Checking In On The Boston Bruins 2019 Draft Picks

( Photo Credit: Kevin Light/Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The Bruins have taken a lot of slack on their draft picks over the years, but the fact of the matter is that the Bruins know how to draft. 10/14 of their top scorers have all been drafted by Boston and Don Sweeney has been able to rebuild a farm system that is now littered with talent.

It’s been just over five months since the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. While the Bruins missed out on a couple of rounds due to some trade deadline deals, they managed to pick up a solid group of players to add to their farm system, so let’s take a look at how they’ve been doing this season.

John Beecher – Round 1, 30th Overall

Unlike the previous year’s draft, the Bruins elected to hang onto their 1st round pick this year. With big offensive talents on the board like Arthur Kaliyev, Bobby Brink and Raphael Lavoie, the Bruins elected to go with a more well-rounded player in John Beecher. Last season, Beecher played with the US Developmental Program and put up 15 goals and 43 points while playing in a diminished role behind guys like Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield.

Now at the University of Michigan, Beecher has fit in well at the college level. He’s got wheels, a big frame and maybe most importantly, great hockey sense. The freshman has started to heat up as of late, collecting his first career multiple-goal game last weekend against UNH, and increasing his total to four on the season. He’s leading the Wolverines in points this season and with plenty of room to grow, the Bruins have a great player on the way.

Quinn Olson – Round 3, 92nd Overall

The Bruins next pick wasn’t until the 3rd round, as they dealt their 2nd-rounder to the Devils in return for Marcus Johansson’s services last year. They used that pick on Calgary native and Minnesota Duluth commit, Quinn Olson.

Joining the reigning NCAA champion Bulldogs, Olson has looked solid to begin the season. After cracking a rib and chipping a vertebrate in his season opener against UMass-Lowell, the freshman has recovered quickly and is a big part of Duluth’s depth scoring. Playing primarily on the fourth line, Olson has three points in ten games. The winger’s play hasn’t gone without praise. His coach Scott Sandelin has said; “he’s competitive, he’s smart. He brings a lot. He’s a young, young kid but like I’ve said before, he plays the game with a lot of maturity. He’s going to help us a lot.” Good early signs from the 3rd rounder.

( Photo Credit: Brett Groehler/University Minnes )

Roman Bychkov – Round 5, 154th Overall

The Bruins went to Russia with their next pick when they selected Roman Bychkov. He’s a sound defender with good hands that isn’t afraid to get physical along the boards. At 5’11 he isn’t a big skater, but he’s been able to carve out two straight seasons of strong play in the Russian Junior League (MHL). Building off of last season’s 15 points, Bychkov has put up four goals, ten points and a +10 rating for the second place Loko Yaroslavl this season.

Matias Mantykivi – Round 6, 185th Overall 

Matias Mantykivi was drafted out of the Finnish Junior League where he put up over a point-per-game pace through 34 games. This season, Mantykivi has made a full-time jump to the Finnish Pro League (Liiga). His stat-line of two goals in 16 games is far from impressive, but it’s important to remember that the Fin is an 18-year-old playing in a league with older, bigger and stronger players. Players like Joonas Donskoi, who had two goals in his first 18 games in Liiga, turned into very solid NHLers so there is no need to rush Mantykivi, he still has a lot of time to grow. With a name like that, I just hope we get to hear it in the NHL.

Seventh-round pick (192nd overall) — Jake Schmaltz, C (Chicago Steel)

( Photo Credit: Chicago Steel )

Jake Schmaltz – Round 7, 192nd Overall 

For the Bs final pick, they decided to go with an American with some NHL talent in his blood. Jake Schmaltz is the cousin of Nick and Jordan Schmaltz, who are both former 1st rounders and have over 250 games of NHL experience between the two. Jake spent last season in the USHL with the Chicago Steel but changed clubs to the Green Bay Gamblers this season.

The winger’s game is one that focuses on forechecking. His ten points through 19 games aren’t incredible, but his two-way ability still projects him to be a solid bottom-six option in the future. It will be interesting how Schmaltz’s game can translate to the NCAA when he goes to the University of Dakota next year.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 155 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!!

Bruins Game 9 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

For the second-consecutive game, the Boston Bruins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. This time, however, the arena is different as the two teams make the move to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins lost the last time out, 4-3 in overtime in Toronto, but was able to secure a point without second-line center David Krejci (upper-body) in the lineup.

Toronto has had a game since the win over Boston, losing 4-3 in overtime themselves against the Columbus Blue Jackets off of a penalty-shot winner in the OT session. The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic division with a record of 5-3-2.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 3-0-1 1.72 GAA .946 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 4-3 loss vs TBL (SO)

TOR: Michael Hutchinson (Likely) 0-1-1 3.97 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-3 loss vs WSH

Who’s Hot:

Tuukka Rask is starting in his 500th career NHL game tonight against the franchise who drafted him 21st-overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rask has been great for the Bruins this year, remaining undefeated in regulation with a record of 3-0-1. Tuukka has a 1.72 GAA (3rd in NHL*) and a .946 save percentage (3rd in NHL*) with one shutout back on October 12th against the Devils.

*minimum of four games started

Mitch Marner leads the Maple Leafs in points this season with 3-9-12 numbers in ten games so far, riding a two-game point streak coming into tonight’s contest as well. On Saturday, Marner finished the night with two assists against Boston – including the game-winning shot that hit Morgan Rielly in front, giving him a primary assist. Marner has been a force, as usual, and he seemingly thrives against the Bruins. Watch for that again tonight.

David Pastrnak was awarded the First Star of the Week according to the National Hockey League and rightly so. The 23-year-old Czech Republic native has dominated the NHL with nine points in three games last week – seven of them being goals. His nine goals on the 2019-20 season puts him tied for first in league and Pastrnak is also top-five in points with 15 in only eight games. Pastrnak put up a goal and an assist in Saturday’s loss to the Leafs.

Who’s Not:

With Frederik Andersen getting the start last night for the Blue and White, it is very likely that we see backup goaltender, Michael Hutchinson in between the pipes for the third time this season. So far, the 2008 3rd-round pick of the Boston Bruins has a win-less record of 0-1-1. Hutchinson has only started twice, but made five saves on five shots against the Lightning in replacement of Andersen who was pulled. With a GAA of 3.97 and a SV% of .886, Hutchinson has not be the best in net when he does get his chance.

Sean Kuraly is yet to find the back of the net in the 2019-2020 campaign, putting up only two assists in the opening eight games. Kuraly had a particularly poor game on Saturday, turning the puck over on numerous occasions with one breakout attempt directly leading to a Toronto goal. Kuraly is one of the better depth players in the NHL, but is starting off the year on a slower pace than expected from a Bruins team needing depth support.

Charlie McAvoy is atop the Bruins roster regarding the younger players, no doubt, but he has not performed at the peak of his potential this season so far. McAvoy has only one assist and is a -1 rating through eight games and against the Leafs last weekend, he made numerous turnovers and seemed out of position on a few rushes by Toronto. Boston needs him to be more consistent tonight and for the games to come.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • G Tuukka Rask is playing in his 500th career NHL game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is two assists away (498) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F David Pastrnak is one point (299) from 300 career NHL points

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • F Auston Matthews is three assists away (97) from 100 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Outlook:

Saturday’s game was an entertaining game between these two teams with both teams getting chances on either end and both teams having solid goaltending throughout the course of the game. This time around, both teams will be putting out different starting goaltenders and will be playing in a different arena – bringing the possibility for another competitive game.

The Bruins managed to earn a point in the loss, keeping them tied in points with Toronto, but are ahead of the Canadian team due to their lack of total games played in comparison. Boston will be looking to win a regulation game on home-ice to take a full two points. Even early on in the season, these points are huge considering the level of competition in the NHL’s Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Earlier today, the Bruins announced that forward David Krejci (upper-body) has been placed on the injured-reserve and will not play tonight. In response, the organization recalled forward Anders Bjork from the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League to fill the vacant roster spot. Joakim Nordstrom was on the ice for practice, but no word on if he will return to the lineup. Karson Kuhlman did not practice and will likely miss tonight’s game after blocking a shot from DeBrusk in the last game.

The Bruins and Leafs are expected to have yet another strong game, even with the absence of Krejci and Tavares respectively. There are opportunities available for young players now, especially Bjork, to prove his worth in the depth charts and make a case for a top-six role.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Projected Lines:

Boston Bruins:

Toronto Maple Leafs:

The above lines for the Maple Leafs are for their game last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Things may change, but expect Hutchinson to get the start.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 150 that we recorded on 10-20-19 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!!

Former Bruins Forward Lee Stempniak Announces Retirement

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Today, October 1st, veteran forward Lee Stempniak officially announced his retirement from the National Hockey League after spending the past thirteen seasons in the league for various franchises.

Lee Stempniak was drafted in the in the fifth-round (148th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, but did not make his NHL debut until the 2005-06 season, accumulating 14-13-27 numbers in 57 games played with the Blues. Stempniak would play a full three seasons with St. Louis before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in November of 2008 in exchange for Alexander Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo.

In Toronto, Stempniak played a combined 123 games before being shipped off to the then-Phoenix Coyotes in a trade deadline move in 2010. Over the course of his career, Stempniak played for ten teams across the league and many of which were because of trades during the trade deadline period of the regular season. Below is the full list of teams the West Seneca, New York native played for.

  • St. Louis Blues (2005-2009) – 57-73-180 
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (2009-2010) – 25-36-61
  • Phoenix Coyotes (2010-2011) – 33-23-56
  • Calgary Flames (2011-2014) – 31-52-83
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (2014-2014) – 4-7-11
  • New York Rangers (2014-2015) – 9-9-18
  • Winnipeg Jets (2015-2015) – 6-4-10
  • New Jersey Devils (2015-2016) – 16-25-41
  • Boston Bruins (2016, 2019) – 3-7-10
  • Carolina Hurricanes (2016-2018) – 19-30-49

During his NHL career, Lee Stempniak played in 911 regular season games, amassing a combined total of 203 goals, 266 assists for 469 points. The majority of his career was spent in St.Louis where he played a total of 233 games followed by the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Evidently, the 36-year-old was never a high-scoring player within the National Hockey League, but brought some decent depth scoring to teams that were trying to contend or needed an additional piece to their roster in the case of injuries. When it comes to the Boston Bruins, Stempniak did not have a long tenure with the B’s. He only played in a combined total of 21 games, scoring three goals and seven assists for ten points.

In an official press release, Lee Stempniak said the following regarding his decision to retire from the NHL. Quote comes from the NHLPA.

“I am honoured and privileged to have played in the NHL for 13 seasons and I am extremely grateful to have lived my dream every day throughout my career. I would like to thank each and every organization, all of my coaches and the staff members for your help over the years. A special thank you to all of my teammates. I will miss our friendships, laughter and camaraderie.

Thank you to my parents, Larry and Carla, for sacrificing so much to make my dreams a reality. I have learned from your example, and that is the standard for the father I aspire to be. My brother, Jay, thank you for your support and friendship. I am forever grateful to my wife, Lindsay and our three children, Reese, Lucy and Brooks. Without your love, extreme sacrifice and unwavering support throughout all the moves, I would not have enjoyed playing as long as I did.

After living in ten cities, I am looking forward to spending time with my family, settling in Boston and being a father.”

Lee Stempniak will always have roots in Boston, Massachusetts and we at the Black N’ Gold Hockey website wish him the best on all his future endeavours outside of hockey.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-29-19 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!

Bruins F Anton Blidh Out Four Months After Shoulder Surgery

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

On September 24th, 2019, the Boston Bruins have confirmed that forward Anton Blidh will be forced to miss four months of playing time after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

The injury came in the Bruins’ first preseason meeting against the Philadelphia Flyers last week and it was rumored that the injury may require surgery. As news comes in today, it is now clear that Blidh underwent successful surgery to repair a ligament in his right shoulder at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) by Doctor Tom Holovacs.

The 24-year-old winger was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 6th Round (180th Overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and has been a staple as a depth forward in the organization, playing 263 career regular-season games with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League, amassing a 41-38-79 numbers dating back to the 2015-16 season.

Last year, Blidh was named assistant captain of the P-Bruins, finishing the 2018-19 campaign with 10-13-23 totals in 74 games. Over the course of his professional career, Blidh has played in a combined twenty-one games in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, scoring only one goal and one assist for two points. Elite Prospects’ Erik K. Piri said the following about Blidh back in 2014.

“Blidh is a gritty winger who plays with a lot of energy. Can kill penalties and is a terrific shot blocker. Also owns some offensive instincts and a willingness to go hard to the net. Loves to agitate and rile up opponents.”

Before joining Providence, Blidh spent his time with a variety of different teams in his home country of Sweden with his best point-producing season coming in the 2013-14 campaign where he scored 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 27 games for the Frölunda HC J20 in the SuperElit league.

Back in May of this year, the Boston Bruins re-signed the Mölnlycke, Sweden native to a two-year, two-way contract extension worth $700,000 per season. That deal is scheduled to expire at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. For the Bruins, this is a tough injury as Blidh was a solid member of the Providence Bruins forward core and could have been a potential recall in the case of an injury to a forward in the big leagues.

If his recovery goes smoothly and efficiently, we should see Anton Blidh back in a sweater, likely for the Baby Bruins in the AHL in the early stages of the 2020 calendar year. For more information on Blidh, David Krejci, and other Boston Bruins injury reports, news, and updates, make sure to give me a follow on Twitter, (@tkdmaxbjj ), and check back frequently on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 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!

BNG First Annual Bruins Season Predictions

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh )

By: Michael Robert |  Follow me on Twitter: @b_blackandgold

Well, folks. Here we are. The 2019-20 season is just around the corner and camps are underway. And here we are to meet your Bruins needs with the First Annual BNG Season Predictions! We throw some guesses out there, some educated and some not, on predicting the unpredictable. All questions based on regular-season unless otherwise stated. Assembled here for this is our five-person panel from http://www.blackngoldhockey.com, and without further ado, let’s get this underway and hope you enjoy!

On Twitter, they are as follows!

Michael: @b_blackngold
Joe: @jchrz19
Lucas: @LucasPearson_
Garrett: @thesportsguy97
Mike: @Mike_Cratty

Will Pastrnak hit 40 goals?

Michael: Yes
Joe: Yes
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: Yes
Mike: Yes

Will Pastrnak put up 100 points?

Michael: No
Joe: No
Lucas: No
Garrett: No
Mike: No

Will Marchand top the 100 point mark?

Michael: Yes
Joe: No
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: Yes
Mike: No

How many goals will Marchand score?

Michael: 40
Joe: 37
Lucas: 38
Garrett: 38
Mike: 33

Can Bergeron stay healthy for the full season?

Michael: Yes
Joe: Yes
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: No
Mike: Yes

How many points for Bergeron this season?

Michael: 82
Joe: 77
Lucas: 92
Garrett: 72
Mike: 88

Will the Bruins keep the top line together or look to spread the wealth?

Michael: Let them continue to dominate.
Joe: Keep them together.
Lucas: Stay together.
Garrett: Keep them together.
Mike: Stay together.

Will DeBrusk score 30+ goals?

Michael: Yes
Joe: No
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: Yes
Mike: Yes

Will DeBrusk post 70+ points?

Michael: No
Joe: No
Lucas: No
Garrett: Yes
Mike: No

Who will lead the team in points and with how many?

Michael: Brad Marchand. 104.
Joe: Brad Marchand. 94.
Lucas: Brad Marchand. 101.
Garrett: Brad Marchand. 106.
Mike: Brad Marchand. 98.

Will Krejci be able to match his 2018-19 season in terms of overall play?

Michael: Yes
Joe: Yes
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: No
Mike: Yes

How many points for Krejci?

Michael: 70
Joe: 69
Lucas: 68
Garrett: 71
Mike: 71

Is there a chance Grzelcyk could be moved up to lessen the load on Chara?

Michael: Yes
Joe: No
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: No
Mike: Not likely

Will Chara see less ice time this season? If so, what will his average TOI be?

Michael: Yes. 19:00.
Joe: Yes. 20:50.
Lucas: Yes. 19:20.
Garrett: Yes. 20:30.
Mike: No, the same as last season.

Will Big Z retire after this season?

Michael: Yes
Joe: Yes
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: No
Mike: No

Will McAvoy see over or under 23 mins average TOI?

Michael: Over
Joe: Under
Lucas: Over
Garrett: Over
Mike: Under

How many points will McAvoy produce?

Michael: 55
Joe: 43
Lucas: 39
Garrett: 43
Mike: 47

Will Torey Krug still be a Bruin by the trade deadline?

Michael: Yes
Joe: Yes
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: Yes
Mike: Yes

Will Heinen have a back bounce season and contribute more offensively with 50+ points?

Michael: No
Joe: Yes
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: Yes
Mike: No

Can Coyle bring his 2018-19 playoff success into the regular season consistently?

Michael: Definitely
Joe: Yes
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: Yes
Mike: Yes

With Brett Ritchie being added to the bottom 6 group of forwards, can he come in and make an impact?

Michael: Yes
Joe: No
Lucas: Yes
Garrett: Yes
Mike: Yes

How will the addition of Ritchie and Lindholm affect the lineup?

Michael: Bolster the bottom 6 depth.
Joe: Won’t affect it.
Lucas: If they get in the lineup, they will
contribute.
Garrett: Won’t change much, as they
won’t get much ice time.
Mike: Depth, but no real playing time.

How many starts will Rask get? Halak?

Michael: Rask 44. Halak 38.
Joe: Rask 47. Halak 35.
Lucas: Rask 47. Halak 35.
Garrett: Rask 46. Halak 36.
Mike: Rask 48. Halak 34.

How many wins for Rask? Halak?

Michael: Rask 28. Halak 22.
Joe: Rask 30. Halak 19.
Lucas: Rask 30. Halak 20.
Garrett: Rask 29. Halak 23
Mike: Rask 29. Halak 21

What will be Rask’s Sv% on the season be?

Michael: .912
Joe: .920
Lucas: .918
Garrett: .914
Mike: .921

Can the Bruins find a trade partner for Backes or will they eat his contract until it runs out?

Michael: Yes.
Joe: Yes, next offseason.
Lucas: After this season.
Garrett: They are stuck with it.
Mike: Yes, next summer.

Could Vaakanainen earn himself a spot in the top 6 by seasons end?

Michael: Yes
Joe: No
Lucas: No
Garrett: Yes
Mike: Yes

What prospects will get a look in some NHL games this year?

Michael: Studnicka, Senyshyn, Vaak, Lauko, Steen, Frederic
Joe: Vaak, Studnicka, Lauzon, Frederic, Steen, Hughes, Senyshyn.
Lucas: Studnicka and Bjork.
Garrett: Studnicka, Vaak, Lauzon
Mike: Vaak, Lauko, Lauzon, Steen, Hughes, Senyshyn.

Who is your candidate for the player that “comes out of nowhere?”

Michael: Zachary Senyshyn
Joe: Zachary Senyshyn
Lucas: Anders Bjork
Garrett: Karson Kuhlman
Mike: Anders Bjork

Who is your player pick for “comeback of the year” player?

Michael: Anders Bjork
Joe: Danton Heinen
Lucas: Danton Heinen
Garrett: Danton Heinen
Mike: Anders Bjork

Who will be the offensive team MVP? Defensive MVP?

Michael: Marchand and McAvoy.
Joe: Marchand and Carlo.
Lucas: Marchand and Krug.
Garrett: Marchand and Carlo.
Mike: Marchand and McAvoy.

What player will win the Seventh Player award this season?

Michael: Matt Grzelcyk
Joe: Anders Bjork
Lucas: Matt Grzelcyk
Garrett: Karson Kuhlman
Mike: Connor Clifton

How many points in the regular season will the Bruins get?

Michael: 102
Joe: 105
Lucas: 109
Garrett: 111
Mike: 108

Will the Bruins make it back to the playoffs? Finals?

Michael: Playoffs yes. Finals no.
Joe: Playoffs yes. Finals no.
Lucas: Playoffs yes. Finals yes.
Garrett: Playoffs yes. Finals no.
Mike: Playoffs yes. Finals yes.

If no, what round will they get beat out in and to who?

Michael: Conference finals loss to
New York Rangers
Joe: Second round exit to Tampa Bay.
Lucas: They’re winning the cup.
Garrett: Conference finals loss to
Washington
Mike: All the way for the cup win.

LEAGUE PICK EMS

Top 3 finishers in each division, in order.

Atlantic Division

Michael: Tampa, Boston, Toronto
Joe: Tampa, Boston, Toronto
Lucas: Tampa, Boston, Florida
Garrett: Tampa, Boston, Toronto
Mike: Boston, Tampa, Toronto

Metro Division

Michael: New York Rangers, Washington
Philadelphia
Joe: Washington, Pittsburgh, New York
Islanders
Lucas: Carolina, Washington,
Philadelphia
Garrett: Washington, Pittsburgh, New
York Islanders
Mike: New York Rangers, Washington,
Carolina

Central Division

Michael: Nashville, Colorado, Dallas
Joe: Nashville, Dallas, Colorado
Lucas: Colorado, Nashville, St. Louis
Garrett: Nashville, Colorado, Winnipeg
Mike: Nashville, St. Louis, Colorado

Pacific Division

Michael: Vegas, Calgary, San Jose
Joe: Calgary, Vegas, San Jose
Lucas: Calgary, San Jose, Arizona
Garrett: Vegas, San Jose, Calgary
Mike: Vegas, San Jose, Calgary

Eastern Conference finals matchup?Winner? How many games?

Michael: Boston v New York Rangers
New York Rangers in 7
Joe: Tampa Bay v Washington
Tampa Bay in 6
Lucas: Boston v Toronto (WC)
Boston in 7
Garrett: Boston v Washington
Washington in 7
Mike: Boston v New York Rangers
Boston in 6

Western Conference finals matchup?Winner? How many games?

Michael: Nashville v Vegas
Vegas in 6
Joe: Dallas v Vegas
Dallas in 7
Lucas: Nashville v San Jose
Nashville in 6
Garrett: Colorado v San Jose
San Jose in 6
Mike: Vegas v Colorado
Vegas in 7

Stanley Cup finals winner? How many games?

Michael: New York Rangers in 7
Joe: Tampa Bay in 6
Lucas: Boston in 7
Garrett: San Jose in 6
Mike: Boston in 7

Most likely exceed expectations?

Michael: New York Rangers
Joe: Arizona
Lucas: Arizona
Garrett: New York Rangers
Mike: New York Rangers

Most likely to underachieve?

Michael: St. Louis
Joe: Columbus
Lucas: Winnipeg
Garrett: Carolina
Mike: Dallas

Canadian team with the highest points?

Michael: Toronto
Joe: Calgary
Lucas: Calgary
Garrett: Toronto
Mike: Toronto

How many teams north of the border will make the playoffs?

Michael: 3
Joe: 4
Lucas: 2
Garrett: 3
Mike: 3

AWARD WINNERS

Hart Trophy

Michael: Connor McDavid
Joe: Nathan MacKinnon
Lucas: Connor McDavid
Garrett: Nathan MacKinnon
Mike: Connor McDavid

Art Ross Trophy

Michael: Nathan MacKinnon
Joe: Connor McDavid
Lucas: Nikita Kucherov
Garrett: Nikita Kucherov
Mike: Connor McDavid

Calder Trophy

Michael: Kappo Kakko
Joe: Kappo Kakko
Lucas: Jack Hughes
Garrett: Jack Hughes
Mike: Kappo Kakko

Selke Trophy

Michael: Patrice Bergeron
Joe: Aleksander Barkov
Lucas: Patrice Bergeron
Garrett: Patrice Bergeron
Mike: Patrice Bergeron

Norris Trophy

Michael: Victor Hedman
Joe: Roman Josi
Lucas: Seth Jones
Garrett: Victor Hedman
Mike: Victor Hedman

Vezina Trophy

Michael: Henrik Lundqvist
Joe: Ben Bishop
Lucas: Andrei Vasilevskiy
Garrett: Marc-Andre Fleury
Mike: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jack Adams Award

Michael: Jared Bednar
Joe: Jim Montgomery
Lucas: Rick Tocchet
Garrett: Jared Bednar
Mike: Bruce Cassidy

Coach on the bubble?

Michael: Mike Babcock
Joe: Bruce Boudreau
Lucas: Bruce Boudreau
Garrett: Mike Babcock
Mike: Mike Babcock

GM on the bubble?

Michael: Kevin Cheveldayoff
Joe: Brad Treliving
Lucas: Pierre Dorion
Garrett: Kevin Cheveldayoff
Mike: Kevin Cheveldayoff

Player drafted 1 to 3 at the 2020 draft?

Michael: Alexis LaFrenière, Quinton
Byfield, Lucas Raymond

Joe: Alexis LaFrenière, Lucas Raymond,
Quinton Byfield.

Lucas: Alexis LaFrenière, Lucas
Raymond, Quinton Byfield

Garrett: Alexis LaFrenière, Quinton
Byfield, Lucas Raymond

Mike: Alexis LaFrenière, Quinton Byfield,
Lucas Raymond

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 145 that we recorded on 9-15-19 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 Link To Our YouTube Channel!

Bruins NCAA Prospects Head Back to School

2019 NHL Draft - Portraits

(Photo Credit: Kevin Light, Getty Images)

By Carrie Salls | Find me on Twitter @nittgrl73

It’s back-to-school time again. Six Boston Bruins prospects are currently playing or committed to play NCAA hockey, this season including John Beecher, Jack Becker, Cam Clarke, Curtis Hall, Dustyn McFaul and Jeremy Swayman.

Beecher was selected by the Bruins in the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and will begin his collegiate hockey career at the University of Michigan this season. He will join Becker in Ann Arbor. Becker will be a junior in 2019-2020.

Beecher, a center/left wing, comes to Michigan after spending the 2018-2019 season moving from the United States National Team Development Program to the U.S. National Under 18 Team to the Under-18 World Junior Classic team. The now 18-year-old Beecher amassed a total of 67 points in a combined 97 games.

Becker is a 22-year-old Minnesota-born center who was selected by the Bruins in round seven of the 2015 Entry Draft. He has played in a total of 69 games during his first two seasons with the Wolverines, accounting for 15 points in each of his freshman and sophomore years.

Clarke is entering his fourth year at another Michigan school, Ferris State University, where he has seen game action each of his first three seasons with the Bulldogs. He is a 23-year-old defenseman from Tecumseh Michigan and was drafted by Boston in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Clarke posted a career high 11 points for Ferris State in 2016-2017, his freshman season, followed by seven points and eight points, respectively, the next two seasons. He has appeared in a total of 99 games so far in his collegiate career.

Ohio native Hall and Alaska product Swayman are two Bruins prospects who are playing their college hockey in New England. Hall is entering his sophomore year at Yale University, and goaltender Swayman will be playing in his third season at the University of Maine.

Hall is a 19-year-old center from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Last season, his first with the Yale Bulldogs, he put up five goals and six assists in 24 games. Hall was drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2018 draft.

Swayman, the lone netminder of the group, is 20 years old and was selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. He has posted impressive numbers in his first two seasons with the Black Bears. He finished the 2017-2018 season with a 2.72 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. Last season, Swayman had a 2.77 GAA and a .919 save percentage.

According to McFaul’s profile on Elite Prospects, he is committed to play at Clarkson University and is expected to begin his freshman campaign there this year. McFaul is a 20-year-old Waterdown, Ontario-born defenseman. He has played the past two seasons for the Pickering Panthers of the Ontario Hockey League, posting a total of 35 points in 86 games. He was selected by Boston in the sixth round of the 2018 draft.

Bruins Report: Contract Discussions With Carlo, McAvoy Are “Stalled”

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

According to an article by NHL.com writer Mike Battalingo, Boston’s contract discussions involving restricted free-agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo “remain stalled” in the latest update.

The two defensemen have been the biggest talking points of the Bruins offseason, especially in the fanbase as both play a crucial role on the blueline of the defending Eastern Conference Champions. In an interview with BostonBruins.com, General Manager Don Sweeney gave some light to a topic largely filled with darkness in terms of details released on contract negotiations.

“But that’s just the nature of the business, and every negotiation has its own timeline,” Sweeney told the Bruins website Thursday. “We’ll find a finish line at some point in time, Brandon and Charlie will be part of our organization for a long time. We think really highly of them as players on and off the ice, we just have to find a common ground and we’re working to get there.” (quote was taken from NHL.com)

Following their Stanley Cup Finals run that ended just one game short of winning it all, the Bruins knew that the offseason was going to be an important one regarding the extensions of key RFAs in the system. On July 9th, GM Don Sweeney managed to lock up forward Danton Heinen to a two-year, $5.6 million contract ($2.8 million AAV), leaving only Carlo and McAvoy left to prioritize.

Charlie McAvoy was the 14th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins and has since become a top-two defenceman alongside captain Zdeno Chara. McAvoy started his NHL career in the 2017-18 campaign, recording 7-25-32 numbers in 63 games played that season with another five points in 12 playoff games.

This past season, injuries kept McAvoy down to 54 regular-season games but the 21-year-old defender still managed to match a career-high in goals with seven to go along with his 21 assists to finish the season with 28 points. Charlie also led the entire Bruins roster in time on ice, averaging 22:10 over the course of the 2018-19 campaign. McAvoy added 2-6-8 totals in the 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games, playing a key role in the success the team found down the stretch.

Brandon Carlo is not as offensive as McAvoy, but he brings the type of defensive play that is needed in front of your goaltender. The 6-foot-5, 212-pound Carlo had the most hits among defenceman in 2018-2019 and was fourth on the team with 134 recorded hits. According to Hockey Reference, Carlo ended the season with 42 takeaways and 41 giveaways, a large improvement from the year prior. Improvements like that will only continue year-to-year.

The Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA native set a new career-high in minutes per game, averaging 20:55 on the ice in 72 games played. In addition, Carlo played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in his young career due to untimely injuries that forced him out of the past two postseasons.

Sweeney went on to say that negotiations with both players are “not as fast as everybody would like”, but failed to provide any insight on the likelihood of the duo joining the rest of the roster for the official Boston Bruins Training Camp next month. Earlier in August, Boston offered a professional tryout contract to defenceman Alex Petrovic in the event that Carlo and McAvoy are absent from the camp.

Should fans of the Bruins be worried? Not yet. Sweeney made it clear that the organization wants the pair of blueliners to wear the Spoked-B on their chest for the long-term and he showed a level of confidence that the two will eventually be signed so there is no need to worry and stress, yet.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 141 that we recorded on 8-18-19 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 Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Former Bruin Bill Guerin Hired As General Manager in Minnesota

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PHOTO CREDITS: (ANDREW WALLACE / REUTERS)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Yesterday, August 21st, news circled the hockey universe that four-time Stanley Cup Champion, Bill Guerin was officially hired by the Minnesota Wild to be the team’s fourth General Manager in franchise history.

The Wild missed the playoffs for the first time after six consecutive playoff appearances and finished dead-last in the NHL’s Central Division standings. The poor conclusion to the 2018-19 season led to the firing of General Manager Paul Fenton, who had been the team’s GM since May 21st, 2018. From July 30th to August 21st, the Wild were in the hunt for a new General Manager, they now have one.

Coming into the role is Bill Guerin, a two-time Stanley Cup Champion as a player and a two-time Stanley Cup Champion as apart of the Pittsburgh Penguins management team that won back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017. Not known extensively for his management roles to date, Guerin will sound familiar to most fans due to his 18-year NHL career that began in the 1991-92 season.

Over the course of his career, Guerin played for eight different NHL clubs, spending the majority of the time with the New Jersey Devils, the team that drafted him fifth overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. The 48-year-old has connections to not only the Boston Bruins but the state of Massachusetts as well. In fact, it was in Worchester, Massachusetts where Guerin was born and was raised in Wilbraham, Massachusetts – roughly 80 miles west of Boston.

After spending eight years in New Jersey, the same place where he won the first of four Stanley Cups (1995), Guerin was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in January of 1998. Guerin played 211 regular-season games with the Oilers before once again being shipped out, this time going to Boston.

Bill Guerin’s time in Boston was short-lived, playing in only 142 games for the Bruins, putting up 69-60-129 totals in that span including a 41-goal season in 2001-2002. Guerin’s successful personal season that year also helped the Bruins too as the team made the postseason after missing out in each of the previous two seasons. However, the B’s lost in six games to the rival Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, but Guerin did his part, scoring four goals and two assists for six points in as many games.

On July 3rd, 2002, Guerin left Boston to sign a five-year, $31,209,886 contract with the Dallas Stars. Following his time with the Stars, Guerin played with the St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, and New York Islanders before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in March of 2009. As many may know, the Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup over the Detroit Red Wings that year, securing Guerin’s second Cup.

On December 6th, 2010, Bill Guerin officially announced his retirement from the National Hockey League, ending his career with 1263 career NHL games under his belt. Guerin finished his playing career with 429-427-856 numbers. In addition to his NHL career, Guerin was a three-time Olympian for the United States ice hockey team, winning the silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Guerin was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Now, Bill Guerin turns to a new chapter in his hockey career, becoming a General Manager for the first time. Not wasting any time with his new role in Minnesota, Guerin signed RFA forward Joel Eriksson-Ek to a two-year contract worth an average of $1,487,500 per season. With his knowledge of winning as not only a player but as an assistant GM in Pittsburgh, he will bring value to the front office for the Minnesota Wild. All in all, having roots in Boston.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 141 that we recorded on 8-18-19 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 Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Bruins’ Prospect Beecher Shined At World Juniors Summer Showcase

John-Beecher

( Photo credit Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images )

By: Ian Frazier | Follow Me On Twitter @ifrazier95

Boston Bruins fans must be feeling pretty good right now after reading the reports and watching recent YouTube videos about the team’s 2019 National Hockey League first-round draft selection John Beecher. The 18-year-old Elmira, New York native was labeled as a draft steal to some experts when he was selected 30th in late Junes NHL Entry Draft from Vancouver, British Columbia. The jury is still out on him, but with the way Beecher played in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase held at the Team USA Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, the B’s scouting staff certainly got this one right when addressing future needs.

Beecher looked like an absolute beast compared to other prospects his age. As shown in the video above, he was able to win puck battles on the boards as well as score a couple goals down low. He also battled hard on faceoffs and generated a nice breakaway goal that was made possible by his fast acceleration down the ice beating two defenders. During his time at WJSS, he developed great chemistry alongside fellow Bruins’ prospect Curtis Hall showing their nice one-two punch that was on display during the domination of Finland 7-1. One of his biggest attributes on display was his overall team awareness. He knew exactly where his teammates were and was able to make crisp passes or be able to skate in and help contain the puck near the crease. From what he has shown so far, many hockey insiders believe his style of play is very similar to Sean Couturier with additional speed and size.

With Beecher showing flashes of top six potential, this should be great news for Bruins center David Krejci going forward. Krejci has had seasons where he struggled to have consistent scoring due to the lack of explosiveness on his right side and someone like Beecher could bring that explosiveness to the black and gold and could fill the much-needed position soon. The Bruins had a few prospects the last few seasons try out there with Jackob Forsbaka Karlsson being the most recent. JFK, however, decided to go back to Sweeden to help his development. In the meantime they found a solid replacement with Bruins forward Karson Kuhlman to hold down the fort until someone like Beecher is ready to be called up. Beecher is scheduled to transfer to the University of Michigan where he will play for the Wolverines during the 2019-20 NCAA season.

Over the past few seasons, players like this have been a much-needed asset for many teams and Beecher may be the next in line that fits that mold. One thing is for sure though, Bruins fans should be excited about him, and they should be happy knowing that Sweeney may have found a future solution at second-line right wing. We still don’t know for sure if Beecher is a long-time solution for the club down the road, but the future looks bright for this young man. Time will tell!

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

Allred: Top-10 Bruins Prospects

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan, I also pay close attention to the organization’s prospects in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins and lower levels of developmental hockey around the world. I believe it’s important for B’s fans to not only be up to date with what’s going on with the National Hockey League team in Boston but also who’s standing out in the prospect pool and about to cross the threshold of future NHL professional careers.

These top-ten ranking below are my thoughts on where I see these prospects in the B’s developing depth with minimal if no games in the NHL. This was a great idea from our Senior writer Mike Cratty who came to our writing team of 17 members for that offseason content and to keep the B’s conversation going. Check out the two previous prospect ranking articles from Mike Cratty HERE, and writer Lucas Pearson’s rankings Here to see the difference in opinions when it comes to this offseason topic. Without further ado, here are my Top-10 Boston Bruins Prospect Rankings.

10) Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Sometimes first-round NHL drafted players don’t get to the highest level in the world after leaving the draft podium, but with NHL contracted players ahead of Zboril it gives time to properly develop. The now 22-year-old two-way defenseman has one-year remaining on his current entry-level contract before becoming a restricted free agent. Jakub will most likely spend another season with the Providence Bruins where he’s played in 124 career games posting 8-30-38 numbers. In two career NHL games during his callups from the AHL, Zboril went pointless but did get a taste of the NHL which could drive him to seriously compete for a spot at training camp in September.

9) Zach Senyshyn

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Another young player with tremendous upside when he was selected in the first round in 2015 along with the aforementioned Zboril. In my opinion, Senyshyn has the attributes to be an NHL’er, but the pipeline ahead of him hasn’t been easy to crack the code to be a regular. With one-year remaining on his entry-level deal Zach is going to have to work harder than ever to get the attention of the Bruins brass high above to address a serious need on the right side of the B’s forward core.

In 132 career AHL games with Providence, the 22-year-old has 26-24-50 numbers and in two games during the 2018-19 campaign got his first career NHL goal when he was called up and played in a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. I can see Senyshyn playing a majority of next year in Providence, but he could also get more looks during this upcoming 2019-20 NHL season.

8) Jeremy Lauzon

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Jeremy is another prospect that is being hindered by the bottlenecking factor of this Bruins organization, especially for a depth defenseman. Lauzon is on the last year of his entry-level deal and overly not sure of his NHL timeline with the core ahead of him. I’d expect he’s going to have a solid camp and will impress those who are constructing a winner in the next regular season campaign but another season in Providence developing is what I see in my crystal ball. Lauzon did play in 16 games at the NHL level during the 2018-19 season and thought he played well earning his first and only NHL goal in that timeframe. With Providence appearing in 81 games the former 2015 second-round selection posted 2-12-14 numbers in his career thus far in the AHL.

7) Trent Frederic

( Photo Credit: Team Shred Photography )

By far, one of my favorite prospects in the Bruins system. Frederic has speed and creativity, but above all, he plays with that edge that can get him into the NHL Bruins lineup no matter what forward line. He has good speed with or without the puck, and his strength in the faceoff circle is another tremendous attribute when winning draws in critical situations.

The 2018-19 season was Frederics first full season of AHL hockey and as a rookie in the league contributed offensively with 14-11-25 numbers. I still believe that Trent’s game can only get better with his time developing in Providence but did have a few good looks in his first career NHL games in the 2018-19 season where he spent 15 games with the Boston club failing to register a point.  Frederic is another big kid with serious upside as a 21-year-old and can definitely see his offensive numbers getting better with the upcoming season with two more full seasons under his current entry-level contract.

6) Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: TheAHL.com / NBCSports.com )

Signed to an entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent back in October of 2017 after losing former Bruins prospect netminder Malcolm Subban via the waiver process to the Vegas Golden Knights. Since Keyser’s addition to the future plans of the Bruins crease, the Coral Springs, Florida native has really impressed me and continues to pass other goaltending prospects that were drafted in previous years.

Keyser is a 20-year-old netminder who’s eligible for the AHL action in the upcoming season. With Zane McIntyre out of the picture and the Bruins signing Maxime Legace to a one-year deal to add to the netminding depth there are rumors he could start his minor-pro career in the ECHL. The AHL full time is not out of the realm depending on what the B’s want to do with goaltender Dan Vladar. Kyle had a career year last season playing for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals where he tied his career-high in games played with 47 and a record of 32-8-0 with a 2.45 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage.

5) Axel Andersson

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

One of the more intriguing defensive prospects, in my opinion.  Drafted in the second round in 2018, Andersson was quickly signed to an entry-level contract after the close of the teams annual Development Camp. The 6′-0″ 180-pound defenseman has impeccable skating abilities along with impressive edge work. He has a high hockey IQ and the ability to snap tape to tape stretch passes for quick transition offensively.

Andersson is not a point-producing blueliner, but that part of his game could be incorporated with his time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Moncton Wildcats a team who selected him in the 2019 CHL Import Draft where he went 30th overall in the first round. From the folks I talk to in the Moncton, New Brunswick Canada area is that he’s going to be heavily relied on the backend and could see top-line minutes in all situations.

4) Jakub Lauko

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Probably one of the most exciting prospects when it comes to raw talent. Lauko’s speed and puck control in full speed has been a pleasure to watch in his first development camp and his games in the “Q” with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. After he was selected in the third round of the 2018 NHL draft, he joined the Huskies club a year later as the Rouyn-Noranda club had his rights from drafting him in the CHL import draft. Lauko and the Huskies would go onto have one of the best seasons known to be with the team being the best in the QMJHL during the regular season, capturing the Presidents Trophy in the playoffs, and marching into Halifax, Nova Scotia to take home the Memorial Cup,

In 44 games for the Huskies, Lauko contributed with 21-20-41 numbers and 6-7-13 totals in the postseason. He’s definitely a work in progress and will be in the pro ranks soon enough, but I’m a firm believer in properly developing players and could see him back with the Huskies for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The AHL is another possibility but like I said another solid year in the QMJHL defending the outstanding President Trophy and Memorial Cup-winning year wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3) John Beecher

( Photo Credit: by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images )

Beecher is a 2019 first-round draft pick that has intimidating size and speed for an 18-year-old that’s about to start his NCAA hockey career at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019. With players like Studnicka, Lauko, and Keyser excused from the 2019 Bruins Development Camp festivities, Beecher had the spotlight on him as the new kind in the system. His power forward mentality and creativity for a bigger player has been something to watch that’s for sure. His tremendous upside was on full display in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase held in Plymouth, Michigan where he was in the top-six of the tournament scoring for earning 4-1-5 numbers in five games played.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this type of player he becomes at Michigan in his first year of collegiate hockey. If he can earn five points in five games on a team highlighted with names like Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev, and Joel Farabee, the young Beecher could see an increased role with the NCAA Wolverines in a top-six powerhouse role under the tutelage of Head Coach Melvin Pearson and play with fellow B’s prospect Jack Becker.

2) Urho Vaakanainen

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports )

If any prospect defenseman is ready to cross the threshold of a long NHL Bruins career, it’s former first-rounder Vaakanainen. Due to an unfortunate head injury to start the 2018-19 NHL regular season, Urho would come back to the game later after recovering from a concussion to play the remaining games of the year with the Providence Bruins. The 20-year-old Vaakanainen started his pro career with Providence and was called up in October of 2018 due to injuries at the NHL level.

After only two NHL games and zero points, Urho suffered a concussion and didn’t return to the game for two months. When he did return to the game, he was placed in Providence where he played the remainder of the 2018-19 AHL season. Vaakanainen’s return would be in mid-January of 2019 and in 30 games to close the regular season Urho posted 4-10-14 numbers. As mentioned above a few times, current NHL contracts in Boston could hinder Vaakanainen from an NHL return for the upcoming season but the rumors of B’s defenseman going on the LTIR to start the year, Urho could easily make a return to the NHL lineup without a doubt.

Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Drafted in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Studnicka has worked extremely hard the last couple of seasons trying to make the NHL out of training camp. This year he could very well be in the mix for a forward position, but with the current depth up the middle, jack very well could see time on the wing if needed. The 6′-1″ 172-pound natural center has spent the last four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and last season posting 12-22-34 numbers in 30 games for the Oshawa Generals before being shipped to the Niagara Icedogs via trade where he posted 24-25-49 numbers in 30 games played.

Between Oshawa where Captain Jack played three seasons prior and Niagara for a 30 game stint, Studnicka had his best offensive numbers posting 36-47-83 totals for his best OHL career season surpassing his previous career-high of 72 points in the 2017-18 campaign. As a person that like to see Bruins prospects properly develop, I’d like to see Studnicka play at least a full season in the AHL because if the B’s organization is seriously considering moving him to a wing position, he should learn that transition in Providence with what’s looking like a very impressive lineup for the upcoming season.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.