Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 3 Preview

PBRU3

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week three of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins go into it 3-1-0-1 (7 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division as well as third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a down week in which they beat the Rochester Americans 3-2 in their home-opener. They would then lose to the Springfield Falcons 5-2 before losing again to the Laval Rocket 5-4 in a shootout to end the week. Week three should be full of exciting hockey that you don’t want to miss.

The hockey fun kicks off on Friday, October 18, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take on the Laval Rocket for the second game in a row at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The action continues on Saturday, October 19, 2019, as the Bruins continue their tour of Canada when they travel to Belleville, Ontario, Canada to battle the Belleville Senators at CAA Arena. Finally, the week wraps up on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, when Providence invades Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena.

Friday, October 18, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins kick off the weekend against the Laval Rocket. It’s the second of four meetings between the two clubs this season. Our boys in black and gold lost to the Montreal affiliate in the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced. The Providence club has had a tough time with Laval historically.

Over the past five seasons, they’ve gone 2-1-0-2, including 1-0-0-2 on the road. The Laval hockey club has had a rough start to the year. They are 2-3 (4 points) to start the season. This is good for sixth in the North Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They had a record of 30-34-6-6 (72 points) last season. This was good for seventh in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The defense is going to play a major role in this game. The Montreal affiliate gave up 231 goals last season while only scoring 195. This means their goal differential is -36. Anything below zero is incredibly bad, but -36 is awful. Providence has had some ups and downs defensively over the past few games, but I believe this is still one of the better defenses in the AHL. Urho Vaakanainen is one of the major reasons I believe this. He’s been stellar so far, and I expect him to help shut down Laval.

Saturday, October 19, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (AWAY)

The Saturday night matchup between the Belleville Senators and the Providence Bruins marks the first of two these teams will have. There isn’t much history between these two clubs over the past five seasons, because of being in different divisions. Despite this, our boys in black and gold are 2-1-1 against the Ottawa affiliate in that time frame including 0-1-1 on the road.

The Belleville Senators have had a rough start to their season going 1-2 (2 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Last season the Ottawa affiliate was 37-31-3-5 (82 points). This was good for fifth in the North Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Special teams are going to play a big part in this game.

The Senators are 0/11 on the power play to start the year. The Bruins’ penalty kill is stingy only giving up four goals in 22 opportunities. These two components coupled together should tip the scales in Providence’s favor. On the other hand, our boys in black and gold have netted just three goals in 23 power-play opportunities and Belleville has given up three goals in 16 chances on the penalty kill. Hopefully, this can give the Providence club a chance to get the power-play on track.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Tuesday night matchup between Bridgeport and Providence will be the first of 12 between the two clubs. Over the past five seasons, the Sound Tigers and Bruins have been pretty evenly matched. Our boys in black and gold are 21-16-6-3 including 7-10-3-3 on the road. It should be an evenly matched game between the two clubs.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are 1-2-1 (3 points) to start the young season. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. Last season, the Islanders’ affiliate was 43-24-6-3 (95 points). This was good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose to the Hershey Bears in the first round of the playoffs.

I expect this game, and the season series to be close. Last season, six of the 12 games went to overtime or shootout. With both clubs so evenly matched, it seems likely that the Tuesday night game will be a one or two-goal game. When you have closely contested matchups, goaltending, defense, and special teams generally play a huge part in deciding the outcome. To start the season Providence has the edge in those categories. I expect them to come out on top.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a blistering start to the season. In five games with Providence, he’s netted three goals while dishing out three assists for six total points. This is exactly what both the young forward and the Bruins wanted to see after each of the last two seasons were cut short with shoulder surgery. If the Notre Dame alum keeps this up, he may force his way into Boston’s lineup.

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik is a guy who had an excellent season in Providence last year. The young forward is in an awkward position currently. The team doesn’t really have room for him in Boston, and he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Despite that, he’s started off hot scoring three goals in his first two games of action for three total points. He looks like one of the best players on the ice which is an excellent sign.

Not

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn found himself in the not section last week as well. It’s unfortunate because you would like a player, especially one of Senyshyn’s caliber to start the year hot. The young forward is one of two players to play in all of the team’s games this season and not register a point. Despite this, Senyshyn does seem to be chomping at the bit. I expect him to break out of the scoreless streak soon.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is the other player on the roster to play in every game and not register a point. The University of Wisconsin alum has had a slow start to the year, but he’s another player that I expect to break out of the slump soon. He’s way too good to go too long without a point.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a marvelous start to the 2019-2020 season. He’s scoring at a point per game clip of 1.20 and looks excellent on the ice. This is exactly what you want to see from a top prospect who has been injured each of the past two seasons. I expect the Notre Dame alum to keep up his hot start. Keep an eye on him, he’s a joy to watch.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Zboril has had a good start to his AHL season. He’s playing a heavy game and doing well defensively. He hasn’t found the back of the yet but has dished out an assist for one total point this season. The good news is one of the teams that Providence plays this weekend is the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 10 games against the Islanders’ affiliate, last season Zboril netted two goals and dished out three assists for five total points. Look for Zboril to rack up some points this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Lagace came to Providence as a free agent after being in the Vegas Golden Knights’ system. The veteran netminder has been good thus far going 2-0-0-1 with a 2.22  GAA, and a save percentage of .923. Look for him to have a big weekend on the road for Providence.

The Providence Bruins looked great the first week and not great the second. As I’ve previously stated, I still believe this team could be special. They have all the tools to put together a magical season. I expect our boys in black and gold to have another stellar week. They should be able to collect at least four of six possible points. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

 

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 2 Preview

pbruins2

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week two of the Providence Bruins season is upon us. Our boys in black and gold had a marvelous week one beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-0 and taking down the Hershey Bears 2-1 in overtime. After starting on the road, the spoked P finally comes home for the first time this year. The offense is playing well. That coupled with the defense and goaltending hitting on all cylinders, should make for an exciting home-opening weekend of hockey.

The action kicks off on Saturday, October 12, 2019, when the Rochester Americans roll into Providence, Rhode Island to invade the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The weekend action continues Sunday, October 13, 2019, when a familiar foe the Springfield Thunderbirds travel to Providence to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Finally, week two wraps up on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, the Providence Bruins travel to Laval, Quebec, Canada to take on the Laval Rocket at Place Bell.

Saturday, October 12, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Rochester Americans (HOME)

The Providence Bruins finally come back to Rhode Island for their home opener against the Rochester Americans. This will be the first of two meetings that these teams will have this season. Despite also being in the Eastern Conference, the Buffalo Sabres’ affiliate is in a different division and that’s why the two teams don’t play often. Last season our boys in black and gold were 1-1 against Rochester and have been good against them in recent years.

Over the past five seasons, they hold a 7-1 record, including 4-0 at the Dunk. The Rochester Americans are 1-0 on the young season after beating the Syracuse Crunch in overtime 3-2 in their season opener. Last season they were 46-23-5-2 (99 points) this was good for second in the North Division and third in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to be swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Toronto Marlies.

Special teams are going to be a major part of this game. The Providence Bruins are a perfect 12 for 12 in killing penalties this season. The penalty kill has been outstanding. The Americans have also yet to register a goal in five power-play opportunities. Though the Bruins have only registered one power-play goal in seven chances, the Rochester club has given up two power-play goals in five opportunities. This could be a chance for the spoked P to get their power-play going.

The Bruins penalty kill was excellent stopping seven of eight power-play opportunities for the Americans, while also scoring on two of eight themselves. With both games last season one-goal games, we should be in for an exciting night of hockey. I believe the Bruins will come out of this game on top and give the home crowd something to cheer about.

Sunday, October 13, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Providence Bruins continue their homestand against a divisional foe the Springfield Thunderbirds. This is the first of 14 meetings between the two clubs. Last season our boys in black and gold had a rough time against the Panthers’ affiliate going 6-7-1. However, over the past five seasons, the Bruins have seen success against the Springfield club going 23-14-3, including 12-7-1 at the Dunk.

The Springfield Thunderbirds are currently 1-1 after opening weekend. They beat Bridgeport 5-1 in their opening game and fell to Charlotte 4-2 their last game. Last year was a rough year for the Panthers’ affiliate going 33-29-9-5 (80 points). That was good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The defense and goaltending are going to be major factors in this game.

Last season the Springfield club gave up 241 goals. This was good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins meanwhile, gave up 212 goals last season. This was good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has a much better defense, and to top it off they may have stronger players at the position this year. The Providence club also has only given up one goal so far this year. This should all equate to a victory for our boys in black and gold.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins end week two by traveling to Laval, Quebec, Canada to take on the Laval Rocket. This will be the first of four meetings the two teams will have this season. This is another case of a team being in the same conference but a different division so they do not play each other often. Last season, Providence had a tough time with the Montreal affiliate last season going 0-1-0-1.

Over the past five seasons, they’ve gone 2-1-0-1, including 1-0-0-1 on the road. The Laval hockey club has had a rough start to the year. They lost both opening weekend games to Cleveland 3-2 and 4-1. They had a record of 30-34-6-6 (72 points) last season. This was good for seventh in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The defense is going to play a major role in this game. The Montreal affiliate gave up 231 goals last season while only scoring 195. This means their goal differential is -36. Anything below zero is incredibly bad, but -36 is awful. With the Bruins having one of the stingier defenses in the league, this should be an easy win for Providence.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce came to the Providence Bruins on a one-year contract after being an unrestricted free agent. He played in 60 games with the Utica Comets last season, netting 16 goals and dishing out 22 assists for 38 total points. So far this year, he’s netted two goals and dished out one assist for three total points in two games. He’s been excellent. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Anders Bjork: Bjork has had a rough few seasons. He’s needed season-ending shoulder surgery two-years in a row. In the first two games this year he’s netted a goal and dished out an assist for two total points. The Notre Dame alum looks excellent so far this year. If he keeps playing at a high level, we may see him called up to Boston before long.

Not

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn remains a player that Boston Bruins fans are split on. You have one side that is ready to call him a bust. Then you have the other side who says he just needs time to develop. The young winger has had an up and down career in Providence and has started this season slower than you’d like. He’s yet to register a point in two games. Hopefully, he just needs time to warm up and gets his game going soon.

Trent Frederic: Frederic is another guy who fans seem split on. The young center, I believe may end up being a solid NHL player, but he too has started the year slower than you would like. He has yet to register a point this season, but hopefully, the slow start comes to an end this weekend.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Lauko is playing in his first season with the Bruins. The young forward comes to Providence after an excellent season the QMJHL where he scored 21 goals and dished out 20 assists for 41 total points in 44 games for Rouyn-Noranda. He has yet to score a point this season, but I expect that to change soon. He’s a top prospect in the Boston system and is primed to have an excellent year.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Vaakanainen is one of the best young defensemen in the Bruins system. I expect him to take a big step forward in his second full season in North America. He’s looked good so far this season. He’s also played really well against Springfield in his career. In nine games he’s netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. I expect him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar is one of the best young goaltenders in the Bruins system. He had an excellent first outing against Hershey stopping 21 of 22 shots in an overtime win. It’ll be interesting to see how the 22-year old follows up his excellent first win of the season.

It’s been an excellent start to the 2019-2020 season for the Providence Bruins. Taking their first two games of the year on the road was important. Now they get to come home and play two games at the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island. I expect them to finish the weekend with two more wins under their belt, and honestly, I expect them to beat Laval on Wednesday. This team has a chance to be something special. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend action and as always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 1 Preview

pbruins

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Welcome everyone to the first preview of the Providence Bruins season. I hope you’re as excited as I am to get this year started. Just to quickly recap last season, the Providence Bruins ended up 38-27-8-3 (87 points) which was good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose in the first round of playoffs to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers in four games. This season looks to be even better with Providence’s loaded roster.

The season kicks off on Saturday, October 5th, 2019 when the Providence Bruins head down to invade the PPL Center to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Bruins continue their tour of the Keystone State when they head to Hershey, Pennsylvania to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. It should be an exciting first weekend of divisional matchups that you do not want to miss.

Saturday, October 5, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins start off the regular season on the road playing against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The matchup marks the first of what will be six games against the divisional foe this season. Last year, our boys in black and gold were 3-3 against the Flyers’ affiliate. Despite the record, all of the games were close as both teams had a similar style of play.

Historically, the Providence club has had trouble with Lehigh Valley going 9-13-2 over the past five seasons including 4-7-1 on the road. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were 39-30-4-3 (85 Points) which was good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite being eighth in the conference, they missed the playoffs because the top four teams in each division go on to the postseason.

Special teams are going to play a big part in this game. Last season both teams had exceptional penalty kill at 85% for Providence and 85.1% for Lehigh Valley. On the flipside, both had mediocre power play with 18.8% for the Phantoms and 17.7% for the Bruins. The Flyers’ affiliate is sure to come out strong for their home opener, but with the loaded roster for our boys in black and gold, I expect Providence to get the two points.

Sunday, October 6, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY)

The Pennsylvania road trip continues as the Providence Bruins take on the Hershey Bears. This too will be the first of six meetings the two teams will have this season. Last season, the spoked P was 4-2 against the Capitals’ affiliate and they’ve had good success against them in recent years. Over the past five seasons, the Boston affiliate has a 15-8-2-1 record against Hershey including 5-6-2 on the road.

Last season, the Hershey Bears were 43-25-4-4 (94 Points) which was good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in five games in round one of the playoffs and go on to lose to Charlotte in round two getting swept in four games.

Special teams are also going to play a big part in this game. As I stated earlier the Bruins had an excellent penalty kill at 85% last season. The Bears, on the other hand, had a rather pedestrian 79.6% penalty kill. With four of the six games, last season decided by just one goal and two of them going to overtime this is something that will play a major role in the matchup’s outcome. I expect the game to be close, but coming out with a win is certainly doable for the Providence club.

Players to Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Studnicka is arguably the best prospect the Boston Bruins have in their system. The young center starts his first full season with Providence and it should be an exciting one. He did get a taste of the AHL last year playing in the team’s four playoff games netting a goal and dishing out an assist for two total points. The forward group is sure to be loaded for the spoked P and I expect big things from Studnicka. Look for him to have a big first weekend of the season.

On the Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Like Studnicka, Zech is starting his first full season with Providence. After signing an AHL contract last March, he played in 12 games with the spoked P he didn’t find the back of the net himself, but he did dish out four assists for four total points. In the team’s four playing games he would net two goals without dishing an assist for two total points. Zech also managed to net two goals in the team’s final preseason game. The young defenseman is offensive-minded, and I expect him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Kyle Keyser: Kyle Keyser comes to Providence after having an excellent season and playoffs with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. This will be the young netminder’s first full professional season as well. The 20-year-old was excellent for the Boston Bruins in the preseason and played really well in Providence’s last preseason game. It’s pretty clear that he’s the best goalie prospect the team has, and if given the chance to play in the AHL he will be awesome.

It’s an exciting time when hockey returns to our lives. This season should be a thrilling one for the Providence Bruins. They are loaded with many of the system’s top prospects. I expect them to make the playoffs again this year, and at least make it passed the first round. This season has all the makings of being something special and I cannot wait to bring you coverage of this team. Also, for any of you interested in prospects, I will be doing a prospect podcast with the Black N’ Gold founder Mark Allred. You can find any podcast updates on Twitter @BNGProspectsPod. I hope everyone enjoys the first weekend of the season and as always GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Richardson: Bold Predictions For The 2019-2020 Bruins Season

bostonbruins

(Photo Courtesy of Winslow Townson – USA TODAY Sports)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

As the 2019-2020 season draws near, there is an excitement in the New England air amongst Bruins’ fans. This team a year ago was one win away from winning the Stanley Cup and expectations are sure to be high again. As you’ll see with my bold predictions, I too, have some lofty expectations of what this team can do. Without further ado, let’s dive right in and see what I believe we could be in store for this season.

David Pastrnak eclipses 50 goals and 100 points

David Pastrnak was excellent for the Bruins last season. In 66 games played he netted 38 goals and dished out 43 assists for 81 total points. Looking at those numbers a little deeper, you find out that 50 goals and 100 points may not be such a huge stretch. Scoring 38 goals in 66 games is a goal per game pace of roughly .575. That projected over an 82 games season works out to be roughly 47.15 goals.

That’s really not that far off from the 50 goal prediction I made. I think it’s feasible, if healthy that Pastrnak eclipses the 50 goal mark. Looking at the winger’s point total, he had 81 points in 66 games. That ends up being a point per game total of roughly 1.22. That over an 82 game span works out to be 100.04 points. As you can see, given his production last season, and the fact that he’s increased his production each year since being in the league we could be in for a big season from Pastrnak.

Oskar Steen will eventually lock down second-line right-wing

Oskar Steen has looked excellent so far during the pre-season. He’s been able to showcase his ability and prove that he may ready for the NHL quicker than previously anticipated. The young forward comes to the Bruins after having an excellent 2018-2019 season in the Swedish Hockey League where he netted 17 goals and dished out 20 assists for 37 points in 46 games.

Steen is a tenacious, hardworking forward with great offensive ability. He’s not afraid to battle to gain position on players. Many people actually believe that this style of play will be more suited for the North American game than it was in Sweden. Steen will likely start the year in Providence, but given his ability, style of play, and how well he has played in the pre-season, I firmly believe by the trade deadline that we will see Steen solidify the revolving door at the second-line right-wing position.

Charlie McAvoy will be a Norris Trophy Finalist

Charlie McAvoy is coming off a season where he was really good despite being injured for part of it. On top of that, he was excellent in the playoffs and showed a glimpse of what he can truly be. We all know that he is the heir apparent to Zdeno Chara as the team’s number one defenseman, but I think he takes a major step forward and solidifies that spot this season.

Not only do I believe that McAvoy will step up his defensive game even more, but I think his offensive game will also improve. His point per game total was up from his rookie year, and though he had 28 points in 54 games, that roughly translates to 42.82 points in 82 games. I think McAvoy will eclipse 55 points this season. Ultimately, McAvoy will fully grasp the title of best defenseman on the Bruins and it, in turn, will result in becoming one of the best defensemen in the NHL.

The 2019-2020 Boston Bruins will make it back to the Stanley Cup Final

The 2018-19 season left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Bruins’ players and fans alike. The team was devastated after losing game seven at home to St. Louis. This is going to motivate the team to be even better this season. The offseason brought a lot of change in the Eastern Conference. Teams got better, and familiar contenders are still going to be good. Despite this, and a few questions in the Bruins’ lineup, I think Boston will be left standing when all is said and down in the East.

The major reason that the Bruins will be in the Stanley Cup Final again is the defense. They will end up having the best defensive unit in the East and possibly the entire NHL. The young guys; Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, and Connor Clifton each took a huge step forward during the 2018-19 playoff run and will only continue to get better.

Veterans Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara are still very good and will round out the defense. Not to mention you still have the excellent goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. This defense is going to be formidable and will be the biggest reason why they make it back to the Stanley Cup Final. I hope everyone enjoys this final stretch before the start of the season. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter and as always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Axel Andersson

Andersson

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Babineau / Boston Bruins)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Axel Andersson was drafted in the second round, 57th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Boston Bruins were pretty thrilled when he fell to them in the second round. The Native of Sweden is a quick, offensive-minded defenseman who can seemingly create a scoring opportunity of nowhere. He’s the type of player that can quarterback the offense from the backend. It’s simple to see why the Bruins took Andersson, let’s see what he did leading up to and after being drafted.

Axel Andersson spent the 2017-18 season with Djurgardens IF of the J20 Superelit league which is Sweden’s high-level junior hockey league. In 42 games with the club, the young defenseman netted six goals while dishing out 25 assists for 31 total points and a plus/minus of 14. In the team’s three playoff games he didn’t register a point had a plus/minus of minus one. It was an excellent season for the native of Sweden. He was able to showcase his speed, and offensive ability.

Andersson’s passing ability is the strongest part of his offensive game, but he has an underrated shot as well. It’s deceptively fast and accurate. Though he may be offensive-minded, his defensive ability is also strong. He has the potential and ability to be a top-four defenseman for an NHL team. Given his ability, it’s pretty evident to see why the Boston Bruins were so high on Andersson.

The 2018-19 season was an interesting one for Andersson. He was too talented to play in the J20 Superelit league again, so he went to Sodertalje SK of HockeyAllsvenskan on loan. HockeyAllsvenskan is Sweden’s second-highest hockey league. In 41 games with the club, he didn’t find the back of the net but did dish out five assists for five points and a plus/minus rating of five. Sodertalje SK didn’t make the playoffs so after their season Andersson was returned to Djurgardens IF of the J20 Superelit.

The young defenseman would play in their eight playoff games not finding the back of the net and dishing out one assist for one total point and a plus/minus rating of two. While the offensive numbers don’t jump out at you off a scoresheet, that is likely because Andersson was playing a lesser role for Sodertalje SK. This means the numbers aren’t truly indicative of how well he played.

The 2019-20 season will be an intriguing one to watch for Andersson. The young defenseman could be playing in a few different places depending on how he does in training camp with the Providence Bruins. Andersson was taken 30th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft by the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. This means that if the Bruins don’t feel like he’s ready for the AHL that they can send him to Moncton for the season. Ultimately, I think Andersson is talented enough to stick in the AHL.

The young defenseman is one of the more interesting prospects in the system. The organizational depth at defense for Boston is very good. So while the position may be a bit crowded, I think Andersson can be better than most of the players currently in the system. I am really excited to see what he can become for the Bruins. As a whole, we as a fanbase should be thrilled about the defense moving forward. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the pre-season and feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Jack Studnicka

Boston Bruins Development Camp

(Photo Courtesy of David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Jack Studnicka was drafted in the second round, 53rd overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Winsdor, Ontario native was coming off a pretty good season the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) at the time of his selection. He was seen as a strong, and speedy two-way forward who could play the penalty-kill, power-play, and five-on-five. It’s easy to why Studnicka was drafted in the second round, now let’s dive into what he did leading up to and after he was selected 53rd overall.

The 2016-17 season was Studnicka’s second with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. The young forward was hoping to build his draft stock and he did just that. In 64 games with the Generals, he netted 18 goals and dished out 34 assists for 52 total points and a plus/minus of minus six. The Ontario native also seemed to turn it on when the lights were brightest in the playoffs. In the team’s 11 playoff games he netted five goals and dished out 10 assists for 15 total points and a plus/minus of minus one. It was an excellent season for Studnicka to build upon going forward.

The 2017-18 season was the young forward’s first since being drafted by Boston. Going into the season Oshawa would reward Studnicka’s play and leadership ability by putting the “C” on his sweater. The newly appointed Captain would reward the team’s decision and excel for the Generals. In 66 games he netted 22 goals while dishing out 50 assists for 72 total points and a plus/minus of 18. In Oshawa’s five playoff games he netted one goal and dished out four assists for five total points and a plus/minus of zero.

It was such a good season for Studnicka, that the team gave him his first taste of professional hockey. In five games with Providence, he netted one goal and dished out four assists for five total points and a plus/minus of two. It was an excellent season for the Ontario native, who proved to be one of the teams top prospects. He was able to show off not only his defensive awareness but also the soft hands that help fuel his scoring ability.

With the Bruins’ offensive depth in the system, the team decided to send Studnicka back to Oshawa for the 2018-19 season. Still appointed as the Generals’ Captain, the young forward would only play in the 30 games with Oshawa before being traded to the Niagra IceDogs. At the time of the trade, the Ontario native had played in 30 games with the Generals’ netting 12 goals and dishing out 22 assists for 34 total points and a plus/minus of 10.

The trade to the Niagra IceDogs seemed to light a fire under Studnicka. Dawning the “A” on his sweater, he would play in 30 games for Niagra netting 24 goals and dishing out 25 assists for 49 total points and a plus/minus of eight. This means for the entire season, Studnicka played in 60 games netting 36 goals and dishing out 47 assists for 83 total points and a plus/minus of 18. He would also play in Niagra’s 11 playoff games netting five goals and dishing out 6 assists for 11 total points and a plus/minus of four.

The young forward would also play in Providence’s four playoff games netting a goal and dishing out an assist for two total points and a plus/minus of two. It was an excellent 2018-19 campaign for Studnicka which really solidified his status as a top prospect in not only the Boston Bruins organization, but the entire NHL. His defensive awareness, speed and scoring ability make him a lethal forward. He is certain to be the Bruins’ lineup for many years to come.

This season will be an interesting one for Studnicka. He’s going to be given every opportunity to win a spot on Boston’s roster out of training camp. There are a few factors that will go into this decision. The first is how well he plays in training camp and the preseason games. The second is where do the Bruins envision him playing going forward. If he plays well enough at the center position, you could see the team move Charlie Coyle to the wing. The team might also value Studnicka more at the wing position and could play him there if they feel his offensive ability is too good to send down to Providence.

Ultimately I believe Studnicka will spend the beginning of the season in Providence but I believe he will end up getting called up to Boston mid-season. It’s easy to see why the Boston Bruins and fans alike are excited about this young forward. He could be a foundational top-six forward for the Bruins for the foreseeable future. I am excited to see how he plays in his first full professional season. I hope everyone enjoys the preseason because regular season hockey is right around the corner. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter, and as always GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Jakub Lauko

Bruins Capitals Hockey

(Photo Courtesy of AP / Nick Wass)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Jakub Lauko was drafted in the third round, 77th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. The young forward is someone who the Bruins felt could be the steal of the draft. Though his stats didn’t jump out at you, he still played well in the Czech Republic’s top league, Czech Extraliga. Lauko’s biggest asset when he was drafted was his speed. He’s able to use this speed to skate past defenders and drive to the net. Not only does he have elite speed, but he also has excellent on-ice awareness and a great finishing touch. These are three tools that not a lot of players possess. Now that we’ve gone a little into the why let’s dive into what Lauko did leading up to and after being drafted.

The 2017-18 season was the year before Lauko was drafted. The Czech Republic native was playing in the Czech Extraliga for Pirati Chomutov. He had made his debut with the club the previous year as a 16-year-old kid. That gives you an idea of how talented Lauko is. In 42 games with Pirati Chomutov, he netted three goals while dishing out six assists for nine total points and a plus/minus rating of -1. Despite the seemingly low point total, the Boston Bruins really liked what they saw from Lauko. The skill that really caught their eye though, was his speed. It’s Lauko’s biggest asset moving forward. Combining that with his scoring ability and it makes for a lethal combination.

After being drafted in 2018 Jakub Lauko was invited to training camp with the Boston Bruins. After a strong showing, he signed a three-year entry-level contract and was assigned to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. The 2018-19 season with the Huskies would be a memorable one for the young forward. In 44 games with Rouyn-Noranda, Lauko netted 21 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 41 total points, and a plus/minus rating of +34. In the Huskies’ 19 playoff games, he netted six goals and dished out seven assists for 13 total points and a plus/minus rating of +10. The young speedster would lead rookies in playoff scoring which helped Rouyn-Noranda win the 2018-19 QMJHL Championship.

After winning the QMJHL Championship the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies would go on to play in the Memorial Cup tournament. The Memorial Cup is awarded to the CHL (Canadian Hockey League) Champion. The CHL is made up of three member leagues, the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) and the WHL (Western Hockey League). Each year, the champion from each league and a host team play in a round-robin style tournament to determine the Memorial Cup winner.

Lauko would end up leading the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to a Memorial Cup Championship win. In the five games, he netted two goals and dished out six assists for eight total points and a plus/minus rating of +3. Lauko’s eight points would lead the tournament in scoring. It was a superb season for the native of the Czech Republic. He showed that he a lot of scoring ability that he’s able to pair with elite speed and on-ice awareness. Lauko has a ton of talent for being such a young player. If he can continue to develop at his current rate, then the Bruins’ assertion that he will be the steal of the 2018 draft will end up being true.

Going into this season there was some on where Lauko would play. Does he play in Providence or stay with Rouyn-Noranda? I expect the young forward to spend the entire season in Providence. The speedster has done all there is to do in the QMJHL and with a talent like his, it’s better to not rush him to the NHL before he’s ready. A full year in Providence will allow him to get acclimated to the Bruins’ system, and structure. It will also give him a chance to catch up to the speed of professional hockey. Thanks to his combination of speed, on-ice awareness, and finishing ability I think Jakub Lauko has a chance to be a special top-six forward for many years in Boston. I hope everyone is enjoying the off-season and feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Oskar Steen

Steen

(Photo Courtesy of NHL.com)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Oskar Steen was drafted in the sixth round, 165th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. When drafted, he was seen as a tough-nosed, gritty, undersized forward who had lots of scoring potential. Since being drafted, the native of Sweden has taken his lumps, despite that his stock has risen as fast any prospect over the past year. The 21-year-old has shown that he possesses great offensive ability that should translate well to the North American game. Let’s dive in and see what Steen has done since being drafted by the Boston Bruins.

2016-17 was Oskar Steen’s first full year in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) with Farjestad BK. The SHL is Sweden’s top league and boasts a lot of talented players. It can take young players a year or two to adjust to the league and really make an impact. This seemed to be the case for Steen, who had an up and down season for Farjestad BK. In 47 games, the Sweden native found the back of the net one time and dished out two assists for three total points and a plus/minus rating of -5. The young forward would also play in the teams seven playoff games not recording a point. Despite the low point total for the season, Steen did show flashes of why he was drafted.

The 2017-18 season was better for Steen, but still wasn’t quite what he wanted it to be. Despite this, the native of Sweden would show off his gritty play and unrelenting motor. In 45 games with Farjestad BK, the young center netted four goals and dished out two assists for six total points and a plus/minus rating of 0. In the team’s five playoff games he failed to register a point and had a plus/minus of -2. It’s positive that Steen was able to score more in this season that he was in his previous season. Overall, the season in the SHL was still not a bad one. Showing progress each year is what you expect from young prospects.

The young forward was also chosen to play for Sweden in the World Junior Championships. In seven games for Sweden, he netted two goals and dished out two assists for four points and a plus/minus of +5 helping lead Sweden to a silver medal. Steen looked good on the North American ice. This could actually be a better indicator of how his game transitions to the AHL or NHL because, in the SHL, they use International ice which is actually larger than North American ice. During the World Junior Championships, they played on the smaller North American ice. A style of play that is successful on the smaller ice, may not always translate to the bigger ice.

The 2018-19 season was a coming-out party for Oskar Steen. He had his best offensive season to date. The young forward’s development is exactly what you want to see from year to year from a prospect. Especially one drafted in the sixth round. In 46 games with Farjestad BK, he netted 17 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 37 total points and a plus/minus of +17. In the team’s 14 playoff games he found the back of the net two times and dished out five assists for seven total points and a plus/minus of +3. He ended up in the top 10 in the SHL in scoring. That’s a special season for a player at such a young age. Steen’s offensive ability is through the roof and he has potential to get even better. After this stellar season, he signed a three-year entry-level contract and will play in Providence.

Moving forward, I think we can expect a lot from Oskar Steen. I really like his game. He’s tenacious, hardworking and he’s willing to work for position against guys. The Bruins feel that his style of play will translate even better here than it did in Sweden. If this holds true, then the AHL and NHL will have their hands full trying to stop Steen. I think realistically the native of Sweden ends up being a very good second or third-line forward for the Boston Bruins. He may make is debut in Boston this season, but I’d expect him to play the full season in Providence. There is no need to rush him to the NHL roster before he’s potentially ready. Steen will definitely be a player to watch going forward! Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter, and as always Go, Bs, Go!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Providence Bruins Player Profile: Cooper Zech

zech

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Cooper Zech is a name you might not recognize, and that’s because he is someone who wasn’t drafted by the Boston Bruins. In fact, he was not drafted at all. In March of 2019, the young defenseman signed a two-year AHL contract with the Providence Bruins after finishing his freshman season at Ferris State University. Zech is an undersized puck-moving defenseman from Michigan. The Bruins’ recent history with a player that fits that same mold is pretty good. So, let’s get into what Zech did before coming to Providence, and what the Bruins saw in him.

zech2

(Photo Courtesy of Odessa Jackalopes)

Cooper Zech spent the 2015-16 season with the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).  In 51 games with the Jackalopes Zech netted eight goals while dishing out 17 assists for 25 total points and plus/minus rating of 0. It was not a bad first season in the NAHL where Zech’s offensive ability was really on display. The Michigan native would go on to earn NAHL All-Rookie First Team and NAHL All-South Division Rookie Team honors.

The young defenseman would go on to play the 2016-17 season with the Odessa again, and in 41 games found the back of the net three times and dished out 29 assists for 32 total points and a plus/minus rating of +9. Zech would also play a part of that season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with Muskegon Lumberjacks. In 25 games with the Lumberjacks Zech would dish out four assists for four total points, and plus/minus rating of -6. It was another solid year of development for Cooper.

Zech would go on to play the 2017-18 season in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) with the Wenatchee Wild, and he would have a stellar season. In 58 games with the Wild, the Michigan native would net 11 goals and dish out 58 assists for 69 total points. He would also play in 20 playoff games for Wenatchee netting four goals and dishing out 19 assists for 23 total points en route to leading the Wild to the BCHL Championship. Cooper would also be a BCHL First Team All-Star, he would also lead the league in assists, lead defenseman in assists, lead defenseman in points, and be named the league’s top defenseman. Zech really shined during this season and was able to prove what he could do.

zech4

(Photo Courtesy of Western Collegiate Hockey Association)

Cooper Zech would spend the 2018-19 season playing in his freshman season at Ferris State University for the Bulldogs. The young defenseman would make his presence felt early and often. In 36 games with the Bulldogs, he would net eight goals and dish out 20 assists for 28 total points and a plus/minus of +3. It would be the first time since 1987-88 a freshman led Ferris State in scoring. The excellent year earned Zech some accolades. He would win the NCAA Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Rookie of the Year and would also be named to the NCAA WCHA First All-Star Team and NCAA WCHA All-Rookie Team.

After his collegiate season ended, Zech had multiple offers from AHL teams. Ultimately he would choose to sign with Providence and was able to get into 12 regular-season games for the AHL club in 2018-19. In those 12 games, he would dish out four assists for four total points while playing very good defense. The Michigan native would also play in the team’s four playoff games netting two goals for two total points. In his short time playing for Providence, Zech looked really good on the ice. He looked comfortable in each zone, and he looked comfortable both with and without the puck. The game didn’t seem too fast for him, which can happen for players coming into the AHL for the first time.

Going into this season, I believe we can expect big things from Cooper Zech. Despite only being 5’9, he plays without fear. He is quick on his feet and can play with or without the puck, though he’s more comfortable with it. Not only do I think he can be a very good hockey player, but the Bruins have also had success signing guys to AHL deals and developing them. Connor Clifton is a good example of that just this past season. Zech’s game is a lot like Torey Krug, and I believe he will be a player to watch this season in Providence. To me, he’s one of their most intriguing players heading into 2019-2020. As we get closer to the start of the season, remember the name, Cooper Zech. You could be hearing it a lot. As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to send them to me on Twitter. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and Go, Bs, Go!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Richardson: Ideal Bruins Lineup On Opening Night: Version One

bruinsteam

(Photo Courtesy of Winslow Townson / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Earlier this week fellow Black N’ Gold writer Mike Cratty had the idea to give out his ideal lineup Opening Night. He then posed the question to the rest of us and it’s turned into a nice series. Other Black N’ Gold writers Garrett Hayden, Max Mainville, and Yanni Latzanakis have followed suit giving their lineups. I have linked their respective articles at the end of this one so you can check them out if you have not yet.

First Line: Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

I am starting out pretty standard here with the Boston Bruins top line. When all three players are healthy this is one of the best lines in the entire league. While keeping this trio together seems obvious, there has been some debate amongst fans whether Boston should or not. This is because at times during this past season Pastrnak has been moved down to the second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci.

David Pastrnak is arguably the most important player on the Bruins offense. In the past, I have been an advocate for moving him down to the second line. My reason for this was that I felt the team needed to spread the wealth and scoring between lines. However, the simple fact is the chemistry this trio has on the ice is unmatched by any line in the NHL. Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak set the offensive tone for the team and produce too much to break-up.

Second Line: DeBrusk – Krejci – Coyle

The second line right-wing has been a position that the Bruins have been looking to fill for a few years now. Despite the carousel of players that have played on the right-wing, both DeBrusk and Krejci have produced at high levels. My solution is one that may be outside the box but I think Charlie Coyle is the answer to fix the right-wing. Coyle was acquired by the Bruins before the trade deadline last season in a deal that sent Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild.

Since then, he played excellently for our boys in black and gold especially during their run to the Stanley Cup Final. Adding him to the top six will strengthen it tenfold. DeBrusk and Krejci are locked into their position on the second line. Krejci, finally fully healthy had one of his best seasons in a long time. DeBrusk has proven to be very good in his first two seasons with Boston. Despite a less than stellar postseason that due in part to a concussion sustained in the first round, I fully expect him to bounce back and have a great 2019-2020 campaign. These line combinations would give the Bruins one of the best top six’s in the NHL.

Third Line: Heinen – Studnicka – Senyshyn

I know that some of you may think that I am absolutely insane for saying this. However, this line has the potential to be very good. Jack Studnicka is one of the Bruins top offensive prospects even though he’s only 20 years old. In 60 games in the OHL last season, he netted 36 goals and dished out 47 assists for 83 total points. He also played in Providence’s four playoff games netting one goal and dishing one assist for two points. He has the potential to be very good for Boston, and I think he takes a big step forward this year.

Zach Senyshyn is another guy who is debated a lot amongst fans. He’s spent two full years in Providence and some people are ready to call him a bust. I am not one of those people. I think the young speedster could make a huge impact on the Bruins this season. He has a ton of scoring ability (114-63-177 in 195 games in the OHL) while that hasn’t quite translated into the AHL or NHL yet, I think it will. He was able to get in two games with the big club last season and he looked good scoring a goal in one of the games. His speed combined with Studnicka’s ability could be lethal for Boston. Heinen was recently re-signed to a two year deal with Boston. He’s one of their best defensive forwards and he would pair nicely with this young line.

Fourth Line: Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

This fourth line has the potential to be one of the best in the NHL. Joakim Nordstrom proved to be extremely valuable especially during their deep playoff run. He’s very good defensively, while also providing some offense when the opportunity presents itself. Sean Kuraly is one of my favorite current players. He had an excellent regular season and when he came back from injury in the playoffs, it was a spark the Bruins needed. He’s tenacious and a really good hockey player. He will be the one that makes this line go.

Chris Wagner’s production was a welcomed surprise for Bruins fans this past season. He also played well in the playoffs, but an injury cut his postseason short. He’s another guy who is always around the puck creating opportunities for Boston. As I said earlier, this line has the potential to be the best fourth line in hockey. They grind the opponents down and are quick to capitalize on any mistakes made by their opposition.

Extra Forwards: Lindholm – Ritchie

Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie were both signed once free agency opened earlier this month. Lindholm will provide good depth off the bench in case of injury. He has some decent offensively ability and can also play on the penalty kill which may end up being important this season. Brett Ritchie will likely provide some size for the lineup if it is needed throughout the season. At 6’4″ and 220 pounds he’s a big body that can throw a hit or two across the ice.

First Pairing: Chara – McAvoy

This is another one of those no brainers in the Bruins lineup. Zdeno Chara has been the number one defenseman and captain for over a decade. Even at the age of 42, the native Slovakian provides top-line minutes and ability. McAvoy, on the other hand, is the future number one defenseman for the Bruins. You could even argue that the way he played in the playoffs, that the torch has been passed and the Long Beach native is already the number one guy. Either way, this will without a doubt be the top pairing.

Second Pairing: Krug – Carlo

This is a perfect second pairing for the Boston Bruins. Brandon Carlo has been very good for the Bruins in his first three years as a true defensive defenseman. The Colorado Springs native really proved himself during his first taste of the playoffs. He was excellent and played a pivotal role in getting Boston to the Stanley Cup Final. Krug, on the other hand, is one of the better offensive-minded defensemen in hockey. The former Michigan State Spartan also runs the power play unlike anyone else. He perfectly complements Carlo’s game and completes the second pairing.

Third Pairing: Grzelcyk – Clifton

Matt Grzelcyk has proven to be one of the most consistent defensemen for the Bruins in every facet of the game. He had an excellent 2018-19 season and played very well during the run to the Stanley Cup Final. After being arguably the most improved playing in Providence this season, Connor Clifton emerged during the 2018-19 playoff run. The New Jersey native, like Grzelcyk, is very good in every facet of the game. These two young defensemen will make a great second pairing for the Boston Bruins.

Extra Defensemen: Kampfer – Moore – Miller

Steven Kampfer signed an extension at the end of last month. The Michigan native provides really good depth for the Bruins. The good thing about Kampfer is that he can sit out a few games, and be very solid starting when needed. John Moore will likely not be ready to start the season due to shoulder surgery he had once the season ended. Kevan Miller is another guy that likely won’t be ready to start the season due to a bad knee injury he sustained last season.

Goaltenders: Rask – Halak

Tuukka Rask was one of the main reasons why the Boston Bruins were one win away from being Stanley Cup Champions in 2018-2019. The Finnish goaltender was superb throughout the playoffs. One of the big reasons why he was so good during the postseason run was that he was able to rest a lot of games in the regular season because of how good Jaroslav Halak was. Tuukka Rask is at the top of his game come playoff time when he can start under 50 games during the regular season. Having Rask and Halak was essentially split the regular-season workload is something that makes Boston’s goaltending so good.

Other Black N’ Gold Writers’ Ideal Lines

Check out Mike’s article HERE.

Check out Garrett’s article HERE.

Check out Max’s article HERE.

Check out Yanni’s article HERE.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel!  We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!