Report: Providence Bruins Looking To Sign Goaltender To PTO

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com writer Mark Divver, The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins are in search of an available goaltender for the upcoming weekend’s action. With three straight games starting tomorrow night and two goaltenders down with injuries, Divver has some inside knowledge that the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins may be looking for help from outside the organization. Goaltender Dan Vladar continues to be out with a lower-body injury and is starting to skate and Kyle Keyser has been hindered from what’s rumored to be an upper-body injury and although close to a return, not quite ready.

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As seen in the above tweet from Divver, Providence seems to have a great interest in netminder Brandon Halverson who per Elite Prospects Transfers Twitter account below has the 23-year-old Traverse City, Michigan native going to the Rhode Island state on loan from the ECHL Norfolk Admirals a Premier “AA” organization who currently is the only ECHL organization without an NHL affiliation agreement per Wikipedia.

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Halverson, a former second-round selection of the New York Rangers at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has been a bit of a journeyman in the minor-pro ranks bouncing year-to-year from the AHL to the ECHL and Vise-Versa. With the Norfolk club, this season the 6′-4″ 203-pound netminder has appeared in 11 games posting a record of 2-6-3 with a 3.85 goals-against-average and .893 save percentage.

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As mentioned, the Providence Bruins are in action this weekend starting with at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday night as visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers come to the Lasalle Square facility a place where the home Bruins haven’t been very successful in front of the Providence faithful. The B’s get back at it on Saturday night on the road as the B’s travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on Atlantic Division rival Springfield Thunderbirds. The B’s end the three-game festivities on Sunday afternoon as they return to the Dunk to play host to the visiting Hershey Bears

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 154 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 Fall 4-3 To Belleville To Close Out Disappointing Weekend

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(Photo: Providence Bruins via Flickr)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Bruins fell to the Belleville Senators by a final score of 4-3 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday afternoon. The loss came as the second in a row for Providence as the team fell in a shootout to the Laval Rocket at the Dunk on Saturday night during Pink in the Rink Weekend. Maxime Lagace got the start in net for Jay Leach’s group while Filip Gustavsson went for Belleville.

“It’s certainly disappointing,” Leach said of only getting one point out of the weekend after the loss. “We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us moving forward.”

The P-Bruins got out to a hot start in this one as Jakob Lauko took a feed from Zach Senyshyn, who danced though a couple Sens defenders, and shoveled a shot from the high-slot past Gustavsson, giving Providence a 1-0 lead just over three minutes into the opening frame. Alex Petrovic, who had himself a solid night, picked up the secondary assist.

Belleville answered quickly, though, as Jonathan Aspirot beat Lagace from long-range for his first professional goal to tie things at one apiece about three minutes after Lauko’s third of the year. Aspirot’s tally accentuated what was already a strong start for Belleville as the Sens had their way with the P-Bruins on the forecheck during the early proceedings of the first period.

Ryan Fitzgerald broke the tie for Providence with 8:10 to go in the first as Chris Breen’s shot with a purpose found Fitzgerald’s stick for the redirect into the back of the net. The Baby B’s were not able to enjoy the lead for long as a breakdown in coverage led to Michael Carcone blasting a one-timer into the wide open cage to tie things at 2-2.

Stuart Percy went to the box, giving Providence a power play late in the period, but the Bruins’ inability to capitalize was a huge lift for Belleville as Drake Batherson drove into the Providence zone on the rush after the penalty kill and zipped a slapper passed Lagace to give Belleville a 3-2 lead. It was the third goal Lagace had given on just six shots.

“I’m not going to blame Max on all of it, but I’m sure he’d like to have one or two of those back,” Leach continued. “Sometimes in these games we need a bit of a wakeup call, so he was more of a sacrificial lamb for us today.”

“[The decision to pull him] was almost like ‘look, this guy’s been great and he just had two shutouts for you–he’s now pulled–so it’s time to wake up.’ Certainly not going to put it on him.”

Kyle Keyser would get the nod in the second period after a shaky first from Lagace. About midway through an evenly-matched second, Providence forward Robert Lantosi went down in quite a bit of discomfort and eventually would head to the dressing room holding a towel to his face–he would return to finish the game, though.

Even though Lantosi would appear to be fine, his injury certainly was not ideal for the P-B’s as the team was already shorthanded up front as Anders Bjork and Peter Cehlarik are with the big club in Boston while Brendan Gaunce is out with a concussion.

The Bruins would ratchet up the pressure in the second as Keyser held the fort in his own end, highlighted by a sprawling save to keep Providence in it. With 4:00 remaining in the middle stanza and with Providence on a 5-on-3 power play, Petrovic sent a nifty cross-ice saucer pass to captain Paul Carey, who one-timed his fifth of the year by Gustavsson to bring the game back to even.

The tie would stand after two periods, but not before Lauko almost gave Providence the lead as his snapper found its way through Gustavsson’s paraphernalia before a Belleville defender was able to sweep the puck off the goal line.

Early in the third period, Trent Frederic and Robert LaBate would exchange pleasantries and eventually, fists in what was a spirited bout. LaBate may have had the advantage during the early going of the fight, getting Frederic to do his best headless horseman impression in the spirit of Halloween as his sweater was pulled over his head, but after the officials, surprisingly, did not step in, Frederic landed several haymakers, earning the knockout on LaBate.

The tempers and animosity would flare following the fight as Urho Vaakanainen would take exception to a Sens forechecker after a stoppage in play and Cooper Zech would take a hard cross-check from Vitalii Abramov later on.

Keyser would be tested frequently during the third as he made an impressive save on a point-blank one-time bomb look easy. However, after two initial saves from the Bruins’ goaltender, Abramov had the puck squirt out to him in front as he jammed it into the yawning cage to put the Sens up 4-3.

“On that last [goal] Keyser made about two real good saves at first before it even goes in, so we can’t really expect much more out of him on that,” Leach noted.

Although the P-Bruins had a solid push late in the game, Abramov’s tally would prove to be the game-winner. Keyser made 20 saves on 21 shots in relief of Lagace while Gustavsson came up with 28 saves in his own right.

“[Since the call-up] Keyser’s been real good,” the Providence bench boss spoke of his rookie goaltender. “He’s real athletic and he fights to see every puck . . . He’s given us a chance to win every night.”

The overall result is certainly disappointing, but there were still some impressive individual performances for Providence in this one, starting with Keyser. Senyshyn easily had his best game of the season while Petrovic had a two-assist night. With his goal, Fitzgerald now has five points (3G, 2A) over his last five contests, too. Also, Carey extended his point-streak to four games.

“I thought he was outstanding,” Leach said of Senyshyn’s performance. “If he can play like that it’s a great stride. [It’s] great for us and certainly great for him.”

Keyser was called up early on in the year for Providence after Dan Vladar went down with an injury. The goaltender in his first professional season was supposed to start the year in Atlanta, Boston’s ECHL-affiliate, but was pulled back to the Baby B’s before he even got a game in with the Gladiators.

“That’s pro hockey for you. You have to expect the unexpected at all times,” Keyser described. “You have to be ready to run whenever they call your name.”

“For me, it’s about staying focused and staying in the present. Whenever I’m called upon, I’ve just got to go out and do my own thing.”

Providence will return to action this Wednesday as the team will travel to Rochester for a tilt with the Americans, Buffalo’s AHL-affiliate. The action is slated to get underway at 7:05 pm–stay tuned for Tim Richardson’s preview for the week!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 003 that we recorded on 10-23-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Providence Bruins Recall Goalie Prospect Kyle Keyser

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(Photo: Michael Penhollow / Boston Bruins)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Prospect Keyser Reassigned To ECHL Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Michael Penhollow / Boston Bruins )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 1 that we recorded on 10-3-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 1 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Welcome everyone to the first preview of the Providence Bruins season. I hope you’re as excited as I am to get this year started. Just to quickly recap last season, the Providence Bruins ended up 38-27-8-3 (87 points) which was good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose in the first round of playoffs to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers in four games. This season looks to be even better with Providence’s loaded roster.

The season kicks off on Saturday, October 5th, 2019 when the Providence Bruins head down to invade the PPL Center to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Bruins continue their tour of the Keystone State when they head to Hershey, Pennsylvania to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. It should be an exciting first weekend of divisional matchups that you do not want to miss.

Saturday, October 5, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins start off the regular season on the road playing against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The matchup marks the first of what will be six games against the divisional foe this season. Last year, our boys in black and gold were 3-3 against the Flyers’ affiliate. Despite the record, all of the games were close as both teams had a similar style of play.

Historically, the Providence club has had trouble with Lehigh Valley going 9-13-2 over the past five seasons including 4-7-1 on the road. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were 39-30-4-3 (85 Points) which was good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite being eighth in the conference, they missed the playoffs because the top four teams in each division go on to the postseason.

Special teams are going to play a big part in this game. Last season both teams had exceptional penalty kill at 85% for Providence and 85.1% for Lehigh Valley. On the flipside, both had mediocre power play with 18.8% for the Phantoms and 17.7% for the Bruins. The Flyers’ affiliate is sure to come out strong for their home opener, but with the loaded roster for our boys in black and gold, I expect Providence to get the two points.

Sunday, October 6, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY)

The Pennsylvania road trip continues as the Providence Bruins take on the Hershey Bears. This too will be the first of six meetings the two teams will have this season. Last season, the spoked P was 4-2 against the Capitals’ affiliate and they’ve had good success against them in recent years. Over the past five seasons, the Boston affiliate has a 15-8-2-1 record against Hershey including 5-6-2 on the road.

Last season, the Hershey Bears were 43-25-4-4 (94 Points) which was good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in five games in round one of the playoffs and go on to lose to Charlotte in round two getting swept in four games.

Special teams are also going to play a big part in this game. As I stated earlier the Bruins had an excellent penalty kill at 85% last season. The Bears, on the other hand, had a rather pedestrian 79.6% penalty kill. With four of the six games, last season decided by just one goal and two of them going to overtime this is something that will play a major role in the matchup’s outcome. I expect the game to be close, but coming out with a win is certainly doable for the Providence club.

Players to Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Studnicka is arguably the best prospect the Boston Bruins have in their system. The young center starts his first full season with Providence and it should be an exciting one. He did get a taste of the AHL last year playing in the team’s four playoff games netting a goal and dishing out an assist for two total points. The forward group is sure to be loaded for the spoked P and I expect big things from Studnicka. Look for him to have a big first weekend of the season.

On the Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Like Studnicka, Zech is starting his first full season with Providence. After signing an AHL contract last March, he played in 12 games with the spoked P he didn’t find the back of the net himself, but he did dish out four assists for four total points. In the team’s four playing games he would net two goals without dishing an assist for two total points. Zech also managed to net two goals in the team’s final preseason game. The young defenseman is offensive-minded, and I expect him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Kyle Keyser: Kyle Keyser comes to Providence after having an excellent season and playoffs with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. This will be the young netminder’s first full professional season as well. The 20-year-old was excellent for the Boston Bruins in the preseason and played really well in Providence’s last preseason game. It’s pretty clear that he’s the best goalie prospect the team has, and if given the chance to play in the AHL he will be awesome.

It’s an exciting time when hockey returns to our lives. This season should be a thrilling one for the Providence Bruins. They are loaded with many of the system’s top prospects. I expect them to make the playoffs again this year, and at least make it passed the first round. This season has all the makings of being something special and I cannot wait to bring you coverage of this team. Also, for any of you interested in prospects, I will be doing a prospect podcast with the Black N’ Gold founder Mark Allred. You can find any podcast updates on Twitter @BNGProspectsPod. I hope everyone enjoys the first weekend of the season and as always GO, Bs, GO!

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In The Crease With Bruins Kyle Keyser

(Photo Credits: Lane Turner/Boston Globe Staff)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

Prior to Friday’s announcement of another round of cuts to the roster, the future of the Boston Bruins will come way via those that are currently playing or will play for Providence. Today’s game against Chicago will be the final push for these young players to impress, knowing full well coaches will be watching closely as they narrow down to the core Varsity group.  While some have a little more experience than others, one particular player is looking to sharpen his skills in the crease.

At just 20-years-old, Kyle Keyser is looking pretty good and perhaps his time playing with the big boys may come sooner rather than later. As Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy noted:

“He battles…It looks like he’s going to be a good one”

Signed in 2017 after participating in the Boston Bruins rookie camp (as an invite), he joined Providence during the end of his junior season in Oshawa in 2018-19. He played in the AHL during Providence’s playoff run for the Calder Cup that same year. Keyser ended up playing in the AHL’s Bruins final post-game, where they, unfortunately, lost 4-1 to Charlotte. The young Coral Gables, Florida native played four seasons of junior hockey in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) with the Flint Firebirds and Oshawa Generals posting a 71-40-3 record.

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(Photo Credits: Aaron Bell / OHL Images)

 

In 137 career games in the OHL, he also posted a 3.19 goals-against-average. Keyser had one of his best seasons in 2018-2019 with a 32-8-3 record, a 2.75 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage in 47 games. In the 2019 World Junior Championship where he represented Team USA, Keyser had a 1-1 record with a 2.95 GAA in two games that earned him a  Silver Medal. The 20-year-old goaltender was also named to the 2018-19 OHL’s Second All-tar Team.

In the recent Bruins overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday night, Keyser’s time came during the third period as he relieved Maxime Lagace. 18 shots were fired towards the Bruins net; all 18 were blocked. In overtime, a lucky shot that bounced off of Chicago’s Patrick Kane went behind Keyser, who had little chance to stop the rebound. Despite the loss, his play was quite impressive and it’s becoming quite clear that when the time comes for Tuukka Rask to pass the torch, the Bruins may have found their next go-to goaltender.

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(Photo Credits: The Boston Globe)

Even more impressive about the young netminder is his preparedness and continued focus on the game of hockey. He recently stated that he worked closely with renowned sports psychologist Dr. Saul Miller to help deal with the mental aspect of the game:

“As I’m getting older, I’m just getting more mature with my game and taking the mental side of the game more seriously. For me, talking to my trainers and coaches, it was ‘let’s get to the next level, mentally.’ For me that was really important and something I’ve put a lot of stock in,”

“I feel like I’m playing my game and feeling good about myself and I feel like I’m jump-starting into the season with some confidence…I want to provide that stability in net and when those guys pull on the jersey they know what they’re going to get out of you every night.”

Keyser is amongst the group of players that have been currently sent down to Providence and it remains to be seen if he’ll get more time in between the pipes. What’s promising to know is that he is fully aware of what it takes to play at the next level:

“You always want to play at the highest level you’re able to…I’m going to go in and work hard and play my game. It doesn’t matter where you put me. I’m going to play my same game and I’m going to keep the puck out of the net. That’s my job.”

 

 

 

Boston Bruins Announce More Cuts As Preseason Nears Conclusion

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

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

As the Boston Bruins prepare for their final preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, the management staff have officially announced another round of cuts from the training camp, leaving only a few “bubble” players remaining as the roster for opening day on October 3rd begins to take shape.

In addition to the already-released news about the one-year contract signing of defenceman Alex Petrovic, the Bruins have sent down the following players for purpose of assignment to the American Hockey League affiliate of Boston – the Providence Bruins.

  • F Ryan Fitzgerald
  • G Kyle Keyser
  • F Joona Koppanen
  • D Jeremy Lauzon
  • F Zach Senyshyn
  • F Pavel Shen
  • F Oskar Steen
  • D Urho Vaakanainen

As well, forward Robert Lantosi will report to the P-Bruins according to the Bruins’ press release today, September 26th. Along with Petrovic, forwards Paul Carey and Brendan Gaunce were placed on waivers for purpose of AHL assignment and will be likely that they do not get claimed and will join Providence shortly.

As for the list of prospects that were sent back down to the minors, there are not any real surprises. In a few short years, players such as Kyle Keyser, Jeremy Lauzon, Oskar Steen, and Urho Vaakanainen are more likely to join the Boston Bruins as they all show promise to compete in the National Hockey League one day soon. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has said some good things over the course of the past week for Pavel Shen and others listed, but with an already log-jammed roster in Boston – it is not much of a shock to see these specific players sent down.

As many users on Twitter have already mentioned, some key names in the Boston Bruins organization were not included in this round of cuts – leading us to believe that there is a true chance that they may see some NHL time at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, or the Bruins want to see them play in the final preseason contest against Chicago.

Forward Jack Studnicka, forward Trent Frederic, forward Anders Bjork, forward David Backes, defenceman Jakub Zboril, and forward Karson Kuhlman have all survived the cuts, making for a very important game on Saturday. Look for any one of these players to play some of their best hockey to date to fight for one of those final spots on the roster or to, at the very least, impress the bosses to earn a shot at playing in Boston when the inevitable injuries come about.

For the latest on the Boston Bruins regarding injuries, news, and all of the most recent updates – make sure to give me a follow on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj ) and stay locked on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website for articles from all our staff writers.

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!

Boston Bruins: The Future After Goaltender Tuukka Rask

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Alan Sullivan Photography)

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

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

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (boston.cbslocal.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 141 that we recorded on 8-18-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Allred: Top-10 Bruins Prospects

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a diehard Boston Bruins fan, I also pay close attention to the organization’s prospects in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins and lower levels of developmental hockey around the world. I believe it’s important for B’s fans to not only be up to date with what’s going on with the National Hockey League team in Boston but also who’s standing out in the prospect pool and about to cross the threshold of future NHL professional careers.

These top-ten ranking below are my thoughts on where I see these prospects in the B’s developing depth with minimal if no games in the NHL. This was a great idea from our Senior writer Mike Cratty who came to our writing team of 17 members for that offseason content and to keep the B’s conversation going. Check out the two previous prospect ranking articles from Mike Cratty HERE, and writer Lucas Pearson’s rankings Here to see the difference in opinions when it comes to this offseason topic. Without further ado, here are my Top-10 Boston Bruins Prospect Rankings.

10) Jakub Zboril

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Sometimes first-round NHL drafted players don’t get to the highest level in the world after leaving the draft podium, but with NHL contracted players ahead of Zboril it gives time to properly develop. The now 22-year-old two-way defenseman has one-year remaining on his current entry-level contract before becoming a restricted free agent. Jakub will most likely spend another season with the Providence Bruins where he’s played in 124 career games posting 8-30-38 numbers. In two career NHL games during his callups from the AHL, Zboril went pointless but did get a taste of the NHL which could drive him to seriously compete for a spot at training camp in September.

9) Zach Senyshyn

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Another young player with tremendous upside when he was selected in the first round in 2015 along with the aforementioned Zboril. In my opinion, Senyshyn has the attributes to be an NHL’er, but the pipeline ahead of him hasn’t been easy to crack the code to be a regular. With one-year remaining on his entry-level deal Zach is going to have to work harder than ever to get the attention of the Bruins brass high above to address a serious need on the right side of the B’s forward core.

In 132 career AHL games with Providence, the 22-year-old has 26-24-50 numbers and in two games during the 2018-19 campaign got his first career NHL goal when he was called up and played in a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. I can see Senyshyn playing a majority of next year in Providence, but he could also get more looks during this upcoming 2019-20 NHL season.

8) Jeremy Lauzon

( Photo Credit: ProvidenceBruins.com )

Jeremy is another prospect that is being hindered by the bottlenecking factor of this Bruins organization, especially for a depth defenseman. Lauzon is on the last year of his entry-level deal and overly not sure of his NHL timeline with the core ahead of him. I’d expect he’s going to have a solid camp and will impress those who are constructing a winner in the next regular season campaign but another season in Providence developing is what I see in my crystal ball. Lauzon did play in 16 games at the NHL level during the 2018-19 season and thought he played well earning his first and only NHL goal in that timeframe. With Providence appearing in 81 games the former 2015 second-round selection posted 2-12-14 numbers in his career thus far in the AHL.

7) Trent Frederic

( Photo Credit: Team Shred Photography )

By far, one of my favorite prospects in the Bruins system. Frederic has speed and creativity, but above all, he plays with that edge that can get him into the NHL Bruins lineup no matter what forward line. He has good speed with or without the puck, and his strength in the faceoff circle is another tremendous attribute when winning draws in critical situations.

The 2018-19 season was Frederics first full season of AHL hockey and as a rookie in the league contributed offensively with 14-11-25 numbers. I still believe that Trent’s game can only get better with his time developing in Providence but did have a few good looks in his first career NHL games in the 2018-19 season where he spent 15 games with the Boston club failing to register a point.  Frederic is another big kid with serious upside as a 21-year-old and can definitely see his offensive numbers getting better with the upcoming season with two more full seasons under his current entry-level contract.

6) Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: TheAHL.com / NBCSports.com )

Signed to an entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent back in October of 2017 after losing former Bruins prospect netminder Malcolm Subban via the waiver process to the Vegas Golden Knights. Since Keyser’s addition to the future plans of the Bruins crease, the Coral Springs, Florida native has really impressed me and continues to pass other goaltending prospects that were drafted in previous years.

Keyser is a 20-year-old netminder who’s eligible for the AHL action in the upcoming season. With Zane McIntyre out of the picture and the Bruins signing Maxime Legace to a one-year deal to add to the netminding depth there are rumors he could start his minor-pro career in the ECHL. The AHL full time is not out of the realm depending on what the B’s want to do with goaltender Dan Vladar. Kyle had a career year last season playing for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals where he tied his career-high in games played with 47 and a record of 32-8-0 with a 2.45 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage.

5) Axel Andersson

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

One of the more intriguing defensive prospects, in my opinion.  Drafted in the second round in 2018, Andersson was quickly signed to an entry-level contract after the close of the teams annual Development Camp. The 6′-0″ 180-pound defenseman has impeccable skating abilities along with impressive edge work. He has a high hockey IQ and the ability to snap tape to tape stretch passes for quick transition offensively.

Andersson is not a point-producing blueliner, but that part of his game could be incorporated with his time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Moncton Wildcats a team who selected him in the 2019 CHL Import Draft where he went 30th overall in the first round. From the folks I talk to in the Moncton, New Brunswick Canada area is that he’s going to be heavily relied on the backend and could see top-line minutes in all situations.

4) Jakub Lauko

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Probably one of the most exciting prospects when it comes to raw talent. Lauko’s speed and puck control in full speed has been a pleasure to watch in his first development camp and his games in the “Q” with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. After he was selected in the third round of the 2018 NHL draft, he joined the Huskies club a year later as the Rouyn-Noranda club had his rights from drafting him in the CHL import draft. Lauko and the Huskies would go onto have one of the best seasons known to be with the team being the best in the QMJHL during the regular season, capturing the Presidents Trophy in the playoffs, and marching into Halifax, Nova Scotia to take home the Memorial Cup,

In 44 games for the Huskies, Lauko contributed with 21-20-41 numbers and 6-7-13 totals in the postseason. He’s definitely a work in progress and will be in the pro ranks soon enough, but I’m a firm believer in properly developing players and could see him back with the Huskies for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The AHL is another possibility but like I said another solid year in the QMJHL defending the outstanding President Trophy and Memorial Cup-winning year wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3) John Beecher

( Photo Credit: by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images )

Beecher is a 2019 first-round draft pick that has intimidating size and speed for an 18-year-old that’s about to start his NCAA hockey career at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019. With players like Studnicka, Lauko, and Keyser excused from the 2019 Bruins Development Camp festivities, Beecher had the spotlight on him as the new kind in the system. His power forward mentality and creativity for a bigger player has been something to watch that’s for sure. His tremendous upside was on full display in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase held in Plymouth, Michigan where he was in the top-six of the tournament scoring for earning 4-1-5 numbers in five games played.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this type of player he becomes at Michigan in his first year of collegiate hockey. If he can earn five points in five games on a team highlighted with names like Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev, and Joel Farabee, the young Beecher could see an increased role with the NCAA Wolverines in a top-six powerhouse role under the tutelage of Head Coach Melvin Pearson and play with fellow B’s prospect Jack Becker.

2) Urho Vaakanainen

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports )

If any prospect defenseman is ready to cross the threshold of a long NHL Bruins career, it’s former first-rounder Vaakanainen. Due to an unfortunate head injury to start the 2018-19 NHL regular season, Urho would come back to the game later after recovering from a concussion to play the remaining games of the year with the Providence Bruins. The 20-year-old Vaakanainen started his pro career with Providence and was called up in October of 2018 due to injuries at the NHL level.

After only two NHL games and zero points, Urho suffered a concussion and didn’t return to the game for two months. When he did return to the game, he was placed in Providence where he played the remainder of the 2018-19 AHL season. Vaakanainen’s return would be in mid-January of 2019 and in 30 games to close the regular season Urho posted 4-10-14 numbers. As mentioned above a few times, current NHL contracts in Boston could hinder Vaakanainen from an NHL return for the upcoming season but the rumors of B’s defenseman going on the LTIR to start the year, Urho could easily make a return to the NHL lineup without a doubt.

Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Drafted in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Studnicka has worked extremely hard the last couple of seasons trying to make the NHL out of training camp. This year he could very well be in the mix for a forward position, but with the current depth up the middle, jack very well could see time on the wing if needed. The 6′-1″ 172-pound natural center has spent the last four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and last season posting 12-22-34 numbers in 30 games for the Oshawa Generals before being shipped to the Niagara Icedogs via trade where he posted 24-25-49 numbers in 30 games played.

Between Oshawa where Captain Jack played three seasons prior and Niagara for a 30 game stint, Studnicka had his best offensive numbers posting 36-47-83 totals for his best OHL career season surpassing his previous career-high of 72 points in the 2017-18 campaign. As a person that like to see Bruins prospects properly develop, I’d like to see Studnicka play at least a full season in the AHL because if the B’s organization is seriously considering moving him to a wing position, he should learn that transition in Providence with what’s looking like a very impressive lineup for the upcoming season.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

The Future Of The Boston Bruins ECHL Affiliation

( Photo Credit: icethetics.co )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Boston Bruins recently announced a 10 year extension with their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. It was a record agreement and a tribute to the successful partnership between the two teams, which Bruins president, Cam Neely, cited as a major factor in securing a long-term deal. With the AHL affiliation tied down until 2029, the B’s have yet to make a decision, at least publicly, on the agreement with current ECHL affiliate, the Atlanta Gladiators, which ends this season.

The Gladiators became the ECHL affiliate of both the Boston Bruins and the Providence Bruins after signing a two-year agreement in 2015. In February of 2017, the agreement was extended a further two years, securing the affiliation until the end of the current season. With the announcement of the 10 year extension with Providence back in March, many expected the B’s to follow-up with news on their relationship with Atlanta, but we are still waiting. With the Bruins focused on the Stanley Cup playoffs, an announcement on the future of the ECHL affiliation is unlikely until the team is finished on the ice.

Boston has a number of options, the most obvious would be to extend the affiliation with Atlanta. The Bruins have a number of goaltenders in their prospect pool and the ECHL is a great place for them to hone their skills. Providence goaltender Dan Vladar featured regularly for Atlanta in the 2017-18 campaign and with Kyle Keyser eligible for the pros next season, Atlanta would be an ideal spot for him to continue his development. Throughout the regular season, as players were summoned from Providence to Boston, Atlanta reinforced Providence with the likes of Tanner Pond and Sean Bonar, while giving regular playing time to Olivier Galipeau, Joel Messner and Brett McKenzie. The fundamental role of a minor-pro affiliate is to support the senior teams, Atlanta has certainly fulfilled that role for the Bruins.

It is possible that the Bruins part ways with Atlanta. If they do, there are currently two independent ECHL teams that they could partner with, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits or the Rapid City Rush. Geographically this would not make much sense, as neither team is close to New England. Unless the B’s plan on bringing the affiliation closer to home, it would be a shame to sever ties with Atlanta after building a close relationship with them, only to start over with another team based so far away.

It was reported earlier in the season that the Manchester Monarchs are seeking new ownership, casting doubt on their future. This creates a potential opportunity for the Bruins to step in and replace the LA Kings as the senior affiliate. It would make sense to have an affiliate closer to both Boston and Providence to reduce travel between the teams, making it easier for players to move up and down and allowing the organization to keep a closer eye on prospects. Perhaps a relationship with the Bruins would help the Monarchs, who have seen their attendance decline since they were switched to the ECHL. This is of course speculation, for now the Monarchs are still affiliated with the LA Kings, though things could change quickly with new ownership.

If the Bruins were to end the affiliation with Atlanta, expect the Glads to strike a deal with the Nashville Predators organisation. The Gladiators have worked closely with the Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals this season. Atlanta coach, Jeff Pyle, likes to push his players towards the higher levels and a relationship with a senior team makes that possible. Atlanta would most likely become Nashville’s ECHL  affiliate if Boston were to move on.

The Gladiators have certainly lived up to their side of the bargain, what Boston decides to do remains to be seen. For now we can only speculate on the future of their ECHL affiliation.