Providence Bruins Sign Sheppard To AHL Deal

( Photo Credit: Cliff Mander / Charlotte Checkers / gocheckers.com )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com writer Mark Divver, the Providence Bruins have signed defenseman Derek Sheppard formerly of the Charlotte Checkers. The top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins locked up the blueliner to a one-year American Hockey League contract.

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As you can see in Divver’s tweet above, Sheppard certainly doesn’t back away from the opposition and is always there to stick up for a teammate when liberties are taken. The Scarborough, Ontario, Canada native is listed at 6′-0″ and 216-pounds per the EliteProspects.com website and has bounced around the AHL and ECHL in the last two seasons as a professional hockey player. In 71 games played for the ECHL Florida Everblades, he posted 18-33-51 numbers and in the AHL with Charlotte contributed 2-3-5 totals in 36 games for the former minor-pro affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 26-year-old Sheppard is an AHL Calder Cup Champion with his former Checkers team in 2018-19, and in that same year earned honors being selected to the ECHL All-Rookie Team and ECHL Second All-Star Team selection. It remains to be seen if Derek actually makes the Providence roster in the upcoming 2020-21 AHL regular season, or this could be a one-year insurance signing and place him with the NHL Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate in the state of Georgia with the Atlanta Gladiators.

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With defensemen Josiah Didier, Stevan Kampfer (If he survives the waiver process), Urho Vaakanainen, Cooper Zech returning to Providence next season, and if new additions like Brady Lyle, Nick Wolff, and Jack Ahcan, a player like Sheppard seems destined for Atlanta. Also, have to keep in mind Bruins 2015 first-round selection Jakub Zboril and whether or not he’s retained for further service in the B’s organization and where he’ll play. The signing of Sheppard could be as I mentioned above an insurance move in case Kampfer or Zboril are no longer under the umbrella of the Boston NHL team.

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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

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

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

(Photo Credit: Causeway Crowd | causewaycrowd.com)

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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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!

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Bruins Prospect Lauzon Is Making A Case To Stay At The NHL Level

( Photo Credit: Boston Bruins / @NHLBruins / NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins defensive prospect Jeremy Lauzon’s road to the National Hockey League has certainly been fun to watch as a person that tracks developing players selected in the annual league draft at the beginning of every summer. A product of the controversial 2015 Entry Draft that was held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, Lauzon was selected in the second round (52nd Overall) and with the small sample size at the NHL level thus far, the selection of the Quebec, Canada native is definitely paying dividends and proof that the scouting staff didn’t exactly fumble the whole weekend in Florida that was Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s first event as an NHL executive.

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Jeremy and his hockey development really got exposed as so many other young talented men increase their competitive edge and draft expectations in leagues like the nationwide Canadian Hockey League. Playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the skilled Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Lauzon caught the eyes of many thirsty scouts that were in the house on a game by game basis watching his strong defensive game and crushing hits either along the boards or opposing players entering the defensive zone. With the QMJHL Huskies, he contributed offensively with career 35-95-130 numbers in 200 games played but has seemingly transitioned his game to a shutdown role in the higher professional hockey leagues.

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Since joining the American Leagues Providence Bruins Lauzon has appeared in 126 career games production 3-24-27 and has been a workhorse getting himself noticed for opportunities like he’s currently having with his recalls to Boston. In my opinion, he boxes out players very well and has the intelligence enough to have defensive responsibilities against bigger forwards trying to create havoc in front of his fellow goaltender. Jeremy is a really good special teams asset as he forces players to make immediate decisions as he minimizes opponents space but also quick enough to get back and help with defensive coverage.

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In 19 career NHL games with Boston, he’s seen 16 appearances in the 2018-19 season contributing a goal to three games thus far in the 2019-20 campaign adding his second NHL tuck. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Bruins are going to do with the young up and comer and forever question of when veteran defenseman Kevan Miller is going to make a return this season or be ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. To me, if the Miller option of off the table, I’d like to see Lauzon get more time obviously but would hate to see him being used to go down to Providence just because he’s waiver exempt. The better players should get the time in my opinion, regardless of seniority.

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In the above tweet, co-host of the Big Bad Bruins Podcast Chris Blackey brings up a valid point of Lauzon’s presence when it comes to the B’s organization moving forward. If he’s not being shopped as mentioned above, what if he’s in fact with the higher Boston club to show what he can do while the Bruins look to move a current blueliner with the 2020 NHL trade deadline coming later this month on the 24th. Could John Moore be shopped or a player like Matt Grzelyck be a candidate to be shipped out of town to make room for the young Lauzon who in my opinions certainly deserved more time at the NHL level and adds that element of physicality on the backend that was missed during the 2019 Stanley CVup Playoffs? All remain to be seen of course.

Going back to his time with the Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins, I like the game time situations Head Coach Jay Leach has put the developing defenseman to grow his game and allow him to dictate his ultimate success. He’s certainly been a rock on the blueline in his time in the AHL particularly this season with fellow players like Jakub Zboril, Urho Vaakanaienen, Alex Petrovic, and recently signed to AHL extension Josiah Didier. Hats off the Providence coaching staff and the support of veterans on the team that has all molded this work in progress into what many folks are seenin for the first time when he makes it to the NHL level.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 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 Re-Sign Josiah Didier

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Carrie Young  |  Follow Me On Twitter @carrieyoung512

 

On Friday, January 31st, the Providence Bruins announced that defenseman Josiah Didier has been re-signed to a two-year contract extension. Didier was initially signed by the Providence organization on July 1st, 2019 to a one-year AHL deal. His current contract will keep him with the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins until 2022.

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Didier was drafted 97th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2011 NHL Draft. He played for four years at the University of Denver, serving as an alternate captain for the final two seasons. Before joining Providence, he played professionally with the Brampton Beast and Florida Everblades of the ECHL and the Hamilton Bulldogs, St. John’s IceCaps, and Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. He won a Calder Cup in 2019 with Charlotte.

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This season, Didier has eight assists and 64 penalty minutes in 45 games. He is ranked second on the team and ninth in the AHL in plus-minus with a plus-19 rating. This is the 26-year-old’s sixth professional season, and he currently serves as an alternate captain for Providence. At 6’3″ and 218 pounds, he is a physical presence on the blue line who can play big minutes. The right-shot defenseman did well at Bruins training camp and in a few preseason games in September.

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The Providence Bruins are hoping that locking up veterans like Didier will contribute to a long-lasting run of success. The team has secured a playoff spot for seven straight seasons, reaching the conference finals once and the second round twice. With only one win in each of their last two playoff appearances, the Bruins now seem primed for a deep run in the coming seasons. Clearly, Didier has shown to the organization that he is an important asset.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Announce More Training Camp Cuts Ahead Of Preseason Tilt With Devils

jakub_lauko_bruins_092319.jpg

(Photo: AP Photo)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that forward prospect Jakub Lauko has been assigned to Boston’s AHL-affiliate, the Providence Bruins, and defenseman Josiah Didier will report to P-Bruins training camp. Lauko was “assigned” since he is on his NHL entry-level contract whereas Didier will “report” to Providence because he is on an AHL deal.

Lauko was selected 77th-overall by Boston in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft after standing out on the international stage with the Czech Republic’s U-18 squads. The highly-skilled, tenacious forward had a strong showing at camp this year, building off of what was an impressive camp and preseason for him last September.

Last season, Lauko posted 21-20-41 numbers in 44 games as well as 6-7-13 totals in 19 playoff contests with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. Lauko is definitely one of the Bruins’ best prospects; keep an eye on him. The 19-year-old highlighted his time at training camp this year with this fantastic goal against Philadelphia on Monday night:

Didier has been a career AHL-er for the most part, but has also spent some time in the ECHL (4-5-9 numbers in 17 games). Selected in the fourth round (97th-overall) by Montreal in 2011, the University of Denver product has appeared in 195 AHL contests, recording 8–25-33 totals.

In 28 Calder Cup Playoffs games, Didier has 1-6-7 numbers. During his time in college, the right-shot defenseman registered four goals and 25 assists for 29 points in 148 NCAA games. The 26-yea-old had a solid camp with Boston and recorded an assist to go along with three hits in 15:55 of ice-time in Monday’s overtime win versus the Flyers; he is expected to bring a nice veteran presence to a young defense group in Providence.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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