Providence Bruins Recall Goalie Prospect Kyle Keyser

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(Photo: Michael Penhollow / Boston Bruins)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Providence Bruins general manager John Ferguson Jr. announced Thursday afternoon that the team has recalled goaltending prospect Kyle Keyser from the Atlanta Gladiators, Boston’s ECHL-affiliate. Providence recalling Keyser comes after Dan Vladar needed to be helped off the ice during the second period of the P-Bruins’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Laval Rocket on Wednesday night.

Keyser was slated to start the year in Atlanta, whose season opens up on October 18th. However, Vladar’s week-to-week status caused a change of plans. Keyser signed his entry-level contract with Boston on October 3, 2017, as an undrafted free agent.

The Oshawa Generals product is entering his first full season of professional hockey after four seasons in the OHL, one with the Flint Firebirds and three with Oshawa. Last season, the 20-year-old suited up in 47 games for the Generals, posting a .915 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average (GAA). In 15 Memorial Cup playoff games for Oshawa, Keyser registered a .925 save percentage and 2.83 GAA.

After Oshawa was eliminated from the Memorial Cup, Keyser joined Providence leading up to the team’s playoff run. In one AHL playoff start the Coral Springs, Florida, native made 25 saves.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound netminder also represented the United States at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he recorded a .872 save percentage and 2.95 GAA. Once he joins the team in Providence, Keyser is expected to split time with 26-year-old Maxime Lagace, who Boston signed as a free agent during the offseason.

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Bruins Prospect Keyser Reassigned To ECHL Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Michael Penhollow / Boston Bruins )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When the Boston Bruins signed free agent goaltender Maxime Lagace in early July of 2019, the speculation immediately gained traction on what the netminding tandem will look like in Providence for the 2019-20 American Hockey League campaign.  Many thought it was a good idea to roll with a three-headed monster in goal, but honestly, when it comes to development in the crease, playing time is of the utmost importance.

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As seen above from a tweet I sent out two days ago after hearing this Bruins related news come across my desk from a very trusted source, the National Hockey League Bruins have in fact reassigned netminder Kyle Keyser to the B’s “AA” minor-pro affiliate wth the Atlanta Gladiators per the official AHL websites leagues transactions page and below tweet from longtime Providence Bruins writer Mark Divver who also shared the news this morning.

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While Keyser is a fantastic goaltending prospect and seems to be highly regarded as the NHL Bruins next one in the near future, this demotion to Atlanta is not a knock on his talent and skills but a path that might be commonly used especially with the bottleneck in the AHL. As many of you know, goaltender Dan Vladar was selected in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and after playing a full season in the United States Hockey League with the Chicago Steel, the Bruins had him start his pro career in Atlanta.

At least to start the 2019-20 AHL Providence year, the netminding tandem will be Maxime Lagace and Dan Vladar. The 26-year-old Lagace takes over for the departed Zane McIntyre, who signed a deal to join the Vancouver Canucks organization over the 2019 summer offseason. Lagace will provide veteran leadership to the younger Vladar, who’s currently in year three and last of his entry-level contract. Vladar is set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the upcoming hockey season.

This is a solid move for the Bruins moving forward. All goaltenders will get their share of time in the crease, and who knows if Keyser actually stays in Atlanta for the whole season. From the trusted source that I mentioned above, the Bruins are going to give the ball to Vladar and let him run with it at the AHL level. I’m hearing that leash is short as he didn’t exactly have the greatest rookies season with Providence last year but did show signs that he’s getting it. I was told that placing Vladar in the ECHL where he started his pro career could mess with his head when it comes to confidence, and if he proves he can handle splitting duties with Lagace, then the B’s will keep the same tandem at the AHL level.

If, by any chance Vladar slips and cannot get a handle of his duties in his sophomore year in the AHL, he could lose that position and be demoted to Atlanta to figure out his game and give the call to Keyser who could be ready for his first AHL regular-season action. Regardless of who plays where and at what level of developmental hockey, the NHL Boston Bruins are prepared to act on any scenario when needed. If something happens up at the NHL level in the crease, Lagace will most likely get that call, and the shift upward in the goaltending system will happen and the same when all are healthy and returned to their respected teams and minor-pro systems.

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Boston Bruins: The Future After Goaltender Tuukka Rask

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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

Without a doubt in anyone’s mind, the role of a goaltender is one of the most crucial positions in all of hockey. In most, if not all cases, the goaltender is the cornerstone to Stanley Cup Champions over a large majority of the NHL’s 102-year history and it continues to be evident even today.

On January 2nd, 2019, the St. Louis Blues were dead-last in the league’s overall standings but clawed their way back to not only make the playoffs, win a series, but defeat the Boston Bruins in a seven-game series to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. A lot of players had fantastic seasons as well as the emergence of then-interim Head Coach Craig Berube but most people will credit the Blues’ success to rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington.

Teams can look great and perform great but can come to a halt if their starting netminder fails to match the performance that he had the season prior. This was evident for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Edmonton Oilers. Superstar Connor McDavid led the Oilers to their first playoff berth in ten seasons and even brought them to the second round only to miss the playoffs altogether in the two seasons that followed. The reason? Cam Talbot failed to play to the consistency that he had during the ’16/’17 campaign and the Oilers continue the struggle to find that number one goalie.

In Boston, the goaltending scene has been controlled by Tuukka Rask since Boston’s last Stanley Cup win in 2011 and rightly so. At 32 years of age, Rask already holds numerous franchise records during his time with the Bruins. The Finnish netminder has the most games played as a goalie (495), most wins (265), and most career saves (12,607) and sits second in best goals-against-average (2.28) and tied for first with Tim Thomas for save percentage (.921%).

Tuukka Rask won the Vezina Trophy in the 2013-14 season which is awarded to the goaltender who is “adjudged to be the best at this position” and has led the Bruins to two Stanley Cup Finals appearances (2013, 2019), but has yet to hoist the Stanley Cup as the definite starting goaltender, (he did win the Cup as the backup to T. Thomas in ’11) – an accomplishment that still eludes him to this day.

As previously stated, Tuukka Rask recently turned 32, meaning his time as an elite player in this league could very well be running out. The goaltender position can stay in their prime for longer than a forward or defenceman, but they still have a moment in time in their career where they slow down. For the Bruins, now is the time to look ahead past Tuukka Rask when those days come around.

For the sake of looking at the future, I will not mention backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak for the sole reason that he is 34-years-old. In addition, the following goalies are in no particular order, just randomly listed below.

Daniel Vladar – 21yrs – 6’5″, 185lbs – 2015 3rd Round Pick (75th overall)

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Alan Sullivan Photography)

Daniel Vladar is a big goaltender with his large 6-foot-5, 185-pound frame in the blue crease. Vladar was drafted by the Bruins back in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, selected in the third round, 75th overall. In the year after his draft, (2015-16), Vladar had a decent year in the USHL with the Chicago Steel, finishing with a 12-12-4 record, but boasted a 2.30 GAA and a .920 save percentage including three shutouts.

The season was enough for management to give him some time in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, where he played in eight games during the 2016-17 campaign, ending the year with .921 save percentage and a 2.62 goals-against-average. In the same season, Vladar spent time in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, where his numbers were much less impressive.

Most recently, Vladar played in 31 games for the Providence Bruins, ending the season with a 13-17-1 record, a 2.73 GAA and a .898 SV%. At 21 years of age, Vladar has work to do in order to become an NHL starting goaltender once Rask is finished, but right now, he will continue to develop with the P-Bruins. One thing to look out for is the fact that Vladar will most likely get more time in the starting role for the 2019-20 season due to the departure of Zane McIntyre, who split starts last year with Vladar. This is a big year for his future development.

Kyle Keyser – 20yrs – 6’2″, 179lbs – Undrafted

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

In my opinion, Kyle Keyser is the best goaltending prospect within the Boston Bruins system – and he was not a selected player in the NHL Entry Draft. In fact, in October 2017, the 20-year-old netminder was signed to a three-year entry-level contract by the Black n’ Gold and according to CapFriendly, that deal expires at the end of the 2021-22 season.

For the past two full seasons, the Coral Springs, Florida native has played for the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League. It has been his play with the Generals that has earned him a title of being one of the top prospects. Going back to the 2017-18 campaign, Keyser finished with a record of 28-13-2 along with a 3.16 GAA and a .904 SV%.

It was a solid season, but somehow, the young goalie managed to improve even more in this past season. In 47 games played for Oshawa, Keyser finished the year with an outstanding 32-8-3 record with a 2.75 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage. Keyser was also named to the United States under-20 World Juniors, where his team won the silver medal even though he only played in two games.

The 2019-20 season is up in the air regarding where Keyser will play. It is possible that he gets time in the AHL with Providence, but with the addition of Maxime Legacé and Daniel Vladar most likely already getting a bulk of the starting minutes, Keyser may end up playing in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators. Keep an eye out for his progression this season.

Jeremy Swayman – 20yrs – 6’2″, 187lbs – 2017 4th Round Pick (111th Overall)

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PHOTO CREDITS: (boston.cbslocal.com)

As of right now, Jeremy Swayman is not currently signed to a contract with the Bruins organization since being drafted in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in the fourth round. According to CapFriendly, Swayman is on the Bruins’ reserve list and his exclusive rights are with Boston up until August 15th, 2021.

The Anchorage, Alaska, USA native has spent each of the last two seasons with the University of Maine Black Bears where he started in 35 games this past season, finishing the year with a .919 save percentage and a 2.77 GAA, a continuation of his solid 2017-2018 campaign. Below is a quote from Chris Mazza of Dobber Prospects on in March of 2019 regarding Jeremy Swayman.

“Swayman was a workhorse for the University of Maine in his sophomore season, starting 35 games while posting a save percentage of .919 and a GAA of 2.77. His numbers remained in line with his dominant freshman year, and further cement the notion that the Bruins found a gem in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. He was named Third Team All-Conference for his efforts and was recognized by a leader by his coach. He should return to college for at least one more year before Boston likely signs him to his first pro deal.” – Chris Mazza

As mentioned with the goaltenders already covered above, the Bruins have quite a few goalies in the system battling for spots. However, at the end of this upcoming season, both Vladar (RFA) and Legacé (UFA) will no longer have a contract. If one or both of those players fail to meet the expectations and Swayman has yet another good year with the Black Bears, I would assume that a contract would be offered to the young prospect.

Maxime Legacé – 26yrs – 6’2″, 190lbs – Undrafted

While writing this piece, I contemplated the idea of adding in Legacé due to the fact that he is 26 years of age, but I ultimately decided to throw him in regardless. For argument sake, Legacé is not considered a prospect, just another goaltender in the system. Maxime was signed by Boston on the first day of Free Agency to a one-year contract worth $700,000. Legacé was originally signed to an entry-level deal by the Dallas Stars in the 2012 offseason but never played a game with the Stars in his three years within the organization.

On July 1st, 2017, Legacé signed a contract with the Vegas Golden Knights, starting the year with the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League. The 26-year-old goalie had a record of 14-5-1 with a GAA of 2.84 and a save percentage of .905% before being called up to the Golden Knights due to injuries to Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban, and Oskar Dansk.

The Saint-Augustin, Quebec, Canada native played a total of thirteen games with Vegas, ending the year with a 6-7-1 record, 3.91 goals-against-average and .867 save percentage before being sent back down to Chicago. Legacé had decent stretch with the Wolves after that, recording a .914 SV%, 2.43 GAA, and a 16-16-2 record.

The signing likely means that Legacé will get time with the Providence Bruins behind Daniel Vladar. Due to the fact that the deal is only for a single season, it may also be used so fellow prospects Kyle Keyser and Jeremy Swayman improved their games in other organizations across North America.

Out of these four goaltenders, it is not guaranteed that any of them will ever be ready to not only be a starting goalie in this league, but a Stanley Cup contending goalie, but there are options running down the pipeline. As of this moment, it will all come down to proper development from the coaching staff of the Bruins organization and the other organizations that these players currently play in.

Who appears to be the most promising? Let me know via Twitter @tkdmaxbjj .

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.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Sam Fryman | Follow me on Twitter @sfryman20

 

William Shakespeare famously wrote that one must “beware the Ides of March,” and the month overall has provided to be a mixed bag for the Providence Bruins. To begin the final weekend of March, Providence had a matchup with the North Division-leading Syracuse Crunch who have already clinched their Calder Cup playoff spot.

Friday, March 29th, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Syracuse Crunch (Away)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

First Period:

Providence started the game with a bang, showing that they wouldn’t be intimidated by the Crunch whatsoever. Providence outshot their opponents 14-3 in the first twenty minutes, but thanks to goalie Eddie Pasquale the Crunch would keep a goal off the scoreboard. As has been the case in previous games, the Bruins had plenty of chances on the man advantage but could not convert to get an early lead.

Score: 0-0

Second Period:

Providence looked to continue their team domination as the second period got underway, and they would need to do so first in the form of fisticuffs. Jeremy Lauzon quickly dropped the gloves with Syracuse center Gabriel Dumont after Dumont gave an extra shove to goalie Dan Vladar after a play was over. Vladar had to continue to make a few more acrobatic saves to keep the tie intact, and it was the veteran Lee Stempniak who gave the Bruins the first goal of the game. Chris Breen was credited with the assist just after exiting the penalty box as well as Jordan Szwarz. The shot total for the period ended 23-9 in favor of Providence.

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Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period:

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In the third period, Syracuse would get the game tied up despite being massively outplayed. Off of a Providence turnover, Boris Katchouk scored his tenth goal of the season and for the moment gave the Crunch a big burst of life. Just fifteen seconds later, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson would answer with Lee Stempniak notching an assist for a multi-point game. With a power play just over two minutes later, Gemel Smith would get the go-ahead goal to put the Bruins back on top with a brilliant one-timer. The Crunch would get a goal in garbage time to make this interesting, but Providence would hold on for a big win, they’re third in the last four games.

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Final: 3-2 Bruins

Saturday, March 30th,2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Hershey Bears (Away)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins/Flikr )

As the month of March came to its official close, the Bruins made the trip to the Giant Center in Hershey to take on the Bears for the sixth time this season. It was a critical point swing for the two teams as they still stand third and fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, with Charlotte being the only team to officially clinch in the Atlantic. Providence had only lost once to Hershey this season and looked to continue their domination of the Capitals’ affiliate.

 

First Period:

With just over two minutes gone in the first period, Lee Stempniak continued his hot streak with the Bruins notching his sixth goal of the season. With the veteran forward having played for ten different NHL franchises, it’s been no surprise that the Bruins offense has benefitted with him in the lineup. For the next few minutes, the Bears would have a solid barrage of chances, including Devonte Smith-Pelly just failing to beat Zane McIntyre and sending a shot off of the post, and Tyler Lewington missing a wide open low slot shot.

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Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period:

Providence started the second frame on the power play with Riley Barber taking a double minor for high sticking. It was effectively killed off as the Bears began the game going three for three on the penalty kill.  The physicality entered the game a few minutes later with Shane Gersich taking exception to a hit delivered by Providence’s Cooper Zech. The Bears only managed three shots total during the period as they were shorthanded on three different occasions.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period:

The score was still in favor of the Bruins when the third period began, but it wouldn’t stay that way long. Right off of the opening draw, Devonte Smith-Pelly received a great pass from Jayson Megna and tied the game just seventeen seconds into the final frame of regulation. The Providence offense started to get going a little more after that tally including a power play chance, but a penalty right afterward would cost them. After Kyle Cumiskey was sent to the box for charging, Joe Snively notched his first goal of the season to give the Bears the go-ahead goal. Hershey goaltender Ilya Samsanov would secure the victory as the Bruins would outshoot their opponents 29-19. The battle for the final playoff spots remain tight, and Providence will get a full week break before taking on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a home and away series.

Final: 2-1 Bears

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 23 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 23 of the AHL season is upon us, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 31-22-7-2 (71 points) and 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. Even though the baby B’s sit firmly in a playoff spot, they could move up higher in the standings relatively soon. The Providence club sits only three points away from the fifth-place Toronto Marlies. With only 14 games left in the regular season, now is the time for our boys in black and gold to make their push towards the playoffs and climb the standings. This weekend will not be easy, the team embarks on a three-game road trip starting on Friday, March 15, 2019, and it ends on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The weekend kicks off when the Providence Bruins take their show on the road and invade the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania to take on the home team Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday, March 15, 2019. The trip continues Saturday, March 16, 2019, when the Bruins skate into Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to take on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The road trip wraps up on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, when the baby B’s head north to Laval, Quebec, Canada to battle the Laval Rocket at Place Bell. With all three teams being below the Providence club in the standings, it has the potential to be a successful trip for our boys in black and gold.

Friday, March 15, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

The Friday match-up marks the fifth time the Bruins have faced the Phantoms this season. In the first meeting, Lehigh Valley beat Providence 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, and Wiley Sherman. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was off his game stopping 21 of 26 shots in net. The second meeting between the two teams saw a much better result for the Bruins. The Baby B’s beat the Philadelphia Flyers’ affiliate 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Austin Fyten (2), Cameron Hughes (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Jordan Szwarz, while goaltender Dan Vladar was good in net stopping 18 of the 21 shots that came his way.

The third match-up was another tough outcome for our boys wearing the spoked P. Lehigh Valley beat Providence 3-1. With Providence getting their lone goal from Joona Koppanen with goaltender Dan Vladar continuing his solid road play stopping 17 of the 19 shots that were fired his way. The fourth battle between the clubs saw the baby B’s win 4-2 getting goals from Gemel Smith (2), Trent Frederic, and Joona Koppanen. Goalie Zane McIntyre was fantastic in net turning away 20 of the 22 shots that were fired his way.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms skate into the game 30-26-3-3 (66 points) and 3-7-0 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite the fact they are on the outside of the playoff picture, this game will not be easy for Providence. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 9-12-2-1 against the Flyers’ affiliate including 4-7-1 on the road. It should be a tough test for our boys in black and gold. There are a few keys to victory if the baby B’s plan on bucking the trend and beating Lehigh Valley. The first is getting a lead and holding onto it. The Providence club is 24-3-2-1 when leading after the second period, and the Phantoms are 21-1 when leading after two.

Special teams will also play a major key in who wins this game. The Flyers’ affiliate boasts the best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference at 86.5%. Meanwhile, the baby B’s power play is ranked 14th in the Eastern Conference at 17.1% On the flip-side the Bruins have the second-best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference at 85.7%, and the Phantoms have the fifth-best power play in the Eastern Conference at 19.1%. If our boys in black and gold can keep out of the penalty box, they have a good chance of coming out of the game with two points.

Saturday, March 16, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Saturday match-up will mark the fifth time that these two teams have played each other, and Providence has had their way with the Pittsburgh affiliate thus far. The first battle saw the Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in overtime getting goals from the now departed Martin Bakos, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was superb in net denying 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. The second installment saw the Baby B’s route Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 getting goals from the recently traded Ryan Donato (2), Martin Bakos, Joel Messner, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 20 of the 22 shots he faced. The third match-up saw the boys in black and gold win 4-2 getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Donato, and Jakub Zboril. Goal Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 32 of the 34 shots that were fired his way. The most recent match-up saw the Bruins lost 2-1 in a shootout getting their goal from Chris Breen. Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 39 of the 40 shots that came his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come into the game 29-23-6-3 (67 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games played. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have not only played extremely well against the Pittsburgh affiliate this year going 3-0-0-1, but over the past five seasons, the Baby B’s are 13-6-2-3. A major key for the boys in black and gold will be how their offense plays. The Penguins have given up a total of 179 goals on the year. Only four other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up less. Meanwhile, the Bruins have scored 188 goals this year which is the ninth most in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, the offense is up to that task.

Special teams will also be a key in this game. The Providence Bruins are not only fourth in the Eastern Conference in goals given up with 173, but they are also second in penalty kill at 85.7%. That coupled with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton having the 12th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 17.3% means that if the spoked P can play their game and hold their ground, it bodes well for the overall outcome. Another major key for the Pittsburgh affiliate is whether they outshoot their opponent when they do, they are 18-13-2-2 but are 6-8-3-1 when being outshot. On the other side, the Baby B’s are 9-6-3-1 when being outshot and 20-14-4-1 when outshooting their foe.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Wednesday match will mark the second time the Bruins take on Laval this season. The Rocket play in the North Division, so because of that they only play each other twice a year once at home and once on the road. In the first match-up, the Bruins fell 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill and Jeremy Lauzon. Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net turning away 31 of the 34 shots that were fired his way. The Laval Rocket come into the match-up 25-27-6-4 (60 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the North Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other very much because of being in different divisions, but the baby B’s hold a 2-1 record against the Rocket in that time frame.

Special teams will also play a major key in which team comes out on top. The Laval Rocket have the 15th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 16.9%. As I have stated earlier the baby B’s boast the second-best penalty kill in the entire Eastern Conference at 85.7%. On the other side of things, the Montreal affiliate has 14th ranked penalty kill at 78.5%. With the Bruins power play being the 14th ranked at 17.1% this would be a great chance to boost those numbers. Something that will be interesting to watch for is who outshoots who. The Providence hockey club is 20-14-4-1 when they outshoot their opponents. However, the Laval club has a better record when being outshot at 13-9-2-3.

Team defense will also play a major key in the matchup. The Bruins boast of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference giving up 2.79 goals a game. Meanwhile, the Montreal affiliate gives up 2.98 goals a game. Laval also has a goal differential of –21. That means they have given up 21 more goals than they’ve scored. The Baby B’s have a goal differential of +15. This game is going to an interesting match-up against two teams that are not familiar with each other. However, all the stats point to the Providence hockey club coming out on top.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been a scoring machine since coming over in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. In 21 games with Providence, the former Boston College Eagle has netted 14 goals and dished out six assists for 20 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.95. That includes netting six goals and dishing out two assists for eight total points in his last five games. The two-time NCAA champion has been playing so well that he was called up to Boston. Let’s hope the veteran forward keeps up his scorching hot play up in Boston.

Urho VaakanainenUrho Vaakanainen has been playing very well as of late. The young defenseman missed time earlier in the year due to a concussion, but he’s come back strong and is having a good year. In 28 games this year, the Finland native has found the back of the net four times and dished out 10 assists for 14 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.50. That includes netting four goals and dishing out one assist for five total points in his last five games. So far, it’s been a very successful first professional season for Urho. He made his NHL debut earlier in the year before being injured, he helped lead Finland to the World Junior Gold Medal after he returned from injury, and every part of his game looks NHL ready. Let’s hope the young defender can keep it up going forward.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald started out the year having a fantastic season and was leading the team in points for a large part of the year. Injuries derailed what was an excellent season. However, in 48 games he has netted seven goals and dished out 24 assists for 31 points. This is a point per game total of 0.64. Despite this, over his past five games, the former Boston College Eagle has not found the back of the net and has dished out two assists for two total points. The veteran forward also has not found the back of the net since December 1, 2019. Part of that is due to injury, but he still has not scored a goal since coming back. With Carey called up to Boston, hopefully, the gritty forward can pick up some of the offense that will be missing.

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn has found himself in the not category a few weeks in a row now. That should give you an idea of how cold the streak he’s on is. Even though the young forward may be the most talented of the forward prospects, he cannot seem to buck this cold streak. The OHL product has not scored a goal since January 26, 2019. In his 14 games since then, the speedster has dished out three assists for three total points. Overall on the year, Senyshyn has found the back of the net 13 times and dished out 10 assists for 23 points in 54 games. This is a point per game total of 0.42. The Bruins will need him to bust out of this slump if they plan to go far in the playoffs.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Karson Kuhlman: Karson Kuhlman has had an excellent first professional season for Providence this year. On the year the former University of Minnesota-Duluth Captain has potted 12 goals and dished out 16 assists for 28 total points in 55 games. That is a point per game total of 0.51. He has also recorded a point in three of his last five games for Providence dishing out three assists for three points in that time frame. The young forward has played so well that he earned a call-up to Boston and played well in the five games he played in. The Bruins need the former NCAA Champion to continue his exceptional play on this road-trip to make it a successful one.

On the Blue Line

Jakub ZborilJakub Zboril has had a very good season for the Providence Bruins this season. In 46 games he has found the back of the net four times while dishing out 12 assists for 16 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.34. This is a better scoring pace than last season, while also playing great defense. On top of that, he’s played well against Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre / Scranton this season. In six games against the two teams, he has netted one goal and dished out three assists for four total points. With Connor Clifton getting called up to Boston, the baby B’s will need Zboril to play well on this road-trip.

In Net

Dan VladarDan Vladar has had an up and down season for the Providence Bruins this season. On the year the young goaltender is 9-12-4 with a goal against average of 2.75 and a save percentage of .901. Despite the up and down year, six of his nine wins have come on the road, and both of his shutouts were away from the Dunk. With the next three games coming outside of Providence, Rhode Island I would look for Vladar to have a big road trip.

The Providence Bruins climbed a single spot from eighth in the Eastern Conference to seventh last weekend.  With 14 games left on the Providence hockey club’s magic number is 27. Anytime our boys wearing black and gold win, the magic number is reduced by two points. The magic number is also reduced when the team with the highest possible point total, who also sits outside of the playoff picture fails to record a point. Once the magic number hits zero, your team makes the playoffs. With 28 total points left for the Baby B’s to grab each game is of the utmost importance. Look for the road-trip to be full of some high-intensity hockey. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins 2015 NHL Draft: Grading Sweeney’s Selections

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

After taking a look at every trade by Bruins GM Don Sweeney, we now dive into his draft history. We begin with his first and most controversy draft, the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

In grading the picks, I’ll look at: where they were projected to go, what they have done so far, what players before and after have done so far, their fit to the Bruins at the time, among other aspects. These grades can easily change in a years time, some prospects take longer to groom before being. This entire grading as a whole is still way too early, you can really only grade a draft a decade down the line and see what impact (or lack thereof) the players have made.

Round 1, 13th Overall: Jakub Zboril

Grade: D+

It was well documented that the Bruins wanted to flip a couple of picks and move up in the draft to select the slick two-way defender Noah Hanifin. Obviously, they weren’t able to do that, and the Bruins also ended up missing out on similar D in Ivan Provorov and Zach Werenski to take the rains from Chara. Rather than go for a more offensive guy in Thomas Chabot (hindsight is 20/20) the Bruins ended up picking a more reliable, hard-working defenseman in Zboril. The young Czech D has slowly been developing in the AHL and has grown both offensively and defensively. While he didn’t play much (averaging 10:56 in his two games), he didn’t look out of place in his brief stint with the big club. He’ll carve a role the NHL at some point, there’s no questioning that, it’s just a matter of when and where.

(sportingnews.com)

Round 1, 14th Overall: Jake Debrusk

Grade: B+

Already a fan favorite in just his second season with Boston, Debrusk has been exactly what the Bruins’ management wanted him to be. The 22-year-old shows his work ethic every single shift he’s on the ice and is really starting to develop into a big goal scorer. If he wasn’t injured earlier on, he had a very good shot of hitting the 30 goal mark on the season. You can compare him to guys like Matthew Barzal or Brock Boeser who were drafted behind him, but Debrusk had embodied what it means to be a Bruin from the get-go.

Round 1, 15th Overall: Zachary Senyshyn

Grade: D

I like Senyshyn a lot. Despite being behind in development compared to some of his fellow draftees, he’s the type of player that the Bruins need. He’s got great speed, solid size, and being a right shot power-forward, it’s exactly the kind of player that would look great on the right side of David Krejci. My biggest problem with this pick is that the Bruins didn’t trade down in the 1st round to get him. Because he was projected to go early to mid 2nd round, you would think that if the Bruins wanted the player so badly, they could’ve moved down in the draft with one of these picks similar to what Toronto did in trading their 1st rounder (24th overall) to the Flyers for a 1st rounder (29th overall) and a 2nd rounder (61st overall). With all of the talent in the 1st round, there were bound to be other teams with the wish to move up in the draft to select a guy like Matthew Barzal or Kyle Connor. I have no problem with the player, I think at some point he will certainly become a consistent middle-six forward, but if Sweeney managed his assets a little better, maybe they come out of the draft with another talented prospect along with Senyshyn.

 

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Round 2, 37th Overall: Brandon Carlo

Grade: A

The Bruins hit a home-run with this pick. After playing just seven games in the AHL in the previous season, Carlo made the jump to full-time NHLer in 2016 as a 19-year-old. He played the entire 82 game season but definitely looked shaky at times. Since then, Carlo has really started to carve out a role on the Bruins back-end. I think he’s the Bruin that has improved the most since last season. He’s been an outstanding penalty killer and overall great shutdown defenseman while adding a lot more grit to his game. If Carlo could work on his offensive skills a bit more (just three points in 41 games this year), I can see him on the top pair for the Bruins for many years to come.

Round 2, 45th Overall: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson

Grade: B+

Now while calling him “Patrice Bergeron 2.0” is a bit far-fetched at this point in his career, there’s no doubt that the young Swede has the skill-set to be a full-time NHLer. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance both offensively and defensively in his 28 games with the Bruins, but the consistency just isn’t quite there yet. At times, JFK looks a bit lackadaisical and not giving his full effort, but if he can work out his quirks, his two-way prowess will allow him to be a very good NHL player.

 

(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Round 2, 52nd Overall: Jeremy Lauzon

Grade: B+

With the ridiculous amount of injuries the Bruins’ D-core had, we got to see a lot of Lauzon in the NHL. He looked very comfortable in his 15 games in the NHL, there was nothing not to like. His 6’1, 205 lbs frame, combined with his puck-moving ability, makes him a two-way threat from the back-end. I’d say he deserves to be a regular NHLer next season, although he’s is unlikely to be that with the amount of depth the Bruins already have on D.

Round 3, 75th Overall: Daniel Vladar

Grade: B-

Goalies are always hard to judge after they’re drafted. So many of them are busts, but so many of them are late bloomers. Only two goalies (Mackenzie Blackwood and Adin Hill) have seen an NHL game from the entire draft. Vladar has been solid in the AHL but not outstanding. I’d expect him to challenge for the Bruins backup goalie position after Jaroslav Halak’s contract expires but the 6’5 Czech-man will have to wait a while until he gets his shot with the Bruins.

 

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(dobberprospects.com)

Round 5, 105th Overall: Jesse Gabrielle

Grade: C

Gabrielle is a very confusing player. After the Bruins drafted him in 2015, he went on to have two very good seasons in the WHL, lighting the lamp a total of 75 times in those two seasons. He’s got a bit of snarl to his game and some silky hands, but it just hasn’t clicked for Gabrielle in his pro career as of now. This year, he has a -22 rating in the ECHL and hasn’t even been given a look in the AHL. I’m not ready to call the player a bust just yet because he’s still just 21 years old, but something needs to change, whether it’s mentally or physically, if he wants a shot at making the NHL.

Round 6, 165th Overall: Cameron Hughes

Grade: B

A really good find late in the draft by the Bruins. After a so-so draft year at the University of Wisconsin, he progressed very nicely, upping his goal total each following season and eventually being named “captain” in his senior year in the NCAA. He’s continued on this path and has been a really solid player in the AHL this year, totaling 10 goals and 25 points in 45 games.

 

(Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

Round 7, 195th Overall: Jack Becker

Grade: C+

Now the chances of a 7th rounder making the NHL are slim, but there’s actually quite a bit to like with Becker. Now at the University of Michigan, Becker has had a decent year with 10 points in 25 games. He plays the game hard, but the best thing about Becker is his size. He’s 6’3, and with that frame, I won’t be surprised if he’s able to challenge for a bottom 6 role in the NHL at some point down the line.

So even with the controversial 1st round, there’s no questioning that the Bruins came out of this draft with a lot of talent. Many of the players have already sniffed the NHL and have very good chances to be everyday players with the Bruins. Sweeney’s average grade on this draft is just under a B- which is fairly accurate in looking at this draft. I do want to say again that these draft picks really can’t be properly judged until many, many years down the line but it was a fun thing to do as I’m continuing grading Don Sweeney’s tenure with the Bruins so far.

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With Rask Potentially Injured, Who Could Be His Replacement?

Image result for rask injury chytil( Photo Credit: ESPN.com )

By Nick Sutherland  |  Check Me Out on Twitter (@Sudsy8)

Late in the first period of the Saturday night’s Bruins versus the Rangers game, Tuukka Rask was injured by a hard drive to the net by NY Rangers forward Chytil, he went to the net hard and ended up with his back end towards Rask. The hit on the Boston goaltender forced him to fall back and hit his head on the post. It was not a good look as Tuuka stayed down for multiple minutes as the trainers got to him rather quickly. With that being said, we as a fan base need to know who could be the potential replacement for Halak as the new backup goaltender until Rask seemingly passes the NHL’s concussion protocol.

Providence currently has two goaltenders on the active roster; with Zane McIntrye having a better season to date than his counter-mate Daniel Vladar. McIntyre the 6′ 2″ 205 lb goalie from Minnesota had a rough beginning of the year for Providence, but since the December 29th game against Hersey, he has been tremendous. In his last 10 games started, starting with a game against Hersey, he has posted a 2.20 GAA and has won 9 of those 10 games. His only blemish was the game against Binghamton Devils on December 21st in which he let up 5 goals on 22 shots.

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The month of January has been great for McIntyre. In his last 8 games, he has a .911 SV%. McIntyre has yet to be called up since the 2016-17 season where he started 3 games for the Bruins but struggled mightily in those contests. The 26-year-old netminder has yet to register his first career NHL win. With that being said, he projects as a career AHL player but could get spotty back up games a low ceiling goaltender in the NHL.

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The other Providence goaltender is Daniel Vladar, a 2015 third-round pick of the Bruins is a 6’5” 190lb native of the Czech Republic. He has gotten spot starts in the last two seasons in the AHL with the majority of the time spent at ECHL affiliate Atlanta, but this year he has been given a bigger workload in Providence. Now, he is a ’97 birthdate, so he is tremendously young. He has a much higher potential than 26-year-old McIntrye does with Vladar not turning 22 until the off-season.

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Vladar has struggled a bit the last few months, in his 10 starts in December and January so far this season he is 3-4-3 with a .899 Save percentage. Some of those losses have come from a high volume of shots that he is seeing, two games against Springfield in January he stopped 72 out of 80 shots.     Some goalies develop slowly, but he has the size to be a true starter in the NHL. He has struggled this year in the AHL with a 6-8-4 record. He began the year pretty strong but has only won one regulation game since 12/8.

( Photo Credit:  Alan Sullivan Photography )

I would imagine the Bruins call up McIntyre if they do indeed lose Rask for a significant amount of time. The B’s are currently in day number four of the nine-day league-mandated bye week and get back to work on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, against the Winnipeg Jets. Rask will have up to 10 days to recover. The Bruins are usually pretty vague when they release injury information, with that being said, I figure they are going to call this an upper-body injury. We all know that it probably is a concussion for Rask.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 11 Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins wrapped up their weekend games going one-for-one in games two and three of the current six-game road trip. The top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins won’t return to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island until after the new year when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms come to town on Friday night January 4th, 2019. If you happen to be in the Providence area or in a city where the B’s play on the road and would like to see the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins club in action to end 2018 and in the new year, please either CLICK HERE and use discount code BNGP or go to the bottom of this article to view ticket availability from our partners over at SeatGiant!

The Providence Club started the weekend traveling to the  Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York to take on the Binghamton Devils. The Bruins entered the Friday, December 21st, 2018, matchup against the top minor-pro affiliate of the New Jersey Devils winning only once in the last six games. The Bruins who sit in the in the seventh position in the AHL’s Atlantic Division were desperate to get a victory to set off the weekends action nicely, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case the Devils trounced the B’s by a score of 6-3.

Remaining on the road, the B’s headed to the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts to wrap up the weekend’s action before the holiday break to play the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday, December 22nd,2018. On this night in South Western Massachusetts, the team from Rhode Island faired better in the second game of the weekend with a 5-4 win over the host Thunderbirds. The players will take a break to be with family and friends ready to return to the ice when the Providence club gets back to work on Friday, December 28th, 2018, as they continue their road trip in Lehigh Valley against the Phantoms to finish the six-game roadie with three-straight games next weekend in the final days of 2018.

Friday, December 21st, 2018, The Providence Bruins vs. The Binghamton Devils (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins owned the first period from start to finish with defenseman Connor Clifton getting things started just 16 seconds into the opening frame scoring his second of the year. New Providence forward Gemel Smith got his first goal of the season on the power-play at the 18:26 mark of the opening 20 minutes entering his second game since being placed on waivers from the NHL Bruins team. Besides an unassisted goal for forward Anton Blidh who scored his sixth of the season in the second frame, the Binghamton club was too much to handle as the Devils would go onto own the last 40 minutes of the contest especially in the third period were the team from New York would go onto score four straight ending the game with the home team winning 6-3

Bruins goaltender Zane McIntyre got the start in goal on this night in Binghamton and continues to show signs of struggling the 2018-19 roller coaster season. He stopped 17 of 22 Devils shots taking the loss while taking the loss. The 2010 sixth-round selection of the Bruins is 7-7-3 on the year with a 3.20 goals-against-average, and .875 save percentage in 17 appearances this season.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 The Providence Bruins vs. The Springfield Thunderbirds (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

After a tough loss in Binghamton the night before, The Providence club looked to wipe away the memory or lack of effort to the hands of the Devils to focus on the game and better results in Springfield, Massachusetts. Once again the Bruins got off to a good start with a man advantage goal from veteran forward Mark Mcneill who scored his third of the season at the 14:45 mark of the first period. Almost a minute later in action, the Thunderbirds club would tie the game at one which seemed to get the attention of the Bruins team when they got a late first frame goal by Karsons Kuhlman who scored his fourth of the year to get the B’s to a 2-1 lead.

The second period was owned by the Providence team scoring three straight starting with B’s Captain Jordan Szwarz netting his 10th of the season on the power-play at the 6:38 mark to make the score 3-1 B’s. Peter Cehlarik scored his fifth of the year at the 16:26 mark of the second to pull the Bruins away from the home Thunderbirds team with a 4-1 advantage. B’s defenseman Clifton would finish the middle period scoring his third of the year and second goal in as many nights with his own power-play goal giving Providence a 5-1 lead with 20 minutes to go.

With a significant lead over the Thunderbirds, the Bruins seemingly didn’t show up in the last frame giving up three straight but held on to win the game by the score of 5-4. Rookie goaltender and NHL Bruins third-round selection in 2015, Dan Vladar got the start in goal against the Birds on this night stopping 22 of 26 shots that came his way. Like his netminding partner McIntyre, the 21-year-old Vladar has struggled in his first year of AHL action appearing in 15 games in the 2018-19 campaign posting a record of 6-6-2 with a 2.71 GAA and .899 Save%.

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Providence Bruins McIntyre Sets Franchise Record

( Photo Credit: KDP Studio )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins beat the Hershey Bears last night by the score of 6-2 at the Dunkin” Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island to improve their 2018-19 regular season record to 12-11-5-0. Speaking of record, with the victory over the Bears, Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre recorded his 68th American Hockey League win in franchise history. The 26-year-old Grand Forks, North Dakota native passes former B’s goaltender John Grahame who previously held the organization’s record since the end of the 2000-2001 regular season.

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McIntyre, a 6′-2″ 205-pound goaltender, has been with the Boston Bruins organization since his 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft when he was selected in the sixth-round with the 165th overall pick. Zane has always been a strong goaltender learning the game throughout the developmental leagues creating instant success wherever he landed. The Bruins drafted him after he finished his last season of high school hockey playing for the Thief River Falls club where he posted an 18-8-1 record, a 1.81 goals-against-average and .925 save percentage.

The Bruins saw something very special in Zane to draft him out of a Minnesota High School and playing at the higher levels would seemingly fit his game continuing forward as he gained valuable experience with increased playing time and longer regular seasons. At the end of the 2009-10, High School season, Zane was the recipient of the Frank Brimsek Award for the Minnesota Senior Goalie of the Year. For those who don’t know, Frank Brimsek was a former Boston Bruins goaltender who was with the organization for 11 years winning two Stanley Cups.

After leaving the Minnesota, high school ranks Zane went to play in the USHL with the Fargo Force where he posted a career record of 38-24-4 with a 2.22 goals-against-average and .914 Save percentage. His play in the USHL particularly in the second and final season with the Force team he posted a 26-16-4 record earning himself another high honor of winning the Award for the USHL’s Goaltender of the Year for the 2011-12 campaign. The United States Hockey League is the nations only Tier 1 junior hockey league which is a fantastic developmental league that many current and former Boston Bruins players spent time in.  B’s players such as Anders Bjork and Charlie McAvoy played for the Team USA club, Torey Krug played for the Indiana Ice, and David Backes spent time playing with the Lincoln Stars all before stepping foot in the NCAA ranks of Division 1 College hockey.

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The next step was a three-year collegiate hockey career at the University of North Dakota where he started gaining popularity at a national level with his tremendous play. After the 2012-13 season which was McIntyre’s rookie season playing for the Fighting Hawks as the backup goaltender and posted a 9-4-3 record with a 2.46 GAA and .920 Save%. His next two seasons he was given the reigns as the starting goaltender and ran with the opportunity to produce a 49-20-6 record with a 2.02 GAA and .927 Save%. This third and final season at North Dakota was simply a work of art and a huge boost in confidence for Zane when he was a Hobey Baker Award Finalist, winner of the Mike Richter Award for the NCAA Top Collegiate Goalie. McIntyre was also the NCAA/NCHC Goaltender of the Year after his best career season for the Fighting Hawks going 29-10-3 in 42 games in the 2014-15 campaign before turning pro.

From College To The Pro Ranks

Adjusting to the pro level for Zane during the 2015-16 season was a bit of a challenge after he left school for the AHL’s team in Rhode Island. His rookie season started off with a three-headed monster in the crease that year as he split duties with former 2012 first-rounder Malcolm Subban and Jeremy Smith who was later shipped to the Iowa Wild on loan because of the bottleneck of netminders in the system. In 31 games as a rookie, he went 14-8-7 with a 2.68 GAA, and .898 Save% to be one of the best goaltenders in the AHL in his second season going 21-6-1 and leading the league with a .930 Save%. Zane’s third season in the AHL was good, but you can see that he had moments of struggles and even though he had good numbers with a 26-15-2 record you could see he was slowly getting passed in the depth chart but continued to work hard regardless of stretches where he honestly didn’t look great.

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The 2018-19 season has not been a great start for the Providence club with the constant recalls from the higher NHL Boston team that’s been rattled with injuries and McIntyre who’s sharing the crease duties with rookie Dan Vladar continues to show signs of struggles. This year mac has appeared in 16 games posting a 7-6-3 record with a 3.07 GAA and .880 Save% in the last year of his current two-year deal. I will admit that the team is starting to play somewhat better and have been trending to turn their fortunes for the better in the month of December the last few seasons. After starting the AHL regular season in the basement of the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have risen up the standings with a 12-11-5-0 record and 29 points which is good enough for sixth place in the eight-team AHL division.

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Moving Forward

As mentioned above, McIntyre is in the last year of his current deal, and even though he’s going to be a restricted free-agent at seasons end, it remains to be seen where both sides go with the veteran minor-pro goaltender. His unsuccessful cup of coffee at the NHL level and continued struggles at the AHL level might have the Bruins organization moving on without him with due to a seemingly bottleneck in the developing depths of the organization. B’s prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser who was signed as an undrafted free agent signed a three-year entry-level contract with the departure of goaltender Malcolm Subban who was claimed off of waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights in year one of the franchise. Keyser who will be eligible to play with the top minor-pro affiliate of the B’s is having a career year so far with the Ontario Hockey Leagues Oshawa Generals and might force the hand of Bruins management to walk away from McIntyre in favor of the younger netminder.

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Providence Bruins Week 10 Begins

locker(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe | Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

It’s going to be a long week for the Providence Bruins as they headed out on a four-game tour of the North Division yesterday. The trip began with their first stop in Toronto, followed by tomorrow in Rochester, Saturday in Belleville and finally next Wednesday they will be in Utica. The only team of these four they had already met this season were the Rochester Americans, and that game ended up with a Providence win thanks to a goal from Ryan Donato in overtime. With Ryan back in Boston the team will have to find another lethal weapon to slay their northern foes. If they continue to use the skill, speed, coordination, and teamwork we have seen from them the past two weeks, they need look no further.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Toronto Marlies (AWAY)

marlies(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The first stop in the great white north was to face the Toronto Marlies.  Ranked two places below Providence at eleventh in the Eastern Conference with a total of twenty-two points they were separated from Providence by only two points.  This game could have made the difference for the Marlies if it had gone their way.  The current Calder Cup champions are no doubt unhappy with where they are currently positioned in the rankings and were eager to claw their way closer to the top. So last night’s result was far from certain.

Toronto had scored eighty-six goals this season out of the 710 shots they had taken that put them at about a 12% success rate. Providence, on the other hand, was a little lower only being successful about 11% of the time. However, neither of these stats appeared to be a factor last night.  It came down to Providences strength on the Penalty Kill, the ability to take advantage of the power play opportunities in the second period, and the stellar goaltending of Dan Vladar.  This was the second shutout of the season for Vladar and a 5-0 victory for the Bruins over the Marlies.  A good start to a road trip and no matter how the rest of the week goes, they will have the support of all the fans back home who will anxiously be awaiting their arrival back at the Dunk on the 14th of December.

Friday, December 7, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (AWAY)

amerks(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Providence Bruins travel back stateside for Friday’s game to meet up in New York with the Rochester Americans for the second time this season. With the first game being so close and finally falling Providences way, the pressure is surely going to be strong for the Americans to take this game and get a record win against the Bruins. Meeting twice a year for at least the past three years the Bruins seemed to have been charmed taking home the W in every match-up. So a win for Rochester this Friday would break a very long losing streak and dare we say it, a curse?

Rochester may have the man with the plan this year. Currently, they have a top 10 scorer, who also happens to be the overall defensive leader in goals, power-play goals, and shots on goal. That’s right Zach Redmond, the Rochester d-man, boast numbers of 13-9-22 in just 21 games. That is someone who deserves a little extra attention this Friday night if we want to be sure his numbers don’t climb higher that evening.

That is a strong player true, but one player does not make a team, and with the coordination and teamwork our boys are currently displaying they can definitely put an end to any run the Americans would like to start against the Bruins.

Saturday, December 8, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (AWAY)

belle(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Having only one year in the league the Belleville Senators and the Providence Bruins have a rather short history. They have played two games against each other one in Providence and the other in Belleville. The game in Providence was won by the Bruins in regular time while the game in Belleville took into overtime for the Senators to score the game-winning goal, but win they did. With two games in the history books, these two teams have a .500 lifetime record, and this one game will make that number swing one way or the other by .250. Funny how quickly things change when the sample size is so small.

One other set of numbers to watch is the conference position and total points. As of today, the Senators are at fourteenth with twenty-one points, and the Bruins sit at eighth with twenty-six points. With six points up for grabs this weekend and two of them being a direct battle between the two teams, they could switch positions on the table very easily.

The significant items that would point toward Providence coming out on top of this battle are where the team names show up on the AHL Daily Report. Providence has players, not many mind you, scattered throughout many positive tables. Dan Vladar is a top fifteen goalie, Joel Messner leads with shorthanded assists and two players Fitzgerald and Hughes with successful penalty shots. Belleville shows up very little but does show up with the third most losing goalie, having lost eight, and a defenseman with the fifth most penalty minutes in the league with  51 PIMs in 22 games. These items do not spell victory for Providence, but they do give me a good feeling about it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (AWAY)

utica(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Utica Comets welcome the Providence Bruins for their first meeting of the year.  Providence won all four matches between these two teams last season, and the Comets are looking to change that going forward.  They come into this match with speed and the ability to aim for the net, already having taken seven hundred shots on goal this season as compared to Providences six hundred fifty number.  The number of times you shoot at the net doesn’t really matter if they never become goals. So, the question here is who actually has more goals.  The answer is, even with a much lower shot count, the Bruins have five more goals in total.

So we now know offensively who has the numbers advantage, let’s take a quick look at the defense.  We can see that Providence has allowed sixty-seven goals to slide by their goaltender in the twenty-three games so far this year.  Utica has allowed ninety-four to reach the back of the net, but they have played two additional games thus far. That’s a 2.91 and 3.76 goals against average for the two teams respectively.  Dan Vladar and Zane McIntyre have both had an amazing couple of weeks, and the defensive team has really picked up their game as well. Even if we take into account our rocky start, this looks good for the Bruins.  I don’t know about you, but I am under the impression that if the boys keep their wits about them and continue playing as they have, barring a catastrophic disaster, the Bruins should take those two points home to end their tour of the North Division.

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Everyone – I know it seems like a cop-out, but honestly last week I could not pick a single outstanding front-runner. Everyone was working hard and pick-pocketing like they had been ripped from the pages of David Copperfield. Let’s take another week to enjoy the beauty that is/are, the Providence Bruins front lines at the moment.

On The Blue Line:

Olivier Galipeau – Overall I don’t know too much about him. He has one assist and two minor penalties in the four games he has played with Providence so far.   He was captain of his team in the QMJHL and had a +89 over a total of 308 games in 5 years. I recommend we all take a look this weekend and see what we think.

In Net:

Dan Vladar – Last week both our goalies performed stellar feats of tending. This week I thought we would focus on checking out the different style that Vlad brings to the net. His size naturally leads him to cover more of the net, but that does not end the conversation. How does he cover the correct parts of the net and how does he move that tall, lanky frame so quickly and effortlessly into position to prevent the goals that to an outsider appear unstoppable?

Cheers to week ten and best of luck to our Baby-B’s. Welcome to the first full week of December.  I will catch up with you next week and until then, feel free to message me on twitter with any questions or comments and as always, take some time to check out the other great articles by the incredible team here at Blackngoldhockey.com. Now Go Get Hockey With It!

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