Bruins Prospect Studnicka Traded to Niagara Ice Dogs

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photo credit: NHL.com

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

The Ontario Hockey League trade that has been rumored for the past week or so has finally happened: Boston Bruins center prospect Jack Studnicka has been acquired from the Oshawa Generals by the Niagara IceDogs. Canucks prospect Matt Brassard is heading to Niagara with Studnicka, in exchange for defenseman Lleyton Moore and six draft picks, spanning from 2020 through 2024. This is an OHL trade only, and the Bruins still own the NHL rights to Studnicka.

Studnicka, one of the Bruins organization’s top prospects, was selected by the Boston Bruins 53rd overall in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He impressed during the Bruins’ training camp and preseason this year, but ultimately was returned to his OHL team at the time, the Oshawa Generals. Studnicka recently returned to Oshawa from a disappointing sixth place finish with Team Canada in the IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver. Studnicka scored one goal and assisted on three, totaling four points in five games.

In 222 games over three and a half seasons in Oshawa, Studnicka tallied 184 points – 56 goals and 128 assists – while captaining the Generals squad since 2017-18. This season, Studnicka had scored 34 points in 30 games before being traded to the IceDogs, where he will undoubtedly continue the tear he’s been on lately.

In a press release, Generals Vice President and General Manager Roger Hunt said, “Jack came in following our Memorial Cup year and right away proved he was a leader and the exact guy we needed to build our team around. While playing with the Gens he has represented Canada at the Under-17, Under-18 and World Junior level. It was a no brainer for him to become our captain two years ago and he will always be remembered as one of the great captains of the Oshawa Generals.”

In a press release out of Niagara, IceDogs General Manager Joey Burke said, “This is a huge day in Niagara. In Jack and Matt we are adding the exact two players we targeted as a perfect fit for our roster. The skill set they will add to an already deep group could not be more exciting, and I can’t wait to watch how well they fit with our guys… To be able to add something of this caliber, something had to go out, and it was a very difficult decision to move Lleyton Moore. As we know, he will go on to become a star in this league. Lleyton is a great young man and athlete, and we wish him nothing but success.”

The IceDogs are currently holding onto second place in the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, and are four points above Studnicka’s former Oshawa Club, which is currently in third place. Oshawa got a solid return for Studnicka and Brassard in 16 year old defenseman Lleyton Moore, but Niagara made a fantastic addition to their roster as well, as Studnicka has proven to be one of the OHL’s best players over the last couple of seasons.

 

World Juniors 2019: Bruins Prospects Heading Into Quarter-Finals

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PHOTO CREDITS: (saultsports.com)

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

The 2019 World Junior Championships have truly been entertaining so far this year. From dominating performances such as the 14-0 by Canada over Denmark and Slovakia’s 11-2 win over Kazakhstan. Valiant comeback efforts such as the United States scoring four unanswered goals in the final ten minutes to force overtime versus Sweden. And of course, the feel-good stories like the support of the underdogs – Team Kazakhstan as every shot, save, and goal were met with loud, roaring cheers.

The Boston Bruins, like many NHL teams, are well represented in the tournament. Jakub Lauko and Daniel Bukac on the Czech Republic, Jack Studnicka on Canada, Kyle Keyser on the States, Pavel Shen on Team Russia, and the addition of Urho Vaakanainen just before the tournament to Team Finland. Not only are these players playing in the tournament, but they are playing a crucial role for their respective countries.

G Kyle Keyser – United States

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

As one of the favourites to win the gold medal when the under-20 tournament concludes, the United States used the four preliminary games to judge who gets the starting role in between the pipes because once the team makes it into the Quarter-Finals, it is not too common to switch goaltenders as you would see in the National Hockey League regular season.

Keyser’s teammate, Cayden Primeau, is the other goaltender that is looking to grab that starting role. The Montreal Canadiens’ 2017 seventh-round selection played two games and so did Bruins’ goalie prospect Keyser. Keyser played two games – the 5-4 OT loss to the Swedes and the 2-1 win over Slovakia on Boxing Day.

Keyser’s 1-1-0 record alongside his 0.87 save percentage and 2.95 goals-against-average is ranked as the second-worst for goaltenders heading into the Quarter-Finals. Only Switzerland goalie, Akira Schmid has worse statistics so far in the World Juniors. It is fair to note that the five goals he allowed versus Sweden drastically impacted those numbers.

Against the Swedes, Keyser made many solid saves off of poor plays by his defensemen. The Swedish players had numerous 2-on-1s that were stopped by Keyser and his saves arguably gave the team the drive to come back and tie the game.

With that said, Team USA announced that Cayden Primeau, the other American goaltender, will get the start in the crease for the United States in their Quarter-Final game against the Czech Republic. Yesterday, Head Coach Mike Hastings said it was a coin toss as to who will get the starting role as both goalies earned it, but clearly, he decided to go with the Canadiens prospect due to his strong 4-to-1 win over Finland.

F Jakub Lauko – Czech Republic

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Drafted 77th overall (3rd Round) by the Boston Bruins in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, forward Jakub Lauko has had a successful season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), scoring 12-14-26 totals in 26 games this season before being called to the World Juniors.

While at the U20 World Junior Championships, Lauko has one goal and one assist in four preliminary games. The 18-year-old forward scored his lone goal of the tournament in the 4-0 win over Denmark on New Year’s Eve. The tally ended up being the game-winning goal for the Czechs. Lauko also helped out in the opening game of the tournament, recording his only assist thus far on the overtime-winning goal against Switzerland.

Lauko has been good on the other end of the ice too. In the same game as his assist versus the Swiss, Lauko made a great defensive block on a 2-on-1 that kept the game tied around the midway point through the third period of play. Without that Lauko block, the Swiss may take a 2-1 lead and may end up winning the hockey game.

D Daniel Bukac – Czech Republic

Only one team in the World Juniors this year has two Bruins prospects on its roster – the Czech Republic and it seems more and more that the Bruins like having Czech players when you look at David Pastrnak and David Krejci on the full-time Boston roster up in the NHL.

As with the already-mentioned Jakub Lauko on the forward core, the Czechs have 6-foot-5, 209-pound defenceman Daniel Bukac on their blueline as well. The Bruins drafted Bukac with their seventh-round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft. The former player in the Western Hockey League joined the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League in the 2018 CHL Import Draft.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Doug Westcott)

Bukac is not known as an offensive defenceman by a stretch of the imagination. With his big frame, he is a solid shutdown defender on the back end and that was mentioned by the Ice Dogs General Manager, Joey Burke, when they added Bukac to their roster.

“Daniel is a big addition for our club. He provides help in an area we needed to improve in. A proven player at this level who brings size, defensive prowess as well as strength, adds a special dynamic to our group. Anytime you can add an NHL drafted player,  it always makes an impact. We look forward to the pedigree Daniel will bring. This is yet another exciting signing for us this offseason, and Daniel will be fun to watch in Niagara.”

Bukac has six points (two goals, four assists), in twenty-four games with the Ice Dogs before going to the WJC. Bukac has one assist in the World Juniors, against Denmark, when he assisted on the fourth and final Czech goal in the 4-0 win. Bukac has also been one of the top penalty-killers for the Czech Republic, who has a third-best 85.71% success rate on the penalty-kill.

Bukac, Lauko, and the Czech Republic battle Kyle Keyser and the United States in today’s quarterfinal.

D Urho Vaakanainen – Finland

Coming off a concussion that he suffered during his brief tenure in the National Hockey League, the eighteenth-overall draft pick in 2017 by the Boston Bruins joined his national country of Finland for the World Juniors.

Due to his NHL experience earlier in the year, Finland knew that they had to play Vaakanainen in a top role on the defensive core due to the lack of experience on the rest of the team. For the majority of the preliminary games, Vaakanainen played in the most minutes over all of the other Finnish players.

Dawning the “A” on his sweater, Vaakanainen also added two assists in the four games – in a 5-1 win over Slovakia on December 29th and assisted on the only goal by Finland in the 4-1 loss to the United States. Below are some scouting reports on the Finnish defenseman.

“An intelligent, two-way defender…reads the play really well, has his head up all the time and makes quick decisions with the puck.” – Futureconsiderations.ca 2017

“He has good puck moving ability and strong offensive upside. He is also a good skater and can rush the puck up ice with confidence.” – Hockeyprospect.com 2017

Urho Vaakanainen and Team Finland will play Jack Studnicka and the Canadians in the second quarterfinal of the day.

F Jack Studnicka – Canada

Before the tournament started, many analysts covering the competition said that Jack Studnicka was the best player in the pre-tournament events including the multiple games that Canada played in.

While Studnicka did not play at the high-scoring level that say, a Maxime Comtois on Team Canada has, but he has been key on the Canadian power-play, even though it has struggled. Studnicka played right in front of the opposing net on that man-advantage, in a position called the “bumper spot”. Someone else who is great in that spot on the ice on the Bruins, a guy by the name of Patrice Bergeron.

Studnicka is currently on a point-per-game status, scoring four points in four games. Three of those points are assists, but he did add a goal back on December 26th in the 14-0 Boxing Day shutout over Denmark. Jack continues to be one of the better players on Canada’s bottom-nine forward core.

The Bruins drafted Studnicka in the second-round, fifty-third overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. He is currently playing in the Ontario Hockey League with the Oshawa Generals, where he had 12-21-33 totals in 29 games before being sent to Vancouver/Victoria for the World Juniors.

F Pavel Shen – Russia

The final prospect of the Bruins to be listed and he just happens to be on the team who took the first place in Group A, after a narrow victory over Canada on New Year’s Eve. Shen has played a big part in Russia’s success in the tournament so far. Shen is currently tied for second on the team in points with four points in four games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

In the December 31st game against Canada, a game between two undefeated countries and that would decide who wins Group A, Pavel Shen had a game that put himself on the hockey map. The Russian drafted in the 7th Round back in this past draft scored the game-winning goal late in regulation off of a nice zone entry, drive to the net and a goal past DiPietro of Canada.

Shen’s goal-scoring talent has been shown in the past, such as when he scored three goals and one assist in six games during the CIBC Canada/Russia Series, where the top Russian prospects play the best CHL players in the three different leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL). Shen has the ability to score and he can do it well.

Many have said that Shen is a sleeper player in the tournament and one of the underrated prospects in the Bruins system. If his development continues the way it has, he very well could make the Providence Bruins and maybe even the Boston Bruins in the near future. Pavel Shen and Russia play Slovakia in the Quarterfinals tonight.

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Bruins Prospects Keyser & Studnicka’s Recent Contributions In The OHL

      ( Photo Credit:  Both Images Above Courtesy Of Aaron Bell / OHL Images )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

A Little History……..

The Oshawa Generals are currently playing in their 56th season since rejoining the Ontario Hockey League in 1962. Per Wikipedia, the organization’s roots go back to the 1937-38 season and continue to 1953 before a fire at their home rink forced to club to take a ten-year leave of absence from the league. The Boston Bruins played a key role in the resurrection of the Generals club and new Oshawa Civic Auditorium construction which opened in 1964.

Again, Per Wikipedia, Bruins President at the time Weston Adams would go on to oversee the construction of the new arena and manage the Oshawa team as a Bruins minor-league affiliate having access to legendary B’s player Bobby Orr. Former Bruins legends Rick Middleton and Terry O’Reilly played for Oshawa in the late 1960s and early 1970s before their NHL careers, and Marc Savard was also a member of the Oshawa club in the early to mid-1990s and had a successful junior career for himself.

Present Day

Jumping ahead to the start of the 2018-19 regular season for the Generals club, things were a bit shaky as seen below from Twitter account Generals Live ( @GeneralsUpdates ) below, the team struggled to start but have really made some noise gathering 14 points in their last 17 games since October 16th. The Gens are now in second place in the Eastern Conference 10 points behind the Ottawa 67’s who are having an outstanding season so far with 42 points in 26 games played.

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Two Boston Bruins prospects currently playing with the Oshawa club are contributing at career-high paces and have been key members to the team’s recent success. Since being returned from their respected Boston Bruins training camps, prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser and forward Jack Studnicka have been pleasant additions to a very sneaky Gens team. Many highly respected analyst that cover the league has mentioned the Generals could be a “dark horse” club that could be head turners this season regardless of their slow start.  Below is a little more insight and my personal opinion from what I’ve seen thus far this year and what’s to be expected in the future from both B’s prospects.

Goaltender Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland )

Definitely, one of my favorite goaltending prospects to watch with his agility and athleticism. At 6′-2″ 183-pounds he’s aggressive netminder that is often at the top of his crease commonly cutting down his angles and squaring his body to the puck. Often these days, well in my opinion anyway, goaltenders above his height or equal to play deeper in the net while Keyser plays out relying on his quick lower body reflexes to get where he needs to be laterally. His quickness and reaction time is second to none and with those attributes has acquired an increasingly better-developed glove hand that seems to be getting better year-by-year with his puck tracking ability.

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The 2017-18 season was Keyser’s breakout year as a starter, and with his free agent signing with the Boston Bruins in the fall of 2017 shortly after the Vegas Golden Knights waiver claim of former B’s first-round prospect Malcolm Subban, Kyle has seemingly taken the umbrella of the B’s organization to a whole new level. In the aforementioned breakout year, he went 28-13-2 with a 3.16 goals-against-average, and .904 save percentage which had him ranked ninth overall in the OHL. A solid season nonetheless minus the two concussions he battled during the last season’s campaign which could’ve had major setbacks in his development.

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This year Kyle started the 2018-19 season on the shelf nursing an injury from Bruins training camp but as soon as he was cleared to play his mission has been focused on improving and helping his Generals team all he can as the last line of defense. In 18 games played so far the Coral Springs, Florida native has a 12-3-1 record, a 2.43 GAA and .929 Save% which is ranked third overall in the OHL. Keyser is currently on a five-game winning streak which he tied of a season-high this year and is one win away from tying a career-best six-game winning streak. Kyle has the chance to tie his career-high string of “W’s” tomorrow afternoon when the Generals host the Sarnia Sting from the Tribute Communities Centre when the puck drops at 2pm.

Forward Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland )

Determination is a word that I constantly think about when talking about Jack and the skill set he brings to so many levels of competitive developmental hockey. As a guest media member during the offseason’s development camp to rookie camp and NHL training camp participation, being close to Studnicka in that timeframe has allowed me to get a sense of what type of player he can be while presenting himself in a professional manner. From the Bruins training facility at Warrior Ice Arena Jack’s efforts and drive can be seen up close along with the surrounding voice of reason from supporting members such as Bruins training staff for on and off-ice training sessions during the offseason.

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Having the opportunity to interview Studnicka on several occasions, he’s said he’s here to challenge for an NHL roster spot and will continue to showcase his skills with close up looks from the B’s brass whenever possible. All those attributes were on full display as the team was heavily considering a spot as a third-line center but elected to return him to his junior team in favor of further development. This move back to Oshawa was not a knock against his development moving forward but was a smart idea when looking at his American Hockey League eligibility and the potential of starting his NHL career as close as next year.

Studnicka had a career year last season posting 22-50-72 in 66 games and is already on pace to break those totals this year. After being returned to Oshawa from Bruins camp, he’s appeared in 23 games and has 9-21-30 numbers. He’s currently on a five-game point streak which he can extender to six-games with a tilt tomorrow afternoon against Sarnia. So far this season the highly touted center has only gone pointless five times this season and in his last ten games has 3-9-12 numbers in that timeframe.

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This year Generals Head Coach Greg Walters has used Jack’s skills all over the lineup with him playing a majority of time in the top-six but often as low as the third line when matching up pre-game lineups. Regardless of what line he plays on his speed and the two-way game is impressive to watch. I wish I were close to seeing him play games live, but I’ve been fortunate enough to stream about 60 games since leaving the Draft podium in the summer of 2017. Great 200-foot game and high hockey IQ in tight situations. Big slap shot playing the point on the power-play acting like a quarterback with a man advantage and unreal release in front of the net.

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The 6′-2″ 179-pound forward took his demotion back to his Junior Club as a positive with the mindset that the journey to conquering his life-long goal was not yet over. In an October 1st, 2018, an article from Brain McNair of the DurhamRegion.com website, Studnicka had these things to say below upon his return back to the historic OHL franchise.

“It was awesome, they’re fast, you’ve got to keep up with them,” Studnicka said. “I think of myself as fast, but it really helped me to kind of be fast 24-7 and keep moving because those two are obviously two of the most skilled wingers in the game, but they’re also two of the hardest workers.”

Studnicka on working alongside current Boston Bruins player Patrice Bergeron.

“He’s an older guy, but you wouldn’t know it. He interacts with all the young guys due to his leadership, and it’s something I want to bring back to our room,” he said of Bergeron. “A lot of guys that get caught in my situation are going to hang their head and kind of walk through juniors, but I’m going in with my head held high here and I’m going to do everything I can to help the team succeed.”

Some word from Generals Head Coach Greg Walters on his return back to the league and organization.

“As you can see, his skill set is off the charts,” Walters said after Studnicka’s two-goal, four-point night in Sunday’s home opener against North Bay. “He’s a great leader, a true professional in the way he acts in the dressing room and in practice. We haven’t seen the best of Jack Studnicka yet.”

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Providence Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Trent Frederic

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(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer – Getty Images)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

When Trent Frederic was drafted 29th overall in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft, it left a lot of people scratching their heads. Frederic was drafted ahead of his projections. While he had good size and was defensively responsible as a center, he lacked the offensive explosiveness that one might look for from a player you draft at the end of the first round. Even the Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting at the time Keith Gretzky said that he wasn’t going to be a top-two-line guy. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in a draft pick. Frederic wasn’t supposed to be a successful draft that early, but the funny thing is someone forgot to tell him that.

Trent Frederic possesses good size and strength from the Center position and is a good two-way player. In his freshman season at the University of Wisconsin in 2016-17, he showed that off. In 30 games with the Badgers, he recorded 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 total points with a +/- rating of +2. These are stats that, if you’re the Bruins you really like to see. A lot of things can happen to a player after being drafted and then going into their first season in a new league. It can overwhelm a player and take them time to settle into their own. This is something that didn’t happen to Frederic. He played well and showed off why he was drafted as high as he was by the Bruins.

In Frederic’s Sophomore season at Wisconsin, he had a lot of expectations to live up to. He really showed that he had some good offensive ability, an ability that had been questioned after being drafted so high. He did take a step back a little bit offensively during the season in 36 games for the Badgers he recorded 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 total points and a +/- rating of –9. While his points were down a little something, important happened for Frederic during that season. He was wearing the “A” on his sweater for Wisconsin all year. He took on a bigger leadership role and did was successful with that. Knowing a player isn’t afraid to take on a leadership role, especially as a young player is a huge bonus for the Bruins.

After his Sophomore season, most people expected Frederic to stay at Wisconsin at least one more year. However, that is not what happened. He signed his entry-level contract with the Bruins and reported to Providence. Frederic’s first taste of professional hockey was a good one. In 13 games with the Providence Bruins, he netted 5 goals and tallied 3 assists for 8 total points and had a +3 rating. In 3 playoff games with Providence, he tallied 1 assist for 1 total point and had a –4 rating. Overall this was a successful second year since being drafted for Frederic. One guy Frederic idolized was fellow Bruin David Backes. Trent is from St. Louis and grew up watching David play. This was someone he tried to mirror his game after and this season he even drew some comparisons to him.

Going into this season, Frederic was one of the players in camp that were competing for the Third Line Center position for the Boston Bruins. He was competing with fellow prospects Jake Studnicka and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson. He played well in pre-season camp, but ultimately was part of the last round of cuts heading into the season and he went down to Providence. Since then he has pocketed 5 goals and tallied 0 assists for 5 total points and a rating of 0 in 13 games with the AHL squad. Though his total scoring pace is down a little from his time in Providence last year, he is still developing well and showing that good two-way ability at center.

While he didn’t exactly garner a lot of praise after being drafted, Trent Frederic has turned that around and really given us a glimpse of why the Bruins drafted him so high in the 2016 NHL Draft. He has good size and strength and displayed that he can be a good two-way center. Not only that he has shown that he has good leadership abilities and isn’t afraid to take on that role with a hockey club. It’s also important to note that Frederic is only just 20 years old. He is going to continue to develop and get better. I believe that he should spend all this season in Providence and next year we can expect some great things from Trent with the Bruins in Boston. Trent may have been someone that people who not have drafted so high in the first round initially, but he’s turned himself into a player that teams will have wished they took a chance on.

Bruins’ Sweeney Is Proving He’s A Top GM: Part III – Drafting

        (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

By: Chris Nosek | Follow Me On Twitter: @cnosek6342

So we’ve already established the fact that Don Sweeney had a near complete rebuild to undertake when he took over the position of Bruins General Manager. After trading away some popular veterans and having some rocky times through free agency, Sweeney found himself with some low-risk veteran players, and a number of draft picks in the early rounds over a number of seasons. With a clear strategy of “draft and develop,” the most defining aspect of Sweeney’s career as GM for the B’s organization is how well do the players selected on draft day ultimately perform/pan out. Knowing that none of his draft selections have had a complete career, we can only assess the players based on their performances at their current levels and where they stand in regards to an NHL roster spot — regardless of which organization they are currently with. So how has Sweeney fared so far in this most crucial aspect of his position?

Drafting

Even though the 2016 draft was the first draft where Sweeney carried the “General Manager” title, the 2015 draft was the first one that Sweeney really had a hand in the players who were chosen. So going to back to the first draft Sweeney heavily participated in with this organization, how has he performed and where are his draft selections now?

2015

Jakub Zboril                          Jake DeBrusk                                        Zachary Senyshyn

Brandon Carlo                      Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson                  Jeremy Lauzon

Dan Vladar                            Jesse Gabrielle                                      Cameron Hughes

Jack Becker

After some wheeling and dealing — combined with some down seasons for the Flames and Kings — Sweeney found himself with three consecutive picks in the first round along with three picks in the second round for the 2015 draft. Many felt that a combination from the six picks in the top 61 would be enough to boost Boston about 8-10 picks higher in the first round so they could select the top defensive prospect Noah Hanifin, a native of Norwood, Mass. Unfortunately, none of the teams above them were willing to help Sweeney in such a manner — causing Hanifin to be selected 5th overall by Carolina. Sweeney thus found himself with three consecutive selections to make.

Jake DeBrusk Photos - 83 of 91(Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk, and Zach Zenyshyn will forever have their careers linked to one another as Sweeney picked each one at 13th, 14th, and 15th overall. Senyshyn has been a bit derailed in his development due to various injuries, however, he along with Zboril have shown great strides in their growth and both competed for spots on the NHL roster this season. Even though they are both starting in Providence, they will be able to offer great depth this season and as veteran pieces start to fall off the roster to free agency. Debrusk, on the other hand, posted 43 points over 70 games last season and won himself a spot on the second line next to David Krejci. The biggest surprise from this group came from 20-year-old Brandon Carlo stepping up in the 2016-17 season and stealing a top-four spot on the blue line fresh out of the draft.

 (Photo Credit: providencebruins.com)

Coming out of a seven-round draft, any general manager would be thrilled to have two NHL regulars and two future NHLers only three years later. Sweeney, on the other hand, put himself in a better position than that by having six remaining selections. With those other selections, he chose Dan Vladar, who is showing incredible growth at every level and will be a regular in Providence with Zane McIntyre this season and will most likely surpass him as the next NHL goaltender behind Rask. If his development path continues as it has been over these past 3 years, it is clear that he currently stands as the heir apparent to Tuukka. Lauzon also has shown consistent development and growth even though he was quickly designated for Providence out of the preseason, there is currently a nice logjam on this team along the blue line that means Lauzon can focus on fine-tuning the finer points of his game and wait for his chance to steal an opening in the lineup.

With Forsbacka-Karlsson and Gabrielle joining Zboril, Lauzon, Senyshyn, and Vladar in Providence, this would be a fantastic draft (despite the recent attitude problems they may be dealing with when it comes to Gabrielle). Staying off the radar have been Hughes and Becker have been playing their game in the NCAA while Hughes joins the Baby Bruins for the first year of his ECL this season. Compile these strong, young players with the future picks that Sweeney and the organization will make, some will certainly be moved for picks and other pieces – that won’t mean they were bad draft picks.

2016

Charlie McAvoy                               Trent Frederic                                  Ryan Lindgren

Joona Koppanen                             Cameron Clarke                                Oskar Steen

After having (and making) 10 selections during the 2015 draft, having only six selections in 2016 seemed like so few in comparison. After finishing up his career at Boston University,  1st round pick Charlie McAvoy skipped over Juniors and the AHL as the Bruins had to dig deep into their blue line depth during the playoffs in 2016-17. This caused them to burn the first season of McAvoy’s ELC. His 3 points in 6 games and average 26:12 of ice-time during the playoffs, was enough to prove that even at only 19 years old he was ready for the NHL. Now that he is a top-pairing defenseman, partnered with Zdeno Chara, and his abilities on the power play and 5-on-5 have solidified him as an anchor on this blueline for many more years to come.

 (Photo Credit: Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Like JFK and Studnicka, Trent Frederic performed admirably in the preseason this season while vying for the third-line center position. Ultimately, like JFK, he was sent down to Providence, but Frederic proved that he too is not far from being ready to make the jump to the NHL level. With Bergeron and Krejci having 4 and 3 years remaining on their contracts JFK, Studnicka, and Frederic all have the ability to take their time and develop their game without the pressure of needing to be NHL-ready right now. Even if Clark, Koppanen, Lidgren, and Steen don’t develop as projected, this draft would already be a success for Sweeney as McAvoy and Frederic look like they will be key pieces in the NHL for many more seasons. I don’t see all four of these guys making it to the NHL in a Bruins sweater as there is so much competition in the organization. That means they could be dealt away for either draft picks or in a package for veteran talent.

2017

Urho Vaakanainen                       Jack Studnicka                               Jeremy Swayman

Cedric Pare                                    Victor Berglund                            Daniel Bukac

(Photo credit: bostonbruins.com)

So far from this draft class, the first three picks Sweeney made are really standing out, and this group is being led by Jack Studnicka. At only 19, Studnicka put himself in the running for the open third-line center position after just five games in Providence last season. In his three seasons with the Oshawa Generals, Studnicka has scored 26, 52, and 72 points while playing in 62, 64, and 66 games played, and he has averaged slightly more than a point per game for most of his career at all levels. Although he made a great push for the open third-line center role this season, you can’t read too much into his being sent back to Oshawa because he isn’t even eligible to play for the Bruins in Providence.

Again, when it comes to the number of people currently battling for NHL roster spots, the benefit for Urho Vaakanainen is that he can work on his game at his own pace. He has proven thus far to be a solid two-way player on the blue line, which is what the Bruins will need as more defenders are due up for contracts. The 19-year-old defender moves the puck well and makes quick decisions and will have at least one season in Providence to fine-tune the skill set he already possesses. His progression has allowed him to make the roster going into this season as Torey Krug will be starting the season on IR with a re-aggravated ankle injury. Swayman, also only 19 years of age, is working his way through the University of Maine and his progress made the Bruins confident enough in their depth between the pipes they subjected Zane McIntyre to waivers earlier this preseason. McIntyre cleared through the waiver process and will split the time with Dan Vladar as projected; however, his clearing waivers could be a case of an unwritten rule between GMs to not claim other teams waived players as they cut down to 25 players going into the season. If he gets called up during the season to replace an injured Rask or Halak, I’m not sure McIntyre clears waivers again.

2018

Axel Andersson                               Jakub Lauko                                     Curtis Hall

Dustyn McFaul                                  Pavel Shen

Sweeney made it clear going into the draft that he was going to try to swing a deal to obtain a 1st round pick as he was without one going into Dallas because of the deal that brought in Rick Nash. Having the fewest picks of any draft to date, Sweeney was able to steal Axel Andersson and Jakub Lauko. Out of nowhere, Lauko was this season’s Brandon Carlo, and at only 18, he made the roster out of the preseason. Lauko is able to play the left side and the center positions while offering solid skating, speed, and a shot that can find the back of the net.

To recap; Don Sweeney has drafted a total of 27 players across his four drafts with the Boston Bruins. Of the 27 players, he already has FIVE players in the NHL with McAvoy, Carlo, and DeBrusk playing crucial roles on this Bruins team, with another 10-12 players who are vying heavily for NHL roster spots or will be over the next year or so. Presuming none of the other players develop their talents fully (an unlikely possibility) that would put Sweeney at having found 15 NHL players (let’s be conservative) out of 27 draft picks. That would be a success rate of about 56%. Although that doesn’t seem like a very high percentage, we will certainly need to re-evaluate these draft classes in another year or two to have a final number. Given the short period of time that has passed since their selection this is an incredible draft rate to fine NHL talent, and more importantly, Sweeney has been able to identify players at areas of need before a critical moment for the organization.

Over the next five seasons (assuming no trades are made) Sweeney will need to have replacements for; Bergeron, Krejci, Chara, Miller, Krug, Backes, and Rask. It would see that Sweeney has potentially been able to check off a number of these slots with the likes of; JFK, Studnicka, Carlo, Vaakanainen, McAvoy, Frederic, and Vladar. This is going to be an incredibly fun season for watching the Boston Bruins, however, it will be just as exciting to watch the Baby Bruins down in Providence as we look to see which of these youngsters can push some of the veteran players (like Kampfer, Wagner, Backes, or Nordstrom) out of a job.

Bruins Prospect Studnicka Is Adjusting Well In Return To Oshawa

( Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images )

By: Mark Allred   |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When the Boston Bruins sent talented prospect forward Jack Studnicka back to his Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals Major-Junior club after the second-to-last preseason game of the B’s 2018 exhibition schedule. It was hard for the 19-year-old, who worked his ass off to stay in training camp as long as he did. Obviously, there was something in his game the B’s brass saw that needed more attention as he continues to develop, and he was eligible for his age to be sent back to what I believe is the most highly skilled league in the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

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After watching his first three games since returning to Oshawa, it’s safe to say he’s determined to work harder and do what he and Bruins management staff suggested in private meetings before leaving Boston last week. The 2017 second-round draft pick mentioned he was tired from his efforts at Bruins training camp but was also enthusiastic about getting back on the ice with his Oshawa club to help out in any way he can while being team Captain for another year. In his first game back he certainly didn’t look out of place.

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On Thursday night, Sept. 27, the Generals took their 0-1 record and game No. 2 of a three-game road trip to start the 2018-19 campaign with a stop at the North Bay Memorial Gardens to play the Battalion in Studnicka’s first contest of the year. Captain Jack contributed an assist in the 7-2 victory accompanied by one shot on goal, a +/- of +1, and from the faceoff circle he went 6/15. Studnicka’s assist in the game came at the 6:21 mark of the second period when he got the primary assist on teammate Serron Noel’s hat trick and his fourth of the year.

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Oshawa Generals at North Bay Battalion 9/27/18 Game Highlights

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On Friday, Sept. 28, the Generals drove a little further northwest to the Community Arena in Sudbury, Ontario to take on the Sudbury Wolves. This matchup was a gritty contest from the puck drop and Studnicka, playing in his second game of the year, seemed to be a target for the hometown Wolves who roughed him up for a majority of the game. Offensively, Jack got his first goal on the power play at 12:08 in the first period when Giovanni Vallati shoveled over a pass to Studnicka, who was ready for the booming slapshot from the top of the circle.

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Studnicka definitely seemed a little more comfortable with six shots on net and 7/12 in the faceoff circle. The physical game that Sudbury brought to the ice that night seemed to get the Oshawa team a little frustrated and Studnicka ended the night with a +/- of -2.

Oshawa Generals at Sudbury Wolves 9/28/18 Game Highlights

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On Sunday, Sept. 30, Studnicka would appear in his third game of the season but this time the General three-game road trip came to an end and it was time to put on a show for the hometown crowd at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. The first period started off with two goals in the first half of the period and the Generals weren’t showing signs of stepping back as they tied the score at two with Studnicka getting an assist on Serron Noel’s power play goal.

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Toward the end of the first period, Studnicka would score his second goal in as many games to tie the game at three with 18:05 remaining in the first frame. His even-strength goal came from Alan McShane and Serron Noel, who’s off to a monster start in the first part of this season. Jack’s second goal of the year came as he was perfectly placed between the hash marks to fire a shot past North Bay’s goaltender Christian Purboo.

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Studnicka would dish another helper to start the third period when he got the primary assist on teammate Matt Brassard’s first goal of the year. McShane would skate wide to the net and feed it to Studnicka who in turn slid a backhand pass to Brassard, who skated to the net unmolested as mentioned above for his first of the 2018-19 season.

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At the 16:53 mark of the third period, Studnicka would score a power-play goal on a one-timing feed from Vallati who dished a sweet pass to the left circle for the insurance goal in a 7-5 Generals victory. Captain Jack ended the night with two goals and two assists. With his effort, Studnicka now has six points in his first three games since coming back to the OHL. He also had seven shots in this game and was 16/26 from the faceoff dot.

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North Bay Battalion at Oshawa Generals 9/30/18 Game Highlights

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Bruins Prospect Studnicka Sent Back To The OHL

(Photo Credit:  Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins announced earlier today that the club has returned highly touted forward prospect Jack Studnicka to the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. The 19-year-old center spent a majority of his time during the summer offseason participating in Bruins events (such as Development Camp, Rookie Camp/Prospects Challenge) and showcased his skills to the Bruins brass for the B’s main camp before being cut today with two preseason games remaining in the exhibition schedule.

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Although it may not be a popular move from B’s fans that believed he was ready for third-line duties down the middle for the upcoming 2018-19 season, his placement back to the Canadian Major Junior ranks made sense for both sides. First, Jack is unable to report to the American Hockey League due to the agreement between the CHL and NHL that states any player under the age of 20 either makes the jump to the big leagues or has to be returned to his junior program. Second, the Bruins might believe that third line center spot should be a competition between two players higher in the depth chart — like prospects Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Trent Frederic, who will get considerable looks tonight against Detroit and Saturday against Philadelphia.

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Studnicka plays a strong two-way game and is extremely intelligent in all situations, which are important attributes as he continues to develop. The 6-foot-2, 179-pound forward was selected by the Bruins in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and has played with the OHL Generals since the 2015-16 campaign. In 192 career OHL games with the Generals, the talented center contributed 44-106-150 stats and last season as a first-year team captain posted career numbers with 22-50-72 totals in 66 games. After his 2017-18 commitment was over with the second-round elimination in the OHL playoffs by the Niagara Ice Dogs, Captain Jack reported to the AHL’s Providence Bruins and appeared in five regular season games posting 1-4-5 numbers.

The Bruins signed Studnicka to a 3-year entry-level contract exactly one year ago today after he impressed B’s management after working hard during team offseason events and training camps in 2017. Below is a scouting report provided by Dominic Tiano, who covers the Ontario Hockey League for the OHL Writers website.

“Studnicka has good size – although adding bulk will be key for him. He is an excellent skater who has an explosive first step and decent top end speed who can change direction with ease. He possesses very good vision with high-quality playmaking skills with an ability to set up his teammates. His shot is underrated in my opinion. His release is deceptive and accurate and he puts every shot on goal with a purpose. Studnicka can be elusive in the offensive zone. He can break away from coverage almost undetected and put himself into scoring positions. He has very good puck skills and strong possession skills. Although he needs to add some muscle, he will not shy away from the hard areas. Once he gets stronger, it will become an area where he wins more often than he loses because of it – and his work ethic.” – Dominic Tiano

2018 Training Camp: The Bruins Make Some Cuts

Image result for 2018 bruins training camp zane mcintyre(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The NHL China Games are over, and the Bruins are 4-0 this preseason. Yeah, it’s preseason, and these games don’t count, but it is hard not to get excited about this team. And with many of the veteran players returning back home just shy of two weeks before the season opens, it’s time now to trim the fat, so to speak. On Wednesday afternoon, the Bruins officially announced a number of players that have been released before training camp, while others return to their junior teams. General Manager Don Sweeney has officially cut 12 players from the roster (most were not earth-shattering).

The Hit List

The players that were cut from their tryouts were defenseman Mark Fayne and German left-winger Marcel Noebels. For his part, Noebels played just one game for the Bruins. Fayne also played in one game for Boston this past Sunday against the Capitals. The 31-year-old previously played for the Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils. He has played a career total of 389 games with 17 goals and 48 assists. Noebels is an Olympic silver medalist and played for the 2018 German ice hockey team in the Winter Olympics.

Center Cedric Pare and defenseman Daniel Bukac were sent back to their junior teams. Bukac will go to the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) and play for the Niagara Ice Dogs while Pare will play for the Canadian team Rimouski Océanic in the Junior Quebec League. Pare got to play this past Tuesday and won six of eight faceoffs. Bukac didn’t really see much action this season. 19-year-old goalie Kyle Keyser (and backup to Daniel Vlader) will return to the OHL to play for the Oshawa Generals. The 6-foot-2, 182-pound Keyser has done well for the Generals posting a 28-13-0 record and was named MVP.

For those that are being assigned down to Providence will be winger Austin Fyten and defensemen Wiley Sherman, Olivier Galipeau, and Joel Messner. Centers Brett McKenzie and Tanner Pond will also play down in Providence along with goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos.

Related image(Photo Credits: NBC Sports)

Heading Back Home

Many familiar faces (Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk) will be returning to Brighton at the Bruins practice facility (along with some really talented prospects). The young superstars that will soon be at Warrior Ice will be Jake Studnicka, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Trent Frederic. Coaches will be looking closely at these young players as they battle for that vacant third-line spot. An interesting side note: the players returning from China won’t be heading back to camp right away as they’ll enjoy a few days off. Something to also keep in mind: expect some more cuts as the team comes together. It will be interesting to see what the final roster will look like come October.

Prelude to Bruins’ China Trip and Other NHL Idiocies

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By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow Me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

 

First video of the new year!! We get used to the new space, talk about how the Habs try to hide their dumb moves by making them at odd hours, go deep into the Bruins upcoming trip to China, and finish off discussing how the NHL is run by a bunch of morons. Enjoy, and, as usual, like, share, and subscribe!

 

Bruins Start To The 2018-19 Season Won’t Be Easy

image(Photo Credit: Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow me on Twitter @thesportsguy97

It could be a September to remember for the Boston Bruins — perhaps for all the wrong reasons. In addition to Rookie Camp and Training Camp, the Bruins will be making a trip to China for two exhibition games during the preseason. In total, the Bruins will play eight exhibition games, with the first coming September 15 in China against the Calgary Flames and concluding with a home game against the Philadelphia Flyers on September 29.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there as the B’s will face the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres on back-to-back nights to open the season. And finally, if that wasn’t enough, the Bruins will go on their annual Western Canada trip in just the third week of the season for games against Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa. It could be a trying first few weeks of the season for the boys in Black and Gold, but as we’ve seen in the past, this team can respond very well to adversity. Let’s take a look at some things to watch in those first few weeks.

ROOKIE CAMP

The Bruins rookie camp will open on Wednesday, September 5 at Warrior Ice Arena, and they will send a team to compete in Buffalo for the annual rookie tournament that starts the next day. It is the fourth consecutive season the Bruins have participated in this tournament and the B’s will send a stacked roster that will include Anders Bjork, Ryan Donato, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, and others.

The B’s will play three games against prospect teams from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and New Jersey that will conclude September 10. Studnicka will be an important player to watch as some believe he has a decent chance to make the varsity roster. This tournament will be a showcase of sorts for a couple of key guys looking to impress the Bruins brass, so expect the players to really show up.

TRAINING CAMP

The Bruins main camp will get underway September 10 at Warrior as the B’s look to build off of last season’s success. With a team that has a chance to be among the best in the Eastern Conference, look for this camp to be highly competitive as there will be many guys fighting for open roster spots. One particular player to watch is Brandon Carlo, who is ready to go after breaking his ankle late in the regular season.

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While not a high-scoring player by any means, Carlo has been a consistent player in his own zone and has been surprisingly durable despite injuries he’s suffered at the end of the season both last year and his rookie year. With the perceived eight defensemen the Bruins might carry, Carlo hopes to be a regular in the Boston lineup and not be consistently watching games from the ninth floor. In addition to Carlo, it will be interesting to see how the new players fit into their roles — especially John Moore and Jaroslav Halak.

CHINA TRIP

The B’s open their preseason in China on September 15th and will play there again on the 19th. The Bruins will send a group to play in both games against Calgary with a roster that according to NHL rules needs to contain at least eight veteran players. The definition of a veteran is a skater or goalie who has at least 100 games of experience, or skaters that had at least 30 games played the year before and goalies who either played in at least 30 games or dressed for at least 50 games.

In other words, the Bruins will need to send a few experienced players to China which could be an issue to start the season by playing on another continent. The good news is there are three days between the China games which should be ample rest time. It will be interesting to see how the players who go to China get reacquainted once they return and if they take any preseason games off to get ready for the upcoming season.

REGULAR SEASON

The B’s get right into it to open the season as they’ll travel to Washington D.C. and Buffalo the first two nights of the season. On Opening Night, the B’s will face off against the defending champs in a building that hasn’t been too kind to them in recent history. The Bruins are just 1-4-2 in their last seven games in D.C., and the Capitals will be going hard after raising their first-ever Stanley Cup banner before the game. The B’s then travel to Buffalo the next night to take on the new-look Sabres. The Bruins will get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin in what should be an ultra-competitive game.

The B’s will get a few days off before their home opener on Columbus Day against Ottawa. Just one week later, the Bruins will embark on the Western Canada swing that usually takes place toward the end of the season. With a decent amount of roster changes, the Bruins could definitely experience some growing pains in the first few weeks of the season, but the good news is the team has a very healthy amount of off days in between games that should take the pressure off of certain guys. With an experienced backup goalie and eight playable defensemen, it could be a time for the depth players to show what they have.