Providence Bruins Announce Winners Of Team Awards

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

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

Rookie of the Year Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | Bostonglobe.com)

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

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

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Fan Favorite Award – Dan Vladar

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

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

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Three Stars Award – Brendan Gaunce

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

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

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Leading Scorer Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

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

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

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Plus/Minus Award – Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

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

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

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Hendricks Memorial Fan Appreciation Award – Paul Carey

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

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

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

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Best Defenseman Award- Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

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

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

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Team MVP Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

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

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

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Bruins Depth Players That Deserve Contract Extensions

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney certainly has his hands full when it comes to restricted and unrestricted free agents whenever the “official” National Hockey Leagues offseason happens. Boston’s future sustainability depends on whether or not contracts go well or not with potential re-signings of current NHLer’s like Anders Bjork (RFA Arbitration Eligible), Zdeno Chara (UFA), Jake DeBrusk (RFA), Matt Grzelcyk (RFA), Torey Krug (UFA), Kevan Miller (UFA), and Joakim Nordstrom (UFA).

To me, out of the players mentioned above, the priorities have to come down to Bjork, DeBrusk, Krug, and Grzelcyk to be extended for either short-term bridge or longer-term contracts. Regardless of work that has to be done at the NHL level to stay competitive and compliant with a potential flat salary cap at $81.5 for two to three seasons, it’s not going to be easy. With a rumored $18 million in cap space preparing for the upcoming 2020/21 campaign, I have a feeling the organization, along with some players, might have stalled talks leading up to 11th-hour panic decisions.

Not all offseason negotiations during the upcoming offseason are going to be hair pulling or check your blood pressure stressful moments. For example, take a look at the excellent CapFreindly.com website and scroll down to players coming off entry-level contract deals that could easily accept qualifying offers and one or two-year two-way extensions. Below are my thoughts of what players I’d like to see the Boston organization keep in the fold when it comes to development and having that “break glass” in case of emergency availability close by for another year or two.

Brendan Gaunce

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One of the Providence Bruins bright spots last season and his first with the NHL Bruins organization. Gaunce agreed to a one-year, two-way contract on July 1st, 2019, after spending four seasons in the Vancouver Canucks organization. Brendan was a solid middle-depth signing that brought a lot to the Providence Bruins line when talking about an aggressive style game and offensive capabilities.

Starting the 2019-20 AHL regular season with Providence on the right foot going 3-1-4 in his first five games, he hit a bit of a speed bump to his fast start on the back-to-back weekend trip north of the border. When the Rhode Island club traveled to Laval, Quebec, to play the affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, Gaunce would suffer a severe head injury. Laval forward, Michael McCarron hit Brendan with a center ice blindsided hit, which led to the then 25-year-old concussed and gruesome facial lacerations.

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Gaunce, who’s an absolute warrior at 6′-2″ and 217-pounds, only needed 22 days to get healthy enough to return to the ice with extra facial protection, of course. Brendan got back in the lineup and immediately produced offensively like the injury never happened. His return to the AHL Bruins lineup, he contributed 1-1-2 numbers in a 4-1 road victory against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and would continue the year as a valued asset to Providence Head Coach Jay Leach up and down the roster.

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As a veteran forward in the developmental ranks, Brendan never went more than four games without a point, and in fact, his offensive production kicked it up a notch in the send half of the 2019-20 campaign. Starting with an assist on February 9th, 2020, in a 2-1 overtime loss to Sound Tigers, Brendan went the next ten games (27 Days) riding a career-high scoring streak where he posted 7-7-14 in that timeframe. With the cancelation of remaining games and Calder Cup Playoffs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gaunce finished the 2019-20 regular-season with 18-19-37 numbers in 52 games. Brendan was everything the Bruins expected as a minor-pro system addition and a go-to if an emergency recall was needed. In one game with Boston last season, he contributed an assist in his first NHL game since he was with Vancouver, where he appeared in three in the 2018-19 season.

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If I were the general manager of the NHL Bruins and if Gaunce would accept an extension to stay within the organization, he’d undoubtedly be a low-risk, high-reward signing. Either a one-year deal or a two-year stay, I can see Gaunce coming back and possibly having a better year than the previous shortened season. He has tremendous leadership skills, along with offensive ability. He could definitely be a candidate if retained for the next Providence Bruins captaincy if current team leader Paul Carey departs after next season.

Karson Kuhlman

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A sneakingly good signing from the skillful eyes of the Boston Bruins scouting staff, Kuhlman’s addition has added a significant amount of speed and talent to the forward depth of this organization. The 5′-11″ 185-pound versatile forward has been a useful plug-and-play no matter where the soon to be 25-year-old has been asked to play. Karson is a tremendously hard worker and never gives up, which is a driving force the B’s should seriously consider bringing back for extended development.

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He might be undersized and young, but he’s displayed a significant number of leadership qualities thus far in his young hockey career. Before coming to the Bruins as a free agent the Minnesota USA, native wore letters in three of his four seasons playing NCAA Division 1 hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He might not light up the AHL or NHL scoreboard with point production consistency, but he adds a decent element of speed when inserted at either level. Most coaches will say that it’s not all about getting marks on the scoresheet on a nightly basis, but did that player do something that most didn’t notice to make an impact during the contest. Kuhlman’s uncanny skillset on the forecheck has been a valued asset no matter what level he’s played in.

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As many NHL Bruins fans have seen at the highest level in the world, Kuhlman has done pretty much everything Boston Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has asked of him. In his limited time with Boston, he’s appeared in 36 games contributing 4-7-11 numbers playing in 11 contests in 2018-19 and another 25 in 2019-20. Karson was never a massive point producer at any level of developmental hockey and in fact, his best pro season with Providence was in the 2018-19 campaign where he notched 12-18-30 totals in 58 games played along with an impressive +23 on the year.

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Kuhlman’s speed and upside are certainly worthy of a contract extension and believe Cassidy has high respect for his work ethic, which might have serious consideration keeping him in the fold. Replacements are going to be needed with future roster departures at the NHL level, so why not take a low-risk contract with Kuhlman? I’d say a $1.5 million two-year, two-way contract extension allows the Bruins accessibility to capture lightning in a bottle and promote quickly if Karson kicks up his offensive production at the AHL level.

Zach Senyshyn

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com / @AHLBruins )

To many Bruins fans, the mention of Boston prospect Zach Senyshyn brings up trying times and a bit of a reach at the NHL Entry Draft table back in the summer of 2015. Regardless of what Zach has done in the B’s organization, he’s consistently being labeled as a “draft bust” and a huge mistake. There’s no doubt, better-talented players, and ones that have risen to the NHL sooner rather than later were passed over in the first round. This certainly wasn’t B’s General Manager Don Sweeney and scouting staff’s most beautiful moment, but what was done is done and have to move on.

I know I’m going to be in the minority here with my opinion, but I believe Senyshyn has provided an excellent service to the Bruins organization. He’s another player that hasn’t exactly blown anyone to the moon with the stats since leaving the 2015 Draft Podium at the, but his work ethic and aggressiveness to be better has been second to none. Providence Head Coach Jay Leach has used Zach up and down the B’s lineup to act like a sponge and learn all aspects of the game. His game with and without the puck attributes has been something both sides have been working on since his arrival to the AHL.

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Before turning pro, he spent three seasons with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds starting his Canadian Hockey League career as a fourth-liner in his rookie year tallying 26 goals on a deep Soo club, to follow up the next two years with the Greyhounds posting two 40 goal seasons (45 & 42) before turning pro in 2017-18. In his OHL career, all with the Hounds he posted 114-63-177 numbers and so far in his AHL career he’s contributed 33-33-66 numbers in 174 games.

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Senyshyn is currently in the last year of his entry-level contract, and his speed and offensive skillset continue to be a work-in-progress and believe he’ll be re-signed during the offseason. The tricky part of a deal with a player like Zach is if he’s in fact extended, he’ll have to go through the waiver process if he doesn’t make the NHL team out of training camp. I’m not sure how much the Bruins would want to invest when it comes to money and term for a younger player that one might not have a spot at the NHL level, and number two a player who most likely won’t survive the 24-hour waiver process he’d have to go through returning to the AHL.

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If Senyshyn’s re-signed and able to squeak through waivers much like the path that former Bruins prospect Peter Cehlarik did, I can see the Boston organization offering Zach a $1.8 million contract. I believe a two-year, two-way deal will be beneficial and, with the term, can see him securing an NHL roster spot by the end of a two-year extension. His speed and stride is something that you can’t just walk away from. Senyshyn’s ability to create space quickly away from opponents with or without the puck is something I’d certainly like to keep around. He could even be a solid third-line or even second winger in the future if everything works out, of course, but I commend the path that the Bruins have gone with the now 23-year-old 6′-1″ 196-pound forward.

Jakub Zboril

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Much like Senyshyn above, this wasn’t Boston’s finest hour when they went to the NHL Draft podium three times mid-first round in 2015. Zboril is another player that has absorbed the pro level of hockey with a seeming grain of salt and no rush mentality. Jakub has all the characters of being a lower pairing defenseman right now, but his path to the highest level in the world has taken a lot longer than most want to fathom.

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As a later developing pro, Zboril, by far, had his best season this year before the Covid-19 pandemic halted life as we know it. Call it a contract year scenario, but I noticed something special in the final year of his entry-level contract that brings me to this mention of the B’s bringing him back. More of a stay-at-home defenseman, Zboril does have some offensive capabilities as he ended his third season in Providence, tying an AHL career-high of 19 points he posted for three consecutive years.

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Zboril is a player that is always learning something new no matter what level of developmental hockey. In a defensive-minded Jay Leach system, Jakub can adapt to the three defensive pairings no matter where slotted. His aggressive style and defensive prowess this season has gotten tremendous attention not only from me but other media members in Providence who also spend a great deal in the press box evaluating talent. Jakub isn’t a perfect defensive player and does have moments where I shake my head, but his ability to get back in the play and recover from a mistake is commendable. Accountability is at the highest of his game attributes and is not one to pass the blame when an error in judgment is made on or off the puck.

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If I was to give an extension to Jakub, I’d go another year or two with him with potential departures at the NHL level in the future. Zdeno Chara is always a candidate when talking about a roster spot if and when he retires. John Moore and his roster spot are still up for conversation and which young player can come in and cover for the declining blueliner. Or how about the upcoming Seattle Expansion draft, and if a current Bruins player on defense is appealing to the newest NHL franchise, who’s set to draft an initial lineup next summer? Zboril is a player that can easily slot into an NHL lineup with space availability, of course, and will be a backup plan for the foreseeable future if he’s retained. When it comes to a dollar value, I will look at the $1.5-$2 million range for Jakub’s extended services.

Also, keeping in mind any future negotiations with Zboril will also be heavily considered when thinking about his waiver priority. If retained for further services, he’d need to pass through waivers to be placed in Providence, and with the current situation ahead of him when it comes to NHL contracts, that’ll likely be the destination. Personally, I hope the B’s do whatever it takes to keep him around as an ace in the hole but would also hate to lose him and not seeing his full NHL potential.

Dan Vladar

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Probably the biggest re-signing for the Boston Bruins staff out of any mentioned above when it comes to middle depth sustainability in the crease. With one more year of NHL starter Tuukka Rask remaining in his contract and the recent extension to backup Jaroslav Halak, the NHL level is covered when it comes to netminding duties. This provides an adequate amount of time for further development of 2015 third-round selection Dan Vladar and recently signed to entry-level contract Jeremy Swayman out of his junior year at the University of Maine.

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Vladar, who’s in his last year of his ELC, really took a stranglehold in his development during the 2019-20 regular-season campaign. After a slow start to the soon to be 23-year-old Czech Republic native, he encountered an injury In the seasons first cross border roadie in Laval, Quebec which left him with a high ankle sprain. Dan’s season record began with the 0-1-1 record giving up six goals in three games, so there’s no real-time for an injury to happen, but in the end, it was, in fact, beneficial, to say the least.

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During Vladar’s recovery, which lasted a whole 45 days before he returned from his ankle sprain also was a student of the game during that duration when help from above came down lending professional advice. NHL Bruins Goaltending Coach Bob Essensa and assistant Mike Dunham took advantage of the young goaltenders “downtime” while rehabilitating for countless hours of video sessions breaking down his game while minimizing his crease movements. As a 6′-5″ 185-pound athletic netminder, Essensa and Dunham broke down his game with technology to teach the big Czech netminder a new way of manning the crease and using his size to his benefit.

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When Vladar returned to the ice after his lengthy injury, he absolutely put on a show blanking the 2018-19 Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers 4-0 with 36 saves and first star honors. After Dan’s No-No on December 1st, 2019, at the Bojangles Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, he would go onto post a regular-season record of 14-7-1 with a stingy and league-leading 1.79 goals-against-average and .936 save percentage. He also ended the 2019-20 regular-season campaign with three shutouts.

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Before the coronavirus shut everything down, Vladar was on his way to having his best career year between the pipes. I know it’s a small sample size of his potential, but in my opinion, with the tutelage of Essensa and Dunham and how he came back strong and determined has me believe he will definitely be re-signed. With the stretch of games from the start of December to mid-March, Vladar was clearly the best goaltender in that duration and started turning heads when thinking about future NHL placement. Extending Vladar for two more years not only locks him up for another full AHL season and audition, but it also makes him a serious candidate when considering future options with Halak and Rask and expiring contracts.

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A two-year, two-way contract worth around $2 million is certainly not out of the realm for keeping a netminder like Vladar around. Also, keep in mind that my guess on what Vladar and others mentioned when talking about a contract is the dollar value and what the particular player will earn at the Level if lucky enough to spend time at the highest level in the world. When spending time in the AHL, obviously, that number goes down to a range of $70K to $150K depending on the two-way contract structure, and bonuses entailed.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

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

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By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 176 that we recorded below on 4-27-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

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

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By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow Me On Twitter @andrewlindrothh

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

Jeremy Swayman

( Photo Credit: UMaine Athletics / GoBlackBears.com )

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

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

Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: Atlanta Gladiators )

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

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

Daniel Vladar

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

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

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

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

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

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Breaking: Jeremy Swayman Signs Deal With Boston Bruins

Swayman

(Photo Courtesy of University of Maine Hockey)

By: Tim A. Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Amidst the uncertainty of the NHL season, the Boston Bruins have some news. Goalie Jeremy Swayman has signed a deal with the club. The details of the contract have not yet been released; however, news of the signing came to us via the University of Maine Hockey Twitter page.

Jeremy Swayman is coming off an excellent Junior season at the University of Maine. He would go 18-11-5 and was able to grab a 2.07 goals-against average with a .939 save percentage in 34 games. The Anchorage, Alaska native, was one of the main reasons why the Black Bears were nationally ranked 15th.

Jeremy Swayman was a fourth-round pick (111th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The former Black Bear is joining an already young impressive goalie prospect pool with the Bruins. That prospect pool includes Dan Vladar, who just had an excellent season with Providence and Kyle Keyser, who had an injury-plagued season.

Being a Maine native myself, I may be a little bit biased, but Swayman is my favorite Bruins goalie prospect. My biggest reason for this is the amount shots Swayman saw this season. In 34 games, he had 1170 shots fired his way. That’s 34.4 shots a game. Getting as many pucks shot at you as possible is vital for young netminders. The Alaska native had that at the University of Maine. I would expect to see Swayman in Providence next season. Get excited Bruins fans, this is awesome.

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AHL Suspends Season, Halts Providence Bruins Impressive 2nd Half

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Unfortunately, the spread of the Covid-19 virus has taken a toll on the North American sports scene as many amateur, minor-pro, and professional leagues shut down operations to appropriately contain this global pandemic. BNG Senior Writer Max Mainville updated Bruins Nation shortly after hearing the official National Hockey League press release of the 2019-2 being suspended (Seen Here), well shortly after the  American Hockey League followed suit as seen below.

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This egregious effort to cancel large gatherings is a no-brainer, in my opinion, but it does put a serious wrench in the gears of beloved sports fans and what goes on in day-to-day lives. As many Boston Bruins fans know, the team is in first place in the NHL. With a six-point lead over last year’s Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues, they pause their 2019-20 campaign as a favorite to return and hopefully capture the organization’s seventh league championship. The NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins have also reached impressive milestones this season with an outstanding second-half marching their way up the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with playoff-type games leading up to the recent halt of the regular season.

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The AHL team from the smallest state in the Union (United States) started a better part of the 2019-20 season in the middle of the Atlantic, but in the second half, the Providence club has really put the pressure on teams leading the way. A team such as the Hartford Wolf Pack, who ruled the early season, have taken a plunge since their parent NHL club the New York Rangers recalled phenom goaltender Igor Shesterkin. AHL Clubs like the Hershey Bears and Providence Bruins took advantage of the Wolf Packs downward spiral to be the new leaders of the Atlantic. If you follow the AHL on the regular, the Eastern Conference postseason outlook has been tight since the beginning of January, so you could already see organizations jockeying for Calder Cup Playoff positioning.

Before this sudden pause in the Providence regular season, the B’s were on a season-high 12 game point streak, which contributed to the recent successful rise up the AHL league standings but also a season-high 11 game winning streak. Another high point of the second half of this 2019-20 Providence Bruins season is the way the affiliate of the NHL B’s has played at home in front of the La Salle Square faithful. Before the recent consecutive winning success, the Providence club was a franchise dipping above and below the .500 mark for a better part of this season at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

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The Providence Bruins started the season off with a subpar home record of 7-8-0-1, but since the turn of the calendar year, have picked it up in front of the Providence faithful to produce a very respectable 10-3-2-1 record at the Dunk since the beginning of January 2020. Everything has been clicking nicely until today’s announcement, and as a media member under the credentials of the Providence organization, it’s going to be tough to see this what this minor-pro club has done this season to just stop and figure it out later. A huge chemistry speed bump, in my opinion, for everybody on this mission of a Calder Cup playoff run that I thought was coming this Spring.

The last time the AHL Providence franchise won season-ending bragging rights was in the 1998-99 campaign capturing a Regular-Season Title, Division Championship, Conference Championship, and raising the Calder Cup after beating the Rochester Americans in a seven-game series 4-1. I thought after watching this team and with the way goaltending from the backend was the catalyst to build on early on with the free-agent addition of Max Lagace. The 27-year-old Quebec, Canada native, was amongst the AHL league leaders when it came to highly ranked goaltenders. Lagace has been a solid depth netminder for the Bruins organization and might be Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s ace in the hole for another year of backup sustainability while on a cap-friendly contract.

Another member of the crease core in Providence is Dan Vladar, who I’ve always spoken high of has really turned his game around in the last season of his current three-year, entry-level contract. The former 2015 third-round draft pick is having his best pro season posting a 14-7-1 record with league-leading 1.79 goals-against-average, and .936 save percentage. The 22-year-old Czech Republic native is currently on a seven-game winning streak and, in that timeline producing an unbelievable 1.54 GAA and .940 Save%.

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Providence stands as the Eastern Conferences best team with a 38-18-3-3 record and 82 points and tied for second place league-wide with the Iowa Wild eight points behind  AHL leading Milwaukee Admirals who’re leading the league in its 84th year of operation as the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL. After how this team came together orchestrated by bench boss Jay Leach who many fans wanted to see fired every start of regular seasons unable to wait for the mid-season ramp up. Yes, in previous years, the Providence club would struggle severely due to the fact that the NHL Bruins were recalling players ripping apart any youthful chemistry facilitating the higher up parent club. In recent years the new calendar year has been a turning point for Leach and staff to get healthy players back in the lineup and have a stronger competitive season.

Regardless of my displeasure of this whole situation and where this Bruins minor club was going, I hope that all of our readers do the right thing for your families and friends to help the cause. We need our sport back, but we also have to get our healthy life cycle back in order so we can go to these awesome spectator sports venues in the near future. It’s unfortunate that I had to cancel planned trips to Providence to cover this team as a media member via the Providence franchise for our production team, but it’s also a great little city to hang out in. I will miss my regular visits to the Trinity Brew House for a Rueben Sandwich and cold Rhode Island IPA, and Murphy’s Providence for an interesting Irish menu feast. Be safe everyone and the Bruins prospect talk from our BNG team will continue to keep the interest going through tough times.

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

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Report: Bruins Goaltending Prospect Keyser Could Return To Action Soon

( Photo Credit: ECHL Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Providence Bruins Continue To Roll With Six Straight Victories

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On Wednesday night the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins were on the road in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a mid-week contest against the Penguins. The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins walked out of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza with a significant 6-2 beatdown earning their sixth straight victory. The same two teams first faced each other in this two-game home and home series on Sunday, February 23rd, 2020, with the Providence club holding onto a 2-1 win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

After a great start to the 2019-20 regular season campaign, the team from the smallest state in the Union went through a few bad times mid-season and many unsuccessful attempts to capture points in front of the hometown faithful. Hovering around .500 at home this season, the Bruins finally got back to winning ways at the La salle Squarefacility in the city’s capital to rise above that .500 mark at home with an impressive six-game stretch where Providence earned 11 of 12 points. During those consecutive games at the Dunk which took a better part of the month of February to complete, the Bruins now have a 15-10-2-2 home record. With last nights 6-2 road win in the state of Pennsylvania, the B’s continue to impress on the road and are in the top-five in the league with a 17-8-1-1 record away from the Dunk.

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Providence now sits in third place in the Atlantic Division and fourth place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference with a 32-18-3-3 overall record and 20 games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season. To go along with their six-game winning streak, the Providence club has actually earned seven points in the last seven games with an unfortunate 2-1 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers which kicked off the recent six-game homestand. The B’s are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and are starting to be a nuisance to the teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference with the B’s having 70 points in the fourth spot and only five points away from conference-leading Belleville Senators who’ve really kicked it up a notch to begin the second half of the season.

With last nights road win, the Providence team will finish this short three-game road trip with contests against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday,  February 29th, 2020 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts and wrap things up away from the Dunk on Sunday, March 1st, 2020 at the XL Center against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Speaking of the Atlantic Division foe Wolf Pack team, if the 2020 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs started today, Hartford and Providence would meet each other in the best-of-five first-round series with the Wolf Pack dominating the Providence club with a 6-0-0-1 regular-season record. As of today in this potential 2020 Calder Cup playoff matchup, the Hartford team would obviously have home-ice advantage and with their play against Providence this season it would be a tough task for the B’s as the Wolf Pack have a 21-2-1-2 record at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut but have only been able to muster up a 9-12-5-3 record on the road.

Providence Players Who Deserve Mentions As The Team looks To Clinch Their Eighth Consecutive Calder Cup Playoff Appearance

Paul Carey

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The Providence Captain has been one of the club’s higher point producers throughout the season but as a veteran of the game, his experience and knowledge have been an asset to head coach Jay Leach’s staff away from the bench. Young Bruins prospects that get recalls often give high praise of him when asked who’s helped them along the way to get prepared for the higher level.

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The 31-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts forward should be on the decline at his age but he never really slows down and able to keep up with the younger developing players. Carey sits in the second spot when it comes to team scoring with 20-16-36 numbers and 3-1-4 numbers in his last fours games as most Providence forwards are starting to pick up offensively. Paul who’s signed for another season will continue to serve the NHL Bruins organization as an inspirational leader at the developing depth but also a solid backup plan in case he’s needed in an emergency with Boston.

Peter Cehlarik

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Cehlarik has missed a majority of games in February of 2020 but returned to the Providence lineup against Springfield on the 22nd and immediately got back to work offensively. Posting 1-1-2 numbers in the 7-4 victory over Atlantic Division rival Thunderbirds, the big 6′-2″ 205-pound versatile forward now has 2-2-4 in his last three games and his return and emergence couldn’t have been better timed as the Rhode Island team continues to climb the standings preparing for another postseason birth.

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So far this year the 24-year-old forward has appeared in 42 games for Providence posting 15-17-32 numbers and in his three games with the NHL Bruins in this 2019-20 campaign notched an assist before being waived for the purpose of AHL placement. Peter is another leader on a team full of good low-risk European talent and with 20 games remaining in this season, I believe he’s just getting warmed up as he’s auditioning for more time with the B’s organization as he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year.

Trent Frederic

( Photo Credit: Team Shred Photography )

Trent possesses many attributes that you want to see in a young player that’s on the verge of starting a long NHL career. He has a good mind for the game and for a big kid has a tremendous pair of hands. He does have decent speed when needed but Frederic’s game, in my opinion, is how he grinds along the boards and in the dirty areas around the net. As many Bruins, fans already know, Trent is not afraid to mix it up or be a nuisance to an opposing team which he felt did his team wrong with liberties taken.

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Regardless of his heavy playing style, the former 2016 first-round pick of the Bruins has already passed his AHL career-high of 25 points in 55 games last season to 7-23-30 totals thus far in 53 games for his Providence club in 2019-20. Frederic who leads the AHL in penalty minutes is currently on a three-game point streak with four assists in his last three games. That hard-nosed grind it out style will be needed down the stretch and in the upcoming Calder Cup Playoffs if in fact the B’s get in and secure a spot.

Brendan Gaunce

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

Gaunce was a sneakingly smart free agent signing for the Boston Bruins when both sides agreed to a one-year two-way contract during the offseason. Brendan is another player with a heavy bag of attributes and solid plan “B” asset for the higher NHL Bruins if needed regardless of the situation. After missing almost a month in the early season with a concussion and facial lacerations from a suspendable open-ice hit from former Laval Rocket forward Michael McCarron he’s really stepped it up offensively in the second half of the year.

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Brendan is currently on a season-high seven-game point streak where he’s contributed 5-5-10 numbers in that timeframe. In his last 20 games, he’s posted 9-10-19 numbers and has been one of the veteran players that Head Coach Jay Leach can put in a multitude of situations including when a tenacious forechecker is needed. it’s hard to say if this career-high streak can be sustained but it’s been fun to watch as the club continues to gell together in hopes of a long postseason run.

Max Lagace

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Another great find for the Boston Bruins over the offseason as Legace started the year on fire and hovering at the top of the AHL’s top goaltenders when it comes to individual stats. Max signed a one-year, two-way contract last summer and not only was he going to be a solid veteran presence in the Providence crease, but he also came to the  Bruins organization with some NHL playing experience. When the AHL plays three games in three nights on a weekly schedule his athleticism and demeanor at the minor-pro level have been nothing but impressive.

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Lagace who started off like a firecracker to start the year as mentioned has appeared in 31 games thus far in 2019-20 posting a 20-7-3 regular-season record with a 2.40 goals-against-average, and .918 save percentage. The 27-year-old netminder is currently in second in the AHL in shutouts with five (Leader- Six) and riding a three-game winning streak and 7-2-1 in his last ten games. In that ten-game stretch the Quebec, Canada native has a 2.77 GAA and .908 Save%. It should be interesting to see how the goaltending will be planned out for Lagace down the stretch and potential postseason because of another Providence netminder who’s been on a tear since early December 2019.

Robert Lantosi

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

I have to give major props to the Boston Bruins scouting staff on the AHL free agent signing of forward and Czech native Lantosi. A low-risk high reward decision is certainly paying dividends in his rookie year in North America. Robert was invited to the 2019 Bruins development camp and the NHL B’s did their due diligence with scouting him up close and offering him a contract before the 2019-20 campaign started. Lantosi is an extremely fast forward that doesn’t exactly have the biggest Getty up and go stride but instead, it’s the hole-shot he creates with increased foot speed. He has really good edge work and offensive creativity to stickhandle in a phone booth.

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In his first year of AHL hockey, the 24-year-old Slovakia native has contributed 11-20-31 numbers and another player who’s earned the trust of Coach Leach and has the ability to play with anyone up and down the right side. He does have a sick one-timer in Pastrnak’s office and wish he’d use that weapon more often in key scoring situations like increased power-play time. In his last four games, Robert has posted 1-2-3 numbers as he as well needs to be strong down the stretch and in the postseason as he’s playing for another minor-pro contract after this season.

Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

I know many Jack Studnicka mega fans are boiling over with the fact that’s he’s not playing regularly in the NHL yet, I believe the Boston organization is doing the right thing. By keeping a player like this in with the top-minor pro affiliate allows him to continue to develop and absorb the different aspects of the games as he’s currently in his first full year of AHL hockey. With potential departures on the NHL roster by this fall, it’s no doubt in my mind he’ll earn a spot in Boston after working hard during the offseason and providing Bruins management with no option to send him back to Providence after a solid NHL training camp in the fall of 2020.

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Jack currently leads the Providence club with 20-22-42 numbers in 54 games and when it comes to special teams play he’s contributed three goals on the power-play and leads the AHL with six shorthanded goals. After going eight games without a point from late December 2019 to mid-January 2020, the former 2017 second-round pick snapped out of that pointless funk to produce 6-10-16 numbers in his last 14 games. Jack is so fun to watch because of his tremendous hockey intelligence and the way he maneuvers effortlessly through all three zones. Be patient Bruins fans because Studnicka is coming and if you’ve had the chance to watch him play throughout his development you know what kind of special player he can be.

Dan Vladar

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

A big netminder with a ton of potential but his first few seasons of minor pro developmental hockey have been up and down as he continues to learn the pro game. I’ve always been high on Dan and can see why the Bruins selected him with the third-round selection in 2015 as the second-ranked European goaltender per NHL Central Scouting. The 6′-5″ 195-pound Czech Republic native has the size to smother any lose pucks down low and has the athleticism to be an effective butterfly style netminder. His up and down years when it comes to season records shouldn’t be any indication of his future as all hockey players go through highs and lows trying to soak so much information in while training to be a world-class athlete.

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The beginning of the 2019-20 season didn’t exactly start off the way anyone expected. The 22-year-old got his first win of the regular season giving up one goal in a 21 save effort but in his next contest he gave up five at the Dunk in Providence to go 1-1 in the early season with a 3.05 GAA and .888 Save%. His next game in Laval, Quebec he suffered a high ankle sprain and was out for a better part of six weeks. when he returned on the 1st of December, he certainly blew me away with a 36 save shutout and a return to the ice playing a style I’ve never seen him play before. During his injury rehabilitation, he worked with Bruins goaltending coaches Bob Essensa and Mike Dunham to minimize his movements in the crease.

Since coming back in the last month of 2019, Vladar has a 10-7-1 record with three shutouts, a 1.91 GAA, and .931 Save%. Dan’s goals-against -average ranks second and save percentage ranks third in the AHL. He’s currently on a three-game winning streak which has the potential to extend with an appearance in one of the road games this weekend. The young goaltending prodigy has worked very well with the aforementioned Max Lagace as both netminders look for equal regular-season playing time down the stretch.

Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit: Tumblr )

Not a fan favorite when selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round with what talent remained on the draft board after the Boston organization had three straight selections. Regardless of fan opinion and NHL playing time, I believe Zboril has been a good soldier even though he’s spent a majority of his development with the Providence Bruins. He plays an aggressive shutdown style of defense and although he’s not considered to be much of an offensive producer from the backend, the 23-year-old has the vision and quick hands for fast outlet passes for defensive transition out of the zone. Those quick decisions have got him into trouble on several occasions throughout his pro-development but it’s not a knock as he continues to learn patience in his all-around game.

With fellow blueliner Jeremy Lauzon up with the NHL Bruins, for now, the 6′-0″ 195-pound Czech Republic native, in my opinion, is having his best season so far in his minor-pro career and has even surpassed former first-rounder Urho Vaakanainen on my depth chart. His defensive awareness and overall play with more trust from Head Coach Leach has been a pleasure to see and should bode well in contract negotiations this summer as a restricted free agent. Not saying that he’d get an extension for permanent NHL duties but could be retained and continue to develop in Providence as future roster spots become available with potential departures. In 52 games this season Zboril has 2-12-14 numbers and logs a lot of minutes as a depth defenseman with seniority.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 167 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Providence Bruins Post-Game Recap Vs. Laval 2/16/20

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The Providence Bruins were at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday for an afternoon matchup against the Laval Rocket. The Bruins were looking to continue their winning ways after defeating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on February 14th.

Starting Lineups

Providence Bruins:

Gaunce – Woods – Senyshyn

Vaakanainen – Kampfer

Vladar

Laval Rocket:

Veilleux – Dauphin – Waked

Alzner – Fleury

Primeau

Game Recap

First Period

Laval’s Yannick Veilleux was sent to the box for boarding just 36 seconds into the game. Providence was unable to convert on their first power play. A few minutes later, Josiah Didier drew a penalty on Laurent Dauphin, but the Bruins remained scoreless. With under a minute left in the power play, The Rocket’s Alain was called for elbowing, and Steven Kampfer was whistled for holding on the same play.

The Bruins were sent to the penalty kill for the first time when Brendan Gaunce was whistled for hooking at 9:10 of the first period. Laval could not convert on their power play.

With 7:52 left in the period, Brendan Woods was given a boarding penalty. The Providence power play remained strong, going 3-for-3 in the first.

At 15:46, Matthew Peca skated into goalie Dan Vladar and got an interference penalty. Just nine seconds later, Brendan Gaunce scored to put Providence up 1-0. Brett Ritchie and Jack Studnicka provided the assists.

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The Bruins headed into the first intermission leading in shots 12-9.

Second Period

After seven minor penalties were called in the first period, the second saw a lot more five-on-five play. Still, just two minutes in, Kampfer was called for delay of game. After killing that penalty, Providence went right back to being shorthanded with Jakub Zboril whistled for tripping.

With 1:38 left in a rather uneventful second period, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was sent to the box for tripping. The Bruins could not covert and went to the second intermission still up 1-0. Shots were 24-16 in favor of the home team.

Third Period

Paul Carey was able to stuff the puck past Cayden Primeau 38 seconds into the third. It was the Providence captain’s 18th goal of the season, assisted by Kampfer.

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Just a few minutes later, Ryan Fitzgerald netted his 11th goal to put the Bruins up 3-0. Urho Vaakanainen and Robert Lantosi provided the assists, giving eight different Bruins at least one point on the night.

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Charles Hudon and Cameron Hughes were each given two minutes for roughing in a confrontation after the whistle. A minute later, Lantosi was sent to the box for hooking. Laval did not score on the 4-on-3 power play.

Right after successfully killing Lantosi’s penalty, Providence found themselves shorthanded again with Zboril called for a trip. The Bruins penalty kill ended up 6-for-6 on the night.

The game got physical in the third period. Brendan Woods and Josh Brook dropped the gloves, then Laval received another penalty for slashing Vladar after he had frozen the puck. This brought the total of minor penalties in the game to 15, along with two majors.

Vladar was able to maintain the shutout and the game ended with Providence up 3-0. Laval outshot the Bruins 32-30.

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“It was a good day overall for the whole team,” Vladar said after the game, having secured his third shutout of the season. “It doesn’t really matter if [Max Lagace] or I get a shutout, it’s just those two points that we really need.”

Though he now leads the AHL in save percentage and GAA, Vladar was quick to put the team first rather than his personal accomplishments. “I just try to go into every game giving our team a chance to win, and thankfully it happened today. We just have to get ready for Bridgeport, because they beat us two times last weekend. We have lots of work in front of us.”

The Bruins will be looking to continue their winning ways on Monday, with a home game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 3:05 pm.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

( Photo Credit: ECHL / Utah Grizzlies )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Photo Credit: Atlanta Gladiators )

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

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

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

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

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