Bruins, Vladar Agree To Terms On Three-Year Extension

Photo: Steve Babineau / NHL via Getty Images

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Sunday night that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Dan Vladar on a three-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of $750,000. The deal is a two-way contract for the first two seasons, with the third being a one-way contract.

In 25 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, this season, Vladar led the league in save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (GAA) with a 1.79 marker. On the year, the 23-year-old posted a 14-7-1 record, including three shutouts.

In 68 games with the P-Bruins over four seasons, the Prague, Czech Republic native holds a 33-26-3 record to go along with a 2.35 GAA and .916 save percentage. In 60 games with the Atlanta Gladiators, Boston’s East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate over three seasons, Vladar posted a .902 save percentage and a 2.95 GAA.

The Bruins selected Vladar with the 75th overall pick in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. With the departure of Tuukka Rask from the NHL’s Return to Play due to a reported family emergency, Vladar is currently serving as backup to Boston netminder Jaroslav Halak.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 190 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!!

Providence Bruins Sign Sheppard To AHL Deal

( Photo Credit: Cliff Mander / Charlotte Checkers / gocheckers.com )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com writer Mark Divver, the Providence Bruins have signed defenseman Derek Sheppard formerly of the Charlotte Checkers. The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins locked up the blueliner to a one-year American Hockey League contract.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

As you can see in Divver’s tweet above, Sheppard certainly doesn’t back away from the opposition and is always there to stick up for a teammate when liberties are taken. The Scarborough, Ontario, Canada native is listed at 6′-0″ and 216-pounds per the EliteProspects.com website and has bounced around the AHL and ECHL in the last two seasons as a professional hockey player. In 71 games played for the ECHL Florida Everblades, he posted 18-33-51 numbers and in the AHL with Charlotte contributed 2-3-5 totals in 36 games for the former minor-pro affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 26-year-old Sheppard is an AHL Calder Cup Champion with his former Checkers team in 2018-19, and in that same year earned honors being selected to the ECHL All-Rookie Team and ECHL Second All-Star Team selection. It remains to be seen if Derek actually makes the Providence roster in the upcoming 2020-21 AHL regular season, or this could be a one-year insurance signing and place him with the NHL Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate in the state of Georgia with the Atlanta Gladiators.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

With defensemen Josiah Didier, Stevan Kampfer (If he survives the waiver process), Urho Vaakanainen, Cooper Zech returning to Providence next season, and if new additions like Brady Lyle, Nick Wolff, and Jack Ahcan, a player like Sheppard seems destined for Atlanta. Also, have to keep in mind Bruins 2015 first-round selection Jakub Zboril and whether or not he’s retained for further service in the B’s organization and where he’ll play. The signing of Sheppard could be as I mentioned above an insurance move in case Kampfer or Zboril are no longer under the umbrella of the Boston NHL team.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 187 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!!

Providence Bruins 2020/21 Roster Predictions – Part #1 The Forwards

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

In part one of my American Hockey League Providence Bruins 2020/21 roster predictions, I’ll provide an opinion of what an upcoming regular season lineup could look like in a Head Coach Jay Leach system. I’m keeping in mind that the offseason has yet to be determined. Not knowing what’s to happen in free agency is a bit tricky, so please take my thoughts with a grain of salt and bare with me.

On paper, the potential roster of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins top minor-pro affiliate is certainly intriguing throughout with recent youth additions and league advancement with player promotions. In the first article in this mini-series, I’d like to focus on the 12 forwards that I believe will provide the most offensive punch in the upcoming season whenever when the AHL gets back up and running.

Below are three scenarios of line combinations that I came up with as an idea of how things can fluctuate with promotions to the NHL and departures of last season’s roster. At the minor-pro levels of hockey, having backup plans is never more important when thinking of middle depth competitiveness and sustainability.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Scenario #1 – What if Jack Studnicka Gets Promoted?

As someone who’s followed Jack Studnicka’s hockey career since being selected in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, I do feel his time is coming quickly concerning advanced placement. I’m confident in the Bruins staff that if the NHL is a potential destination next season, he’ll be placed in a position to not only succeed but also continue to develop. He needs to be playing consistently, and if his role is a 13th or 14th forward, I think that role as a revolving forward would be a detriment to said development. Below is my lineup if Jack makes the Boston club out training camp for the upcoming season.

#24 Hughes – #7 Frederic – #20 Kuhlman

#13 Lauko – #29 Steen – #28 Carey

#16 Gaunce – #11 Asselin – #9 Senyshyn

#45 Koppanen – #27 Woods – Voyer

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

There are two areas of the third line that I’d like to mention as potential departures. We don’t know if the Bruins and forward Brendan Gaunce are going to agree on another deal to place him back in the AHL when he could seek a better path for NHL work in free agency. The other is the idea of bringing back Zach Senyshyn, who I strongly agree they should but will be exposed to the waiver process if his services are needed in Providence if he doesn’t make the team out of camp.

If Gaunce and Senyshyn don’t make returns to the Providence lineup next season, this is where that backup plan comes into play. When talking about the right-wing position possibly vacated by the former 2015 first-round pick Senyshyn, I think of a player like Robert Lantosi who can fill that position seamlessly. The 5′-11″ 185-pound Lantosi is currently in the final year of his one-year AHL only contract and posted 11-20-31 numbers in 50 games in his first season of North American Pro Hockey.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Now moving onto the Gaunce departure theory. If the 26-year-old chooses to leave for better pastures, I believe a solid replacement would be former Brown University forward and left shooting left-winger Tommy Marchin. The 6′-2″ 216-pound Michigan native played his first professional season since leaving the Ivy League has played with Providence a total of 12 games in two seasons posting 2-0-2 numbers. Marchin played his first full pro season this year with the Bruins “AA” minor-pro ECHL affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators. In 49 games for the Glads, he posted impressive 27-21-28 numbers and looks like he could fill the bottom six if a left-wing position is available. Marchin is currently on an expiring AHL only contract, but I mention him as a solid backup option if he’s retained.

Sticking with the third line in this scenario is the mention up the middle with Samuel Asselin. The 21-year-old left shooting center currently has one-year remaining on his AHL only contract. In 53 games with the ECHL Atlanta club, this season, the 5′-9″ 185-pound forward did very posting 26-26-52 numbers in his first year of professional hockey after leaving the QMJHL a year prior. Asselin will be a reliable option with the upshift if Studnicka finds a roster spot with Boston.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Another thing to consider here and wanted to mention something before moving on, but the Karson Kuhlman contract negotiations should be interesting as an RFA this offseason. Obviously, an upshift would occur if he made the NHL roster or didn’t want to return to the Boston organization with the progressive bottleneck in Providence. I believe the Bruins are going to re-sign Karson to keep him in the fold, but is he legitimately going to stay with the limited path upward? Kuhlman has tremendous upside for a shifty, speedy forward, but (Hate Saying This!) he might have better NHL success elsewhere. Maybe even getting a deal worked out with Minnesota for a fourth-round draft pick from the Minnesota Wild to return him to the state he was born.

Scenario #2 – What If Studnicka Remains In Providence For Further Development?

As mentioned, I’m a massive fan of Studnicka and what he’s done thus far as a developing asset with the Bruins organization and hope he secures a roster spot in the NHL next season first and foremost. What if he doesn’t make the final cuts out of the NHL Bruins training camp whenever that may be and needs to be sent down to Providence to continue working on an already highly skilled set of attributes? Here’s what a potential AHL Bruins lineup could look like with a Captain Jack return to Rhode Island.

#13 Lauko – #23 Studnicka – #20 Kuhlman

#24 Hughes – #7 Frederic – #28 Carey

#16 Gaunce – #29 Steen – #9 Senyshyn

#45 Koppanen – #27 Woods – Voyer

To me, this is a solid lineup above and one that, in my opinion, has unfinished business. Due to the Covid-19 shutdown, the Providence team played well in the early parts of the season and really turned it up with a 12-game winning streak marching up the Atlantic and Eastern Conference. Who knows what would’ve come for this team in 2019-20 Providence club this year, but it was certainly fun to watch, and a long Calder Cup run was absolutely possible. The only change I’d make from the lineup obviously if Jack returns is the addition of a new Providence player that the AHL club signed earlier this spring.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Voyer signed a two-year AHL only contract in April of 2020 and will be entering his first full season of minor-pro hockey after posting decent numbers in the QMJHL with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. The Sherbrooke, Quebec native posted 44-44-88 numbers in 63 games for the Phoenix franchise, which was a career-high. Sherbrooke is the second team Voyer has played for in his QMJHL career. The rugged 6′-2″ 192-pound right-winger started his Canadian Hockey League career with the Rimouski Oceanic, where he appeared in 158 games and contributed 22-35-57 numbers. His offensive production would almost double when he was moved to his hometown. Voyer Would play the past two seasons with the Sherbrooke club and posted 73-73-146 totals in 131 Phoenix games.

Forward Reesignments & Unfortunate Departures

Pavel Shen – A fast forward who just completed year one of his first season of North American hockey as the first Russian drafted out of the Boston organization since the selection of Alexander Khokhlachev in 2011. Shen had a decent AHL rookie season, but I believe he’d benefit from a full season in the ECHL with Atlanta next season. The 6′-1″ 183-pound forward has two more seasons remaining in his entry-level deal and continues to be a work in progress. He was demoted to the ECHL after being outplayed in the Providence forward rotation last season and believe he should at least start with the Gladiators for the upcoming 2020/21 campaign.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Brett Ritchie – This is an interesting scenario with Brett’s future with the Boston Bruins organization. Ritchie is a hard worker and certainly wants to work hard to get back to the NHL. With that being said, I don’t see an option with both sides agreeing on more time in the minors for him. I can see either he gets moved for a late-round draft pick, or the Bruins flat out walk away from his future services or cap space he could be asking for if retained. His salary should go in every effort to re-sign NHL players like Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, and Matt Grzelcyk, to name a few. The potential $81.5 flat cap just has me see the Boston club moving on from him.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Ryan Fitzgerald – This one is going to kill me moving forward because I believe Ryan is a dependable middle-depth professional, but the road has certainly been tough trying to get to the NHL. Fitzy is an unrestricted free agent during this offseason, and with four bottom-six forwards already at the NHL level contracted for another year, I find it hard to believe he’d come back to play in the AHL. Honestly, the kid has busted his ass but keeps getting overpassed for looks, and like I’ve said so many times, he might be better off leaving for better opportunities. Ryans had some bad luck with injuries throughout his entry-level contract and the one-year extension he signed last summer. I actually thought Fitzgerald would’ve been a perfect low cap hit promotion before the Mayor Chris Wagner signed long-term. Regardless of my opinion, if Fitzy does, in fact, leave the Bruins organization, I hope nothing but the best for him.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! 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!

Providence Bruins Announce Winners Of Team Awards

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

Every year the Providence Bruins (AHL) hosts their awards for their players who exemplified excellence and leadership throughout the season. If you followed Providence in any way this season, then you’ll recognize a few of these names and might have predicted who would win a particular award. Some players won more than one award and blew away people’s expectations. There is a good chance some of the players you see here today might crack the Bruins roster for the 2020-2021 campaign. Here are the winners of Providences’ awards!

Rookie of the Year Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | Bostonglobe.com)

The ‘Rookie of the Year’ Award presented by Cross Insurance goes to the one obvious choice, Jack Studnicka. Since graduating from juniors and getting the promotion to Providence, the 21-year-old forward has showcased his talents at the AHL level and even at the NHL level when called upon for two games where he also collected his first career NHL point.

Studnicka not only produced offensively 5-on-5 and on the power-play but was an absolute brute on the penalty-kill unit and led the AHL in shorthanded goals this season (seven). He also led Providence in goals, assists and points this season. He took the professional hockey world by storm this year, and I believe if anybody deserves a chance in the Boston Bruins lineup this upcoming season, it is Studnicka. Congratulations, Studnicka!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Fan Favorite Award – Dan Vladar

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

The ‘Fan Favorite’ Award presented by Electrical Wholesalers goes to goaltender Dan Vladar. He has been apart of the organization since being drafted by the Bruins in the 3rd round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He has split his time between the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) and Providence since his career in the organization but had his most stellar campaign in 2019-2020.

The 6’0, 185-pound goalie led the AHL in goals-against average (GAA) with 1.79 and in save percentage with a whopping .939%. Vladar also set a career-high 14 wins at the AHL level while collecting three shutouts. He has seemed to find his game this past season. With Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask holding down the goalie tandem for 2020-2021, Vladar will be looking to spend another year in Providence, given he re-signs his soon-to-be expired contract after the NHL season. Congratulations, Vladar!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Three Stars Award – Brendan Gaunce

(Photo Credit: Causeway Crowd | causewaycrowd.com)

The ‘Three Stars’ Award presented by AAA Insurance is an award for the player with the most ‘Three Stars’ nominations this season, and it goes to Brendan Gaunce. He led the team in first star, second star, and overall nominations this season. The 6’2, 207-pound forward was a spark plug for his team all season long and placed third in points with Providence (18-19-37 numbers). Gaunce has been very reliable for Providence, and when he was called up to the Bruins for a game and was able to produce a point.

Gaunces’ contract expires at the end of the NHL season and will be a restricted free-agent (FA). I believe another one-year deal will get done, and they will be able to rely on Gaunce to help with the development of their younger prospects and serve as a depth piece for the Bruins. Congratulations, Gaunce!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Leading Scorer Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Leading Scorer’ Award presented by National Grid is awarded to Jack Studnicka. As mentioned above, Studnicka led Providence in goals (23), assists (26), and points (49) this season. Averaging 0.81 Pt/G with three power-play goals and seven shorthanded goals, there is no doubt Studnicka will be the offensive spark the Bruins have been looking for within their young pool of prospects.

If Studnicka doesn’t crack the Bruins lineup the next campaign, then expect for him to be putting up even more points than this past year with Providence. At this rate, he will be a point-per-game player at the AHL level and can produce 40-50 points within his rookie year in the NHL, in my opinion. The opportunities and possibilities are endless for this rising star. Congratulations, Studnicka!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Plus/Minus Award – Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Plus/Minus’ Award presented by RI Medical Imaging goes to the player who led the team in plus/minus, Josiah Didier. New defensive addition, Didier, has done a tremendous job of holding down the blue-line for Providence this season and has earned this reward for finishing with an impressive +32 rating. The 6’3, 207-pound defender has been consistent throughout his first campaign with Providence and is a solid depth piece for the Bruins blue-line.

Didier also re-signed with Providence on a two-year deal before the season ended and will be looking to repeat that same success in the next two seasons. Players like Didier exemplifies leadership in the locker room, and that presence alone can help take Providence to the next level, especially during the playoffs. Congratulations on your hard work, Didier!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Hendricks Memorial Fan Appreciation Award – Paul Carey

(Photo Credit: The American Hockey League | theahl.com)

The Hendricks Memorial ‘Fan Appreciation’ Award goes to the player who shows exemplary leadership & on-ice performance, and this award goes to Providence captain, Paul Carey. There is no doubt, returning captain Carey deserves this award. He plays a significant role in molding and teaching the younger prospects in the organization and remains productive as a forward as well, finishing second on the team with points.

The 6’1, 196-pound forward appeared in 60 games this season while racking up 22 goals and 39 points with a +9 rating. Carey also played in 30 games with Providence in 2018-2019 and produced 33 points during that time. Carey serves as a leadership role for the young prospects as well as an offensive plug for Providence. The 31-year-old has one more year left on his contract and will most likely serve that time with Providence unless he is called upon by the Bruins. Congratulations, Carey!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Best Defenseman Award- Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Best Defenseman’ Award presented by Dunkin’ Donuts goes to Didier, who collects his second award. Along with being team-best in plus/minus, he also led the AHL in that same category. Didier played in 61 games this season and contributed 3-12-15 numbers with 79 PIM.

Didier will be a crucial piece to Providence, especially during the playoffs next season because of his experience after winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers in 2018-2019. He collected four assists in 19 playoff games during that championship year. With his defensive skills, leadership, and physicality, he will be able to help Providence to their first Calder Cup Championship since 1999. Congratulations, Didier!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Team MVP Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

The ‘Team MVP Award’ presented by Metlife is awarded to Jack Studnicka. The 21-year-old forward walks away with three team awards from the 2019-2020 campaign and rightfully so. In his first year in the AHL, he led his team in goals (23), assists (26) and points (49), while leading the entire league with shorthanded goals (7) and setting a new team record in that category.

If Studnicka remains healthy and performs well at camp this year, I expect him to be slotted into the Boston Bruins lineup almost immediately. I don’t think his rookie year was a fluke, and his hard-work ethic is going to reward him soon. There is no question Studnicka deserves this award. Congratulations, Studnicka!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! 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!

Could New Hampshire Be A Future Home For A Bruins Affiliate?

( Photo Credit: Mikes Tickets )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com writer Mark Divver, Manchester, New Hampshire continues to produce rumors with the return of professional hockey. Commonly known in the Northeastern part of the United States as ManchVegas, the largest city in the state initially had a firm grip in the hockey community when the American Hockey Leagues Manchester Monarchs team was there from 2001 to 2015.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The Monarchs were a minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Los Angeles Kings before packing up operations from the New England area after a successful tenure. The Monarchs would change their name to the current Ontario Reign, which was the King’s ECHL “AA” affiliation, and headed to the Golden State to house their top prospects closer to the NHL organization. The cities of Manchester, NH, and Ontario, CA, would swap minor-pro affiliations, thus keeping the Monarchs team name but representing a lower hockey league in the development scheme.

After the departure of the AHL franchise, the ECHL Monarchs would continue to play four seasons in the Queen City totaling a record of 156-102-14 in 288 games. The Monarchs club did make the Kelly Cup Playoffs for all four years in the Granite State in that timeframe but dwindling season ticket numbers and individual gameday gate numbers the franchise folded at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. So for a whole hockey season including this Covid-19 Pandemic, the SNHU Arena owned by Southern New Hampshire University has laid dormant for on-ice events when it comes to the pro level.

The Boston Bruins have had their “AA” affiliation located in the Atlanta, Georgia area since August of 2015 after not agreeing to an extension with the then affiliated South Carolina Stingrays who the B’s shared with the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Atlanta has been a suitable place for a backup franchise to act as a feeder system for the above AHL’s Providence Bruins organization. From the 2015-16 regular season to the close of operations due to the Corona Virus the Atlanta Gladiators have a record of 153-161-23 in 349 games. The Gladiators were on a serious run trying to get out of the middle of the ECHL’s South Division for a 2019-20 Kelly Cup playoff better but that was cut short with what’s going on in the world today. Before the tremendous second-half play this season, the Gladiators only made it to the postseason once affiliated with the NHL Bruins getting swept in the first round to the powerful Florida Everblades.

As of right now with no sports going on and hockey seasons canceled at the lower levels, the ECHL one-year agreement is officially over between the Bruins and the Gladiators. As seen below, collegiate hockey and minor-pro hockey guru Mark Divver comes at us one more time with another interesting tweet the very next day sparking increased speculation about a possibility of the Bruins moving their “AA” affiliation closer much like what the LA Kings did in 2015 in a different league of course.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

With the information above from Divver’s source, it almost aligns the planets of bringing of things together that could happen shortly when talking about creating closer affiliations. One more season in Atlanta could be the time needed to facilitate an ECHL franchise move northward and one that might be attractive to Bruins fans thirsty for hockey. Things might’ve not been the best of times between the city of Manchester and former ECHL team ownership, but can you imagine the increased volume of attention if that “team” had ties to the NHL Boston Bruins about 80 miles away?

There’s long been a rumor that the now ECHL Worcester Railers were going to be the next “AA” affiliate of the Boston Bruins before a team ended up playing in the second-largest city in Massachusetts. Worcester Pro Hockey, LLC owner Cliff Rucker has a long relationship with the NHL Bruins, and it was almost certain the ECHL affiliation would leave Atlanta and head North. Another rumor about a Bruins affiliation in the city of Worcester that might’ve been the ole wrench in the gears of that idea was the NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliation with the Providence Bruins. That particular rumor was the team from Rhode Island didn’t want to compete with another B’s affiliation so close, and it’s believed that there’s a 40-mile radius agreement between the NHL Organization and the club in Providence.

Outside of that “so-called” 40-mile boundary lay some other great locations besides mentioned above, Manchester, New Hampshire. Lowell, Massachusetts, is another attractive destination that housed the AHL for several NHL organizations in the past but hasn’t seen professional hockey in the last ten years. The University of Massachusetts-Lowell owns the multi-purpose facility, and even though this might be an attractive location, it would be hard to compete for ice time. College and minor-pro hockey predominately operate during the weekends, so scheduling home games around the UMass-Lowell River Hawks hockey team would somewhat de difficult.

Portland, Maine is another area that could be interesting although currently occupied at the Cross Insurance Arena by the Maine Mariners. The Maine club is affiliated with the NHL’s New York Rangers, so not sure if the Rangers organization would want to break a contract for another team to come in and set up operations. If an ECHL affiliate is needed closer to the Rangers AHL affiliation in Hartford, Connecticut, then the possibilities are endless for a Bruins minor-pro affiliation back in the state of Maine. The NHL Bruins and the old AHL Maine Mariners were under Bruins rule from 1986 to 1992 before moving south to Providence Rhode Island.

Of course, this is all speculation at this point, but I do see a team in the near future being located somewhere in New England to be the primary Providence Bruins feeder system. It just makes sense in my opinion.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 181 that we recorded below on 5-31-20! 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!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Scott Bailey

( Photo Credit: Alchetron.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Happy 48th Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Goaltender Scott Bailey!

Scott Bailey was born on May 2nd, 1972, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After spending some time playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Calgary Buffaloes, the 6′-0″ 195-pound netminder went onto play for the Moose Jaw Warrior and Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League from the ages of 16 to 19-years-old. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round of the 1992 National Hockey League Entry Draft (112th Overall) from the festivities held at the legendary Montreal Forum in Montreal, Quebec.

After signing an entry-level deal with the Boston club, Bailey would start his professional career in the ECHL with the Bruins “AA” minor pro affiliates.  Starting with the Johnstown Chiefs in the 1992-93 season, he played in 36 games posting a record of 13-15-3 with a 3.84 goals-against-average and .875 save percentage in 36 appearances as a 20-year-old. The following season Scott would start the year with the Providence Bruins, the NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliate in the American Hockey League. He played in seven contests for the Rhode Island team going 2-2-2 in 1993-94, but in that same year was sent back to the ECHL this time with a new “AA” affiliation the Charlotte Checkers. With Charlotte in 93-94, he went 22-11-3 with a 3.58 GAA and .897 save%.

( Photo Credit: Alchetron.com )

The 1994-95 season Bailey would eventually leave the ECHL developing ranks for Providence as a regular netminder, even seeing time in the NHL with Boston. In his time with the Providence club, the Alberta native appeared in 127 games and a record of 53-54-16. In19 games played at the NHL level with the Boston Bruins he got into 19 games and contributed with a 6-6-2 record and 3.42 GAA and .876 Save%, which unfortunately would be his only time at the top level of hockey in the world.

Scott would go onto play several more seasons in the AHL, International Hockey League, the SM-liiga League in Finland, and even making a stop in London, England. Bailey would retire from the game after the 2003-04 season when he played in one game for the Lakeland Loggerheads of the WHA2 league, according to the great folks at HockeyReference.com.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 176 that we recorded below on 4-27-20! 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!!

Bruins And Goaltender Halak Come To Terms On One-Year Extension

( Photo Credit: Pinterest )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As the National Hockey League remains on pause without a certain point of a return due to the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic, the Boston Bruins announced today that the club has agreed to a one-year contract extension with backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak. As seen below in the notification from the Boston Bruins official Twitter account the deal is worth a salary cap hit of $2.25 million, which is a cap-friendly deal from his last contract which paid him $2.25 million per season on a two-year deal.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

For the past two seasons for the Bruins team leading up to this unfortunate stoppage in life, the 34-year-old Halak has appeared in 71 games with a record of 40-17-10 with a 2.36 goals-against-average and .921 save percentage. Out of those 71 appearances, the veteran netminder has started in 66 games for Boston when starting goaltender Tuukka Rask needed a break as the aging netminder himself seems to thrive under the 1A-1B system. Halak who continues to play for his fifth team in his NHL career has impressive numbers in his 14-year career posting a record of 272-167-58 with a 2.48 GAA and .916 Save%.

By having Halak back for another season and under what many thought he could get on the open free agent market whenever the 2019-20 offseason actually happens, this is another way Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is a genious. By getting these players under what they want for salaries with the strong words of “winning culture” it leaves space to re-sign other free agents like UFA Torey Krug, RFA Jake DeBrusk, RFA Matt Grzelcyk and so on. This will also likely mean the services of Max Lagace in Providence have come to an end making him a free agent again whenever the season officially is over and free agency actually begins.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

By this move, it creates a solid minor-pro tandem at the American Hockey League level in Rhode Island. With Dan Vladar who was playing phenomenally from the beginning of December 2019 to the Covid-19 work stoppage, and recently signed Jeremy Sawyman who left the University of Maine to sign a three-year entry-level contract to solidify the 1-A, 1-B in Providence, Lagace at this point of skepticism seems to be the odd-man-out. Before the stoppage, Lagace had a 2019-20 regular-season record or 22-7-3 with a 2.37 GAA and .919 Save%. assuming this all comes to fruition, that would leave prospect netminder Kyle Kyser to report to the ECHL if and when a new affiliation agreement becomes official. The current one-year agreement with the “AA” minor-pro ECHL affiliate Atlanta Gladiators was officially over with the cancelation of the remaining games of the 2019-20 season.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 176 that we recorded below on 4-27-20! 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!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Mark Stuart

Unknown

Photo Courtesy Of Bleacher Report

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Happy 36th Birthday to Former Bruins Defenseman Mark Stuart!

Mark Stuart was born on April 27th, 1984 in Rochester, Minnesota. He began his amateur career in the 99-00 campaign with the Rochester Mustangs of the United States Hockey League (USHL) playing four games. Stuart spent the next two seasons in the United States National Team Development Program, playing for the U17 and U18 team as well as the Juniors team. He played a total of 125 games in the program, posting 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points.

Prior to attending Colorado College in the fall of 2002, Stuart captained the United States U18 team to a gold medal at the 2002 IIHF World U18 Championships in which he totaled a goal and two assists for three points in eight games. In the NCAA, Stuart posted three goals and 17 assists for 20 points in 38 games for the Tigers, earning him All-WCHA Rookie Team honors. After his successful rookie season, Stuart was selected 21st overall by the Bruins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Stuart played two more seasons at Colorado College, playing a total of 82 games and posting six goals and 24 assists for 30 points. In his junior season, Stuart guided the Tigers to the Frozen Four where they lost to eventual champion and in-state rival, the University of Denver. During that season Stuart was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and was also named AHCA West First-Team All-American.

It’s also worth noting that Stuart played at the World Junior Championships for the United States in 2003 and 2004, winning gold in 2004. Stuart began his professional career in the 05-06 season for the Providence Bruins, playing 60 games and posting four goals and three assists for seven points. He also made his NHL debut that season for the Bruins on March 11th, 2006. Stuart played 17 games for the big club that season, posting a goal and an assist. Stuart also split the next season between Boston and Providence, posting an assist in 15 games for Boston and totaling four goals and 16 assists for 20 points in 49 games for Providence.

Stuart spent parts of the next four seasons for the Bruins before being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers on February 18th, 2011 along with Blake Wheeler in exchange for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. Stuart finished his career in Boston having posted 13 goals and 27 assists in 283 career games. He also posted two assists in 22 postseason games. Just days after being traded, Atlanta signed Stuart to a three-year deal worth $5.1 million. Stuart was part of the final game in Thrashers history on April 10th, 2011 before the franchise moved to Winnipeg to become the Jets.

Stuart played in the Jets first game the following season, assisting on the first goal. Stuart played in 80 games that season posting three goals and 11 assists for 14 points. During the lockout in 2012, Stuart played for the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. Stuart spent the last five years of his NHL career in Winnipeg, appearing in 287 games, posting nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points. Stuart was bought out by the Jets following the 16-17 campaign and was invited to the Chicago Blackhawks camp the next season on a professional tryout but didn’t make the roster.

Stuart spent his last professional season in Germany playing in the DEL for Adler Mannheim, posting a goal and six assists for seven points in 51 games. Stuart has two older brothers, Colin and Mike who had brief NHL careers. Stuart finished his NHL career appearing in 673 games with 26 goals and 67 assists for 93 points. Happy Birthday Mr. Stuart!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 175 that we recorded below on 4-19-20! 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!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Barry Smith

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Barry Smith was born on April 25th, 1955 in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada and even though he lived and grew up almost 2,500 miles away from Boston, Massachusetts he was meant to be a Bruin as he played for two junior teams out in Western Canada having the same team name. Smith was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1975 National Hockey League Amateur Draft in the second round with the 32nd selection.

The 5′-11″ 178-pound left shooting center played his amateur hockey with the then WCJHL with the Estevan Bruins (NHL Bruins Affiliate in 1958/59 & 1964/65), and the New Westminster Bruins before the NHL B’s drafted him during the summer of 1975 as a 19-year-old. During his first year of NHL experience, Smith appeared in 19 career games for the Boston club playing a majority of his games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans who were the Bruins top minor-pro affiliate from the 1974 to 1979 campaigns. In those 19 career NHL games with Boston, Smith would score only one goal but in the B’s farm system would put up 62-94-156 numbers in 290 career games with AHL Rochester. His second to last season with the AHL Americans club but last year affiliated with the NHL’s Boston Bruins he would his professional career-high in any league posting 23-43-66 totals in 80 games during the 1978-79 season.

Smith would move on from the Bruins organization spending the rest of his NHL career with the Colorado Rockies playing in two years of service appearing in 95 games for the Golden State team from 1979-80 to 1980-81 posting 6-7-13 totals. In 114 career NHL games, he contributed 7-7-14 numbers. His final season of pro hockey Barry hung up the skates after the 1980-81 hockey season when he spent 14 games playing for the Fort Worth Texans in the CHL.

After retiring from the game and about a ten-year hiatus, Barry returned to the game of hockey this time as a coach. Per Wikipedia from the 1992 to the 1997 hockey seasons, Smith would end up in Knoxville, Tennessee to coach the ECHL’s Knoxville Cherokees. He would man the bench once more from2000 to 2001 with the WPHL’s San Angelo Outlaws before that league ended up folding operations.  Smith passed away at the age of 58 on September 7th, 2013.

A link to a tremendous remembrance article about former Bruins player Smith written by Kevin Oklobzija of the Democrat & Chronicle that was published on September 9th, 2013 can be seen HERE

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 175 that we recorded below on 4-19-20! 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!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Krzysztof Oliwa

( Photo Credit: Amazon | Amazon.com )

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

Happy 47th Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Forward Krzysztof Oliwa!

Krzysztof Oliwa was born on April 12th, 1973, in Tychy, Poland. He began playing juniors in Poland as a 17-year-old forward for the GKS Katowski Jr. (Poland-Jr.) and then at 18-years-old joined the professional polish league to play for GKS Tychy (Poland). The 6’5, 245-pound forward played his final year of juniors in 1992-1993 for the Welland Flames (ON-Jr.B), suiting up for 30 games, producing 13 goals and 34 points with 127 PIM. The following summer, Oliwa was selected by the New Jersey Devils as their third-round pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.

After being drafted, Oliwa was assigned to the Devils’ “AA” minor-pro affiliate, Raleigh IceCaps (ECHL), but quickly impressed after just 15 games and was promoted to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Albany River Bats (AHL). He played a combined 48 games between both clubs, posting 2-6-8 numbers with a whopping 216 PIM. Oliwa quickly became known for his intimidating physical appearance and ability to fight.

The forward spent the next two seasons, from 1994-1996, playing for several teams and leagues (AHL, ECHL, IHL) until the 1996-1997 season when he played for the Albany River Rats (AHL), suiting up for 60 games and posting 13-14-27 numbers with an astounding 324 PIM. Later that season, Oliwa was called up for his first National Hockey League action with the New Jersey Devils, playing in just one game and recording his first career NHL fight. The forward would go on to spend the next three seasons with New Jersey from 1997-2000, playing in 206 games and producing 13-20-33 numbers with a whopping 719 PIM.

During the 2000 off-season, Oliwa was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets with Deron Quint in exchange for Columbus’ third-round choice (Brandon Nolan) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and Turner Stevenson. Unfortunately, Oliwa missed the majority of the season after suffering an arm injury vs. Detroit on October 28th, 2000. He was then traded in January of 2001 to the Pittsburgh Penguins for San Jose’s third-round choice in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft (Aaron Johnson). The forward would return for the last part of the 2001 season, suiting up in 26 games for the Penguins.

Oliwa played the 2001-2002 season with the Penguins, suiting up for 57 games and amassing 150 PIM before being traded in 2002 to the New York Rangers in exchange for their ninth-round selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The forward would appear in just nine games in a Penguins’ uniform before being traded to Boston in January of 2003 in exchange for their ninth-round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Oliwa would go on to wear the Spoked-B for the remainder of the season, playing in 33 games and collecting 110 PIM. After his contract with Boston expired, he signed to the Calgary Flames as a free agent, suiting up for 65 games with the Flames that season. After his one-year deal expired with Calgary, he signed to the New Jersey Devils as a free agent in 2004.

Oliwa only appeared in three games with the team that initially drafted the forward before leaving the NHL to play in Poland after being signed by Nowy Targ (Poland) as a free agent in 2004. After the 2004-2005 season, he officially retired from the hockey world. Throughout his nine-year career in the NHL, he played in 410 games and posted 17-28-45 numbers with 1,447 PIM. According to Hockey Fights, Oliwa finished with a total of 164 fighting majors in the NHL, with 12 of those being in a Bruins uniform. Happy birthday, Krzysztof Oliwa!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 174 that we recorded below on 4-12-20! 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!!