Bruins Prospect Andersson Returned To SEL, Among Other Monday Roster Moves

Image result for axel andersson

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced a series of roster moves yesterday.

One of the most noteworthy comes in the form of 2018 second-round draft pick Axel Andersson being returned to Djurgarden IF of the SEL. Andersson had a solid summer in Boston, most notably in preseason action with the Bruins. Returning to his Swedish stomping grounds will allow the 18-year-old defenseman to grow and improve as a hockey player in SEL, a league in which he has past experience in. This past Saturday, Axel got in the board in some preseason action this past Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

Additionally, four young Bruins are heading to Providence, as Cameron Hughes, Emil Johansson, Joona Koppanen, and Zachary Senyshyn have been sent to the AHL. Johansson and Senyshyn return to the Providence with 50+ games of AHL apiece, while Hughes and Koppanen are still getting their feet wet. All four, regardless of experience, join a group in Providence with a good mix of veterans as well as young, skilled players that could very well be a solid Atlantic division team yet again.

To wrap up the series of moves, forward Tanner Pond will report to Providence as well. After amassing 163 penalty minutes on top of 37 points in 61 games with the Atlanta Gladiators last season, Pond is not one to shy away from the fisticuffs.

The moves will continue to come as the regular season gets closer and closer to the regular season. One thing is for sure — roster decisions won’t become any easier for Bruins management as some roster battles still rage on.

Providence Bruins: Introducing The New Arrivals

Photo Credit:  Last Word On Sports

By: Josh B.   |   Follow On Twitter @ToCauseway

In the calendar year, March typically signals the arrival of spring, March Madness, and most importantly, Canadian Major Junior and NCAA playoffs. Teams that have battled hard since October have their chance at immortality with names engraved on a championship trophy. Teams that do not qualify for playoff contention fade into their offseason.
As teams meet with elimination, draft prospects will occasionally depart their amateur, developmental teams for a spot in the Show, or with an NHL-affiliated farm team; more often than not, with the AHL. March 11th, 2018 was the first signing of Boston Bruins prospects out of their stockpile in the developmental leagues. Trent Frederic and Cameron Hughes turned pro after the Wisconsin Badgers season ended in Ann Arbor, MI, to Michigan State.
While Joona Koppanen was signed a year ago, on April 13, 2017, he played the first part of his new contract with his Liiga team (top Finnish league). While not a recent signing, nor amateur prospect, he is a newcomer to the “WannaBs” in Providence. More on him later.
Next, on March 20th, QMJHL St Johns Sea Dog Cedric Pare joined the Providence Bruins on an ATO, much the same as aforementioned Frederic and Hughes. The Patrice Bergeron doppelganger posted a remarkable standout season for the Sea Dogs, with 13G, 24A–37 points. The year before, he tallied only 5G, 11A—16 points. By signing an ATO, the kids are able to return to developmental leagues should their trial period reveal they need more seasoning.
Last but certainly not least is 6ft 7in Wiley Sherman. The Crimson blueliner is the only prospect mentioned drafted in the Peter Chiarelli era and is a senior at Harvard University. Much like former Bruins prospect Rob O’Gara, Sherman opted to finish his collegiate career before turning pro.

Let’s introduce you to each one in a bit more detail:

Trent Frederic

Photo Credit:   NHL.com

Trent Frederic needs no introduction. The 2016 1st round selection exploded onto the U20 WJC stage with 5 tallies for the USA team that eventually won the Bronze medal, securing the USA squad 3 consecutive medals in 3 consecutive WJC’s for the first time in history. His shot and release are first-rate, while size and strength down the middle make him an effective pivot.
Frederic was also the subject of some unwarranted controversy revolving around former Bruins director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky. “[Frederic] is not going to be a top-two-line guy, we know that” was the quote that sparked Frederic to prove his critics wrong. Ranked outside of the top 50 players by most scouts, Frederic went on to have back to back 30 point seasons with the University of Wisconsin Badgers. In his second season, Frederic’s leadership earned him an “A” on his sweater. His quotes following the draft and Gretzky’s comments hint that he’s a prospect wise beyond his years: “I’m just kind of excited to be on the team,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter where you get picked. It’s just what you do from there.” “I guess I’ve got a little pressure [as a first-round pick], but I think I like that. So it makes me push myself harder. So it’s good.”

Cameron Hughes

Photo Credit:  NHL.com

Cameron Hughes has the distinction of being the only draft selection already attending college when his name was called. The 2015 6th round selection has flown under the radar of most Bruins fans since the selection (development camps notwithstanding). 6’- 0”, 183lb Hughes most recently wore the “C” on his sweater for the 2017-2018 Badger campaign and has recorded 13pt, 25pt, 32pt, and 22pt seasons for Wisconsin beginning with his freshman year. He is described as a “skilled pivot with soft hands.” “Hughes needs to take a step forward with both his offensive output and his defensive play before he’ll get a look at the NHL level.”[3] As of today, Hughes has already contributed an assist at the professional level, during a 4-1 thumping of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on March 18th, 2017.

Joona Koppanen

Photo Credit:  Finnish Junior Hockey @FINjrhockey

Originally signed in 2017, the Finnish pivot spent the first part of his 3-year ELC with the Tampereen Ilves of the Finnish Liiga. Koppanen is tall, and somewhat lanky, standing 6’-5”, and 192lb. He was drafted in 2016, 6th round (135th overall) by the Bruins from the Jr. A SM-liiga, the top Finnish junior league. Koppanen also appeared in the same WJC tournament Frederic appeared in, where Joona contributed with 3G, 1A. His point production over the past 3 years has been slightly varied, with 57 in 2014-2015, and then 26, 54, and 14 in each of the following years respectively. Eliteprospects has him listed as “on loan” to the AHL, so his appearance in Providence might be a trial run for next year.[4]
Koppanen has the size to be an effective pivot and will gain the strength over time. His 2016-2017 campaign impressed, with a 1.42 points per game pace, and a final total of 57 in 38 games. His reach and defensive prowess are his strengths. However, he only has an “average” shot.[5] He has the reach and hockey IQ to make a solid role-playing NHL depth forward, but while his development league numbers were impressive, once he made it to the Finnish “major” leagues, his point production dipped. Like his upside, but I’m guardedly optimistic about his future.

Cedric Pare

Photo Credit: Grandstand sports Network

The lone representative from the Canadian Major Junior league (CHL), Pare must have been inspired after the Bruins selected him in the 6th round of the 2017 draft (163rd overall). After a pedestrian 5G, 11A season in the QMJHL 2016-2017, Pare more than doubled up both columns to the tune of 13G, 24A in 2017-2018. The Bruins love their big, strong-bodied centers, and French-Canadian Pare is no exception at 6’-3”, 205lb. In a continuation of a theme, the 19-year-old was signed first to an ATO, with his ELC kicking in next year. I’m excepting to see him in the Providence lineup in the remaining weekends this season.
Pare has excellent reach, and coupled with a strong frame, has been extremely effective at the dot for his QMJHL club. In his draft and draft+1 year, his faceoff% was over 50% consistently. The Bruins Brass acknowledged he is a “project” especially in the skating department, but at least till now, his excellent vision and play away from the puck has more than made up for it. He could shape into an energy or role-playing forward or more, depending on his developmental trajectory.

Wiley Sherman

Photo Credit:  Trifecta Network Sports

Playing alongside 2014 draft pick Ryan Donato, 6′-7” Wiley Sherman is set to graduate from Harvard and to the world of professional hockey. Sherman is the only prospect on this list from the Peter Chiarelli era, drafted in 2013 5th round (150th overall). Both he and Donato have won the NCAA NCAC championship twice: 2014/15 and 2016/17 respectively. If you’ve attended any of the development camps over the past 4 years, Sherman has been impossible to miss with his incredible size, and the best reach out of the newcomers to Providence. His point totals while at Harvard are low, but Sherman plays a shutdown defensive-defenseman role that doesn’t lend itself to showing up on the score sheet. His skating is fluid and effective for a 6’-7” beast, and with his huge wingspan, can gap opponents very well. Sherman is by no means a flashy player, but more of a blue-collar workman.

Providence Bruins Weekend Recap

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins

By: Josh B.   |   Follow On Twitter @ToCauseway

Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:

3/16/18 Providence (36-20-5) vs. Rochester (30-17-16) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 28 of 31 shots, 0.903 SV%; Adam Wilcox, 35 of 38 shots, 0.921 SV%, Replaced by Jonas Johansson, 9 of 10 shots, 0.900 SV%.

Box Score W/Scoring Summary:

PVD 5-3 Regulation W, Improves to (37-20-5), RCH drops to (30-18-16)

3/17/18 Providence (37-20-5) @ Lehigh Valley (40-16-8) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 31 of 34 shots, 0.911 SV%; D. Tokarski, 33 of 33 shots, Shutout.

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 3-0 Regulation L, Drops to (37-21-5), LV Improves to (41-16-8)

3/18/18 Providence (37-21-5) vs. Bridgeport (31-24-8) 3:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 44 of 45 shots, 0.977 SV%; Kristers Gudlevskis, 39 of 44 shots, 0.886 SV%

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 4-1 Regulation W, Improves to (38-21-5), BRI drops to (31-25-8).

Game Summaries:

Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (3/16/18)

Rochester’s only trip to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence ended in a thumping for the visiting team. After surrendering an early goal in the first two minutes, the game took on a goal-for-goal tradeoff for almost 30 minutes of regulation. Rochester’s Adam Krause tipped a point shot from teammate Zach Redmond past Zane McIntyre 1:17 into the first period. It took Providence almost the entire first to solve the Rochester defense, but Adam Payerl popped the Rochester netminder’s bottle off a rink-wide feed from teammate Kenny Agostino to knot the score 1-1.

Almost 6 minutes into the second period, Alex Nylander tapped in a second rebound, as teammates Colin Blackwell and Hudson Fasching were both stoned by McIntyre. The tap from Nylander lazily slid over the goal line, but the score was now 2-1. This time, Providence wasted no time to tie the score. Rochester goalie Adam Wilcox fought off two initial Providence riflemen, but played the puck into dead ice, away from teammates, and into an easy spot for RHD Conor Clifton to skate in off the blue line and blast a hard, accurate shot past the resetting Wilcox for the equalizer. Providence took the lead for the first time with 11 minutes and change remaining in the 2nd as Austin Czarnik scored his first of three goals with help from Ryan Fitzgerald and Tommy Cross.

Providence entered the 2nd intermission up 3-2, but less than 5 minutes into the 3rd period, Rochester tied the game. After a flurry in front of McIntyre’s net, Rochester’s Danny O’Regan slammed the puck home on a frantic backhander to tie the game. Powerplay phenom Austin Czarnik would again pull the Bruins ahead by one with another goal on the man advantage. With Rochester’s goal empty in the dying minutes of the game, Czarnik found the empty net on a 200-foot bid for the net, completing the hat trick and a 5-3 win in regulation.

Providence Bruins @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3/17/18)

Saturday night, Providence skated against Atlantic Division leader Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Their second matchup of the season ended worse than the first, with the Phantoms blanking the Bruins. Despite a spirited first period and the goaltenders making unbelievable stops, it was a second period Providence powerplay where Lehigh Valley struck first. Tyrell Goulbourne created a turnover by his team’s bench, carried the puck behind the Providence defense, and fed teammate Radel Fazleev in front who sniped a shot over Jordan Binnington’s right shoulder.

The embarrassment of special teams would not end there, however. Later in the period, down by only a goal, Providence drew another penalty. In an eerily reminiscent situation, Phil Verone picked the puck off a Providence skater and took off toward Jordan Binnington, beating the goaltender on a great individual effort. Providence failed to put pressure on Lehigh Valley and Dustin Tokarski in net during the third period and surrendered a third goal for the final nail in the coffin. Colin McDonald made an initial bit for the net, but teammate Steven Swavely finished off the rebound to put the Phantoms ahead by 3. Tokarski turned away all 33 shots he faced, blanking the Providence Bruins who had scored 5 the night prior.

Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3/18/18)

After getting blanked by Lehigh Valley, Providence closed out its weekend with a statement game on short rest after a ~ 500-mile commute back to Rhode Island and a 3PM matinee start time. From the opening faceoff, Providence made its presence known, swarming Bridgeport on the forecheck and scoring an early goal 40 seconds into the game. Off an offensive zone draw, newcomer Trent Frederic won the puck back to Tommy Cross who slipped the puck to his partner Conor Clifton. The latter scooped up the puck and made a back foot snap-shot beating the Bridgeport goaltender.

Initially it was credited to a Blidh tip, however, Clifton would later be credited with the goal and Frederic would pick up his first professional point as his faceoff win begun the sequence. Half a period later, Providence struck again in quick succession to build a staggering three-goal lead. On the powerplay, Paul Postma held the puck in at the blue line and fed it up the left wing boards to Kenny Agostino. He dished cross-crease to Austin Czarnik who delayed a shot waiting for a lane to open and the goalie to bite, and Czarnik’s patience was rewarded with his 4th goal of this 3-in-3 weekend.

A few minutes later, Jordan Szwarz misplayed a cross-ice pass as he and Czarnik sped in over the Bridgeport line, but as the Sound Tigers attempted to clear the puck, the trailing Ryan Fitzgerald held the puck in the attacking zone, sending the disc floating through the air. Czarnik caught it, dropping it in front of him, and sliding it a few feet to Szwarz who cycled the zone and ripped the puck up over the blocker of the Bridgeport goalie. To begin the second period, Bridgeport broke McIntyre’s bid for a shutout. Steve Bernier held the puck behind the Providence net, passing along the dasher to teammate Mitch Vande Sompel at the left point. He fired a booming slap shot that was initially saved by McIntyre, but the rebound popped up and onto the stick of John Stevens camped at the far post for an easy tap-in.

Providence battled back and regained their three-goal lead off the stick of rookie Jakub Zboril. After some extended time in the attacking zone for Providence, Cameron Hughes collected a rebound off a Chris Breen slap shot and protected the puck enough along the boards to slide the puck to teammate Josh Hennessy behind the net. Hennessy turned and picked up Jakub Zboril purposefully drifting into the slot and threaded a perfect pass to the rookie defenseman. Zboril collected the puck calmly with the Bridgeport goalie scrambling and wound up a perfectly released wrister for his second goal of the season. Despite 20 shots from Bridgeport in the third period, they weren’t able to solve McIntyre again, and the Bruins won by a final score of 4-1 to end the week on a cheerful note.

Plus / MinusPlus:

+ Austin Czarnik had an offensive explosion: 4G, 1A complete with a Hat Trick against Rochester. Trent Frederic and Cameron Hughes both tallied their first professional point after signing ATO’s to finish off the 2017-2018 season. Jakub Zboril was rewarded for his development and work with the 2nd goal of his pro career. Ryan Fitzgerald and Kenny Agostino earned 3A each this weekend.

+ Providence scored 3 goals on the Powerplay this weekend and only gave up one goal on the kill.

+ Zane McIntyre had one of his best games of this season, turning away a pile of rubber against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After losing several in a row to the Bridgeport squad, Providence’s record is now 5-4-1 against them this season, pulling ahead on the win column.

+ In each of the past 3 weekends, Providence has won 2 of 3 games, continuing to solidify their playoff berth and slowly work toward better seeding. If they win their next 2 matchups against Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins, they can overtake the Baby Pens for 2nd in the Atlantic, and home ice advantage in the playoffs.

+ Zach Senyshyn didn’t have a point this week, but he passed the eye test with flying colors. With Zach’s blazing speed, his line would help set up in the offensive zone to wear down the defense and goalie for teammates to finish the scoring change.

Minus: – Providence gave up two ugly shorthanded goals to Lehigh Valley on Saturday night, losing for the second time in a row against the Atlantic Division’s best team.

– Zane’s shaky start against Rochester was reminiscent of earlier in the season when his numbers weren’t that great and the offense had to compensate for him letting in soft goals.

– Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has yet to return from what’s mysteriously been dubbed “Upper Body Injury”. Speculation abounds it’s a concussion.

B’s Ink Cameron Hughes to ELC

01.30.16 MHockey vs. AK26

Photo: Greg Anderson

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

The Bruins announced yesterday that the club signed forward Cameron Hughes to a 3-year Entry Level Contract that will begin in the 2018-19 season. Hughes, 21, just completed his senior season at the University of Wisconsin, where he amassed 23 goals and 69 assists for 92 points in 139 career games. An alternate captain his junior season, Hughes was named the captain before the start of his senior campaign and will join the Providence Bruins on an Amateur-Try-Out contract for the remainder of the season. The Badgers have had a difficult few seasons, and Hughes’ leadership, along with that of fellow B’s prospect and captain Trent Frederic has been key for the team to begin to regain its status as a premier program in the Big 10.

MHockey55

Photo: Greg Anderson

Hughes was originally selected by the Bruins in the 6th Round in 2015, 165th Overall, as an overage prospect, which means he had already passed through the draft at least once (once in his case) before being selected. Another player the B’s selected as an overager after his freshman year at college? Danton Heinen, 2014, 4th Round, 116th Overall. Not to say Hughes will be what Heinen has been, but it is a market inefficiency the B’s have clearly identified and are attempting to exploit. Hughes is the 4th member of his Badgers team to sign a pro contract following their 14-19-3 season, joining forwards Ryan Wagner (Chicago Wolves, AHL) and Matt Ustaski (Jacksonville Swamp Rabbits, ECHL), and defenseman Jake Linhart (Rochester Americans, AHL).

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An Update On Bruins Prospects Frederic And Hughes

(Photo Credit: Jessi Schoville, The Daily Cardinal)

By Mike Cratty                                                            Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

The Wisconsin boys, Cameron Hughes and Trent Frederic held down the top two center spots and came to North Andover, MA last night to take on Merrimack College, along with the rest of a strong Wisconsin squad. Both of the Boston Bruins prospects are NCAA studs and had solid showings Wisconsin’s 4-1 win over Merrimack.

I’m a team manager for the Men’s hockey team at Merrimack. This game was a treat as a Bruins fan and writer, not as a Merrimack student, unfortunately. Part of what makes it so great is the view I have for every home game.

Cameron Hughes really came to play last night. As a senior, Hughes has the “C” on his chest and for good reason. His skating sticks out, his stride is smooth, and he is pretty agile. Hughes put together a good all-around showing despite not tallying a point. One negative that stood out was that he struggled on a few defensive zone breakouts, which can be fixed.

Hughes displayed great passion as the Wisconsin captain. Merrimack’s only goal was questionable is his eyes, and he made it known. That type of intensity from a leader is significant and should always be a valued quality. Although he was riled up a bit, he didn’t blow his lid and do anything too rash.

A right amount of playing time came his way, including power play and penalty kill minutes. He did an excellent job forcing a timely turnover in the first that lead to a decent chance for Wisconsin. Trent Frederic did the same a few minutes later in the period. Impressive hockey IQ was definitely present from Cameron Hughes.

Hughes was just under a point-per-game with 32 points in 36 games and has two points in five games to start his senior season. Altogether, Cameron Hughes holds good late-round value as the 165th overall pick in 2015.

(Photo Credit: http://www.uwbadgers.com)

Frederic, who was drafted 29th overall in 2016, picked up the secondary assist on Wisconsin’s fourth goal. He was locked in last night, I couldn’t think of one negative thing to say. What sticks out the most to me in Frederic’s game is his patience and willingness to take care of the defensive zone first. Not to mention the fact that he earned an “A” on his chest after tallying over a point-per-game in his freshman season. He is picking up where he left off with five points in five games to start his sophomore season.

With new responsibility comes substantial playing time. Frederic saw the ice a whole lot, including power play and penalty kill time. Getting back to his patience, one moment where it really stood out was in the first period last night. On the penalty kill, he was patiently waiting in open space for a pass to come his way and didn’t overcommit to his man. This lead to him stretching out his stick to pick off a Merrimack pass and dump the puck. While that may seem like a simple thing, patience and poise like that from a 19-year-old is very good to see.

On the power play, Frederic occupied the half wall on the right side boards and worked hard down low. It looks so simple to him. His 6-foot-2 frame allows him to box opposing players out, control, then distribute the puck however necessary.

Frederic plays a mature and poised game, with the skill to add to an impressive arsenal of good qualities for a hockey player to have. Last Friday, October 6, Wisconsin took on Ohio State, and one of the Fox Sports announcers had high praise for Trent Frederic. This praise entailed him saying something along the lines of that he thinks Trent Frederic may be NHL ready soon, if not now. He also brought up how thinks Trent Frederic is a real leader at such a young age, with former Wisconsin captain Luke Kunin leaving for the Minnesota Wild organization.

The value of drafting Trent Frederic at 29th overall is looking very good, he really is an impressive player.

Both of the Wisconsin boys are making their presences known with the 4-1-0 Badgers. Boston Bruins fans should be very excited to see how their developmental process goes in the future.

PuckNerd’s Bruins’ Prospect Pyramid – The Finale

By: Spencer Fascetta                                        Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

It’s finally here. The final installment of my ongoing Prospect Pyramid series. A few differences from the early entries into this series – there are two tiers rather than one (one is the final tier of true prospects, the other is what I define as “tweener” players – not really prospects, but still worth a quick mention), and I steered away from NHL comparables in this installment, if simply because very few of these players have a legitimate comparable at this time. If you are new to this series, you can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. I have thoroughly enjoyed this project, and I look forward to the healthy debate that will ensue!

Tier 4

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Victor Berglund is an intriguing flier taken by Boston in the 2017 Draft. Joe Haggerty

D Victor Berglund, MODO Hockey J20 (SuperElit)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (7th Round, 195th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 37 GP, 5 G, 10 A, 15 P, 16 PIM

NHL Projection: Fringe Bottom Pairing Offensive Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2020-21

Victor Berglund could ultimately prove all of us wrong in 4-5 years. As Assistant GM Scot Bradley said, PJ Axelsson, the B’s go-to for European Scouting, was extremely high on Berglund throughout the entire draft process. Berglund is a slight 6’0″ and is one of the more agile defensemen in the system. His offensive upside is clear, but he needs to work on his defensive zone coverage and smarts. He has the upside to be a plus transition defenseman on the bottom pairing and absolutely is worth the flier in the 7th Round, but I would not expect to hear from him for at least 3-4 years, if at all.

Mahtomedi forward Jack Becker celebrates after scoring during the second period of a Class A quarterfinal game of the state boys hockey tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Becker scored three goals as Mahtomedi won 6-3. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

Jack Becker is an absolute conundrum. Ben Garvin, Pioneer Press

C Jack Becker, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)

Acquired: 2015 NHL Draft (7th Round, 195th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 49 GP, 16 G, 12 A, 28 P, 38 PIM

NHL Projection: Fringe NHL Power Forward

NHL ETA: 2024-25

Jack Becker can kind of be summed up by asking “who?” Becker was a late flier in 2015 by the B’s, a young player with a large frame that they are hoping can be an effective NHL player at some point. The unfortunate part is that Becker is now two seasons removed from his draft year, and he still is toiling in the USHL. For that matter, it isn’t as if he is dazzling in the USHL either. If he makes it, he could be a decent energy guy in the bottom 6 – but that’s a BIG if.

Daniel Bukac may have some untapped potential on the back end. Doug Westcott

D Daniel Bukac, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (7th Round, 204th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 72 GP, 2 G, 15 A, 17 P, 38 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom-Pairing Two-Way Defenceman

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Bukac, like Berglund, was a late flier taken by the B’s in this year’s draft. He already has a big frame at 6’4″, which he still needs to grow into. He struggled with the transition to North America this year with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, but both the Bruins and the Wheat Kings’ coaching staff were impressed with the progress he made throughout the season. This is likely a long-term project, but one that could provide excellent depth down the road.

Lone Star Brahmas Defenseman Cameron Clarke

Cam Clarke is not your typical overager. Lone Star Brahmas

D Cam Clarke, Ferris State University (NCAA)

Acquired: 2016 NHL Draft (5th Round, 136th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 35 G, 1 G, 10 A, 11 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom Pair Dynamic Offensive Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Cam Clarke is the definition of an intriguing prospect. He was taken as a Draft+2 last year, meaning he’d already been passed over in two full drafts before finally being selected by the Bruins. I have championed the drafting of overage prospects before, but Clarke is not your classic more overage. He put up astounding numbers in his final season in the NAHL, but he also is a converted forward and has only played the position for two years. As such, he needs significant work in his own end before he can be considered an NHL defenseman, and he had a down year of sorts in his freshman season at Ferris State. Nevertheless, he’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on moving forward.

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Ryan Fitzgerald is getting to live out the Massachusetts kid dream of playing for the Bruins. richimagesphotography.com

C Ryan Fitzgerald, Boston College (NCAA)

Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft (4th Round, 120th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 34 GP, 12 G, 19 A, 31 P, 56 PIM

NHL Projection: 4th Line Two-Way Center/Depth Forward

NHL ETA: 2018-19

Fitzgerald had a solid career at Boston College and made a good impression with Providence last spring when he signed with the B’s at the conclusion of his senior season. He isn’t going to dazzle anyone, he’s not tremendously good at any particular facet of the game, but he is solid at most of them. He has had a good preseason thus far and seems to be in the mix for the 4th line, but I think he could use a full year in Providence to hone his game to better fit the professional level.

Cameron Hughes photo

Cameron Hughes has shown steady improvement in his time at Wisconsin. M.P. King, State Journal

C/LW Cameron Hughes, University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

Acquired: 2015 NHL Draft (6th Round, 165th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 36 GP, 7 G, 25 A, 32 P, 16 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom 6 Offensive Forward

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Cameron Hughes had a nice season at Wisconsin this year, as his offensive profile begins to grow. He has never had a great shot, and is not a stellar passer, but has a knack for getting himself in the right position to put up points. He needs to continue to get stronger on the puck and clean up some of the decision-making, but the tools are there.

Image result for emil johansson hockey

Emil Johansson needs to gain confidence in taking some risks on the back end. Bildbyran/Andreas L Eriksson

D Emil Johansson, Djurgardens IF (SHL)

Acquired: 2014 NHL Draft (7th Round, 206th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 49 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom-Pairing Two-Way Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2022-23

Johansson is an intelligent two-way defender, but that is almost as much of a curse as it is a blessing. He has a tendency to always settle on the safest play and can panic at times under pressure. He needs to gain more confidence using his natural skating and puck-moving talents to be successful in North America.

Cedric Pare was buried on a stacked Saint John depth chart last season. Saint John Sea Dogs

C Cedric Pare, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (6th Round, 173rd Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 64 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: 4th Line Defensive Center/Depth Forward

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Pare was stuck low in the pecking order on a stacked Saint John team this year. He is big, tough, and willing to grind out his offensive chances. The big concern here is the skating. Any player who has a hope of playing in the NHL needs to be a good skater, and Pare’s skating ability ranges from “meh” to “bleh.” He will get a much larger role this year in Saint John and is quite young for his age at this point. He has a ceiling, it just doesn’t appear to be an overly high one right now.

1) Wiley Sherman

Wiley Sherman is an imposing 6’7″ d-man – but can he crack the NHL? Joe Haggerty

D Wiley Sherman, Harvard University (NCAA)

Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft (5th Round, 150th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 36 GP, 0 G, 13 A, 13 P, 24 PIM

NHL Projection: Depth Defensive Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2019-20

Wiley Sherman was literally drafted because he was a big guy who could skate. I kid you not. Then Assistant GM Jim Benning (yes, THAT Jim Benning) was quoted saying as much after the 2013 draft. To his credit, Sherman has developed into a solid, stay-at-home d-man at Harvard, but he does not move the puck nearly well enough to make a significant impact at the NHL level. That 6’7″ frame is most of what makes him intriguing, so don’t start buying Wiley Sherman jerseys just yet…

Swayman will head off to the University of Maine this fall. NAPHL

G Jeremy Swayman, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (4th Round, 111th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 32 GP, 2.90 GAA, .914 SV%

NHL Projection: League Average Backup Goaltender

NHL ETA: 2026-27

Many Bruins fans liked the fact that the B’s invested in another goaltending prospect after several years of souring public opinion on 2012 1st Round Pick Malcolm Subban. Unfortunately, the Bruins waited too long in this year’s draft to take a goalie and were kind of stuck with Swayman as their best option. He has a big frame with plenty of room to grow even more and posted respectable numbers on a mediocre USHL team. He is quite aggressive, and uses his athleticism well, but can get himself out of position quickly, and has a tendency to try and do too much rather than make the simple save. He will have plenty of time to refine his game at the University of Maine, where he will start this fall. It will likely be a long time before we see anything from him at the pro level.

 

Tweener Tier

Each of the following players has yet to complete a full season in the NHL, project mostly as AHL players but are signed to NHL contracts, OR whose NHL rights are held by Boston, but are not currently under NHL contract and are instead playing in a professional league overseas. Szwarz, Cross, Cave, and Hickman all fall under the category of the former, and should not really be more than “competent bums” who help lead the dearth of younger players that comprise most of Providence. With the organizational depth on the backend, and after a season ravaged by injuries, Linus Arnesson chose to return to Sweden for this season. He is a big, strong, defensively sound rearguard, but the lack of offense is glaring, which severely limits his NHL upside. If he can spend time in Sweden working to improve his support game, he could eventually develop into a quality depth guy.

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Alexander Khokhlachev has taken the KHL by storm. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The two most intriguing players here are clearly the two Russians. Alexander Khokhlachev had the unfortunate problem of inaccurate timing when he was drafted in 2011. He has shown at the AHL level that he can score at a consistently high-end level, and at his best is a flashy, quick, dynamic, offensive dynamo. When he became a part of the Bruins’ organization, it became the classic conundrum of attempting to jam a square peg into a round hole. Nobody is going to mistake Khokho as the next coming of Patrice Bergeron, and Claude Julien does not tolerate defensive shortcomings in his younger players (see Ryan Spooner). After repeatedly being passed over for lesser talented players (regarding true, raw, offensive ability), Khokholachev understandably became frustrated to the point where he jumped ship at the end of the 2015-16 season and returned to Russia to play in the KHL. Playing for perennial powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg, he produced at over a point per game rate. I expect him to make an NHL return in the next few years, and the Bruins’ would be wise to keep him in their sights. He has the potential to be a game-breaking offensive talent in the modern NHL.

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Maxim Chudinov may never make himself known in North America, but he has quitely become one of the best defensemen in the KHL. NHL.com

Many of you likely are saying “Who in the heck is Maxim Chudinov?” Well, that’s not entirely unfounded. Chudinov, a 2010 7th Round Pick, has never given the impression that he is interested in coming to North America. He is intriguing, however, as a player who would make an impact at the NHL level. He’s not the biggest d-man, but he loves the physical side of the game, has quick feet, makes a good first pass, and knows what he’s doing in the offensive zone. He has developed into one of the better young defensemen in the KHL – the question is, how likely is it that he decides to come over to the NHL? I’m not hedging my bets on this one…

 

D Linus Arnesson, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 60th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 20 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 8 PIM

NHL Projection: 7th Defenseman

 

RW/C Jordan Szwarz, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: Free Agent Signing

2016-17 Season Stats: 65 GP, 22 G, 32 A, 54 P, 76 PIM

NHL Projection: Depth Forward

 

C/W Alexander Khokhlachev, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

Acquired: 2011 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 40th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 60 GP, 23 G, 45 A, 68 P, 12 PIM

NHL Projection: Dynamic Top 9 Offensive Forward

 

D Tommy Cross, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: 2007 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 35th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 74 GP, 12 G, 23 A, 35 P, 69 PIM

NHL Projection: Depth Defenseman

 

D Maxim Chudinov, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

Acquired: 2010 NHL Draft (7th Round, 195th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 42 GP, 4 G, 10 A, 14 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: Top 4 Two-Way D-man

 

C/LW Colby Cave, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent Signing

2016-17 Season Stats: 76 GP, 13 G, 22 A, 35 P, 52 PIM

NHL Projection: AHL Forward

 

RW/C Justin Hickman, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent Signing

2016-17 Season Stats: 25 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, 19 PIM

NHL Projection: AHL Forward

All Statistics courtesy of EliteProspects.com

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Wisconsin’s Regular Season Is Over for Bruins Prospects

(Above Photo Credit: uwbadgers .com)

By Mark Allred   Follow Me On Twitter  @BlackAndGold277

The University of Wisconsin’s Men’s regular season may be over with two losses over the weekend at the hands of Ohio State University, but their mission for a National Title still remains. The Badgers start the Big-Ten Tournament on Friday at 3:30 central time against the winner of recently played Ohio State or Michigan State who they’ve beat four times this season. Two Boston Bruins prospects that will be heading to Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena are freshman forward Trent Frederic and forward Cameron Hughes.

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Trent Frederic

When healthy the 2016 first round selection of the B’s had an outstanding rookie season of collegiate hockey. In 28 games this season he contributed with 15-18-33 numbers and set the tone for further development. Frederic had a nice point streak during the 2016-17 season when he went on a season-high eight game point streak where he contributed 8-6-13 numbers. The 6′-2″ 205-pound center from St. Louis, Missouri wasn’t the popular selection by Bruins fans nor popular hockey personalities, but after this season many have changed their opinions after this season’s effort. The rumor from the 2016 NHL Draft from Buffalo, New York was the Anaheim Ducks were going to select Frederic with their 30th pick they acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins via the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Trent is a good north to south two-way player that has outstanding speed and puck possession skills. He’s a productive special teams player with a great shot and skating ability but also has to take advantage of his NCAA career to add body size if he’s going to challenge fro an NHL roster spot after graduation if he, in fact, stays in school. With the Bruins depth down the middle to keep him competitive in the NCAA would most likely be beneficial to both sides as he continues to hone his skills. As a fan myself I worry about the Bruins organization aggressively seeking help from the college ranks and asking a player to leave school like what had happened to Danton Heinen when he played at Denver University. I still believe Heinen left too early by watching every AHL Providence Bruins game this season.

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Cameron Hughes

The 2015 sixth round selection of the Bruins finished the 2016-17 regular season with career highs in goals, assists, and total points in his Junior year. A 6′-0″ 170-pound Edmonton, Alberta native ended the year with 7-24-31 numbers and has shown offensive progression after struggling in his freshman year to contribute 13 points in 34 games. One reason for his lack of points as a rookie was his shot, but after many training sessions during the offseason, he came back to his sophomore year posting 5-20-25 numbers. Every year we see good things in his continued development at the NCAA level.

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Now a 20-year-old soon to be a senior at Wisconsin University we are sure to see the same progression offensively as he’ll most likely finish his last season with the Badgers before turning pro and transition into a depth role in the Bruins minor-pro system. Cameron is a left shooting center that’s known to be a good “set-up” player with his smooth skating abilities while possessing a very high hockey IQ. He plays a strong two-way game, but as his development continues, he’s going to need more physical maturity. With increased body mass, mainly focused on upper-body strength, his shot could be a lethal one to start a potential AHL career after next season. His all-around game should be on the radar of the Bruins in a bottom six role as the organization continues to build the foundation of a franchise looking for future playoff seasons as it was not so many years ago.

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