What’s Next For Bruins Austin Czarnik?

cutPhoto: nhl.com

By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

Twenty-five-year-old Austin Czarnik has seen his share of I-95 in his young career. Having signed a one-year two-way contract on July 17, 2017, Czarnik knew what he would likely be asked to do — and to his credit, he has handled his role in the organization with class as well as production. In his 10 games with Boston this season he has 4 points off of 4 assists. During his most recent call-up in early February, he registered two assists in a total of 43:21 of ice time thru 59 shifts in games against Toronto, Detroit, New York Rangers, and Buffalo. His short stay with Boston ended with a -1 rating for the stretch. Comparatively, Czarnik has played 44 games thus far in Providence this season with 14 goals, 33 assists for a +/- rating of +20.

Czarnik has benefited greatly from stable playing time at the AHL level and therefore has been serviceable in his NHL call-ups. His value is arguably higher than ever, and the 5’9 C/RW will likely make himself more on his next contract than the $675,000 he’s currently signed for. An RFA at year’s end, Czarnik is out of options for his two-way deal this season, and the acquisitions at the deadline of Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels will certainly play into whether or he see’s another call-up this year.

Should Czarnik resign with the organization this off-season there is a good chance he cracks the Bruins’ top nine, the question is for how long. There are other center prospects in the pipeline with arguably higher ceilings such as Ryan Fitzgerald and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson both of whom are younger and likely to get NHL minutes. Behind that comes even more prospects at the position worth a good look such as Ryan Donato who will almost certainly see time in Boston next season.

Though a longshot at this point, Jack Studnicka has been lighting it up in the OHL for the Oshawa Generals to the tune of 60 points in 58 appearances this season. The 19-year-old will likely see Providence time at the very least. Trent Frederic was a piece the Bruins didn’t want to move at the deadline. This doesn’t even include the wingers in the system as Czarnik has also lined up at RW and there is youth behind him there as well: Jordan Szwarz, Zach Senyshyn, Alexander Khoklachev, Peter Cehlárik, the list goes on. This team is as deep in the system as it has been in a long time.


Regardless of where he lines up, the future at forward appears crowded, and Czarnik may find himself the odd man out unless the minds monitoring his development see improvement on some of the downsides of his game. This includes his attempted shot totals as he sits around 10 attempts per 60 minutes. While he inserts himself well in playmaking situations, he is more of a possession center than a true goalscorer.

Ideally, the team retains him with 2-3 year contract at a reasonable cost and should Bruce Cassidy find himself struggling to find him a consistent spot then Don Sweeney will be in a better position to address his future (or lack thereof) with the organization. Make no mistake: they made the right decision to send him down to Providence before the contract got more complicated and risked having some level of control at year’s end regarding free agency.  He is without question a valued asset, and many (including myself) would be disappointed to see him go elsewhere, but this is crunch time for Austin Czarnik if he wants to stick with the club going forward.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.
Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

Baby B’s Earn Solid First Victory In 2017-18

By: Mark Allred         Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins kicked off the 2017-18 regular season on the right foot with a 5-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds in front of 9,439 hometown fans at the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The AHL started its 82nd season of being the top minor-pro developmental league of the National Hockey League, and this is the start of the 26th season that the Providence team and the Boston Bruins have shared affiliations.

Last year the Baby B’s had a decent lineup that got better during the second half of the season and marched their way to the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Finals losing in five games to the Syracuse Crunch. The 2017-18 roster is something to be proud of when you look at the job that Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney and scouting staff have put in place to replenish a somewhat disappointing prospect pool. This Baby B’s lineup is going to be exciting to watch and could be one that the Providence team needs to make the jump to the Calder Cup Finals, a feat that hasn’t been done since the 1998-99 year when the franchise captured its first AHL league championship.

Below, in no particular order or line combinations, below is an idea of talent that’s being seen at the AHL level and it’s going to be an exciting season to watch these kid mature in the professional ranks as they aspire for NHL debuts in the very near future.

Kenny Agostino  –  Danton Heinen  –  Jordan Szwarz

Jesse Gabrielle   –  Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson – Zach Senyshyn

Peter Cehlarik  –  Jim Hennessy –  Ryan Fitzgerald

Anton Blidh  –  Colby Cave  –  Chris Porter

Tommy Cross   –   Jakub Zboril

Connor Clifton  –  Jeremy Lauzon

Chris Breen  –  Rob O’Gara

Zane McIntyre

Dan Vladar

Just from a personal opinion this lineup above looks kinda nasty when you’ve invested a ton of time learning and writing about the many talented prospects that this organization has put in place to add to the depth factor and one that’s making news as one of the best well-stocked affiliations in the league.


It was good to see the Baby B’s get on the offensive stat sheet with second-year pro forward Peter Cehlarik scoring his 21st career AHL goal and grizzled old veteran Tommy Cross contribute with his 24th career goal but the insertion of the youth into last nights lineup was most gratifying for me. First-year pro’s Ryan Fitzgerald, Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson, and Zach Senyshyn made immediate impacts in last nights victory when all three scored their first career professional goals.


Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre looked like he didn’t miss a step in his return for another season of minor-pro hockey. After a tough transition into the AHL as a rookie in 2015-16, Zane went from being a 14-8-7 first-year pro to a fantastic second-year player in Providence posting a 21-6-1 record making him one of the top netminders in the league. This year is going to be an important one for the 25-year-old as he’ll seemingly play a remainder of this year in the AHL but if he happens to have a better season than he did last year, he might walk into the NHL backup role if current Bruins netminder Anton Khudobin walks to free agency after this final year of his two-year contract.

The Providence Bruins return to action next weekend with two games scheduled. Next Friday the B’s play the Springfield Thunderbirds again and on Saturday night against the Toronto Marlins. B’s games next week are at the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center, and tickets can be purchased at providencebruins.com


PuckNerd’s Bruins’ Prospect Pyramid – The Finale

By: Spencer Fascetta                                        Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

It’s finally here. The final installment of my ongoing Prospect Pyramid series. A few differences from the early entries into this series – there are two tiers rather than one (one is the final tier of true prospects, the other is what I define as “tweener” players – not really prospects, but still worth a quick mention), and I steered away from NHL comparables in this installment, if simply because very few of these players have a legitimate comparable at this time. If you are new to this series, you can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. I have thoroughly enjoyed this project, and I look forward to the healthy debate that will ensue!

Tier 4

Image result for victor berglund

Victor Berglund is an intriguing flier taken by Boston in the 2017 Draft. Joe Haggerty

D Victor Berglund, MODO Hockey J20 (SuperElit)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (7th Round, 195th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 37 GP, 5 G, 10 A, 15 P, 16 PIM

NHL Projection: Fringe Bottom Pairing Offensive Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2020-21

Victor Berglund could ultimately prove all of us wrong in 4-5 years. As Assistant GM Scot Bradley said, PJ Axelsson, the B’s go-to for European Scouting, was extremely high on Berglund throughout the entire draft process. Berglund is a slight 6’0″ and is one of the more agile defensemen in the system. His offensive upside is clear, but he needs to work on his defensive zone coverage and smarts. He has the upside to be a plus transition defenseman on the bottom pairing and absolutely is worth the flier in the 7th Round, but I would not expect to hear from him for at least 3-4 years, if at all.

Mahtomedi forward Jack Becker celebrates after scoring during the second period of a Class A quarterfinal game of the state boys hockey tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Becker scored three goals as Mahtomedi won 6-3. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

Jack Becker is an absolute conundrum. Ben Garvin, Pioneer Press

C Jack Becker, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)

Acquired: 2015 NHL Draft (7th Round, 195th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 49 GP, 16 G, 12 A, 28 P, 38 PIM

NHL Projection: Fringe NHL Power Forward

NHL ETA: 2024-25

Jack Becker can kind of be summed up by asking “who?” Becker was a late flier in 2015 by the B’s, a young player with a large frame that they are hoping can be an effective NHL player at some point. The unfortunate part is that Becker is now two seasons removed from his draft year, and he still is toiling in the USHL. For that matter, it isn’t as if he is dazzling in the USHL either. If he makes it, he could be a decent energy guy in the bottom 6 – but that’s a BIG if.

Daniel Bukac may have some untapped potential on the back end. Doug Westcott

D Daniel Bukac, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (7th Round, 204th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 72 GP, 2 G, 15 A, 17 P, 38 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom-Pairing Two-Way Defenceman

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Bukac, like Berglund, was a late flier taken by the B’s in this year’s draft. He already has a big frame at 6’4″, which he still needs to grow into. He struggled with the transition to North America this year with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, but both the Bruins and the Wheat Kings’ coaching staff were impressed with the progress he made throughout the season. This is likely a long-term project, but one that could provide excellent depth down the road.

Lone Star Brahmas Defenseman Cameron Clarke

Cam Clarke is not your typical overager. Lone Star Brahmas

D Cam Clarke, Ferris State University (NCAA)

Acquired: 2016 NHL Draft (5th Round, 136th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 35 G, 1 G, 10 A, 11 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom Pair Dynamic Offensive Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Cam Clarke is the definition of an intriguing prospect. He was taken as a Draft+2 last year, meaning he’d already been passed over in two full drafts before finally being selected by the Bruins. I have championed the drafting of overage prospects before, but Clarke is not your classic more overage. He put up astounding numbers in his final season in the NAHL, but he also is a converted forward and has only played the position for two years. As such, he needs significant work in his own end before he can be considered an NHL defenseman, and he had a down year of sorts in his freshman season at Ferris State. Nevertheless, he’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on moving forward.


Ryan Fitzgerald is getting to live out the Massachusetts kid dream of playing for the Bruins. richimagesphotography.com

C Ryan Fitzgerald, Boston College (NCAA)

Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft (4th Round, 120th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 34 GP, 12 G, 19 A, 31 P, 56 PIM

NHL Projection: 4th Line Two-Way Center/Depth Forward

NHL ETA: 2018-19

Fitzgerald had a solid career at Boston College and made a good impression with Providence last spring when he signed with the B’s at the conclusion of his senior season. He isn’t going to dazzle anyone, he’s not tremendously good at any particular facet of the game, but he is solid at most of them. He has had a good preseason thus far and seems to be in the mix for the 4th line, but I think he could use a full year in Providence to hone his game to better fit the professional level.

Cameron Hughes photo

Cameron Hughes has shown steady improvement in his time at Wisconsin. M.P. King, State Journal

C/LW Cameron Hughes, University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

Acquired: 2015 NHL Draft (6th Round, 165th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 36 GP, 7 G, 25 A, 32 P, 16 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom 6 Offensive Forward

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Cameron Hughes had a nice season at Wisconsin this year, as his offensive profile begins to grow. He has never had a great shot, and is not a stellar passer, but has a knack for getting himself in the right position to put up points. He needs to continue to get stronger on the puck and clean up some of the decision-making, but the tools are there.

Image result for emil johansson hockey

Emil Johansson needs to gain confidence in taking some risks on the back end. Bildbyran/Andreas L Eriksson

D Emil Johansson, Djurgardens IF (SHL)

Acquired: 2014 NHL Draft (7th Round, 206th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 49 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: Bottom-Pairing Two-Way Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2022-23

Johansson is an intelligent two-way defender, but that is almost as much of a curse as it is a blessing. He has a tendency to always settle on the safest play and can panic at times under pressure. He needs to gain more confidence using his natural skating and puck-moving talents to be successful in North America.

Cedric Pare was buried on a stacked Saint John depth chart last season. Saint John Sea Dogs

C Cedric Pare, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (6th Round, 173rd Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 64 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: 4th Line Defensive Center/Depth Forward

NHL ETA: 2021-22

Pare was stuck low in the pecking order on a stacked Saint John team this year. He is big, tough, and willing to grind out his offensive chances. The big concern here is the skating. Any player who has a hope of playing in the NHL needs to be a good skater, and Pare’s skating ability ranges from “meh” to “bleh.” He will get a much larger role this year in Saint John and is quite young for his age at this point. He has a ceiling, it just doesn’t appear to be an overly high one right now.

1) Wiley Sherman

Wiley Sherman is an imposing 6’7″ d-man – but can he crack the NHL? Joe Haggerty

D Wiley Sherman, Harvard University (NCAA)

Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft (5th Round, 150th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 36 GP, 0 G, 13 A, 13 P, 24 PIM

NHL Projection: Depth Defensive Defenseman

NHL ETA: 2019-20

Wiley Sherman was literally drafted because he was a big guy who could skate. I kid you not. Then Assistant GM Jim Benning (yes, THAT Jim Benning) was quoted saying as much after the 2013 draft. To his credit, Sherman has developed into a solid, stay-at-home d-man at Harvard, but he does not move the puck nearly well enough to make a significant impact at the NHL level. That 6’7″ frame is most of what makes him intriguing, so don’t start buying Wiley Sherman jerseys just yet…

Swayman will head off to the University of Maine this fall. NAPHL

G Jeremy Swayman, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)

Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft (4th Round, 111th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 32 GP, 2.90 GAA, .914 SV%

NHL Projection: League Average Backup Goaltender

NHL ETA: 2026-27

Many Bruins fans liked the fact that the B’s invested in another goaltending prospect after several years of souring public opinion on 2012 1st Round Pick Malcolm Subban. Unfortunately, the Bruins waited too long in this year’s draft to take a goalie and were kind of stuck with Swayman as their best option. He has a big frame with plenty of room to grow even more and posted respectable numbers on a mediocre USHL team. He is quite aggressive, and uses his athleticism well, but can get himself out of position quickly, and has a tendency to try and do too much rather than make the simple save. He will have plenty of time to refine his game at the University of Maine, where he will start this fall. It will likely be a long time before we see anything from him at the pro level.


Tweener Tier

Each of the following players has yet to complete a full season in the NHL, project mostly as AHL players but are signed to NHL contracts, OR whose NHL rights are held by Boston, but are not currently under NHL contract and are instead playing in a professional league overseas. Szwarz, Cross, Cave, and Hickman all fall under the category of the former, and should not really be more than “competent bums” who help lead the dearth of younger players that comprise most of Providence. With the organizational depth on the backend, and after a season ravaged by injuries, Linus Arnesson chose to return to Sweden for this season. He is a big, strong, defensively sound rearguard, but the lack of offense is glaring, which severely limits his NHL upside. If he can spend time in Sweden working to improve his support game, he could eventually develop into a quality depth guy.

Image result for alexander khokhlachev hockey

Alexander Khokhlachev has taken the KHL by storm. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The two most intriguing players here are clearly the two Russians. Alexander Khokhlachev had the unfortunate problem of inaccurate timing when he was drafted in 2011. He has shown at the AHL level that he can score at a consistently high-end level, and at his best is a flashy, quick, dynamic, offensive dynamo. When he became a part of the Bruins’ organization, it became the classic conundrum of attempting to jam a square peg into a round hole. Nobody is going to mistake Khokho as the next coming of Patrice Bergeron, and Claude Julien does not tolerate defensive shortcomings in his younger players (see Ryan Spooner). After repeatedly being passed over for lesser talented players (regarding true, raw, offensive ability), Khokholachev understandably became frustrated to the point where he jumped ship at the end of the 2015-16 season and returned to Russia to play in the KHL. Playing for perennial powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg, he produced at over a point per game rate. I expect him to make an NHL return in the next few years, and the Bruins’ would be wise to keep him in their sights. He has the potential to be a game-breaking offensive talent in the modern NHL.

Image result for Maxim Chudinov hockey

Maxim Chudinov may never make himself known in North America, but he has quitely become one of the best defensemen in the KHL. NHL.com

Many of you likely are saying “Who in the heck is Maxim Chudinov?” Well, that’s not entirely unfounded. Chudinov, a 2010 7th Round Pick, has never given the impression that he is interested in coming to North America. He is intriguing, however, as a player who would make an impact at the NHL level. He’s not the biggest d-man, but he loves the physical side of the game, has quick feet, makes a good first pass, and knows what he’s doing in the offensive zone. He has developed into one of the better young defensemen in the KHL – the question is, how likely is it that he decides to come over to the NHL? I’m not hedging my bets on this one…


D Linus Arnesson, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 60th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 20 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 8 PIM

NHL Projection: 7th Defenseman


RW/C Jordan Szwarz, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: Free Agent Signing

2016-17 Season Stats: 65 GP, 22 G, 32 A, 54 P, 76 PIM

NHL Projection: Depth Forward


C/W Alexander Khokhlachev, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

Acquired: 2011 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 40th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 60 GP, 23 G, 45 A, 68 P, 12 PIM

NHL Projection: Dynamic Top 9 Offensive Forward


D Tommy Cross, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: 2007 NHL Draft (2nd Round, 35th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 74 GP, 12 G, 23 A, 35 P, 69 PIM

NHL Projection: Depth Defenseman


D Maxim Chudinov, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

Acquired: 2010 NHL Draft (7th Round, 195th Overall)

2016-17 Season Stats: 42 GP, 4 G, 10 A, 14 P, 26 PIM

NHL Projection: Top 4 Two-Way D-man


C/LW Colby Cave, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent Signing

2016-17 Season Stats: 76 GP, 13 G, 22 A, 35 P, 52 PIM

NHL Projection: AHL Forward


RW/C Justin Hickman, Providence Bruins (AHL)

Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent Signing

2016-17 Season Stats: 25 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, 19 PIM

NHL Projection: AHL Forward

All Statistics courtesy of EliteProspects.com

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Boston Bruins Sign Two Prospects

By Mark Allred       Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins announced earlier today that the club has come to terms with forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Emil Johansson. Both players will report to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League after receiving entry-level contracts.


Ryan Fitzgerald

A native of North Reading, the 5′-10″ 177-pound is a versatile forward spending time at center and the right wing in his four years of collegiate hockey at Boston College. In 152 career games with the Eagles the son of former Bruin Tom Fitzgerald (2005-06, 71 Games) contributed 66-66-132 numbers and finished his time with BC with an exit in last week’s Hockey East Tournament to the hands of the Umass-Lowell Riverhawks.


Fitzy had a decent Senior year this season posting 12-19-31 numbers in 34 games. I firmly believe if he didn’t miss 14 games due to injury this season he would’ve passed hiss career high off 47 points he accrued in his junior year (24-23-47). This season the 2013 fourth round selection of the Bruins (120th overall) was named to the NCAA Hockey East All-Tournament Team. The 22-year-old forward has been a part of a decent hockey family as his cousins Jimmy Hayes, Kevin Hayes, and Matthew Tkachuk is currently playing in the league, and former great Kieth Tkachuk retired back in 2010.


Ryan is an offensively talented forward who may not be big in stature, but you wouldn’t know it by his physical style competing against bigger stronger players. He’a a quick two-way forward with good vision in all three zones of the ice but could use more weight moving forward. He’ll  be a solid addition to the depths of the Bruins development system and with signing a two-year entry level contract today has time to showcase his skills and work hard to impress the Bruins Brass to even think of being considered for an NHL roster spot anytime soon.


Emil Johansson

Emil is a 6′-0″ 190-pound defenseman who’s had a decent season in the Swedish Hockey League with the Djurgårdens IF club. In 49 games this season he’s contributed 7-10-17 numbers and with his three-year entry-level deal done today appears ready to transition his European style defensive game to the North American pro levels of hockey. The 20-year-old Vaxjo, Sweden native was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and although I can’t evaluate his game just from researching his stats, I do have some input during his time in offseason Boston Bruins events.


The last two years I’ve spent a great deal of time at the Bruins annual development camps which were held at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Massachusetts and have been very impressed with Johansson’s skill set for a seventh rounder. Even tho these event aren’t game situations and can’t get proper evaluations, I thought whenever he attended camps he was really giving it all to make a serious impression which may have had implications on today’s news.


I liked his skating with or without the puck and his vision transitioning during four on four and three on three drills. He possesses a nasty shot selection and moves well east to west along the blueline. At six feet he plays a much bigger style to his game and has a knack for finding the pivot points of an opposing players body to knock that player off balance while defending around the crease. Even in development camp, he showed he can throw the body around with devastating hits and is quick to recover to the play afterward.

With 12 games remaining in the AHL regular season, I look forward to seeing these two prospects make their debuts with the Providence and that time could be this weekend as the Baby B’s are set to play three games in a row starting tonight against the Wolf Pack in Hartford, Connecticut.



Bruins Prospects In The 2017 Beanpot Tournament


Photo Credit Above:  WTBU Sports

By Mark Allred   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277 

It’s that time of the year again when the top men’s collegiate hockey teams in the Boston area do battle for the rights to call their team the city’s best until next February. The Beanpot Tournament is set to begin its 65th year of competition tonight at TD Garden with puck drop at 5 pm involving 5th ranked Harvard University Crimson and unranked Northeastern University Huskies. Later tonight at 8 pm, last year’s tournament champion and 8th ranked Boston College matchup with 3rd ranked and last year’s runner-up Boston University Terriers.

This year’s festivities will be represented by five Boston Bruins prospects playing for their respected NCAA Division 1 teams in hopes of raising the prestigious silver pot that so many current and former National Hockey League players have had the honor of winning in the past. Even local names from the past that was born and breed in Massachusetts participated in the famed tourney including forward Ted Drury (HU), goaltender Tim Marshall (NU), defenseman Jack O’Callahan (BU), forward Bob Sweeney (BC), have all had the pleasure of winning the annual collegiate hockey classic and have paved the way for future state born players to do the same.

Below are this year’s Beanpot participants that happen to have ties to the Boston Bruins organization as they continue to develop in the NCAA ranks. Players below are in alphabetical order according to school name.

Boston College


Ryan Fitzgerald (BC - 19) - The Boston College Eagles defeated the visiting University of Wisconsin Badgers 9-2 on Friday, October 18, 2013, at Kelley Rink in Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Ryan Fitzgerald (BC – 19) – The Boston College Eagles defeated the visiting University of Wisconsin Badgers 9-2 on Friday, October 18, 2013, at Kelley Rink in Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Ryan Fitzgerald – The 5′-11″ 185-pound center was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft is currently in his senior year with his Eagles team. Most likely will sign a free agent entry-level contract at the end of this school year and be an essential addition to the AHL’s Providence Bruins team next year. In 141 career NCAA games at Boston College, the North Reading, Massachusetts native has contributed 61-61-122 numbers, and with seven games remaining in the NCAA regular season, he has the potential to add more points before transitioning his game to the minor-pro level.

The 2016-17 season has been a difficult one for Ryan due to injuries and will most likely not come close to his NCAA career best 24-23-47 totals he contributed in his junior year. This year in 23 games played he has 7-14-21 numbers which so far are career lows. Fitzgerald is ranked fifth on the Eagles team with 21 points (Leader 26 points) and is ranked 19th in Hockey East scoring in conference games only. In his last five games, the BC Assistant Captain has two goals and two assists.

His size may be an issue as he rises through the Bruins developmental system, but his speed and creativity should not be overlooked. His vision and play in all three zones and forechecking ability is one of his better attributes. He’s got a hard shot and quick release with an uncanny knack to get a quick shot on goal while his legs are in full motion.

Boston University (2)



Above Photo Credit:  richimagesphotography .com

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson – A native of Stockholm, Sweden, the 6′-1″ 192-pound center is a player Boston Bruins fans should look forward to in the next few seasons. Many scouts have compared him to current Bruins center Patrice Bergeron as he plays a very defensive style game as a three-zone forward. Selected in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the creative forward has the ability to control the play with his exceptional acceleration and ability to slow the game to look for a teammate for an offensive scoring chance.

Even tho he’s a pass first type of player he also doesn’t shy away from using his outstanding hockey IQ to execute a scoring chance when the time is right. In 66 career NCAA games with BU, the 20-year-old has 20-34-54 numbers with seven regular season games remaining. This season the sophomore forward has 10-14-24 totals in 27 games and is ranked third on the team with 24 points (Leader 29). This season the crafty center is ranked third in scoring on the Terriers team and 55th in Hockey East Conference games.

Many scouts in the area have mentioned he could use a few more pounds to bulk up and his consistency can be an issue at times, but nothing Bruins fans should be concerned with at this point in his development. He’s a player that can create offensive schemes in all three zones with his vision and exceptional passing skills. With two years left of school I’d like to see him stay and get a solid education while he continues his development in the NCAA but with players like Danton Heinen, the Bruins team could come calling sooner than later with an entry-level cash offer he might not be able to refuse.


Above Photo Credit:  College Hockey Inc.

Charlie McAvoy – The 2016 first round selection of the Bruins is in his sophomore year at BU and is having another outstanding season manning the blueline in Hockey East. The Long Beach, New York native is already turning heads with scouts and hockey personalities alike with his strong defensive play and progression in his continued development. McAvoy a 6′-1″ 211-pound rugged defenseman has all the making of an exceptional NHL career. In 66 career games at BU, he has 6-34-40 numbers in two years of service.

This season in 26 games, McAvoy has 3-12-15 numbers, and with time missing due to participation in a 2017 World Junior gold medal effort from him and his United States team, he could’ve broken his rookie numbers he had a year ago as a freshman with 25 points. No matter what his point production looks like from here on out, he’s working hard on other areas of his game such as body strength and being a threat to any opposing player entering the defensive zone.

McAvoy is a hybrid type of defenseman in my opinion and has the ability to be a reliable stay-at-home player with superb upside in joining the rush offensively. His one-time on the power-play is a lethal weapon at the at the center of the point or the top of the faceoff circle sneaking in unmolested. This season he’s ranked sixth in points on the Terriers team and with seven-game to go in this season could add a few more numbers even tho he currently has three points in his last ten games.

Harvard University (2)




Ryan Donato – The 6′-1″ 181-pound sophomore forward has already tied his career high in point in his young college hockey year at 21 points. With seven games remaining for him and his Crimson team, the second round selection of the Bruins in 2014 has appeared in 55 games for Harvard and has posted 24-18-42 numbers in his time there. A native of Boston, Massachusetts and is the son of former NHL Bruins player and current head coach of the Ivy League institution Ted Donato who is also a Harvard alumni and had an eight-year tour with the B’s as a player.

This season the center is 11-10-21 in 23 games played and is ranked 5th on the teams in points and 3rd in goals scored. A good all-around player at the NCAA level he does have a few thing to work on and one of those issues is his skating with the puck while keeping possession. The other areas of his game such as speed, vision, and endurance are second to none but like all developing talent would benefit greatly by adding pounds to his frame.

Donato has a great eye around the net with his offensive abilities and can always be relied on for finding and capitalizing on loose pucks in the opposing crease. Another player with tremendous upside for his size and could be a value to the depth of the Bruins franchise as he rises to the NHL level.

Kyle Rankin (Princeton - 19) and Wiley Sherman (Harvard - 25) battle in front of the net.

Kyle Rankin (Princeton – 19) and Wiley Sherman (Harvard – 25) battle in front of the net.

Wiley Sherman – “The Shermanator.” is a rugged defenseman who was selected in the fifth round of the NHL Entry Draft in 2013 and is presently in his junior year at Harvard. A 6′-7″ 220-pound Greenwich, Connecticut blueliner has appeared in 91 career NCAA games and has contributed 19 points with his time with the Crimson. This season he had only six assists and had a career year last season where he netted 4-6-10 numbers in his sophomore year.

Wiley is another big project for this Bruins franchise as they continue to develop bigger stronger defenseman to get back to the NHL-best in all defensive categories. Sherman reminds me od a Rob O’Gara player in the AHL and Adam McQuaid in the NHL. More or less a stay at home defenseman he has the ability to deliver bone-crunching hits like MvAvoy but has a tough time recovering from getting back into the play. A continued work in progress in my opinion and could serve the Providence Bruins very well in the AHL after he finishes his senior year next season.