Justin Bergeron – D – Rouyn Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)

Image result for Justin Bergeron

(Photo Credit – Marco Bergeron)

Another Canadian on the list is Justin Bergeron. Cool last name, Justin. That one holds some ground here in Boston. Justin is still 17-years-old and won’t turn 18 until four days after the conclusion of camp, as his birthday is on September 14.

The Magog, Quebec native, stands at 6-feet, 181 pounds and played 67 games with the Rouyn Noranda Huskies this past season. Bergeron, a left-handed defenseman, scored nine goals and added 21 assists, good for 30 points in the regular season, plus an assist in seven playoff games. He also played in eight games with the Huskies the year before and tallied one assist. Justin Bergeron looks to be an intriguing addition to the group at the prospect challenge.

Dawson Weatherill – G – Spokane Chiefs (WJHL)

The oldest of the camp invitees is 19-year-old and Red Deer, Alberta native, goaltender Dawson Weatherill. To this point in his WHL career, Weatherill has seen action in 87 games. His numbers have steadily improved over the course of his career as his workload has increased. Most recently, Weatherill appeared in 46 games and finished with an impressive 26-12-3 record, a 3.09 goals against average, a .893 save percentage, and two shutouts to boot. He also managed to obtain two penalty minutes as a goalie, so that’s interesting.

Back in mid-to-late October of 2017, Weatherill was named WHL goaltender of the week. Not a bad title to hold in the best season of your WHL career to this date. The towering tendy will look to make some noise amongst fellow goaltenders Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser.

(Via Western Hockey League on YouTube)

These four CHLers and Canadian natives will be interesting additions to the talented bunch of young players at the Bruins Prospect Challenge. The event as a whole is set to be another exciting opportunity to watch some great young talent for whoever chooses to do so.

Big Expectations For Bruins Forward Donato In 2018-19

(03/19/2018- Boston, MA) Boston Bruins center Ryan Donato reacts after scoring his first career goal in his first career game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden on Monday, March 19, 2018. Staff Photo by Matt West(Photo Credit – Matt West)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Last season was a busy one for Ryan Donato that ended up entailing his final year at Harvard University, and his first stints as a USA Olympian and Boston Bruin. This time around, the 2018-2019 season holds the opportunity to go all-in as a member of the Bruins organization in his first full NHL season.

Despite not seeing the ice much in the playoffs and not tallying a point, Donato made an excellent first impression late in the regular season. Putting up nine points in 12 regular season games is nothing to glance over, and it presented an idea of what to expect from Ryan Donato. Maybe not that high of a pace regarding points right off the bat, but the idea that he can seriously contribute at the NHL level. What was impressive outside of the numbers aspect of his late-season performance, was the fact that he was doing it on the wing instead of his natural position of center.

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Being a right-winger on a team like the Bruins will give Ryan plenty of possible situations to play in with the current state of their roster. On top of a top-nine right-wing role could be some power play time on the half-wall, much like Ryan Spooner used to do. His positional versatility allows him to play any forward position, which could come in handy with injuries or just simply a change of plans in the lineup.

The forward core in Boston is shaping up to be one with great depth. Danton Heinen put up 47 points in 77 games last season while spending a good chunk of his ice-time on the third line. Ryan Donato could be put in a similar situation to Heinen come the 2018-2019 season. In Heinen’s career up to this point, he has played both left and right wing, in multiple different situations.

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Whether Donato holds a third-line wing position opposite say Danton Heinen or holds a top-six role, he’ll have very capable linemates to work with. The presence of options for Donato gives him a great platform to succeed in one singular role for much of the season or to not let the possibility of being juggled around in the forward core bother him and his growth as a player.

There’s a chance that the possibility of winning the Calder Memorial Trophy is in the back of Ryan’s mind somewhere, despite the likely presence of many other very skilled rookies across the NHL. The top two picks from the 2018 NHL Draft –– Rasmus Dahlin and Andrei Svechnikov, are two of a large number of possible Calder candidates outside of Donato.

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The Scituate, Massachusetts native has plenty to look forward to for this upcoming season and beyond on a formidable Eastern Conference team like the Bruins. Whether it is on the left side, right side, or even back in the middle like his time before Boston, Donato will have the opportunity to turn-and-burn with a lot of skill surrounding him in the Bruins’ lineup. Things have gone pretty well for young wingers as of late for the Bruins, just ask Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen. Ryan Donato looks to be the next man up in the impressive crop of young Bruins wingers.

(Via NHL on YouTube)

AHL Time Has Proven To Be Beneficial For Young Bruins In Recent Years

Image result for Matt Grzelcyk(Photo Credit: Kim Klement – USA Today Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

With a plethora of players within the Bruins organization vying for NHL ice-time during the 2018-2019 season, it’s simply a fact that not all of them will be able to fit into the lineup on a consistent basis. Said players include, but aren’t limited to –– Trent Frederic, Jakob-Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Urho Vaakanainen. Whoever one may think could see NHL ice-time this season with the Boston Bruins, some time in the AHL isn’t necessarily a bad thing otherwise.

Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen were once prominent Providence Bruins Forwards

Two wingers who although were highly-touted prospects as they entered the Bruins’ organization, had AHL stint’s before becoming impactful NHL players. Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen both hold roles in the top-nine forward core and have shown top-six forward capabilities.

Once a member of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos and Red Deer Rebels, Jake DeBrusk went on to play for the Providence Bruins to get his first taste of professional hockey. As the 14th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, fan expectations were high for DeBrusk from the start. The 2016-2017 season rolled around, and DeBrusk found himself in Providence, where he then played in 74 regular season games and 17 playoff games. He amassed 43 points in the regular season, plus an additional nine points in the playoffs.

Come the 2017-2018 season, Jake DeBrusk was a hungry, dynamic winger that was fully ready to make a difference in the NHL –– and that he did. In 70 games, he put together a 16-27-43 stat line and got noticeably more comfortable as the season went on. This lead to his figurative explosion in the playoffs for six goals and two assists in 12 games and some huge plays that hockey fans won’t soon forget.

(Via SPORTSNET on YouTube)

Jake now holds even higher expectations coming into the 2018-2019 season, and it’s fair to feel pretty comfortable with his capabilities. It started in the AHL when it comes to professional hockey, and things will continue to blossom for Jake DeBrusk.

On the other hand, Danton Heinen played in the NCAA as a Denver Pioneer before heading to Providence on his way to a solid NHL role. Over parts of three seasons, Danton saw 70 games of regular season AHL action, with the 2016-2017 season being his most prominent. The 28 career AHL playoff games he played in didn’t hurt either. Heinen really showed what he could bring to the table after putting together a 44-point season over 64 games in the 2016-2017 season, plus 18 points in 17 playoff games with the Providence Bruins.

Danton Heinen’s productive 81-game AHL rookie season eventually earned him consistent ice-time in the left and right-wing positions within the Boston Bruins’ top-nine forward core. He was even sent down in October of 2017 for four games this past season where he averaged two points-per-game with eight points. That didn’t deter him too much, as he played in 77 NHL games and tallied 47 points in those games. Additionally, he added a goal in nine playoff games.

Heinen, like DeBrusk, will look to expand on his NHL role and skill set over the course of the 2018-2019 season and beyond. His three-zone prowess and smarts will continue to be welcomed in the lineup in hopes to build on a successful 2017-2018 season for himself, as well as the team as a whole.

Anders Bjork looks to continue to grow in his second NHL season

Once an icon at the NCAA’s University of Notre Dame and Hobey Baker winner, even Anders Bjork saw some AHL time. In a rookie season that had its hills and valleys for Bjork, nine games of AHL time may not end up being the worst thing for him. Although a small sample, he had four points in those nine games and some bright moments along the way. It’s a shame that he didn’t get a full season under his belt due to concussion and shoulder problems, but this shouldn’t hide the fact that Anders has a high NHL ceiling as a mid-round draft-pick back in 2014.

Bjork showed varying degrees of comfortability in important roles with the Bruins within the 30 NHL games that he played in. Injuries and butterflies in the stomach along the way made it so it wasn’t a perfect first go at the NHL for him, but certainly not a bad one. The dynamic winger will look to build on a 12-point rookie season come October of 2018 and into the future.

Matt Grzelcyk, Sean Kuraly, and Noel Acciari all have important NHL roles

Matt Grzelcyk played a bigger role this past year than some may have expected. Those who watched him at Boston University and/or in Providence might not have been as surprised by the role that he played this year. He is a bit undersized, but he doesn’t let that get in his way as he is very shifty and smart with and without the puck on his stick. How good he did this season was refreshing to watch, joining his former BU defensive partner Charlie McAvoy in making up a third of the defensive core most nights.

Including 14 games this season, Matt Grzelcyk has seen 84 games of regular season AHL action, and an additional 17 games of playoff experience. This all built up to him playing in 61 regular season NHL games, and 11 NHL playoff games. He looks to be a defenseman who can put up 20 points minimum per season, as he put up 15 points in 61 games this past season, plus an assist in 11 games in the playoffs. His steadiness and hockey IQ were a great addition to the back end, and he can credit part of his growth to this point to the environment that surrounded him as a Providence Bruin in recent years.

Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari hold down sturdy bottom-six roles with the Bruins at this point in their careers. With Sean Kuraly, it was four years at the University of Miami (Ohio) and a trade with the San Jose Sharks that brought him to the Bruins organization. Kuraly spent the majority of the 2016-2017 season with the Providence Bruins, 54 games to be exact, where he put up 26 points. He also played in eight games with the Bruins that same year and tallied an assist.

The 2017-2018 season rolled around, and he was an effective wheelhouse down the middle in 75 games of regular season action in which he had 14 points. This earned him playoff minutes that he took full advantage of and proved to be extremely effective at many points throughout the Bruins’ playoff run. His efforts as a professional hockey player thus far were enough to earn himself a comfortable three-year, $3.825 million contract in which he signed on July 3 of this summer.

Noel Acciari, or the buzzsaw as I like to call him, is in the NHL because he seems to hit anyone who touches the puck whenever he’s on the ice. That’s the role he has embraced, along with the weirdest stat line ever of ten goals and an assist in 60 NHL games last season. He signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free-agent fresh off of a National Championship title as captain of the Providence College Friars, as well as one of the best all-around college hockey players in New England. What did he do after all of that glory? He went to Providence to grow as a professional hockey player post-graduation.

For his first two pro seasons, Noel Acciari saw brief stints of NHL –– 46 regular season games over two seasons, as well as 75 regular season AHL games with Providence. Within these seasons also came 12 games of playoff experience, four with Boston and eight with Providence.

No matter how much success a player has before becoming a professional, time in the AHL can help them mature and adapt to a much different game at the professional level. Noel Acciari is a prime example of this. His physical edge has always been there, so the rigors of professional hockey, despite some injuries, haven’t deterred him too much. His journey up until this point has allowed him to become a rugged, effective NHL player.

Providence will continue to groom potential NHL players

As previously mentioned, players like Trent Frederic, Jakob-Forsbacka Karlsson, and Ryan Fitzgerald, and Urho Vaakanainen –– just to name a few, won’t necessarily see a decline in their development if they play in the AHL next year. This is no matter how NHL ready they may be. It doesn’t matter if someone is to play 20 games in the AHL, or 100 games, the AHL is a great platform for growth in young players that are on the brink of NHL readiness.

Bruins Have No Shortage Of Options At Third-Line Center

Image result for Jack Studnicka boston bruins

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

One of the burning questions within the Boston Bruins’ forward core is what to do at the third line center position. Riley Nash, who held the third-line center role consistently last season, has since moved on to Columbus as an unrestricted free-agent –– now it is time to replace him. The competition for the position is steep.

Sean Kuraly

Well known as the fourth-line buzzsaw at the center position, Sean Kuraly earned himself a three-year contract extension with an average annual value of $1.275 million. Will he able to handle the promotion, or is he better suited in an energy role on the fourth-line.

His left-wing, Tim Schaller, has moved onto Vancouver in free agency, and Noel Acciari is still in the mix for fourth-line minutes next season. Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom were brought in via free agency to reinforce bottom-six depth. I wonder if a bit of a different vibe in the bottom-six provides confidence in the idea of giving Kuraly a promotion and reshaping the fourth line next season and possibly beyond.

(Via NoLifeGamerYo Extras on YouTube)

Colby Cave

Colby Cave is the dark horse on this list. It is reasonable to expect that Cave will re-sign with the Bruins at some point over the summer as he is currently a restricted free-agent. Although he has only seen three games of regular season action in his tenure as a Bruin. Last season as a Providence Bruin, Cave potted 11 goals and added 22 assists, good for 33 points in 72 games.

What makes his case for the vacancy at third-line center is his two-way game and his smarts on the ice. He plays the game methodically, focusing on making smart decisions rather than being a big-time scorer –– a decent offensive skillset is definitely present, but other intangibles shine in his game the most.

Cave is only 23-years-old and no matter if he plays in Providence, or Boston, his presence will be felt. Replacing Riley Nash on the third line would be especially weird for Cave, because he looks like his twin. Look it up.

(Via Dafoomie on YouTube)

Chris Wagner

One of the new additions that could be in the mix is Chris Wagner. Although I don’t see this happening, the possibility is certainly there. To me, Chris Wagner is exactly what you want in a fourth-liner –– a player who has wheels, forechecks hard, and hits like a freight train. Lose Tim Schaller, add Chris Wagner to a fill a fourth-line void. But, if they value a freight train in the middle of say Danton Heinen and David Backes, he is the guy to fill the void.

(Via SPORTSNET on YouTube)

Joakim Nordstrom

Nordstrom has an interesting case in the bottom-six as one of the newer Bruins. A left-handed forward who can play left-wing and center provides versatility, along with his penalty killing ability and decent skating –– he won’t put up a lot of points, but will find other ways to contribute.

When it all comes down to it, I see Nordstrom playing a fourth-line role or a 13th forward role. He will wear number 20 with the Bruins, just like Riley Nash and the third-line center job could be his, but he certainly has a lot of competition for that ice-time.

(Via SPORTSNET on YouTube)

Trent Frederic

One of a few prospects vying for the third-line center position is former Wisconsin Badger and 2016 Bruins late first-round pick Trent Frederic. For a 20-year-old, he plays a very composed game reminiscent of someone who has been around a while. His three-zone ability, hockey IQ, and finishing ability allow him to thrive wherever he plays.

After wearing an “A” on his sweater as a sophomore at Wisconsin and putting up 32 points in 36 games, he played 13 regular season games with the Providence Bruins on an ATO. Eight points were amassed over those 13 games, plus one point in three playoff games.

I remember watching Wisconsin take on Ohio State in a regular season game last season. Midway through the game, the play-by-play broadcaster with Fox Sports Wisconsin, who is clearly familiar with Frederic’s game due to the fact that his place of work is based in Wisconsin, said that he believed Trent Frederic was already NHL ready at the time, if not in the 2018-2019 season. From what I’ve seen, I agree. This doesn’t mean some AHL time would be a step down for him, look what it did for Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen –– just to name a couple. He is definitely going to make the Bruins’ coaching staff think for quite a while on who gets the third-line center job.

(Via bigwhite06 on YouTube)

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

From Boston University to Providence, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson has carried quite the hype with his name. With 58 games of AHL experience under his belt in which he put up 32 points, JFK has his eyes set on an NHL gig sooner rather than later. His case to be an NHLer is backed by his three-zone game, smooth skating, and playmaking capabilities.

Talent in all three zones and point producing capability is what Riley Nash brought to the third line, JFK could be the next in line to hold that role and pick up where Riley Nash left off. If he doesn’t crack the lineup, he is still young at 21-years-old, so some more AHL time won’t hurt him.

(Via _BoSToN #44 on YouTube)

Jack Studnicka

It’s either Oshawa or Boston for the 19-year-old Jack Studnicka, per the NHL/CHL player agreement. The NHL/CHL Player Agreement would prohibit him from going to the AHL because he is under the age of 20. The reason he saw 5 games of AHL action following the conclusion of his third season in Oshawa was because he was on an ATO, not an official contract.

Take the first four letters of his last name and that gives you a first impression of him –– he’s a stud. Jack is a truly dynamic, intelligent centerman with high upside as a scorer in the NHL who will create havoc for opposing defenders. He was 27th in the OHL scoring this past season with 22 goals, 50 assists, and 72 points in 66 games.

If Studnicka does in fact go back to Oshawa to play for the Generals, he will be a key contributor. Allowing him to gain confidence in his game and grow as a player wouldn’t be the worst thing, as there are plenty of other options for the third-line center vacancy if he doesn’t earn it out of camp.

(Via HSD Prospects on YouTube)

The Bruins’ coaching staff will have a lot to contemplate down the road when it comes time to formulate the opening night roster –– with the third-line center position being at the forefront.

2018 Bruins Prospect Development Camp Provides The Potential For Optimism And Excitement

(06/26/2018- Boston, MA) Oskar Steen takes a shot at the Boston Bruins development camp at Warrior Arena on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Staff Photo by Matt West(Photo Credit: Matt West)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Days one through three provided plenty of great hockey and excitement for all in attendance, including myself. Development camp is an awesome opportunity for those who attend to see Bruins prospects and camp invitees, as some are unable to watch them play during their respective seasons much or at all. This is of course on top of the opportunities for growth and recognition it provides for the players in attendance across the camps of all 31 NHL teams.

The crop of young players in attendance at Warrior Ice Arena was one that didn’t disappoint and brought players from all over, including but not limited to the NCAA, OHL, QMJHL, SHL, and OJHL. The main standouts for me were Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Jakub Lauko, Jeremy Swayman, and Curtis Hall, amongst a few others. This doesn’t mean that any players not included were bad or didn’t stand out to me.

Oskar Steen

The speedy Swede, Oskar Steen, stood out yet again, just like last year at camp. His quickness and speed allow him to evade defenders and create space to unleash his impressive wrist shot. The 2016 sixth-round pick arsenal was put on display at the 2018 World Junior Championships as well, with two goals and two assists in seven games en route to a silver medal with Team Sweden.

His speed and desire to have the puck on his stick could lead to him being an effective penalty killer at the pro level. Steen is still just 20-years-old as well, so the room to grow as a player and mature physically in his pursuit of an NHL job is certainly there.

Jack Studnicka

Stud is in his last name, folks. A 2017 Bruins second-round pick, Studnicka killed it at camp after an impressive 2017-2018 campaign with Oshawa Generals. The 19-year-old Canadian kid has his sights set on an NHL gig for the 2018-2019 season, and for good reason. His competitiveness, playmaking skills, and smooth skating make him a tough player to contain.

His 22-50-72 stat line in 66 games was good for a spot in the top-30 OHL scorers at number 27 on the list in the company of high-end prospects like Owen Tippett and Robert Thomas, to name a couple. 2018 second overall pick Andrei Svechnikov was in that range as well. But, he only played just 44 games, compared to everyone around him on the leaderboard being in the 50’s and high 60’s in games played.

There is a chance Riley Nash isn’t back with the Bruins in the near future, as he is an unrestricted free-agent come July 1. The Bruins’ third line center void is up for grabs if Nash goes elsewhere, with players such as Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Trent Frederic, and one of the new guys Martin Bakos also amongst the group that will vie for that third-line ice-time. With that being said, cracking the roster will not be easy for Studnicka. If he doesn’t make the NHL roster, he will need to go back to Oshawa in the OHL per the NHL/CHL Player Agreement, which would prohibit him from going to the AHL due to the fact that he is under the age of 20.

Jack Studnicka watch is on.

Jakub Lauko

A new talented Czech in Jakub Lauko joined the fold when he surprisingly fell in the Bruins’ collective lap at 77th overall. Lauko is a first-round talent in the eyes of some, and I am onboard with that. Just look at what Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley had to say after drafting Lauko:

“We had him on our list as a first-round pick. We’re ecstatic to get a player like this at that point in the draft.”

Getting a first-round talent late in the first-round certainly makes the Bruins brass feel better about not having a first-round pick this year. What sticks out past his dynamic skill set, and speed is his confidence in himself as a player and desire to make teams regret passing on him. This drive and determination alone should have Bruins fans on the edge of their seats eagerly waiting to see what Jakub Lauko can do at the NHL level.

After being drafted, Lauko had this to say about how he felt about his draft position, “I expected to be higher,” said Lauko (6 feet, 179 pounds), a left-shot who can play center or wing. “But now I can prove to everyone that I am one of the biggest steals in the draft.”

How can one not love that confident mindset and positional versatility? Fast forward to day two of development camp where he did his best Anze Kopitar vs. Tim Thomas impression against Kyle Keyser and succeeded in doing so.

 

From my perspective, I think it’s fair to say that Jakub Lauko was one of the best, if not the best player on the ice for much of the duration of the first three days of camp.

The offensive instincts are there on top of his bulldog mentality and willingness to work in the gritty areas and play physically. I can’t think of anything that worries me with Jakub Lauko as a player. He just has the makings of a successful NHL player with time to improve even more past development camp, get stronger and to mature.

Lauko said after the draft in the video above that he is willing to take on any challenge and talks about his appreciation of fellow Czech’s within the organization in David Pastrnak, David Krejci, and prospect Daniel Bukac – who Jakub has known since he was around seven-eight-years-old. On top of his offensive prowess, Jakub is confident that he is one of the fastest players in the draft, he’ll block shots, and he doesn’t shy away from going at it with players that are bigger than him. How did he fall into the late third-round of the draft?!

Lastly, I’ve said it on Twitter, so I’ll stress it again here.

There is plenty of room on the ‘Laukomotive’.

Curtis Hall

First and foremost, Curtis Hall’s hair. My goodness, what a mane.

Curtis Hall comes to Bruins development camp with a playstyle reminiscent of current Bruin David Backes, who Hall models his game after.

Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports on Twitter) of the New England Hockey Journal, wrote the following about Hall this past January, “Hall, who has spent some time playing right wing in international competition, feels more comfortable at center. He tries to emulate Boston Bruins versatile forward David Backes, who also plays center and right wing.” Positional versatility and buzzsaw on the wing or down the middle like David Backes? I’d take that.

Throughout days one to three of development camp, Hall used his large 6-foot-3, 196-pound frame fight for puck possession and score in close proximity to the net, or with his sweet wrist shot. Another thing that stands out is his work ethic, which goes hand-in-hand with his willingness to fight for pucks and create an offensive flow for himself and/or those around him.

Yale University will be an excellent place for Hall to grow as a player and a person in the NCAA’s Big Ten. Adding more strength to his already impressive frame will make him a nightmare to play against, especially in the physical game at the next level.

Pavel Shen

The Russian centerman Pavel Shen rounded out the 2018 draft class for the Boston Bruins at 212th overall. What stood out to me with Pavel Shen was his smooth skating ability, puck skills, and how it looked as though he wasn’t overcomplicating how he handled himself on the ice. It is understandable for players to be nervous in their first go at an NHL development camp, Pavel Shen didn’t seem nervous to me, he looked pretty comfortable to me out there.

The ‘Shensation’ as I now like to call him, looks to hold solid value as a seventh-round pick near the very conclusion of the draft. Below is a video that I found to very cool, take a look.

Whether it was the first Bruins 1-on-1 in Russian or not, it was very cool to see something like this in an interview with two young players – Pavel Shen is 18-years-old, Philip Lagunov is 19-years-old.

Martin Bakos

The oldest player in the group, Martin Bakos comes to camp as the oldest player from Slovakia and the Czech pro league. The Bruins signed Martin Bakos to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 back on June 14, shortly after, he was invited to development camp at age 28. An interesting start to his Bruins career to say the least.

Unsurprisingly, he looked comfortable right from the get-go as a 28-year-old veteran in a sense. His confidence with the puck is very present whenever he is on the ice and he clearly has a very solid hockey IQ in the offensive and defensive parts of his game.

As mentioned earlier, if Riley Nash does, in fact, move on from the Bruins in free-agency, Bakos is certainly a candidate for the third-line center position. It will be very interesting to see how he progresses over the summer and into the regular season. Keep an eye out for Martin Bakos.

Martin Bakos, certified surgeon with those hands.

Karson Kuhlman

Karson Kuhlman is a player that myself amongst a growing amount of people are starting to believe can contribute at the NHL level. This isn’t to say that if not, Providence would be a step-down, but rather it is a statement that he is making a name for himself early in his career as a Bruin.

He was definitely a leader as a 22-year-old at camp with many guys who are younger than him – he would help warm up the goalies at times during camp and anyone who looked closely could see his vocal nature on the ice. Not to mention, he works extremely hard whenever he is on the ice and the desire to be a difference maker is very much present in how he operates as a hockey player.

A high character kid with speed and a great shot to go with experience as a winner at the University of Minnesota Duluth – particularly the two National Championship appearances, including one National Championship title in which he won MVP.

The Goalies: Jeremy Swayman, Kyle Keyser, and Daniel Vladar

Jeremy Swayman

Honestly, all three goalies put solid performances forward in the first three days, but Jeremy Swayman with his athleticism and quickness, in particular, stole the show in my eyes, in a sense.

Swayman made great strides throughout his freshman year as a University of Maine Black Bear. Swayman put forward a great freshman season at UMaine – after 31 appearances, yes 31 appearances as a freshman, Swayman finished the season with a 2.72 goals against average and .921 save percentage. That’s not something to glance over and forget about, that is seriously impressive.

Kyle Keyser

Kyle Keyser’s aggressiveness and quickness in the crease are impressive attributes within his arsenal. He had a consistently solid first three days and is the youngest of these three goalies. On day three, Keyser made an incredible save on a 2-on-1 chance from Jack Becker. A teammate of fellow Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka this past season, Keyser will look to continue his progression in Oshawa for a three season. The 19-year-old goaltender from Coral Springs, Florida, has amassed 73 appearances over two seasons in Oshawa – with 47 of them coming last year.

That’s a pretty tough save to make in a high-pressure situation.

Daniel Vladar

Three things that Daniel Vladar likes are the hit TV series ‘The Office’, hockey, and modeling his game after Bruins starting goalie Tuukka Rask (6-foot-3), as well as Nashville Predators veteran goalie, Pekka Rinne (6-foot-5) – two large goalies, like Daniel. His movement in the crease is impressive for someone of his size, like Rask and Rinne and with a keen eye, one can definitely see similarities in their playing styles. Just ask BNG team member Thomas Nystrom (@nahstrom on Twitter) or Boston Sports Journal Bruins writer Anthony Gulizia, as he wrote about Vladar, Rask, and Rinne not too long ago.

The oldest of the goalie group, Vladar is well-spoken with a giant goaltending frame with good crease awareness and vision to go along with it who will look to build on his development in Providence this upcoming season.

Camp Invitees: Stephen Baylis, Henry Bowlby, and Teemu Kivilhalme

Stephen Baylis

Stephen Baylis, Henry Bowlby, and Teemu Kivilhalme stood out to me amongst the solid group of camp invitees at camp. Although they may never join the Bruins organization, their solid performances at camp certainly helped their chances of landing a spot in professional hockey someday, whether that is within the Bruins organization or not.

Stephen Baylis is a 23-year-old forward from Bowling Green State University. He showed solid hands, a good skating stride, and he played heads-up hockey.

Baylis will head back to Bowling Green State University for his senior year this fall to continue to his developmental path.

Henry Bowlby

Henry Bowlby is an incoming sophomore at Harvard University from one of Minnesota’s hockey hotbeds in the city of Edina. As a freshman at Harvard, he scored eight goals and added as many assists, good for 16 points in 24 games. Not too shabby for a freshman. Bowlby’s quickness, soft hands, and shooting ability were on display at camp and really caught my eye.

Bowlby can be found in the video below displaying his quickness and skills with the puck on his stick in tight below wearing number 75.

Henry Bowlby is definitely a player that I will continue to monitor. If he progresses nicely at Harvard and Bruins management keeps an eye on him, maybe he could land a contract in Boston someday and join Harvard teammate and current Bruin, Ryan Donato in the organization.

Teemu Kivilhalme

Now here is a player with an interesting background that led him to Boston for development camp – Teemu Kivilhalme. Teemu was drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL draft by the Nashville Predators, played three seasons at Colorado College, left college a year early to play for Kärpät in Finland and never signed with Nashville. The next step? Prospect development camp with the Boston Bruins.

On day one of camp skated towards a barrier on the blue line, stumbled right in front of the barrier on a zone-entry drill and recovered very quickly to evade the barrier and plant a wrist-shot in the top-left corner of the net. Some may not have noticed it, but his quick recovery and impressive finish made me watch him closer as camp went on. He is a smooth skater with a quick shot. He wasn’t overly flashy with anything, but showed a structured and calm playing style throughout the first three days.

Kivihalme is set to play for Kärpät again next year and is most definitely a player to monitor for me due to his skill set and his interesting path to get where he is today.

Be optimistic and get excited if you somehow aren’t already – because outside of the NHL and AHL rosters that are in pretty good shape, there is plenty of depth in the Bruins’ prospect core. Plus, there is the possibility of one, if not multiple of the camp invitees in attendance becoming members of the Bruins organization someday.

Interest In John Tavares Shows That Bruins Management Has The Right Mindset

Image result for john tavaresPhoto Credit: Paul Sancya/AP

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

John Tavares season is progressing into full swing mode as the star New York Islanders center is set to meet with other NHL teams during his free-agent decision-making process. Arthur Staple of The Athletic New York got the buzz going even more when sent out the tweet below last night.

(Via @StapeAthletic on Twitter)

Pierre LeBrun, also of the Athletic, built on the news this morning.

(Via @PierreVLeBrun on Twitter)

Darren Dreger of TSN also added to the news in relation to the Bruins.

(Via @DarrenDreger on Twitter)

A player of John Tavares’ caliber would transcend any franchise and become an immediate leader. In the case of the Boston Bruins, he would be joining a team in contender mode with plenty of young talent surrounding him for years to come, as well as players who have seen regular season and playoff success over the years.

A Bruins top-six forward core next year could look something like this next year if Tavares does sign in Boston.

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Tavares – Bjork

At this point, I think those six players are the guys that could form a top-six forward core that teams will be terrified of no matter how DeBrusk, Bjork, and Pastrnak specifically are shuffled around. I don’t think there is much debate that Marchand and Bergeron should be together. Tavares would have so much to offer anyone on the team, not just the young players. The skating abilities, smarts, and impressive skill sets of the guys rounding out the top-six outside of Tavares could make the transition easier for him with time.

The Bruins currently have $11,984,333 in cap space, possibly enough to sign John Tavares, as the odds are very high, if not certain that he will fetch a minimum of $10 million per year. That figure is staggering but absolutely worth it for a star player like John Tavares.

To accommodate a large contract for Tavares long-term, some salary would need to be moved out. The consensus is to move David Krejci if he is willing to waive his NMC, and/or David Backes. Two players that would be tough to part ways with regardless of what people think, but have garnered interest on the trade market. Krejci has been through so much with the Bruins over the years, and Backes signed a six-year deal with the Bruins that has been rocky at times with injuries.

Via @andystrickland on Twitter)

Another player who could be traded is Adam McQuaid, whose contract expires next summer. With the significant presence of NHL defenders and fringe NHL defenders in the system, McQuaid could be moved to a team in need of defensive depth. But, at this point, it is just speculation although there is a reasonable case to trade him, as hard as that may be for management in Boston. McQuaid, Krejci, and Backes have all played important roles with the teams over their tenures here. In the end, to make the Tavares signing work long-term with a hefty, young RFA class in Boston next summer, one, if not multiple of these three players may need to be moved.

His skill set is tremendous – excellent hands, skating, vision, playmaking ability, puck control, and the ability to score in any fashion. There isn’t really anything to pick apart in his game. This past season, he put up the second highest point total of his nine-year NHL career with 84 points (37-47-84) in 82 games. In 24 career playoff games, he has 22 points, on top of the 621 career regular season points he possesses in 669 games.

Whether New York Islanders captain John Tavares signs in Boston or not, this shows the willingness to go all in from the perspective of Bruins’ management. Although Tavares can’t hit the open market until July 1, the sheer desire to improve significantly with such a free-agent signing shows that the team is setting out to improve on a great 2017-2018 season. That’s what anyone should want from their favorite team in the mindset that the Bruins are in for the future – the Stanley Cup contender mindset.

(Video Credit: Islanders Highlights via YouTube)

 

Dissecting The Possibility Of Ilya Kovalchuk Signing In Boston

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Time has passed since his retirement from the NHL in 2013, but Ilya Kovalchuk wants to return to the NHL for another go. Most recently, he has visited with the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks in pursuit of said return. With some cap maneuvering and good contemplation, Kovalchuk could be a fit in Boston.

Having worn a letter on his sweater throughout all of his time in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg since retiring, Kovalchuk was relied on as a leader. After winning Olympic gold and seeing some steady KHL success, the Russian sniper wants another try in the NHL, and there will undoubtedly be interest.

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For the Bruins fans who want to see Rick Nash re-signed, think of Kovalchuk as a slightly older, and better option on the right side. In 262 KHL games dating back to the 2013-2014 season, Kovalchuk amassed 120 goals, 165 assists, and 285 points, thus averaging over a point-per-game. Even at 35-years-old, it is apparent that Kovalchuk can still produce at a high level. Before then, he produced at a very high level in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers.

The controversy related to how he left the NHL in the midst of a 15-year, $100 million contract and screwed over the New Jersey Devils may scare some and for a good reason. That reason provokes to bring up the idea of a short-term deal. The contract was eventually terminated in 2013, leading to New Jersey having to pay just $250,000 through the 2024-2025 season instead. Offer Kovalchuk a year or two and $5.5-6 million AAV and see what he says.

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In the Bruins’ case, Anders Bjork will be returning from injury and will have something to say about a top-6 right-wing gig that Rick Nash or Ilya Kovalchuk may get in the way of. It’s also worth noting that Kovalchuk will likely fetch more money annually than Rick Nash. Not to mention Ryan Donato will be looking for a consistent role on the NHL roster as his first full season approaches. I’m not necessarily for the possibility of limiting ice-time for younger players in this scenario, but, if Don Sweeney does decide to plug in a veteran in free agency, I’d prefer it be someone like Ilya Kovalchuk versus Rick Nash. Those are some important things that Don Sweeney and crew will have to consider if they decide to pursue Nash or Kovalchuk in free agency.

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One-year for Kovalchuk could give David Krejci an experienced and lethal sniper on his wing to feed for goals, along with a young, dynamic left-winger in someone like Jake DeBrusk or Ryan Donato. If things go well in this scenario, the Bruins have a lethal second line, and the signing is a win. A player with Kovalchuk’s shooting capabilities could fit very well on an already productive Bruins powerplay on his opposite wing eyeing one-timers and back-door goals. If that doesn’t work out, I’m sure teams could be interested in acquiring Kovalchuk as a rental player at the trade deadline. That’s the doomsday scenario.

Pieces will have to fall into place to get a free agent like Kovalchuk to Boston, but it is definitely possible. Whether it will happen or not is to be determined.

(Video Credit: The Bet via YouTube)

Bruins Will Have Plenty Of Lineup Battles Heading Into Next Season

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/ USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

With free agency and the 2018 NHL Draft looming, an interesting storyline to follow will be the roster battles that will unfold over the summer and into the 2018-2019 season. There will be numerous young players involved in these battles. To preface, I want to say that I don’t think any AHL defensemen or defensive prospects playing otherwise will crack the NHL roster out of camp, but instead will make things interesting as their season’s progress.

Anders Bjork

Anders Bjork has a fair amount of NHL experience and had parts of his rookie season cut short due to concussion and shoulder problems. Even though he was a late-round pick, Bjork caught the attention of many with his success at the University of Notre Dame that led to him becoming a Hobey Baker finalist in his senior season.

Bjork’s eventual return to the lineup will have an impact on whether Rick Nash is brought back in free agency. In the eyes of many, including myself, it makes more sense to commit ELC money to Anders Bjork’s top-six role, versus signing Rick Nash for a decent chunk of money.

Despite missing the playoffs as a whole and a good chunk of the regular season, Anders Bjork showed flashes of NHL readiness and top-six winger capabilities. In 30 games, he scored four goals and added eight assists, good for 12 points. He could play with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, as he did a bit last season, or with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci. If he can stay healthy, the 2018-2019 season could prove fruitful for Anders Bjork’s growth as an NHLer.

Austin Czarnik

Austin Czarnik is a player that I recently wrote about as possibly being a trade chip in the future. If he is re-signed, he will surely be in the mix for an NHL roster spot based on his success as a bottom-six Bruins forward in the past, as well as his success as a top scorer in the AHL.

The caveat with Czarnik is the fact that if he plays one more NHL game, he is eligible for waivers. If waivers become an option, the Bruins could risk losing him for nothing. There is a spot for him on the third line if Riley Nash is not re-signed, a position in which he has previously held. Otherwise, he could find himself in the AHL again unless he decides to sign elsewhere as a group-6 UFA. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka are three other players that will be battling for that third-line center spot if Riley Nash signs elsewhere in free agency.

Peter Cehlarik

Peter Cehlarik is another player that I recently wrote about as possibly being a trade chip in the future. Cehlarik has proven to some degree that he can be a capable top-9 NHL winger on either side.

Injuries and the presence of players with similar playing style and ages have hindered his progress towards full-time NHL duty. For reasons previously stated, he could be forced back to the AHL, or traded to what could be many teams looking for young, hungry wingers, with NHL capabilities and two-way ability.

Anton Blidh

Known mainly for his tools as a bottom-six forward, Anton Blidh could fight for a fourth line spot on the Bruins. If Tim Schaller were to go elsewhere in free agency, a golden opportunity could arise for Blidh.

Having 20 games of NHL experience certainly won’t hurt Blidh’s case on top of his effectiveness as a Providence Bruin in the physical, gritty game. This past season he posted career high’s in goals (11), assists (15), and points (26). Things are on the upswing in Anton Blidh’s brief professional career thus far, will a full-time NHL role be next? It surely could be if he comes out and proves himself worthy of such a role.

Ryan Fitzgerald

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At 23-years-old, just months older than Anton Blidh, Ryan Fitzgerald finds himself in a bit of a conundrum. After impressing towards the second half of his first AHL season, Fitzgerald found himself promoted to Providence’s top-six forward core, making impressive progress. Reaching 21 goals and adding 16 assists, good for 37 points in your first professional season won’t go unnoticed.

The ideal spot for Fitzgerald’s continued growth as an NHL hopeful comes at the fourth line left-wing position with the possibility of Tim Schaller going elsewhere in free agency. That spot would be perfect for a player with a playing style reminiscent of Brad Marchand like Ryan Fitzgerald. The two are very similar players. His speed and willingness to get to the dirty areas will fit on the third line alongside speedster Sean Kuraly and a buzzsaw on his opposite wing in Noel Acciari. If a spot becomes available on the fourth line, watch out for Ryan Fitzgerald.

Jordan Szwarz

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Speaking of Noel Acciari, Jordan Szwarz could be one eyeing that fourth line right-wing position. Szwarz was re-signed late in the regular season by Don Sweeney for another year and for a good reason. The guy has come alive since joining the Bruins’ organization. He built on a successful year one, coupled with brief NHL time with another great AHL season this year putting together a 21-27-48 stat line in 52 games. His positional versatility as a right-wing and a center makes him an asset. Jordan Szwarz is definitely another player to watch out for within these upcoming roster battles.

Jack Studnicka

The CHL/NHL players agreement states that players under the age of 20 either have to make the NHL team or be returned to their junior team. These players are not eligible for the AHL. That is the predicament Jack Studnicka finds himself in heading into this upcoming season. It’s Boston or Oshawa for the Canadian kid.

If Studnicka does end up in Oshawa again, he will wear the “C” on his sweater for a second straight season. Last season, he averaged over a point per game with a 22-50-72 stat line in 66 games. His skating ability, competitiveness, and playmaking capabilities have led some to wonder if he can earn a roster spot out of camp. He has undoubtedly given those people a reason to feel as confident as they do about him. That third line center spot is up for the taking if Riley Nash is not re-signed.

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

Oh, look, another young player fighting for the third line center spot. JFK will look to build on his one game of NHL experience in a top-nine role.

Being a player with plenty of roster competition for ice time, JFK will have to build on his growth in Providence this year and give the coaching staff a good reason to keep him around for regular NHL duty or to send him down for more AHL seasoning. He had an excellent first season as a Providence Bruin this past year, tallying 15 goals and 17 assists equalling 32 points in 58 games. If JFK does secure a roster spot, the process to get it surely won’t be an easy one.

Trent Frederic

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The one first-rounder in this group, Trent Frederic. After seeing some brief AHL action once his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin concluded, Frederic has seen a small sample of professional hockey. Some, including myself, believe he is NHL ready, but, being NHL ready doesn’t guarantee NHL ice time from the start.

One thing that sticks out is his poise with and without the puck on his stick. If he can translate that to the pros, his transition will be seamless. But, it’s not that easy. Although high draft picks are excited, and many want to see them perform from the beginning, AHL time can be of great benefit, just ask Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Danton Heinen – just to name a few. Frederic’s hockey IQ, wicked shot, and poise are three things, in particular, that suit him very well for NHL duty. When we actually see him in the NHL is another story.

Stats, accolades, draft position aside, what matters most is showing up to camp ready to go as the regular season approaches. Whoever impresses the most increases their likelihood of earning consistent NHL ice time. Whether it is a full-time gig or a gig as the 13th forward, no one will just cruise into NHL duty with ease.

Lineup Logjam Could Force Some Bruins Players Out Via Trade

Image result for Peter Cehlarik Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Before I begin, I am not trying to say that I want these players to be moved, but sooner or later, they could be due to an influx of roster competition within the Bruins’ system. Three players, in particular, come to mind in this discussion.

Peter Cehlarik

Peter Cehlarik is a player that I would hate to see go, but injuries and the presence of similar wingers have hindered his progress towards an NHL roster spot to this point. The 22-year-old Slovakian winger has seen a good amount of AHL success primarily since coming over to play for the Providence Bruins for the 2016-2017 season. In 84 regular season games as a Providence Bruin, Cehlarik has tallied 31 goals and 30 assists, good for 61 points. Through 17 NHL games, Cehlarik has a goal and three assists.

His two-way ability and hockey IQ are what stick out the most in his game and could be of great value elsewhere unless a spot does open up in Boston at some point. In the NHL, he showed good chemistry with David Krejci on the second line and could serve well as a second or third line winger on another NHL team in need of help on the wing. A few NHL teams come to mind that could be in the market for Cehlarik’s services for a solid top-9 winger – The Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars. Especially the Edmonton Oilers, who need help on the wing and have a general manager in Peter Chiarelli that is familiar with Peter Cehlarik.

(Video Credit: Dafoomie via YouTube)

Austin Czarnik

Austin Czarnik is in a similar predicament as Peter Cehlarik – he has proven himself capable of playing at the NHL level but has just found other players getting in his way. One thing that Czarnik has against him that Cehlarik doesn’t is waiver eligibility. If Czarnik plays one more NHL game, he will have to go through waivers to back down to the AHL if need be, as he will have played 60 NHL games, thus making him eligible for waivers. In the 59 NHL games he has played, he has five goals, 12 assists, and 17 points.

After four years at the University of Miami (Ohio), Czarnik, now 25-years-old, has produced at a high level in the AHL. After his senior year, Czarnik played three games in Providence in which he had two assists. The following season is when he put Bruins fans on notice with 61 points in 68 games in his first full AHL season. In the 86 regular season games since his first full season, Czarnik has scored 31 goals and added 61 assists, good for 92 points and an average of just over a point-per-game. Most recently, he was named a second-team AHL All-Star.

Austin Czarnik is set to become a group-6 UFA this summer. He is categorized as a group-6 UFA due to the fact that he is 25-years-old and has yet to have played 80 NHL games yet. The Bruins could trade his rights at the draft if they feel he could be best suited elsewhere with a team that will give him an NHL job to get something in return for him. Otherwise, if they don’t sign or trade him, they would simply let him walk for nothing in free agency.

NHL teams would certainly be interested due to his experience at the NHL level and the amount of success he has achieved in the AHL. He is a speedy, skilled player who can play center and wing, general managers will like that. Like, Peter Cehlarik, Czarnik could fit well with another NHL team as a top-9 forward.

(Video Credit: Dafoomie via YouTube)

Adam McQuaid

I don’t think Adam McQuaid will be moved unless the right move comes around, but there certainly is a case for trading the long-time Bruins defender. Part of this case comes due to the fact that the Bruins have a few young defensemen that are progressing well elsewhere. Three players that come to mind are Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril in Providence and Urho Vaakanainen with SaiPa over in Finnish Elite League. Whether they are ready for NHL duty this fall or not, some, if not all of them should be ready within the next couple of years.

With a fully healthy Bruins defensive core consisting of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, and Kevan Miller heading into next year, it is possible that Adam McQuaid becomes the seventh defender and is scratched from the lineup more often than he is used to.

Trading a guy like Adam McQuaid not could free up cap space to add a defender via trade or free agency going into next season. Noah Hanifin (trade) and Calvin de Haan (free agency) are two guys that come to mind.

There is also the option to trade Adam McQuaid closer to the trade deadline. This could allow the Bruins brass more time to make a decision on whether to make space on the NHL roster for a young defender. McQuaid is set to become a UFA following the 2018-2019 season, he could be an appealing rental piece come deadline time. Possibly for a team in need of some depth on defense, playoff experience, to help offset the loss of an injured defender, or a combination of the three. Adam McQuaid has 68 games of playoff experience, two Stanley Cup Final appearances, and Stanley Cup ring under his belt.

Here’s Adam McQuaid finishing a nice pass from Peter Cehlarik for Cehlarik’s first NHL point.

(Video Credit: Dafoomie via YouTube)

Whether these players will be moved has obviously yet to be seen, but there are legitimate cases for all of them as trade candidates.

 

Sports Spot 5/7/18: Episode 18: Over Forty-Five Minutes Of Bruins Talk

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By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

On Episode 18 of Sports Spot, the final show of the semester. We recapped the Bruins’ season and previewed next season, talked about the Red Sox a bit, the Celtics and their playoff success, as well as the Patriots. We had very high energy and had a lot of fun, enjoy the show. See you in the fall.

Bruins segments:

1:33-48:32

Over 45 minutes of Bruins talk. Enjoy!

Please follow the Sports Spot co-hosts on Twitter:

@Mike_Cratty

@ryan_salvaggio

As well as the Sports Spot Twitter and SoundCloud account for all the latest updates from the world of sports including news, reports, signings, and trades. Including, of course, the Boston Bruins:

@SportsSpotWMCK