Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Ted Donato

( Photo Credit: GEORGE BRIDGES/KRT )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Happy 51st Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Forward Ted Donato!

“Teddy” Donato was born on April 28th, 1969, In Boston, Massachusetts, and played a majority of his youth hockey for the Hyde Park Eagles before moving onto four seasons of high school hockey for the always powerful Catholic Memorial School program. Per the EliteProspects.com website, Donato posted 29-34-63 numbers in his Senior year in 22 games 1986-87 and was selected by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round of the 1987 National Hockey League Entry Draft out of high school.

In 1987-88 Ted went onto play for Harvard University Crimson for four seasons captaining his senior year. In 106 career NCAA games for the Crimson hockey club, he posted 50-94-144 numbers. At Harvard, He won an NCAA Tournament Championship n 1989, two NCAA Tournament Frozen Four’s in 1987 & 1989, three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and three straight Conference regular season Championships. After a stellar career with the Crimson, he would join his childhood Boston Bruins team for his first action in the top league in the world but would only spend 10 games dressed in Black N’ Gold as he’d chase an even bigger childhood dream.

After a small cup of coffee with Boston during the 1991-92 season, the Bruins team assigned him to participate for the United States National team who would go onto play a 52 games schedule before appearing in the 1992 Winter Olympics as a 22-year-old. In those 52 “preliminary” traveling scheduled games for Team USA, he posted 11-22-33 numbers and in eight games again with Team USA this time for the 1992 Winter games in France posted 4-3-7 where the United States finished fourth and out of medal contention.

Donato would return to the Boston Bruins team in the 1992-93 campaign and would officially kick off his professional hockey career playing in full seasons. As a 23-year-old rookie that year he posted 15-20-35 numbers including three power-play goals, two shorthanded goals, and five game-winner. Teddy would go onto play the next six full seasons with his hometown Bruins club but after 14 games with the B’s in the 1998-99 season before he was traded to the New York Islanders in November for Ken Belanger. Before his departure from Boston via trade, Ted posted 113-142-255 numbers in 465 games with his first NHL club.

After the trade to the Islanders, ted would spend the next several seasons signing as a free agent on one-year deals to later be waived and claimed by others in seemingly a revolving door scenario. While away from Boston he would see time with the Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Rangers appearing in 268 cames contributing 31-50-81 numbers. Donato would make his final appearance in the NHL when the Bruins gave him another chance in the 2003-04 season where he played in 63 games contributing 6-5-11 numbers.

Ted would retire after the 2003-04 season and immediately got into coaching as the bench boss of his Alma Mata Harvard University. In 796 career NHL games, he posted 150-197-347 numbers as a local New England hockey player. His son Ryan who was also a Boston Bruins draft pick and spent a little time with the Bruins organization also was a Crimson alumnus and coached by his father Teddy. Ryan now plays in the Minnesota Wild organization.

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Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Ryan Donato

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

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

Happy 24th Birthday to Former Boston Bruins Forward Ryan Donato!!

Ryan Donato was born on April 9th, 1996 in Boston, Massachusetts to former NHLer Ted Donato. Donato began his young hockey career with Dexter School in Massachusetts as a 16-year-old, scoring 14-22-36 numbers in 26 games played in the 2011-12 season. The forward spent numerous seasons in the USPHL as well as the USHL, putting up point-per-game seasons on multiple occasions.

Donato’s success in the United States hockey leagues led to the Boston Bruins selecting him 56th overall (2nd Round) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft that Bruins superstar David Pastrnak was drafted in the first round. Instead of joining the Bruins immediately, Ryan Donato made the decision to join the Harvard Crimson, following in his father’s footsteps who played 106 career games with Harvard University and later went on to be the Head Coach of the hockey team in which he is still the Coach to this day.

In Ryan’s first season back in 2015-16, he scored 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points in 32 games that year as well as four points in seven games at the 2016 U-20 World Junior Championships, winning a bronze medal with Team USA. Donato’s true skill was showcased in the following 2016-2017 campaign where he posted 21-19-40 numbers in 36 games and the one-uped that again with 26-17-43 totals in only 29 games that led all Harvard players in the 2017-18 season.

After three seasons in the NCAA, Ryan Donato finished with 60-44-104 numbers in 97 games played. Donato was named the Ivy-League Player of the Year in 2016-17 after helping bring Harvard to an ECAC Championship and a berth in the Frozen Four. In his final season, he was also named one of the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, awarded to the best collegiate player of the year.

In 2018, Donato represented the United States in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he scored five goals and six points before being eliminated by the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. That same year, Donato agreed to a two-year entry-level contract by the Bruins, officially beginning his NHL career. The young forward made an immediate impact, scoring three points including his first career NHL goal in his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Having joined the Bruins late in the season, the 6-foot, 181-pound forward played in only twelve regular-season games in the NHL, scoring five goals and four assists for nine points. Donato went pointless in three playoff games that postseason as well. A lot of pressure was placed on Donato in the 2018-19 season as it was his first full season in the league and his promising performance to end the year before gave hope to Boston fans.

Donato was moved all around the Bruins organization, playing 34 games with the Boston Bruins as well as 18 games in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins. This up-and-down process went on until February 20th, 2019, when the Bruins traded Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild along with a conditional 2019 5th Round Pick in exchange for forward Charlie Coyle, who has since become a staple on the Bruins’ bottom-six.

Now with something more to prove, Donato played decent with the Wild to finish the ’18/’19 season, putting up 4-12-16 numbers in 22 games. Again, having the chance for a full season in the current 2019-2020 campaign, Donato scored fourteen goals and nine assists for 23 points in 62 games before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the NHL going on pause.

At 24-years-old, Ryan Donato has one year remaining after this season on a $1.9 million contract with Minnesota. Happy Birthday, Ryan Donato!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 173 that we recorded below on 4-4-20! 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’ Charlie Coyle: One Year Later

( Photo Credit: Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images )

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow Me On Twitter @andrewlindrothh

The 2020 trade deadline has come to a close, but since Bruins GM Don Sweeney took over in 2015, it is a no-brainer picking out the best deal he has made before any deadline; the Charlie Coyle trade. At the time, it may have seemed like an underwhelming trade, especially with giving up a promising prospect, but looking back one year later, Coyle has exceeded expectations and is now the future of the Bruins offense. 

Welcome Home Charlie

Charlie Coyle, the 6’3 200-pound forward, was acquired in 2019 from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Ryan Donato and a conditional 5th round pick. Fans were reluctant to the trade at first and rightfully so, as Donato appeared to be the Bruins’ most promising prospect during the 2017-2018 season when he played in his first 12 NHL games, quickly racking up five goals and nine points with a +2 rating. The following 2018-2019 season, though, Donato struggled to find the magic he had in his first dozen NHL games, scoring only six goals and nine points with a -11 rating in 34 games played. The Donato experiment then ended, sending Coyle back home to his native state. After his impressive playoff performance, the Bruins rewarded Coyle with a six-year contract extension worth $5.25M a season.

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2019 Playoff Clutch

When Charlie Coyle arrived in Boston, there were many expectations and unfortunately, was off to a sluggish start with the Bruins, only producing 2 goals and 6 points with a -2 rating through 21 games played. Then the 2019 playoffs commenced, and his point production skyrocketed as he tallied nine goals and 16 points with a +8 rating through 24 playoff games. In those 24 games played, he also had an astounding shot percentage of 23.1%.

The Weymouth native lived his childhood dream moment in TD Garden when he scored the overtime winner in game one against the Columbus Blue Jackets. When it mattered most, Coyle stepped up and found ways to help his team win games, which lead the Bruins to a game seven in the Stanley Cup Finals.

One Year Later

So far this season, Coyle has racked up 15 goals and 34 points with a +9 rating in 64 games played. For the majority of the season, he has had Anders Bjork on his left-wing, establishing chemistry between the two players has strengthened the 3rd line and improved the Bruins scoring depth. Coyle is an extremely versatile player that plays a strong two-way game, serves a role on the second power-play unit, and is very effective on the penalty kill.

Coyle is a valuable piece to the Bruins penalty kill, which currently ranks 3rd in the NHL at 84.0%. With Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron usually leading the pack in shorthanded offense, Coyle has taken advantage when being a man-down and currently leads the Bruins’ with two shorthanded goals already this season. Coyle also has 8 takeaways on the kill this season, tying his career-high from 2017-2018.

 

Charlie Coyle is not only a productive player but provides leadership to the team as well and is currently one of the assistant captains on the Bruins. He generates a huge spark to this team and will be ready to help lead the Boston Bruins back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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

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Bruins F Charlie Coyle Will Have Big Role In 2019-20

NHL: MAY 09 Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Final - Hurricanes at Bruins

PHOTO CREDITS: (NHLPA.com)

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

Boston has always had a close connection to forward Charlie Coyle, considering he was born just 16.7 miles south of Boston in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Similar to other young kids that live near an NHL city, Charlie always had a dream to play for the Bruins, in the TD Garden, in Boston, Massachusetts. In an article for the Player’s Tribune back in May, Coyle shared his thoughts when he heard of the trade that sent him to the B’s.

“Boston is in my blood. Boston raised me. This place is my home.” Coyle said, “Me on the Bruins? My hometown team? Playing next to guys like Zee and Bergy? Come on that’s like fairy-tale stuff.” – Charlie Coyle, Player’s Tribune

Coyle, drafted 28th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, was traded to the Minnesota Wild in the off-season of 2011 where he, Devin Setoguchi, and a 2011 1st Round Pick (Zack Phillips) were sent to San Jose in exchange for Brent Burns and a 2012 2nd Round Pick.

The trade allowed Coyle to make his National Hockey League debut in the 2012-13 campaign, skating in 37 games, putting up 8-6-14 numbers for his first NHL season. Over the course of the next seven seasons, Coyle played in a combined 479 games for the Wild, ending his tenure with 91-151-242 totals and an additional 15 points in 44 playoff games for the franchise. Coyle’s time with the Wild placed him in the top ten for games played, assists, and points in franchise history, cementing his name in Minnesota history books.

However, with the Wild on pace to miss the postseason for the first time in six seasons, management decided to part ways with Coyle, trading him to the Boston Bruins just days before the NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for prospect forward Ryan Donato and a conditional 2019 5th Round Pick.

The trade caught many Bruins off-guard, especially when they saw who they were sending back to Minnesota – forward Ryan Donato. Donato had been one of the most anticipated prospects to come into the organization and many fans had imagined him being a future top-six player as we now look at Pastrnak or DeBrusk. However, after a struggling season for the young forward, it was best for the Bruins to move away and get more of an experienced player in return.

Coyle came into the lineup and played in 21 regular season games, putting up 2-4-6 numbers and averaging just under 16 minutes per game. At this point, it seemed like the acquisition of Coyle was nothing too special, until the playoffs came around. In the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 27-year-old scored three goals and added an assist for four points in seven games – scoring the first of two empty-net goals in Game Seven.

“That Game 7 environment against the Leafs was just about the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. Like Roman Coliseum s***, with thousands of people screaming for blood. There’s no better atmosphere in hockey, and that’s not up for debate.” – Charlie Coyle, Player’s Tribune

He was not done there. In Game One of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Charlie Coyle stole the show on home-ice, scoring the game-tying goal with less than five minutes left in the third period to cause an uproar in the TD Garden. Not as loud, however, when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give Boston a 1-0 series lead.

Coyle finished the series against the Blue Jackets with 2-2-4 totals in six games, then went on to score four points in the four-game sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals – including an impressive three-assist night in the 6-2 victory in Game Two. In the Stanley Cup Finals against the Blues, Charlie buried three goals and assisted on one goal to finish the best-of-seven series with four points. All in all, Coyle proved to be one of the most valuable players in Boston’s playoff run in 2018-19, ending the post-season with 9-7-16 numbers in 24 games.

Entering this upcoming campaign, the current role of Charlie Coyle is undecided by some, but for me, it makes clear sense where he should be playing – third line center. His success that he found throughout those playoffs were because of his third-line time with wingers Danton Heinen and Marcus Johansson (who signed with the Sabres in the off-season). Coyle does a great job battling in the boards and during the post-season, he recorded 14 takeaways and only 9 giveaways – the type of ratio you want to see from your third-line center.

One concern for him playing in that position is his face-off percentage. Due to lack of regular season games, I once again go to his playoff numbers to tell the story. Coyle took a combined 257 face-offs, winning 122 of them, for a face-off win percentage of 47.5%. Although, that percentage is not too far off from second-line veteran, David Krejci, who had a 48.4% success rate on the face-off dot.

The alternative option would be to play Coyle on either the second-line right-wing, alongside David Krejci or on the first-line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron with David Pastrnak playing on the second-line instead. With that said, it would only create another hole at third-line center, an important position. Also, Coyle and Heinen showed great chemistry and separating that forces the third-line to have brand new chemistry, which is not always in the best interest.

Oftentimes, when a player is traded to a contender at the Trade Deadline, he only has one year remaining on his current deal. It is a way for a team to make a strong push without constraining the cap for the next season. However, the Bruins were able to acquire Coyle with another year left on his contract. For the 2019-2020 season, Charlie Coyle will make $3.2 million – the final year of his five-year deal that he signed in 2014.

Now, with the opportunity to play a full season and post-season with the Boston Bruins, it is Charlie Coyle’s time to shine. Regardless of his exact position in the lineup, he will bring his very best to every single game and will play a big role, no matter where Head Coach Bruce Cassidy decides to play him. Boston is his home and he wants to make his home proud.

“I want to win a Cup for Boston and Weymouth — for all the great people from my town who’ve supported me every step of the way. And I want to win one for all my cousins back home who I know are going to be losing their minds as soon as that puck drops.” – Charlie Coyle before Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals, Player’s Tribune 

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 144 that we recorded on 9-8-19 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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How Last Season’s Deadline Changes Sweeney’s Approach?​

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( Photo credit: Steven Senne / Associated Press )

By: Ian Frazier | Follow me on Twitter @ifrazier95

As most Bruins fans know, the deadline for NHL season is always an interesting time for the black and gold. Many players have been traded for and never panned out like Andrej Meszároš or the infamous Zach Rinaldo, both of which were quick experiments that failed to deliver any results. As more trade deadlines came and went, Bruins fans started to wonder if there was a repeated pattern of trading for non-impact level players as well as swinging and missing out on some bigger names they have been linked to.

During the 2019 season, however, that all changed. During the week of the trade deadline at the end of February, the Bruins traded prospect Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild for Charlie Coyle, a player who hasn’t really lived up to his potential in Minnesota. Many Bruins fans at the time questioned the move as they seemed to surround themselves in the hype that was Ryan Donato. They ultimately in the short term were proven right as Donato would go on a mini point streak with the Wild and Charlie Coyle looked invisible on the ice.

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Then on deadline day, the Bruins acquired Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick in the 2019 draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft. Many Bruins fans were puzzled with this one as many saw that JoJo (Johansson’s nickname) was injury prone and also was on the receiving end of a controversial hit involving Brad Marchand earlier in the season that sidelined him for a while. After playing a couple games with the Bruins, JoJo got hurt and was sidelined again for a bit which left fans wondering was giving up two draft picks at the time worth it for what possibly was going to be a rental?

As the Bruins punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs, they were eager to go on a deep run with this core and believed they had the depth to do it. All of a sudden, Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson were a dynamic duo helping the Bruins redefine their offensive attack with a now solid third line! As the playoffs rolled along, the two additions quickly became fan favorites as they contributed to most of the team’s scoring output when the top line had a bad night or a bad shift. Head coach Bruce Cassidy finally had multiple lines up and down the roster that he could roll out and go on a deep run with and that’s exactly what the Bruins did.

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While the Bruins didn’t capture the ultimate prize at the end, the trades of Coyle and Johansson provided a much-needed jolt of offense that was critical to reaching game seven of the Stanley Cup final. Knowing how well their trades worked and how far the Bruins went general manager, Don Sweeney has to be feeling pretty good knowing he traded for a rental that brought them within sixty minutes of a title and a nice depth piece in Coyle who is versatile and still under contract for the 2019-2020 season. Sweeney always has the team’s best interest in mind and would be willing to stand pat or make trades as needed to improve the lineup. Knowing Sweeney struck gold at this past trade deadline as well as being awarded GM of the year, expect Sweeney to enter next season’s trade deadline with a different attitude which maybe could land the next big thing in Boston, who knows?

Did the Bruins Give up on Ryan Donato too Early?

NHL: MAR 19 Blue Jackets at Bruins

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

With the trading frenzy over, one of the Bruins’ new toys is Weymouth native Charlie Coyle. Now without getting too into the trade, I think the Coyle is a good fit with the Bruins; he checks a lot of boxes that Boston needs. He can play center and wing, he plays a heavy game, he’s still young at 26 and on a good contract for another year. Getting a quality player like Coyle comes with a price, and that price for the Bruins ended up being the young Ryan Donato.

Now while I like the acquisition of Coyle, I don’t like how early they gave up on Ryan Donato. Obviously, he’s far from a perfect player, but I really think he has what it takes to be a successful forward in the NHL.

Ryan Donato - Ryan Donato goes back to school after standout performance at Winter Games – what a difference a few days make

(Getty Images)

Donato has clearly shown what he can do when he’s on his game. In the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2014 2nd rounder averaged a goal-per-game in the five games he played overseas. In college, he was an incredible player and ended up being a Hobey Baker nominee at Harvard. Even in his first 12 games in the NHL, he had 5 goals and 9 points. Not too shabby.

Entering his first full season in the pros, there was a lot expected of Donato. Coming off of a year full of accomplishments, the 22-year-old did not impress. After 11 games and just one goal, Donato was sent down to Providence.

After his month stint in the AHL, Donato was recalled, and it was clear the time in the minors helped him. He was a lot stronger on the puck, and his confidence started to emerge yet again. He was still inconsistent but still, put together a string of really good games. In the end, the Bruins front-office decided it was more beneficial for Donato to continue his growth in the AHL.

GOLD STAR:

(Credit-nbcsports.com/boston/bruins)

In Boston, Donato really never had a real shot to prove himself. Earlier in the season when the B’s needed some more depth scoring, I brought up the idea to split up the first line and put either Danton Heinen or Donato for a chance to showcase their skills with two. After a great rookie season, Heinen struggled to find the score sheet earlier this year. Similar to Donato, Heinen was still playing solid hockey (notably a better two-way game), but nothing was working for him. Much of that can be attributed to the revolving door of 3rd liners he was playing with. 

Obviously, the Bruins ended up giving Heinen a shot on the 1st line, and the experiment ended up being a great idea. Heinen has now found his game and (before his injury) Pastrnak elevated the 2nd line’s play; the Bs started to look like a real force in the league again.

Speaking of Pastrnak, he’s another player that followed similar footsteps as Donato had. Pastrnak’s first two seasons were filled with inconsistencies. There was no questioning his skill, but he was really shaky defensively and clearly needed to get a lot stronger. In the 2016 offseason, his second offseason with the Bruins, Pasta bulked up and definitely grew as a player. The next season, he got his chance with Bergeron and Marchand on the top line, and we all know how that ended up working out.

Nov 25, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Bruins center Frank Vatrano (72) celebrates is game winning overtime goal against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Boston won 2-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Another player I tend to compare Donato to is former Bruin, Frank Vatrano. He’s another local kid that plays a very similar style. The two are both relatively small, agile players that rely on their great shot to elevate their game. Now Vatrano wasn’t a great Bruin by any means, but similar to Donato, he showed a ton of potential. In the AHL he scored 36 goals in just as many games in the 2015-16 season. Last year, after a tough start with the Bruins, Vatrano was traded to the Florida Panthers for a 3rd round pick. Now that he’s gotten a legitimate shot with legitimate linemates, Vatrano has a chance to hit the 30 goal mark this year.

Prospects TAKE TIME. Not every 21-year-old is going to light up the league in his first full season. Last season at around this time, everyone was clambering over how amazing Ryan Donato was going to be. Now that he hasn’t blown anyone away in his first true season with the big club, he gets traded. The kid is still only 22 years old. I’m not saying he would’ve been a 40 goal scorer just because he got a chance on the top line, but it was definitely worth a shot this season, or even next year after he gets stronger and grows as a player even more over the offseason. Maybe Donato never fit into the Bruin’s future, but at the end of the day, trading him now is NOT capitalizing on his value. The Bruins just gave up too early on him.

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Bruins Acquire Wild Forward Charlie Coyle

cutPhoto Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

On Wednesday evening, the Bruins acquired Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth round draft choice in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

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Coyle is in his seventh NHL season and has spent his entire career with the Wild. The 26-year-old has skated in 60 games this season, totaling ten goals and 18 assists for 28 points. The East Weymouth, Massachusetts native was originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the first round (28th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Donato meanwhile had skated in 46 career games with the Bruins, posting 11 goals and seven assists over the parts of the last two seasons. His most recent game with Boston came on January 17th before being sent down to Providence. The 22-year-old was drafted by the Bruins in the second round (56th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The Bruins make this move five days prior to the trade deadline and Coyle will likely join the team in the next few days and should be available to play on Saturday in St. Louis when the Bruins face the Blues. Don’t expect Don Sweeney to be done dealing as the Bruins still have some needs as the deadline draws nearer.

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Bruins Cannot Afford To Make A Panic Move At The Deadline

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( Photo Credit: Aram Boghosian / Boston Globe )

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

We’re now just about two long weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline, and after a bit of a turbulent week on the ice for the Bruins, the airwaves of Twitter and radio have been calling for some action on the trade front.

Hypothetical packages for the be-all-end-all trade target, Artemi Panarin, and “#WeWantWayne [Simmonds]” have been strewn all about the internet. Heck, names like Ryan Dzingel have been tossed out there as well. We’re even back to talking about Jeff Carter for some reason (take a look at that contract, woof).

The issue with all three players mentioned above is that they are all unrestricted free agents come July 1 along with the believed asking prices, that’s not even mentioning Kevin Hayes, Mark Stone, or Matt Duchene.

Look, don’t get me wrong, if the Bruins could snag a top-six winger or third line center who would be here for more than a few months without giving up a ridiculous package, then go make that deal. Even Bruce Cassidy daydreams about acquiring a scorer:

However, let’s not go around here ready to mortgage the farm to maybe be marginally good enough to take on Tampa Bay in a playoff series.

On the other hand, I understand that Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and especially Zdeno Chara are not getting any younger, and you don’t get continuous kicks at the can–age could catch up to someone, and there’s the possibility of retirement (Chara).

Looking at the Bruins as a whole, one minute, this team plays as good as any other team in hockey. The next? It looks a lot like the same mediocre, bang-your-head-off -the-wall type of play that caused them to miss the playoffs two-straight seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The footage from Saturday’s win over the lowly Los Angeles Kings is exactly what comes to mind after giving that description of the team’s performance of late:

If you’re Don Sweeney and the rest of the Bruins’ brass in the front office, you’re in a sticky situation. Like I said, you have one side of the argument that looks at the Bruins’ situation with the mindset that Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, and Chara are all on the wrong side of the age bracket, and that they deserve one more shot at Lord Stanley.

On the other hand, the Bruins have plenty of young talent–Ryan Donato, Trent Frederic, Danton Heinen, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, to name a few–that makes the future seem bright, disappointing seasons aside.

For the Bruins in both the short-term and long-term, Don Sweeney cannot afford to make a deal in haste. A “panic” move that could mortgage the future for a rental or player who does not put the team over the top would be devastating to the team’s long-term plans and short-term success.

Not to mention the fact that selling low on struggling young talent (Heinen, JFK, and Donato) is as risky as it gets. While it may not be clicking right now for those three, it does not automatically mean that they’re “done” or “never going to make it.” We’ve watched it happen before where a seemingly lost young player gets dealt then pans out (see Seguin, Tyler–not to say either of those guys is the next Seguin).

Also, it was well-documented that Don Sweeney was not thrilled at all about being without his first round pick at least year’s draft, and he would be wise to keep it under lock and key.

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Giving up a plethora of young players or picks for a rental only to watch the Bruins fail to make it deep in the playoffs while the prospects that were traded away pan out would be a horrific look for management. A move like that would leave the Bruins with an outlook on the future that is much less favorable than it is now.

If the right deal presents itself, then I trust Don Sweeney to make that move. I say “right deal” as in a move that can give the Bruins a solid chance at actually contending this year when the playoffs roll around without giving up an outrageous amount to acquire said player.

Careful thought and patience from Sweeney (yes, more of it) is going to have to be the key when considering potential trades come February 25th.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 18 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

The Providence Bruins come into the weekend 24-16-6-1 (55 points) and 8-0-1-1 in their last 10 games this is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s are currently riding an 11-game point streak which has seen them go 9-0-1-1. This has catapulted them from near the bottom of the conference to right in the thick of things in the playoff picture. This weekend proves to be another tough test for our boys in black and gold. They have three games this weekend, and the two teams they play against are both ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.

The weekend action all starts on Friday, February 8, 2019, with a return home when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade the Dunk. The weekend continues Saturday, February 9, 2019, when the Bruins return the favor traveling to Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the home team Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. Finally, the exciting weekend wraps up with some more home cooking as the Syracuse Crunch make their first trip to the Dunkin Donuts Center on Sunday, February 10, 2019. These are going to be three games you do not want to miss.

Friday, February 8, 2019 (HOME) and Saturday, February 9, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The weekend home and home series will mark the either and ninth time that these two teams have met, and all the games have been closely contested games with five of the seven games going to overtime or shoot-out. The first game of the season series saw the Sound Tigers beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime with the spoked P getting goals from the recently departed Colby Cave (2), and Jakub Zboril with goalie Dan Vladar playing well turning away 30 of 34 shots he faced. The next meeting saw the Providence club win 5-2 getting goals from Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, Trent Frederic (2), and the now departed Jan Kovar. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked good in net stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced.

The third meeting between the two clubs saw Providence breakout offensively winning 6-1 getting goals from Cameron Hughes (3), Zach Senyshyn (2), and Trent Frederic. In net, Dan Vladar was superb stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way. The next three meetings the Eastern Conference foes would play ended up going to overtime. The first of those ended up going the Sound Tigers’ way 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Jan Kovar, Anton Blidh, Jakub Zboril, and Ryan Donato. Zane McIntyre was in net for the contest, and he was a little off his game stopping 20 of the 25 shots that were fired his way.

The next meeting between the two teams had the puck bounce the Bruins way as they won 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Wiley Sherman, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. The sixth game of the season series saw the Baby B’s fell in overtime 4-3 getting goals from Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, and Kyle Cumiskey with goalie Dan Vladar stopping 13 of 17 shots he faced. Most recently, the Bruins fell 4-3 in a shoot-out getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Mark McNeill, and Zach Senyshyn while goalie Dan Vladar stopped 12 of the 15 shots that came his way. It’s been a crazy season series thus far, and I would look for it to continue that way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the game 26-17-4-2 (58 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold have had an up and down season against the Islanders’ affiliate this year going 3-0-3-1. However, over the past five years, the Baby B’s have seen success against the Bridgeport club going 23-16-5-3. This bodes well for the weekend series despite having more success at home than on the road. Major keys to this game will be special teams and getting a keeping a lead early.

The Sound Tigers have the eighth-ranked power play in the Atlantic Division, and 13th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 17.4%. Meanwhile, the Islanders’ affiliate has the fifth-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division, and ninth-ranked in the Eastern Conference at 81.0% On the flip-side the Providence Bruins boast the second-best power play in the Atlantic Division and the fifth-best in the Eastern Conference at 20.1%. Their penalty kill is even stronger ranked second-best in the Atlantic Division as well as second-best in the Eastern Conference at 86.6%. In terms of grabbing an early lead and keeping it, the Sound Tigers are 13-3-2-1 when leading after the first period and 13-2-3-2 when leading after two. The Baby B’s are 11-5-2 when leading after one, and 18-3-2-1 when leading after two. It should be a closely contested home and home series with the two clubs.

Sunday, February 10, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (HOME)

The Sunday afternoon contest marks the first time these two teams have played each other this season. The Crunch come into the game 28-13-2-1 (59 points) and 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the North Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other much because they are in different divisions, but the Bruins have a record of 1-3 against the Crunch in that time frame. Something that does bode well is that they are 1-1 at home in that time frame. Also, the Lightning affiliate is 10-8-2 on the road this season which is much worse than their home record of 17-5-0-1.

The Syracuse Crunch score a lot of goals. It is going to take a total team effort defensively to keep them off the score-sheet, and team defense is going to be a major key for the Bruins if they want to win. Despite only playing 44 games the Tampa Bay affiliate has scored 166 goals. That’s an eye-popping 3.77 goals a game. Luckily, for the Baby B’s they boast one of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference giving up 132 goals in 47 games played which is 2.80 goals a game. Another reason why I said it would take team defense to beat the Crunch is that you can’t stop just one guy or even one line from scoring and be okay. They have nine players with a point per game total of at least 0.71 and six of those players have at least 30 points on the year. It should be an exciting game from the Dunk.

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

Hot

Ryan Donato: Donato was sent down to Providence early last week before the team’s two games against Charlotte. The young winger promptly scored a goal and got an assist in his first game back. The former Harvard University forward has registered a point in six of his last nine games with Providence with stats of 6-4-10. He did have a stint in Boston mixed in there but has been excellent for the Baby B’s when with the club. In 12 games he has netted six goals and dished out five assists. That is a point per game total of 0.92 which is very close to his NCAA days of 1.07 (60-44-104 in 97 games played).

Paul Carey: The veteran forward has been excellent for the Providence Bruins since being acquired from the Senators in mid-January. Over his last five games he has netted four goals and tallied two assists, and in nine games with the Baby B’s he has a point per game total of 1.00 (5-4-9). Overall on the season the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA champion has a point per game total of 0.93 (5-22-27 in 29 games). This is significantly better than his college days of 0.59 (45-41-86 in 147 games played).

Not

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson: The young forward was also sent down to Providence at the same time Ryan Donato was early last week. The former Boston University Terrier did register an assist in his second game back in the AHL but has not registered a goal in his last nine games with the Baby B’s and has only dished out three assists in that time frame. Forsbacka Karlsson was someone who the Bruins had hoped would take a big step forward this year, and thus far it’s been less than inspiring. On the year he has a point per game total of 0.41 (1-4-5 in 12 games). This is much less than his NCAA days of 0.81 (24-39-63 in 78 games played).

Jordan SzwarzThe Bruins’ Captain hasn’t registered a goal since January 19, 2019. That is a five-game goal-less streak. He has dished out three assists in that time frame, but the Baby B’s need him to start scoring more goals if they want to continue their hot streak. On the year the OHL product has a point per game total of 0.60 (14-10-24 in 40 games played). This is higher than his AHL career of 0.59 (104-134-238 in 404 games played) but is lower than his OHL days of 0.78 (82-122-204 in 262 games played).

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Cameron Hughes: Hughes has had a good first full season thus far for Providence. The former University of Wisconsin Captain has a point per game total of 0.55 (11-15-26 in 47 games played) and has been especially good against Bridgeport this season. In seven games against the Islanders’ affiliate, the young forward has potted four goals while dishing out three assists for seven total points. That means a little more than a quarter of his point total has come against the Sound Tigers. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Kyle Cumiskey: The veteran defenseman has played well for the Baby B’s this season. Cumiskey has a point per game total of 0.56 (3-11-14 in 25 games). This is up from his career AHL total of 0.48 (25-95-120 in 250 games played). On top of that, the WHL product has been especially good against Bridgeport this season in three games played he netted one goal and dished out three assists for four total points. This means he too has scored a little more than a quarter of his points against the Sound Tigers this season. I think he has a big weekend in store.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane has been one of the biggest reasons the Providence Bruins are on an 11-game point streak. Over his last nine games played he has a record of 9-0-0 while turning away 189 of the 207 shots that he has faced for a save percentage of .913 and goals against average of 1.96. The veteran goaltender has solidified the back-end of the defense. Look for him to have another big weekend for the boys in black and gold.

A few weeks ago, in one of these previews, I mentioned that this Providence team was too good to not be in a playoff spot. Since then the boys in black and gold have proved my point. There are many young, exciting prospects on the verge of being ready to make an impact in Boston. Despite that, they have a tough weekend ahead. Both teams they will be playing are above them in the Eastern Conference standings. A big weekend could change. We could see the Baby B’s climb to fourth in the division. Who would’ve thought that 11 games ago that when they started this crazy streak, we’d be saying that? I believed in the team, but I wouldn’t have guessed a streak like this was possible. I hope they can continue it this weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 17 Recap

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins played two games in week 17, and both were on the road in Charlotte, North Carolina. As an avid follower and viewer of the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins, going into this weekends action had me feeling like we were going in the bowls of hell heading into Bojangles’ Coliseum for two contests at the home of the AHL’s best Charlotte Checkers. The Checkers club has a 2018-19 season record of 31-11-6-0 sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference with 68 points in 48 games played and a home record of 13-5-4.

The team from Rhode Island as I’ve mentioned in previous weekly recaps have played tremendously better since the start of 2019 earning points in the last 11 games climbing the Conference standings with a 24-16-6-1 record in 47 games and good enough for third in the Atlantic and fifth in the Eastern Conference and in the Calder Cup Playoff picture with 29 games remaining. The B’s offense has really stepped it up, and the backend has certainly taken notice as things are seriously coming together and head coach Jay Leach finally has the chemistry he’s been looking for at the first half of the season to try and keep the playoff dreams alive with a seventh straight appearance. Notably on the backend is goaltender Zane McIntyre who’s as focused as I’ve ever seen him since landing in Providence after a successful four-year career with North Dakota University.

In my opinion, since the 2019 calendar year started, it seems like this Providence club is so dialed in that they can literally play any opposing system and evaluate quickly when down on the scoresheet or moments of even play. For instance, this Bruins team was not intimidated at all from this weekends action against the Checkers. Great goaltending from MacIntyre and rookie Dan Vladar but played a very stingy defensive style with an emphasis on not letting pucks by and quick zone transition. On the other hand, this B’s team can bury the puck when needed outscoring their opponents since the start of January going 45 for 30 in 13 games. The AHL is a complete gamble league when you operate on a three-day schedule, so I’m not going to mail in a Calder Cup Championship prediction, but as I continue to watch I’ll be optimistic because of the previous first half Jeykl and Hyde ways,

Well enough about my thoughts and onto the week that was from our Providence Bruins. Enjoy!

Friday, February 1st, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Road)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins came into Charlotte earning points in the last nine games and even though I mentioned one the bowls of hell earlier, I was pleasantly surprised how the B’s came into the game and ready to play. In front of a really good crowd of 8,076, the B’s would be down in shots after the first period 6-8 but inspiring play with no score from either team in the opening back and forth opening frame.

In the second period, B’s prospect Ryan Donato scored his sixth of the season with excellent D-Zone transitioning from defenseman Conor Clifton and veteran forward Paul Carey who in turn had the vision and hockey IQ along the half wall to rifle a pass completely through the neutral zone to a streaking Donato. Once Donato received the pass from Carey, he crossed the line and unselfishly surveyed the offensive zone at a slow pace then took advantage of the traffic in front of goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to snipe a top-shelf second-period 1-0 lead at the 19:45 mark.

Unfortunately, with the way MacIntyre played in this game it seemed like the B’s let up off the gas a little and let the Checkers get back in the game with a power-play goal at the 19:33 mark of the third period forcing overtime. In this game, it would be late period heroics throughout the contest, but to every game, there must be a victor!

With ten seconds remaining in overtime Bruins forward Cameron Hughes wound up making a last-ditch effort going north to south to win the game. The rookie Hughes had the smarts to move the puck to Donato who just stepped onto the ice for a new shift and crossed the blueline heading towards the opposing net. Hughes with a never quit attitude powered forward to get into the play which was a two on one that started in the neutral zone. With a pass from Donato that actually hit a Checker’s defenders stick and went through the legs of another defenseman, the puck somehow landed on Cameron’s stick for the tap in under the netminder’s pad overtime winner.

As mentioned Providence Goaltender Zane McIntyre was sensational along with counterpart Nedeljkovic at the other end of the sheet. Zane stopped 28 of 29 Checker shots for the win and his ninth straight victory. McIntyre is 17-8-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.67, and .890 save percentage. Mac’s 17 wins are ranked third in the AHL behind Nedeljkovic who leads with 21.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Road)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

To many a scoreless game through 60 minutes might seem boring, but to me, this was a very exciting game right down to the final minutes. The third period is where I got a little concerned for the game after the first-period shots were tied at 11, the second period the B’s were up 11-10 but where I was on the edge of my seat nervous was the third period where the checkers took a 13-5 shot advantage.

Throughout the game, Providence starting goaltender Dan Vladar who hasn’t won a game in 2019 dating back to December 22nd, 2018, was absolutely on point in this game and by far the best outing of his rookie season. To compliment Vladar’s outstanding game against the best team in the AHL was the moment the game ended in 3vs3 overtime extra session.

With a faceoff to the right of goaltender Vladar in the defensive zone, Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson won the draw and got the puck to Urho Vaakanainen who was behind the play and ready for a quick transition.  The rookie Vaakanainen dished the puck up to JFK who was on the right side in the neutral zone with veteran Gemel Smith hustling up the left side to get into the play. JFK crosses the blueline and slows up when he notices he’s got a two on one and quickly sauced a pass under the defenders stick to Smith who wristed it past goaltender Scott Darling at the 1:36 mark of OT to win the game and sweep the weekend’s action in North Carolina.

Vladar, as mentioned, was stellar against the AHL’s best stopping all 37 Checkers shots that came his way. The 21-year-old netminder is now 7-8-4 on the season with a 2.67 goals-against-average, and .903 save percentage. This was Vladar’s second shutout of the season with his last coming back on December 5th, 2018, on the road in Toronto, Ontario against the Toronto Marlies.

Below are Mark Allred’s Top Three Goals Of Week 17!

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Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Click Here for The Providence Bruins Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com