Bruins’ Options If Rask Decides To Retire After 2020-21 Season

( Photo Credit: The Athletic / theathletic.com )

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow Me On Twitter @andrewlindrothh

According to Matt Porter of The Boston Globe, in a recent interview with Boston Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask, he recently claimed he would not rule out the option of retiring after his contract expires in the 2021 off-season. With this being said, this could drastically affect the Bruins as their unstoppable goalie tandem of Rask and Jaroslav Halak, as Halak’s contract expires this upcoming 2020 off-season and now with the possibility of Rask retiring after the 2021 season. The Bruins could be looking at a completely different rotation of goalies in the near future, but what will that look like?

Jeremy Swayman

( Photo Credit: UMaine Athletics / GoBlackBears.com )

The 6’3, 187-pound goaltender, Jeremy Swayman, was Boston’s fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and since then committed to playing for the University of Maine. Swayman played for three years at the NCAA level and finished with an impressive resume, averaging a .930% save percentage and 2.40 GAA. He was lights out last this past 2019-2020 season, collecting 18 wins with three shutouts, 2.07 GAA, and an astounding .939% save percentage. Due to his stellar year, Swayman was named 2019-2020 Hockey East Player of the Year.

Swayman recently surrendered his senior year at the University of Maine and signed a three-year entry-level contract worth $925k a season with the Boston Bruins. If Swayman performs well during camp this year, you will most likely see him suit up for Bruins AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. The current goaltenders for Providence are Maxime Legacé and Daniel Vladar, but both goaltenders’ contracts will expire this upcoming off-season. There is no doubt Swayman will look to capitalize on this opportunity and prove to everyone that he is the future of the Bruins goal-tending.

Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: Atlanta Gladiators )

The 6’2, 179-pound goaltender, Kyle Keyser, is another young player just entering the Boston Bruins organization. Keyser signed an entry-level contract deal with the Bruins in 2017, but that contract did not begin until this past season when he made his professional debut with the Providence Bruins for six starts, and the Bruins’ 2019-2020 ECHL affiliate, Atlanta Gladiators, for one game. In his six-game stint with Providence, he only secured one win and maintained a .890% save percentage, and lost his only start with the Atlanta Gladiators making 18 saves.

Although he was off to a slow start for the Bruins’ minor-league affiliates, he stole the show when playing for Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) from 2016-2019. In 2018-2019, Keyser appeared in 47 regular-season games and came up huge for the Generals with 32 wins and a 0.915% save percentage. Keyser is packaged with a ton of potential and will be with the Bruins organization until the 2022 off-season.

Daniel Vladar

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The 6’5, 185-pound goaltender, Dan Vladar, was chosen as a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and has been with the Boston Bruins minor league affiliates Providence Bruins and Atlanta Gladiators since the 2016-2017 season. His entry-level contract expires this upcoming off-season. Vladar has been developing each year for an opportunity to start with the Bruins, and he proved he could be a reliable back-up in case Halak decides not to re-sign this off-season, or to help replace Rask if he decided to retire after this next season.

This past season with the Providence Bruins, he led the American Hockey League (AHL) with a 0.936% save percentage and 1.79 GAA. He played in 25 games and helped Providence with 14 wins, and collected three shutouts. Although his contract is up this off-season, I hope the Bruins take advantage of his restricted free-agent status and re-signs Vladar to a new deal as he could be part of the Bruins next unstoppable goalie tandem.

Although Halak’s status for a contract extension with the Bruins is unknown, it is also possible he re-signs with the Bruins for more than one year and takes over Rasks’ starting position as one of the other goalie prospects continues to develop and serve as a back-up to Halak. For now, it is safe to say the Boston Bruins have promising goalie prospects, and we can all look forward to watching them play soon.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 171 that we recorded below on 3-23-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Minor-Pro Affiliate Done With Season After Virus Concerns Rise

( Photo Credit: Infinite Energy Center / Infiniteenergycenter.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per CBC & Sportsnet reporter/writer Elliotte Friedman sent out a tweet below letting the hockey world that the ECHL would announce that the league is going to cancel the season on Monday. Minutes later the well informed Friedman updated the new that the cancelation of the 2019-20 was going to be within the hour and not on the upcoming Monday. Later in the series of tweets below, the ECHL did, in fact, announce that the regular season and playoffs are done for the remainder of the hockey year.

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This unfortunate news certainly came at a bad time when it comes to the Boston Bruins franchise as the Atlanta Gladiators are they’re “AA” minor-pro affiliate and feeder system to the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins which is Boston’s top minor-pro affiliate. The Gladiators have hovered around the bottom of the South Division standings but have played well before the ECHL cancelation to be in the mix of the 2020 Kelly Cup postseason. Before last night’s announcement, the Glads produced points in their last ten glams accompanied by an impressive 8-0-1-1 record good enough for 62 regular-season points just one point shy of tying the third-place Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

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As the 2019-20 season ended for Atlanta club they finish with a 29-28-2-2 record and when you look at the Eastern Conference postseason outlook they sit in the eighth position and would’ve qualified for a playoff spot unlike they did at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. Before this terrible virus seemingly took over the world, I believe with the way the Gladiators club was playing down the stretch the team could’ve earned more points to possibly reach the seventh position in the East with 11 games remaining.

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Some Gladiators players that were under contract and Providence Bruins property that deserve mentions this season offensively were longtime veteran forward Eric Neiley (24-31-55, 59GP) forward Samuel Asselin (26-26-52, 53GP) forward Tommy Marchin (21-27-48, 49GP) forward Scott Conway (17-16-33, 39GP) defenseman Joel Messner (8-29-37, 59GP) defenseman Zach Malatesta (14-20-34, 60GP). It was unfortunate that goaltender and Boston Bruins prospect Kyle Keyser wasn’t able to return to the Gladiators lineup as he was recently sent down to Atlanta presumably medical cleared to return to action after leaving the AHL Providence Bruins team he was with for several weeks getting back to game shape after a long absence with concussion problems.

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Bruins seventh-round prospect Pavel Shen who was struggling to get into games with Providence down the stretch was sent to Atlanta to keep his feet moving and would’ve added some offensive production at the lower level was unable to see any ice in Georgia due to the cancelation. With the top minor-pro affiliate in Providence in his AHL rookie season, the 20-year-old Russia native appeared in 35 games for the Bruins contributing 4-5-9 numbers. Shen was selected in the last round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and impressed at the 2018-19 World Junior Championship Tournament where he had 3-1-4 numbers in seven games.

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With the end of the ECHL 2019-20 campaign officially over it remains to be seen what’s to become of the higher up AHL and even higher NHL and their thoughts on the current hockey season. The ECHL is a feeder to the higher AHL franchises so in emergency situations and callups presumably won’t be there. If the AHL is next, well there goes your feeder league for the NHL if the same scenarios are to arise. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, and don’t have any solid proof, but the ECHL might be setting the bar here for further cancelations of hockey seasons. This is something I’m not exactly happy about as a diehard Boston Bruins fan and pure speculation on my part but it seems like it may be a trend. Also, with the ECHL and the no winner of the Kelly Cup, hearing the 2019-20 regular season accolades at the higher above leagues and just giving the Cups to the clubs with the most points is just an unsettling feeling with those winning by default scenarios.

Tough times no doubt moving forward and honestly hope things get worked out for the better. Sports aside, I hope all are safe and in well health as we continue this worldwide pandemic. As mentioned in a previous article we hope all our BNG readers and families/supporters stay vigilant throughout this process and if anything gets our beloved sport oh hockey back when it’s safe to do so.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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!!

Shen Reassigned By Boston Bruins To “AA” Minor-Pro Affiliate Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flikr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per the AHL’s official website transactions page, the NHL Boston Bruins have reassigned 2018 seventh-round selection, Pavel Shen, from the Providence Bruins to the organization’s ECHL “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators. In this, his rookies season with the Providence club the Ufa, Russia native appeared in 35 games while producing 4-5-9 offensive numbers. RinksideRhodeIsland.com founder/hockey writer Mark Divver gives a great explanation below in a Tweet earlier today on why the  20-year-old forward was demoted to the lower developmental level.

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The last time Shen got into game action was back on February 26th,2020, in a 6-2 beat down of the host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. In that game against the Penguins, he recorded an assist on the second-period goal from defenseman Cooper Zech snapping a six-game pointless streak. As a young prospect, this is a solid move to keep the 6′-1″ 183-pound center moving with available ice-time as Divver mentions in his Tweet above. No need to keep a guy around just practicing and viewing games from the press box on the regular.

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The ECHL Atlanta Gladiators team has really come together lately and making a drive up the South Division standings sitting in fourth place, one point behind the Greenville Swamp Rabbits who are in third with 63 points. With Eastern Conference teams such as the South Carolina Stingrays, Florida Everblades, Newfoundland Growlers, and Reading Royals clinching 2020 postseason births, the Atlanta club sits in the eighth position with a 29-28-2-2 record. The Gladiators 2019-20 regular season might not be impressive to most but it’s what the team has done in the last three weeks compiling an  8-0-1-1 record and getting closer to Kelly Cup Playoff contention.

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The Atlanta club didn’t qualify for the postseason last season (2018-19) but did the previous campaign in 2017-18 when they faced the powerful Florida Everblades who swept the team from Georgia in the first-round 4-0. That was the first time the Gladiators qualified for the postseason after four playoff-less years. the addition of Shen could help out the surging Atlanta club and might spark some offensive creativity that he was lacking in Providence. The next contest for the Gladiators and potentially Pavel’s first regular-season game in the ECHL could be Friday night March 13th on the road against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Report: Bruins Goaltending Prospect Keyser Could Return To Action Soon

( Photo Credit: ECHL Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Longtime American Hockey League writer Mark Divver reported the other day that the Providence Bruins have sent Boston Bruins goaltending prospect Kyle Keyser to their “AA” minor-pro affiliate in Atlanta Georgia. The 20-year-old undrafted netminder signed with the National Hockey Leagues Bruins in early October of 2017 after the B’s placed Malcolm Subban on waivers ultimately being claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights. Keyser returns to the Atlanta Gladiators organization after a lengthy battle with a concussion-related injury.

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As Divver mentioned in his tweet above, Keyser has spent several weeks practicing with the Providence club as he recovers from the head injury that he sustained with Atlanta prior to his injury reserve status. Kyle only appeared in one game for the Gladiators this season giving up four goals on 22 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Jacksonville IceMen in mid-December 2019. Before his only game with Atlanta, Keyser appeared in six games for Providence as he was recalled to fill the position vacated by fellow B’s prospect goaltender Dan Vladar who suffered his own injury early in the 2019-20 campaign with a high ankle sprain. In his time with Providence, he appeared in six games for the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins posting a 1-4-1 record with a goals-against-average of 3.21 and .890 save percentage.

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This isn’t Keyser’s first bout with concussion issues as he suffered two significant head injuries in the 2018-19 season which was his final year in the Ontario Hockey League with the Oshawa Generals. Even though he went through troubling times with concussions in his final year in the Canadian Hockey League, he managed to complete his best year of developmental hockey in the OHL with a record of 32-8-0, a 2.75 GAA, and .915 save%.

The Atlanta Gladiators start a seven-game road trip tonight in Jacksonville, Florida so it remains to be seen if he actually gets the start against the last team he faced before this season’s concussion. As Divver mentioned in his tweet above, his placement with the ECHL club seemingly means he’s been cleared by the Bruins medical staff to get back in the crease. If he doesn’t get in the game tonight against the IceMen, he could see action next weekend when the Gladiators play two games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena against host Greenville Swamp Rabbits. We hope Kyle is able to get back on track as he’s an important member of the developmental depth in goal with a tremendous amount of athleticism and talent in the crease.

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Also, it should be interesting how that developing depth in goal will look next season with Vladar currently under the last year of his entry-level contract and Bruins goaltending prospect Jeremy Swayman who’s rumored to leave the University of Maine after this his junior year. Having all these netminders in the fold isn’t a bad thing but it remains to be seen where they all play in the near future. It almost seems the NHL Bruins like to have first-year minor-league pros start in the ECHL where they’ll see a ton of rubber as that was the starting point for Vladar and now Keyser. Could we see a departure of veteran Providence netminder Max Lagace who signed a one-year, two-way contract leave to make room for a Vladar-Keyser tandem at the AHL level and potentially have Swayman play his first-year wherever the NHL Bruins have their ECHL affiliate next season? Stay tuned as I’m on the upcoming news as soon as it breaks.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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!!

AHL Bruins Sign Goaltender For Remainder Of The 2019-20 Season

( Photo Credit: ECHL / Utah Grizzlies )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Earlier this week I dropped the news of the Boston Bruins recall of goaltender Dan Vladar and the club’s top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins signing of a new addition in the crease. That article I posted late on Wednesday night January 15th, 2020, can be seen HERE. The official news from the Boston organization pertaining to this transaction can be seen HERE from the team’s official website. Both can also be viewed via official tweets below.

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The second part of the article I got from the same source of the Vladar recall was correct even though I mentioned it was a loan in the article when it was, in fact, the signing of a new goaltender. With the injury news of Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (Upper-Body) and his unknown timeframe of return, the organization was on full alert creating space and making additions to accommodate the multi-levels that get affected when situations like these happen at the highest level of professional hockey. A signing like this was also important due to the injury status of B’s prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser who I talked about later in this article.

The Providence club signed veteran netminder Martin Ouellette for the remainder of the 2019-20 American Hockey League regular season. The 28-year-old Ouellette has spent time already this season appearing in ten games for the Bruins affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators this season but was involved in a December 2019, trade shortly after to the Beehive State (Utah) where his game certainly garnered interest from the Providence Bruins and General Manager John Fergerson Jr. Ouellette a former Columbus Blue Jackets seventh-round draft pick in 2010 has spent a majority of his minor-pro career with the Philadelphia Flyers organization covering the crease in both the AHL and lower ECHL levels. Lately, Martin has been a bit of a journeyman and an attractive risk to take when finding suitable talent to keep any team’s minor-pro developmental system competitive.

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The 6′-1′ 161-pound netminder from Quebec, Canada has New England ties as his alma mata the University of Maine Black Bears is nearby in the six-state Northeastern area. Ouellette played in 82 games in his four year NCAA hockey career in the Hockey East Men’s Division 1 Conference posting a record of 28-33-14 with a 2.82 goals-against-average and .893 save percentage. This season with the Utah Grizzlies team before coming to the Ocean State (Rhode Island), he appeared in 14 games posting an 11-1-2 record, a GAA of 2.11 and .924 Save%. This short time period with his former Utah club has been his best timeframe in the ECHL since he was with the Florida Everblades in the 2017-18 campaign when he posted a 33-5-3 record, a 2.02 GAA, and .921 Save% in 42 games played that particular season.

As soon as Boston Bruins 2020 All-Star nominated Tuukka Rask returns to the ice for the Boston club the trickle-down effect will commence having either Vladar or Max Lagace in Providence full time. Newly acquired Ouellette will most likely report back to the ECHL this time with the Atlanta club he’s already had familiar experiences with previous games as mentioned this season.

Kyle Keyser Update And What The Ouellette Addition To The Bruins Minor-Pro System Means To Him

( Photo Credit: Atlanta Gladiators )

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com founder/writer Mark Divver’s tweet below, the undrafted Keyser has been suffering concussion symptoms which have caused many to speculate about his injury status which I thought was shoulder related dating back to when he was with the Providence Bruins earlier this season. In six games with Providence, the 20-year-old Keyser had a 1-4-1 record with his last game before his injury in November of 2019. He only appeared in one game for the Atlanta “AA” team when we all thought he was returning from the first injury but after his ECHL debut on December 13th, 2019, where he gave up four goals in a loss to the Jacksonville IceMen news about him vanished.

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So for the time being Ouellette will serve a valuable service in the AHL with Providence until things return to normal. With Keyser being out now and possibly for the foreseeable future, Martin will be a solid addition to the Gladiators team and used as a “break glass” in case of emergency scenarios if injuries happen to arise again in the Bruins organization. When Keyser returns to the Gladiators club after his head injuries it would add to the depth of the ECHL organization and not create the three-headed goaltending monster at the AHL level.

In my opinion, just by the way Ouellette has rejuvenated his minor-pro career in his short tenure with the Utah franchise. He comes to the Bruins system with determination to stay in the game at multiple professional levels and even though he might fly under the radar of the higher Boston Bruins franchise, at the lower level he seems like the perfect candidate and hard worker that can contribute whenever called upon. With Providence going with Dan Vladar in last night’s 2-1 loss to the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Max Lagace being returned to the AHL minor-pro affiliate today with the official news that can be seen HERE,  I’d be surprised if Oullette gets the call tonight on the road against the Sound Tigers. With the NHL Boston club playing the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow afternoon and who knows who gets the netminding recall, I could see Ouellette getting into his first action with Providence with a game Sunday afternoon at home against the Springfield Thunderbirds as the Bruins AHL team has three games this weekend.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 11 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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!! 

Asselin Gets First Star Honors In Thrilling Victory For Bruins ECHL Affiliate

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night the Atlanta Gladiators beat the visiting Orlando Solar Bears 5-4 in overtime at the Infinite Energy Arena. The “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins are having an up and down 2019-20 regular season in the tough South Division. With this Friday night January 17th, 2020 win the Gladiators improve to a 17-20-0-0 record with 34 points and stuck in the middle of a tough division led by powerhouse South Carolina Stingrays who have a league-leading 29-5-3-1 record with 62 points in 38 games.

Regardless of the Gladiator’s struggles and 5-5-0 record in their last ten games as a team, there are certain individuals going above and beyond in an effort to get noticed by their parent American Hockey League team. One particular Gladiator player who’s having a good season in his first year of professional hockey lead his final season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals during the 2018-19 season as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads with 48. After this tremendous season in the highly respected QMJHL, the Boston Bruins scouting staff were close by to pounce on this undrafted player as soon as his commitment was over in the Canadian Hockey League.

Samuel Asselin

( Photo Credit: OSC Our Sports Central / oursportscentral.com )

Samuel has been a welcome addition to the Boston Bruins organization with a low-risk “show me” first two-year AHL contract in early July of 2019 which gives him the flexibility to further his development either with the Providence Bruins or lower ECHL Atlanta team. In five games that Asselin has been recalled to Providence the undrafted free agent forward has three assists but in the coast, with Atlanta, he’s a point-per-game player with 15-14-29 numbers in 29 career games.

Last night the 21-year-old Asselin notched the second hat trick of his rookie season with two goals in regulation and a heroic ending to seal the deal for his Glads club. Samuel’s point production on this night started in the first period with the primary assist on teammate Tommy Marchin’s 13th goal of the season at the 14:12 mark of the opening frame as seen below.

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Asselin’s 13th goal and first in this game came at the 4:29 mark of the second period to give the Glads a 2-0 lead. The primary assist on this goal came from third-year Atlanta defenseman and Wilmington, Massachusetts native Zach Malatesta with the secondary helper going to Logan Nelson which can be seen below.

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The second goal of Asselin’s Trifecta came at the 5:18 mark of the third period and a 4-3 lead in the final frame. Samuel’s 14th goal of the season went unassisted when he comes in on the right side untouched for a snipe past visiting netminder and former highly regarded goalie Zach Fucale.

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Asselin’s final goal of the game and fourth point in the thrilling victory over the Solar Bears came in the extra frame as both clubs were deadlocked at four at the end of regulation. Samuel would only need 1:08 into overtime to send the Glads faithful home with a celebratory win over their South Division rival. Asselin received a behind the back pass on the cycle in the offensive zone from fellow teammate and Atlanta defenseman Joel Messner and protected the puck well working his way in-between the faceoff circles to snipe a wrister at the hash marks for the eventual game-winner and 15th goal of the season. The aforementioned Gladiators defenseman Malatesta his helper in the final Asselin goal was his second point of the night.

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Asselin is sure to garner some attention from the higher Providence Bruins club if they need some more scoring help or in case one of their AHL players come down with an injury. The 5′-9″ 181-pound forward is currently on a two-game point streak and has 3-4-7 numbers in his last five games. His longest point streak in this his ECHL rookie season came from the  October 18th, 2019, to the November 8th, 2019 timeframe where he contributed 7-7-14 numbers in his first eight games in the league.

Samuel and his Gladiators club are back on the ice tonight at the North Charleston Coliseum against the league-leading South Carolina Stingrays where the Glad could extend their winning streak to two games and Asselin could push for points in three straight games. After Asselin’s first career season-long point streak he was recalled to Providence so you never know when his talents are going to be needed with the higher parent Providence team.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 11 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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 Recall Vladar, Providence Gets Netminder On Loan

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Word through the pipeline late this evening is that the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins have recalled goaltender Dan Vladar from their top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins. In 12 games this season with the American Hockey League club from Rhode Island, Vladar has a 2019-20 regular-season record of 6-5-0, a 1.84 goals-against-average, a .935 save percentage along with two shutouts. Since his return from a high ankle sprain in early December of 2019, the former 2015 third-round selection has been on top of his game after spending time rehabilitating with goaltending coaches Bob Essensa and Mike Dunham and many hours of video sessions.

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With the departure of Vladar to the higher NHL for coverage, the Providence Bruins have accepted a loan from the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies for netminder Martin Ouellette. The 28-year-old Ouellette played for the Boston Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators this season but has most recently been playing with the Utah club. The journeyman goalkeeper was a 2010 Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick but has spent a majority of his minor-pro career in the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers organization.

In ten games with Atlanta, this season he’s posted a record of 4-6-0 with a GAA of 3.74 and .874 Save% in ten games to posting an 11-1-2 record with the Utah club contributing with a 2.11 GAA and .924 Save%. He had a pretty decent NCAA career at the University of Maine where he might’ve received positive praise from the aforementioned Mike Dunham who also spent time in a Black Bears Jersey back in the day.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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!!

AHL Bruins Goaltender Vladar Has Been Stellar Since Return To Providence

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The 2019-20 American Hockey League regular season didn’t exactly get off on the right foot for Providence Bruins goaltender Dan Vladar in his second full season with the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins. After starting the campaign with a 1-1-0 record, a 2.99 goals-against-average, and .888 save percentage things would progressively get worse in his third appearance of the year.

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On October 16th, 2019, the Providence club was in Laval, Quebec to play in game one of a four-game road trip against the host Laval Rocket the minor-pro affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Veteran netminder Max Lagace got the start this night giving up four goals in the first period. To start the second frame, Providence Head Coach Jay Leach opted to take the struggling Lagace out of the game in favor of the fresh Vladar on the bench in hopes of an offensive spark. Netminder Vladar would go onto make eight saves in the second period but to end the middle frame the former 2015 third-round selection would need relief himself. Vladar went down with a lower-body injury and would need help off the ice from fellow teammates and Providence trainer prompting the AHL Bruins to back to Lagace to finish the game.

Further medical evaluations concluded that Vladar suffered a high ankle sprain and was listed as week-to-week. Dan would spend a better part of six weeks on the shelf recovering from his injury but used the downtime to his advantage working with training staff along with longtime Boston Bruins goaltending Coach Bob Essensa and assistant Mike Dunham who’s entering his third season with the B’s franchise.

( Photo Credit: Alan Sullivan Photography )

The Athletic Bruins beat writer Joe McDonald spent a day in Providence on December 15th, 2019, and unveiled some interesting information when he had the chance to interview Vladar. In the article from McDonald, aforementioned goalie coaches Essensa and Dunham spent a great deal of time with the 22-year-old as he recovered watching countless hours of video fine-tuning the netminders game ultimately finding that the Czech Republic native was too active in the crease and needed to minimize his movements to be better prepared. All quotes below from McDonald’s December 16th “Down On Th Farm” article can be found HERE or click the hyperlinked quotes below to direct you to the originator.

“I don’t think I had the greatest camp, so it was something I needed to work on,” Vladar said. “I felt good physically, but the pucks weren’t hitting me and I wasn’t playing the way I wanted. (Spending time with Dunham) helped and so far it’s working really well. A lot of pucks can hit me and that’s what I’m trying to do more and more, and I feel comfortable every single game.”

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On November 27th, 2019, The Boston Bruins sent Vladar to the organization’s “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators for a conditioning stint to test his return to professional hockey from an injury that commonly takes a while especially when it comes to goaltenders. Dan got the victory over the visiting Norfolk Admirals giving up two goals in a 4-2 Atlanta win. That was apparently enough for the Providence Bruins staff to see as the AHL club recalled Vladar to join them on the road in Charlotte, North Carolina to finish up a short three-game road trip against the Charlotte Checkers.

Dan was spectacular in his return stopping all 36 Checkers shots for his first shutout of the season and a game that would start a tremendous return with all accolades gravitating back to the tutelage and wisdom of Essensa and Dunham. Vladar would need just three more games to earn his second shutout of the season when he blanked cross border and Atlantic Division rival Springfield Thunderbirds in a 5-0 victory stopping all 42 shots he faced. Although the 6′-5″ 185-pound netminder looks to be completely healthy, he had this to say to McDonald after the game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island below.

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“I felt great,” Vladar said. “It’s always easier for a goalie when you face that many shots. I felt really good. It was one of those nights where I saw the puck really well and felt like everything was hitting me. It’s a long season though, it’s nice, but I’m not getting too high from it.”

“To be honest, I can still feel it a little bit,” Vladar said of his ankle. “I’m doing treatment every day and (trainers) are keeping an eye on it.”

Since Vladar’s return from injury at the beginning of December, the second-highest ranked goaltender in his draft year (European Netminders Only) of 2015, has posted a record of 3-2-0 and compiled impressive 0.99 GAA, and .954 Save% numbers in that timeframe. His overall record for this season is still a respectable 4-3-1 record with a 1.49 GAA and .945 Save%. Dan’s AHL career numbers of 23-18-6, a 2.48 GAA, a .911 Save% along with five career No-No tells me he’s certainly stepped up a level in maturity as he continues to develop and from this small sample size since his return from the said high ankle sprain, I’d expect him to have a stellar season in the remaining games working alongside Max Lagace.

( Photo Credit: Gregory Vasil / Getty Images )

Lagace who’s contributed his own stellar play in his first season with the Boston Bruins organization since signing a one-year, two-way free-agent contract in the early month of July 2019, has been a solid mentor for the younger members of the crease with of course Vladar being around along with appearances from Kyle Keyser and Sean Bonar who was up from Atlanta lightening the workload with so many injuries. While the Boston Bruins don’t exactly look like gangbusters when talking about ranking the NHL’s best goaltending depths, its good to know that the organization will be in good hands with Essensa and Dunham at the helm to offer advice with the proper tools for the continued development of future netminders.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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!!

Conway’s Professional Climb Gets Rewarded In Providence Shootout Win

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins have a sneakingly good way of scouting talent especially with the vast amount of New England colleges and universities within driving distance. Regardless if an NCAA player was successful or not the Bruins scouting staff have found suitable players to fill gaps whether at the NHL level or with depth signings for those “show me first” American Hockey League contracts.

In the past, we’ve heard about the Bruins scouting staff practically circle the skies above like hawks waiting for the opportunity to pounce on the next hidden gem that might want to sign their first professional free-agent deal. Noel Acciari, Karson Kuhlman, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, and Frank Vatrano all made an impact at one time in the NHL and were added by the due diligence and keen eyes of B’s management. Now small moves like these are minimal risks but they are in fact worth taking and the Bruins might’ve struck again with a recent signing who developed his game not only in North America but overseas in England of the United Kingdom.

Forward Scott Conway has taken an interesting route to professional hockey as a player born in Basingstoke, Great Britain. Conway’s father Kevin had a successful Ontario Hockey League career posting 268 points in 175 career games making appearances with the Oshawa Generals, his hometown Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and Kingston Canadians. After leaving the Canadian Major Junior ranks Kevin would turn pro in the now-defunct International Hockey League playing with the Toledo Goaldiggers and Salt Lake Golden Eagles posting 44-41-85 numbers in 121 games played in the IHL.  Seemingly due to his body size, further advancement in the North American professional levels looked like a dead end, so it’s believed the 5′-10″ 179-pound took a popular route to keep playing landing him in Europe.

Kevin made a huge impression upon his arrival in England. During the 1980s the game was growing at a significant rate and leagues such as the British Hockey League were the cornerstone of growing the game in an otherwise difficult area with indoor facilities at a minimum. Kevin’s first season in England was spent with the Ayr Bruins where he posted an astonishing 129-98-227 numbers in only 35 games. Conway would go onto play in several different leagues while he continued to play in the United Kingdom.

Per EliteProspects.com he posted 522-430-952 numbers in the BD1 League in 152 games, posted 372-363-735 numbers in the aforementioned BHL League in 208 games, posted 60-63-123 numbers in 125 games in the BISL League, and finally posted 89-97-186 numbers in 85 games played in the EPIHL League. Father Conway was star and cult member of the Basingstoke Bison where his number 10 jersey is retired per the EliteProspects website and was inducted into the British Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004-05 as a dual citizen of Canada and England.

With all of Scott’s father’s success in the game of hockey no matter where he played in the world, that knowledge and experience was filtered down to his son who also played his youth years in England but with pro ambitions of his own heading to North America to reach professional goals might’ve been the smartest thing to do in his development. The college route seemed to be important for Scott and family so a few seasons in the Tier 1 EHL, NAHL, and USHL all got Conway prepped and ready for his freshman year at Penn State to start the 2014-15 campaign. After one season and contributing 10-16-26 numbers in 34 games, he would leave the Nittany Lions for the British Columbian Hockey League Penticton Vees junior club where he had his best year of hockey with 56-60-116 numbers before leaving to go back to the NCAA ranks with a different team.

Conway would then take his collegiate talents to Providence, Rhode Island and spend three seasons with the Providence College Friars under the watchful eye of longtime Head Coach Nate Leaman. While with the Friars, Scott posted 50-51-101 numbers in 153 career games and after joining the Providence Bruins after his NCAA commitment was over with the Friars he finished up the 2018-19 regular season in the AHL seeing now playing time to finish the year. Conway was later signed to an AHL only deal back in early July of 2019 as a free agent and attended the AHL Bruins training in late September. He would get passed over of a roster spot forcing Providence General Manager John Ferguson Jr. to place the forward in the ECHL with the Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators to start the 2019-20 campaign.

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Conway didn’t use the demotion to hang his head and sulk but used the opportunity and acted like a seasoned veteran and swallowed his pride and reported to Atlanta with surprising results. Scott got to work right away on the scoresheet and was the ECHL’s hottest player offensively posting 7-0-7 numbers in his first five games. One of those games he posted his first career hat trick in a Gladiators victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. After this give game goal streak, it was just a matter of time before he and other Atlanta players that we’re producing at the lower level were going to get at least a look in Rhodes Island or road trip contest.

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Scott was recalled to the AHL’s Providence club on October 28th per theahl.com website transactions page. His transition to the higher level and pace of the game was slow to start but I thought he did very well adjusting and gaining more confidence from B’s Head Coach Jay Leach. In his third career AHL game, he got a helper in a Providence 4-1 win over struggling Bridgeport for his first-ever professional offensive contribution.

Last night the undrafted signing who worked his way through the developmental levels starting as a young man in the country of England finally made his dream come true notching his first career AHL goal. His first goal came from an unselfish effort from teammate and 2017 second-round selection Jack Studnicka who’s also been hot as of late posting 3-2-5 numbers in his last five games. The shorthanded goal for Conway came at the 14:26 mark of the first period which was the first goal of the game that was held at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in front of a crowd of 7,626.  Studnicka with a Class Act move to get the rookie his first career goal puck for the effort.

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The Providence club would go onto beat the best team in the AHL last night with a 4-3 shootout victory. The B’s had a commanding 3-1 lead late in the third period but let the foot off the gas to get the Hartford Wolf Pack team back into the game with two goals in exactly a minute of time. No goals were scored in the extra session and in the shootout forwards Jack Studnicka and Robert Lantosi were the Providence goal scorers sealing the shootout victory. Both teams are back in action tonight as the B’s travel to Hartford, Conn. as a visitor to the Wolf Packs home XL Center in the insurance capital of the world.

Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 5 that we recorded on November 13th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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!!

AHL Providence Bruins Recall Asselin From Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins announced earlier today that the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins has recalled forward Samuel Asselin from the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Asselin, a 21-year-old 5′-9″ 181-pound undrafted centerman signed with Providence on a two-year AHL contract back in July of 2019 after an impressive QMJHL season with the Halifax Mooseheads where he led the league in goals with 48.

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The Repentigny, Quebec native was with the Providence Bruins for their annual training camp but was passed over for a roster spot to start the 2019-20 campaign. B’s General Manager John Ferguson Jr. had no choice but to send him down to the ECHL to begin his pro career. This was pure motivation for the young forward that @BruinsNetwork on Twitter describes as a hard-nosed, gritty two-way forward with an advanced defensive game and doesn’t shy away from contact and plays hard around the net.

The crafty forward didn’t use this demotion to hang his head and dwell but instead got right to work in game one of the 2019-20 ECHL campaign with Atlanta and would notch at least one point in every game ending his career-high streak at eight games. In those eight games, he would tear up the league producing one assist in his first four contests, then would release the goal fury in his next ultimately getting serious recollection from the higher Providence club posting 7-3-10 in his last four games before heading north to the state of Rhode Island.

The Providence Bruins have two big games coming up this weekend against the AHL’s Atlantic Division-leading Hartford Wolf Pack, who the Bruins faced earlier this week losing a 2-1 battle to the pack at the Dunk on November 10th. The second game of the home-and-home has the Providence club traveling to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, to wrap up the weekend festivities. Providence sits in third place in the Atlantic with an 8-6-0-2 record with 18 points while the front running Hartford club sits comfortably in first with a 10-1-0-4 record earning a league-best 24 points.

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Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 5 that we recorded on November 13th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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!!