Providence Bruins: Introducing The New Arrivals

Photo Credit:  Last Word On Sports

By: Josh B.   |   Follow On Twitter @ToCauseway

In the calendar year, March typically signals the arrival of spring, March Madness, and most importantly, Canadian Major Junior and NCAA playoffs. Teams that have battled hard since October have their chance at immortality with names engraved on a championship trophy. Teams that do not qualify for playoff contention fade into their offseason.
As teams meet with elimination, draft prospects will occasionally depart their amateur, developmental teams for a spot in the Show, or with an NHL-affiliated farm team; more often than not, with the AHL. March 11th, 2018 was the first signing of Boston Bruins prospects out of their stockpile in the developmental leagues. Trent Frederic and Cameron Hughes turned pro after the Wisconsin Badgers season ended in Ann Arbor, MI, to Michigan State.
While Joona Koppanen was signed a year ago, on April 13, 2017, he played the first part of his new contract with his Liiga team (top Finnish league). While not a recent signing, nor amateur prospect, he is a newcomer to the “WannaBs” in Providence. More on him later.
Next, on March 20th, QMJHL St Johns Sea Dog Cedric Pare joined the Providence Bruins on an ATO, much the same as aforementioned Frederic and Hughes. The Patrice Bergeron doppelganger posted a remarkable standout season for the Sea Dogs, with 13G, 24A–37 points. The year before, he tallied only 5G, 11A—16 points. By signing an ATO, the kids are able to return to developmental leagues should their trial period reveal they need more seasoning.
Last but certainly not least is 6ft 7in Wiley Sherman. The Crimson blueliner is the only prospect mentioned drafted in the Peter Chiarelli era and is a senior at Harvard University. Much like former Bruins prospect Rob O’Gara, Sherman opted to finish his collegiate career before turning pro.

Let’s introduce you to each one in a bit more detail:

Trent Frederic

Photo Credit:

Trent Frederic needs no introduction. The 2016 1st round selection exploded onto the U20 WJC stage with 5 tallies for the USA team that eventually won the Bronze medal, securing the USA squad 3 consecutive medals in 3 consecutive WJC’s for the first time in history. His shot and release are first-rate, while size and strength down the middle make him an effective pivot.
Frederic was also the subject of some unwarranted controversy revolving around former Bruins director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky. “[Frederic] is not going to be a top-two-line guy, we know that” was the quote that sparked Frederic to prove his critics wrong. Ranked outside of the top 50 players by most scouts, Frederic went on to have back to back 30 point seasons with the University of Wisconsin Badgers. In his second season, Frederic’s leadership earned him an “A” on his sweater. His quotes following the draft and Gretzky’s comments hint that he’s a prospect wise beyond his years: “I’m just kind of excited to be on the team,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter where you get picked. It’s just what you do from there.” “I guess I’ve got a little pressure [as a first-round pick], but I think I like that. So it makes me push myself harder. So it’s good.”

Cameron Hughes

Photo Credit:

Cameron Hughes has the distinction of being the only draft selection already attending college when his name was called. The 2015 6th round selection has flown under the radar of most Bruins fans since the selection (development camps notwithstanding). 6’- 0”, 183lb Hughes most recently wore the “C” on his sweater for the 2017-2018 Badger campaign and has recorded 13pt, 25pt, 32pt, and 22pt seasons for Wisconsin beginning with his freshman year. He is described as a “skilled pivot with soft hands.” “Hughes needs to take a step forward with both his offensive output and his defensive play before he’ll get a look at the NHL level.”[3] As of today, Hughes has already contributed an assist at the professional level, during a 4-1 thumping of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on March 18th, 2017.

Joona Koppanen

Photo Credit:  Finnish Junior Hockey @FINjrhockey

Originally signed in 2017, the Finnish pivot spent the first part of his 3-year ELC with the Tampereen Ilves of the Finnish Liiga. Koppanen is tall, and somewhat lanky, standing 6’-5”, and 192lb. He was drafted in 2016, 6th round (135th overall) by the Bruins from the Jr. A SM-liiga, the top Finnish junior league. Koppanen also appeared in the same WJC tournament Frederic appeared in, where Joona contributed with 3G, 1A. His point production over the past 3 years has been slightly varied, with 57 in 2014-2015, and then 26, 54, and 14 in each of the following years respectively. Eliteprospects has him listed as “on loan” to the AHL, so his appearance in Providence might be a trial run for next year.[4]
Koppanen has the size to be an effective pivot and will gain the strength over time. His 2016-2017 campaign impressed, with a 1.42 points per game pace, and a final total of 57 in 38 games. His reach and defensive prowess are his strengths. However, he only has an “average” shot.[5] He has the reach and hockey IQ to make a solid role-playing NHL depth forward, but while his development league numbers were impressive, once he made it to the Finnish “major” leagues, his point production dipped. Like his upside, but I’m guardedly optimistic about his future.

Cedric Pare

Photo Credit: Grandstand sports Network

The lone representative from the Canadian Major Junior league (CHL), Pare must have been inspired after the Bruins selected him in the 6th round of the 2017 draft (163rd overall). After a pedestrian 5G, 11A season in the QMJHL 2016-2017, Pare more than doubled up both columns to the tune of 13G, 24A in 2017-2018. The Bruins love their big, strong-bodied centers, and French-Canadian Pare is no exception at 6’-3”, 205lb. In a continuation of a theme, the 19-year-old was signed first to an ATO, with his ELC kicking in next year. I’m excepting to see him in the Providence lineup in the remaining weekends this season.
Pare has excellent reach, and coupled with a strong frame, has been extremely effective at the dot for his QMJHL club. In his draft and draft+1 year, his faceoff% was over 50% consistently. The Bruins Brass acknowledged he is a “project” especially in the skating department, but at least till now, his excellent vision and play away from the puck has more than made up for it. He could shape into an energy or role-playing forward or more, depending on his developmental trajectory.

Wiley Sherman

Photo Credit:  Trifecta Network Sports

Playing alongside 2014 draft pick Ryan Donato, 6′-7” Wiley Sherman is set to graduate from Harvard and to the world of professional hockey. Sherman is the only prospect on this list from the Peter Chiarelli era, drafted in 2013 5th round (150th overall). Both he and Donato have won the NCAA NCAC championship twice: 2014/15 and 2016/17 respectively. If you’ve attended any of the development camps over the past 4 years, Sherman has been impossible to miss with his incredible size, and the best reach out of the newcomers to Providence. His point totals while at Harvard are low, but Sherman plays a shutdown defensive-defenseman role that doesn’t lend itself to showing up on the score sheet. His skating is fluid and effective for a 6’-7” beast, and with his huge wingspan, can gap opponents very well. Sherman is by no means a flashy player, but more of a blue-collar workman.

Providence Bruins Weekend Recap

Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins

By: Josh B.   |   Follow On Twitter @ToCauseway

Tl;Dr Recap for those who just want the stats:

3/16/18 Providence (36-20-5) vs. Rochester (30-17-16) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 28 of 31 shots, 0.903 SV%; Adam Wilcox, 35 of 38 shots, 0.921 SV%, Replaced by Jonas Johansson, 9 of 10 shots, 0.900 SV%.

Box Score W/Scoring Summary:

PVD 5-3 Regulation W, Improves to (37-20-5), RCH drops to (30-18-16)

3/17/18 Providence (37-20-5) @ Lehigh Valley (40-16-8) 7:05 PM

Goalies: Jordan Binnington, 31 of 34 shots, 0.911 SV%; D. Tokarski, 33 of 33 shots, Shutout.

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 3-0 Regulation L, Drops to (37-21-5), LV Improves to (41-16-8)

3/18/18 Providence (37-21-5) vs. Bridgeport (31-24-8) 3:05 PM

Goalies: Zane McIntyre, 44 of 45 shots, 0.977 SV%; Kristers Gudlevskis, 39 of 44 shots, 0.886 SV%

Box Score W/ Scoring Summary:

PVD 4-1 Regulation W, Improves to (38-21-5), BRI drops to (31-25-8).

Game Summaries:

Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (3/16/18)

Rochester’s only trip to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence ended in a thumping for the visiting team. After surrendering an early goal in the first two minutes, the game took on a goal-for-goal tradeoff for almost 30 minutes of regulation. Rochester’s Adam Krause tipped a point shot from teammate Zach Redmond past Zane McIntyre 1:17 into the first period. It took Providence almost the entire first to solve the Rochester defense, but Adam Payerl popped the Rochester netminder’s bottle off a rink-wide feed from teammate Kenny Agostino to knot the score 1-1.

Almost 6 minutes into the second period, Alex Nylander tapped in a second rebound, as teammates Colin Blackwell and Hudson Fasching were both stoned by McIntyre. The tap from Nylander lazily slid over the goal line, but the score was now 2-1. This time, Providence wasted no time to tie the score. Rochester goalie Adam Wilcox fought off two initial Providence riflemen, but played the puck into dead ice, away from teammates, and into an easy spot for RHD Conor Clifton to skate in off the blue line and blast a hard, accurate shot past the resetting Wilcox for the equalizer. Providence took the lead for the first time with 11 minutes and change remaining in the 2nd as Austin Czarnik scored his first of three goals with help from Ryan Fitzgerald and Tommy Cross.

Providence entered the 2nd intermission up 3-2, but less than 5 minutes into the 3rd period, Rochester tied the game. After a flurry in front of McIntyre’s net, Rochester’s Danny O’Regan slammed the puck home on a frantic backhander to tie the game. Powerplay phenom Austin Czarnik would again pull the Bruins ahead by one with another goal on the man advantage. With Rochester’s goal empty in the dying minutes of the game, Czarnik found the empty net on a 200-foot bid for the net, completing the hat trick and a 5-3 win in regulation.

Providence Bruins @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3/17/18)

Saturday night, Providence skated against Atlantic Division leader Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Their second matchup of the season ended worse than the first, with the Phantoms blanking the Bruins. Despite a spirited first period and the goaltenders making unbelievable stops, it was a second period Providence powerplay where Lehigh Valley struck first. Tyrell Goulbourne created a turnover by his team’s bench, carried the puck behind the Providence defense, and fed teammate Radel Fazleev in front who sniped a shot over Jordan Binnington’s right shoulder.

The embarrassment of special teams would not end there, however. Later in the period, down by only a goal, Providence drew another penalty. In an eerily reminiscent situation, Phil Verone picked the puck off a Providence skater and took off toward Jordan Binnington, beating the goaltender on a great individual effort. Providence failed to put pressure on Lehigh Valley and Dustin Tokarski in net during the third period and surrendered a third goal for the final nail in the coffin. Colin McDonald made an initial bit for the net, but teammate Steven Swavely finished off the rebound to put the Phantoms ahead by 3. Tokarski turned away all 33 shots he faced, blanking the Providence Bruins who had scored 5 the night prior.

Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3/18/18)

After getting blanked by Lehigh Valley, Providence closed out its weekend with a statement game on short rest after a ~ 500-mile commute back to Rhode Island and a 3PM matinee start time. From the opening faceoff, Providence made its presence known, swarming Bridgeport on the forecheck and scoring an early goal 40 seconds into the game. Off an offensive zone draw, newcomer Trent Frederic won the puck back to Tommy Cross who slipped the puck to his partner Conor Clifton. The latter scooped up the puck and made a back foot snap-shot beating the Bridgeport goaltender.

Initially it was credited to a Blidh tip, however, Clifton would later be credited with the goal and Frederic would pick up his first professional point as his faceoff win begun the sequence. Half a period later, Providence struck again in quick succession to build a staggering three-goal lead. On the powerplay, Paul Postma held the puck in at the blue line and fed it up the left wing boards to Kenny Agostino. He dished cross-crease to Austin Czarnik who delayed a shot waiting for a lane to open and the goalie to bite, and Czarnik’s patience was rewarded with his 4th goal of this 3-in-3 weekend.

A few minutes later, Jordan Szwarz misplayed a cross-ice pass as he and Czarnik sped in over the Bridgeport line, but as the Sound Tigers attempted to clear the puck, the trailing Ryan Fitzgerald held the puck in the attacking zone, sending the disc floating through the air. Czarnik caught it, dropping it in front of him, and sliding it a few feet to Szwarz who cycled the zone and ripped the puck up over the blocker of the Bridgeport goalie. To begin the second period, Bridgeport broke McIntyre’s bid for a shutout. Steve Bernier held the puck behind the Providence net, passing along the dasher to teammate Mitch Vande Sompel at the left point. He fired a booming slap shot that was initially saved by McIntyre, but the rebound popped up and onto the stick of John Stevens camped at the far post for an easy tap-in.

Providence battled back and regained their three-goal lead off the stick of rookie Jakub Zboril. After some extended time in the attacking zone for Providence, Cameron Hughes collected a rebound off a Chris Breen slap shot and protected the puck enough along the boards to slide the puck to teammate Josh Hennessy behind the net. Hennessy turned and picked up Jakub Zboril purposefully drifting into the slot and threaded a perfect pass to the rookie defenseman. Zboril collected the puck calmly with the Bridgeport goalie scrambling and wound up a perfectly released wrister for his second goal of the season. Despite 20 shots from Bridgeport in the third period, they weren’t able to solve McIntyre again, and the Bruins won by a final score of 4-1 to end the week on a cheerful note.

Plus / MinusPlus:

+ Austin Czarnik had an offensive explosion: 4G, 1A complete with a Hat Trick against Rochester. Trent Frederic and Cameron Hughes both tallied their first professional point after signing ATO’s to finish off the 2017-2018 season. Jakub Zboril was rewarded for his development and work with the 2nd goal of his pro career. Ryan Fitzgerald and Kenny Agostino earned 3A each this weekend.

+ Providence scored 3 goals on the Powerplay this weekend and only gave up one goal on the kill.

+ Zane McIntyre had one of his best games of this season, turning away a pile of rubber against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After losing several in a row to the Bridgeport squad, Providence’s record is now 5-4-1 against them this season, pulling ahead on the win column.

+ In each of the past 3 weekends, Providence has won 2 of 3 games, continuing to solidify their playoff berth and slowly work toward better seeding. If they win their next 2 matchups against Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins, they can overtake the Baby Pens for 2nd in the Atlantic, and home ice advantage in the playoffs.

+ Zach Senyshyn didn’t have a point this week, but he passed the eye test with flying colors. With Zach’s blazing speed, his line would help set up in the offensive zone to wear down the defense and goalie for teammates to finish the scoring change.

Minus: – Providence gave up two ugly shorthanded goals to Lehigh Valley on Saturday night, losing for the second time in a row against the Atlantic Division’s best team.

– Zane’s shaky start against Rochester was reminiscent of earlier in the season when his numbers weren’t that great and the offense had to compensate for him letting in soft goals.

– Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has yet to return from what’s mysteriously been dubbed “Upper Body Injury”. Speculation abounds it’s a concussion.

Bruins Sign Frederic To Entry-Level Contract

(Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins have announced that they’ve signed prospect forward Trent Frederic to a three-year entry-level contract. The 6′-3″ 216-pound St, Louis, Missouri native recently finished his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin where he appeared in 66 games posting 65 points. The 20-year-old 29th selection of the B’s in 2016 also signed an Amateur Try-Out agreement and will report to the American Hockey Leagues  Providence Bruins for the remaining 15 games.

B’s Ink Cameron Hughes to ELC

01.30.16 MHockey vs. AK26

Photo: Greg Anderson

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

The Bruins announced yesterday that the club signed forward Cameron Hughes to a 3-year Entry Level Contract that will begin in the 2018-19 season. Hughes, 21, just completed his senior season at the University of Wisconsin, where he amassed 23 goals and 69 assists for 92 points in 139 career games. An alternate captain his junior season, Hughes was named the captain before the start of his senior campaign and will join the Providence Bruins on an Amateur-Try-Out contract for the remainder of the season. The Badgers have had a difficult few seasons, and Hughes’ leadership, along with that of fellow B’s prospect and captain Trent Frederic has been key for the team to begin to regain its status as a premier program in the Big 10.


Photo: Greg Anderson

Hughes was originally selected by the Bruins in the 6th Round in 2015, 165th Overall, as an overage prospect, which means he had already passed through the draft at least once (once in his case) before being selected. Another player the B’s selected as an overager after his freshman year at college? Danton Heinen, 2014, 4th Round, 116th Overall. Not to say Hughes will be what Heinen has been, but it is a market inefficiency the B’s have clearly identified and are attempting to exploit. Hughes is the 4th member of his Badgers team to sign a pro contract following their 14-19-3 season, joining forwards Ryan Wagner (Chicago Wolves, AHL) and Matt Ustaski (Jacksonville Swamp Rabbits, ECHL), and defenseman Jake Linhart (Rochester Americans, AHL).

Bruins Prospect Frederic Has Big Weekend vs Michigan

( Above Photo Credit:  Wisconsin Athletics )

By: Mark Allred                  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

This weekend the Wisconsin Badgers traveled to Big Ten rival Michigan to play back-to-back games at the Yost Arena in Ann Arbor Michigan home of the Wolverines team and even though both teams earned a victory it was a Boston Bruins prospect that made the most noise. B’s 2016 first round selection and Badgers forward Trent Frederic had a goal and two assists in Friday night’s 5-3 loss to Michigan and repeated that effort on Saturday night contributing another three-point night in a 4-2 win over the 20th ranked Wolverines team according to the USCHO poll distributed last month.

With a six-point weekend, Frederic now has 14-13-27 numbers in 30 games so far this season and currently has 11 points in his last seven games. Last season as a freshman the 6′-0″ 216-pound forward posted 33 points in 30 games and with four games remaining on the Badgers NCAA Men’s Hockey schedule he has a chance to pass his career high in points. The final four games of the season won’t be an easy task as they’ll square up against two Big Ten Conference foes in 12th ranked Minnesota next weekend for two games and 5th ranked Ohio State the following weekend to end the regular season.

Frederic told Wisconsin State Journal sports reporter Todd D. Milewski “Any time you can get ahead in the game, I think we feel more confident playing ahead,” Frederic said. “It’s good to get that first one.”

Wisconsin Head coach and former National Hockey League player Tony Granato who’s about to jump on a plane for the long trip to coach the United States team in the 2018 Winter Olympics held in PyeongChang, South Korea had this to say about Frederic’s game over the weekend “He’s on a roll now,” Granato said. “It’s not the goals. It’s the faceoff battle, it’s the defensive play, it’s the penalty kill. It’s everything. He’s just playing great.”

It’s hard to figure what Frederic’s future plans will be pertaining to his education or his willingness to leave school to turn pro and join the Bruins organization presumably a start in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins. I’m kind of getting the feeling the B’s will go the route similar to the path they took with current Bruins Danton Heinen when he left Denver after his sophomore year. Regardless of where he plays next season whether it’s back in the NCAA for continued development with his Badgers team or a first-year pro, he’ll add a significant piece to the future depth of this Bruins franchise as they build the team to be competitive on a yearly basis and properly construct a roster from the hard work of management and scouting staff.

Bruins Prospect Frederic Gets Back On Track Offensively

( Above Photo Credit:  UW Athletics )

By: Mark Allred            Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Today under the national spotlight and the only NCAA Men’s Hockey Division 1 game on the schedule, the Wisconsin Badgers beat the best team in the country as they shutout the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by the score of 5-0 from the United Center, home to the National Hockey Leagues Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston Bruins 2016 first round pick and Badgers forward Trent Frederic had an outstanding game especially on the penalty-kill scoring his second shorthanded goal of the season and fourth of his career. The 6′-3″ 215-pound St. Louis, Missouri native now has 11-8-19 numbers in 25 games this season in Big Ten action, and with eight games remaining in the 2017-18 regular season, the 19-year-old Wisconsin forward could come close to his career high of 33 points he contributed in his freshman year.

Below is today’s shorthanded as he skates in unmolested for the Badgers second goal of the game and extends his goal streak to three consecutive games.

Frederic and his Wisconsin team get back to work next weekend with two back-to-back contests at home against Penn State. The Badgers are second to last in the Big Ten and are ranked 18th in the USCHO Division 1 Men’s Poll as of 1-15-18 which could have the team go up a couple of ranks with today’s massive win over the University of Notre Dame.

PuckNerd Presents: Bruins PuckRants


By: Spencer Fascetta                                                                            Twitter: @pucknerdhockey

Featuring: Mike Cratty                                                                         Twitter: @mike_cratty

I had Mike Cratty join me for a long-awaited episode of PuckRants, the official PuckNerd podcast. We discussed a myriad of topics, including the recent World Junior Championship Tournament, some Bruins’ prospect talk, and the tire fire that seems to be half of the Atlantic Division. Listen to all the fun yammering on Episode 7 of PuckRants!

Bruins Prospect Update – Week Of Dec. 17th to Dec. 23rd

( Above Photo Credit:  NHL .com )

By: Mark Allred            Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Bruins Prospect Update – Week Of Dec. 17th to Dec. 23rd

Providence Bruins – American Hockey League

The Providence team played in two games last week to continue the season-long eight-game road trip. The first game of the week had the B’s in Hartford, Connecticut on Friday night December 22nd against the Hartford Wolf Pack and unfortunately lost 6-4 suffering their second loss of the month-long stretch on the road.

B’s goals scored by Justin Hickman who got his second of the season which went unassisted at 12:31 of the first period to tie the game at one apiece. Recently demoted Matt Beleskey got his first goal in his second game with Providence at the 14:52 mark of the first period assisted by Ben Marshall and Josh Hennessy. The only B’s goal in the second period came from Kenny Agostino who scored his 8th of the year just seconds into the middle frame assisted by Colton Hargrove and Austin Czarnik. The final B’s goal and second of the game came from Hickman who scored his third of the year assisted by Emil Johansson and Jesse Gabrielle who got his third point in 20 games and its currently on a career-high two-game-point streak.

Zane McIntyre stopped 34 of 39 shots and got his sixth loss of the 2017-18 campaign. Zane has not been himself in his last three games after going on a five-game winning streak to start the month of December. In the previous three appearances, he has a goals-against-average of 4.63, and .856 save percentage.

The second game of last week was on Saturday night December 23rd when the B’s traveled to Springfield, Massachusetts to play the Thunderbirds before taking the Christmas holiday break. This was an entertaining game between the two clubs that started quickly with the B’s getting on the board first in the opening period with a goal from Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson his 9th of the season assisted by Kenny Agostino at the 1:09 mark of the opening frame.

The Thunderbirds would tie the score at one a little over two minutes later on the power-play. This was a defensive and goaltending juggernaut as both teams failed to put the biscuit in the basket for the next 40 minutes of action leading into the overtone frame where neither team could end the game. JFK got the shootout winner who gave the Providence team the 2-1 victory at the MassMutual Center. Goaltender on Loan Jordan Binnington got the win stopping 23 of 24 Thunderbirds shots and now has a season record of 8-1-1 with a 1.65 goals-against-average and .936 save percentage since joining the Providence team from the St. Louis Blues organization at the beginning of this season.

The Next games for the Providence team is on Wednesday, December 27th when the B’s play game six of the current road trip against the Utica Comets. To finish the long trip the B’s play Utica one more time on Friday, December 29th and they finish with a contest in Belleville, Ontario against the new AHL franchise the Belleville Senators.

Providence is currently in third place in the Atlantic Division when it comes to points (40) and has a record of 19-8-2-0 and is 8-2-0-0 in their last ten games.

Atlanta Gladiators – East Coast Hockey League

The Gladiators played in three games last week and Bruins 2015 third round goaltending prospect Dan Vladar appeared in one of those contests with a victory on Friday night December, 22nd at the North Charleston Coliseum against the South Carolina Stingrays. Vladar helped his Glads team to a 4-3 regulation win while stopping 28 of 31 Stingrays shots for his 7th win of the 2017-18 season. The big, athletic netminder is now 7-7-1-0 on the year with a 3.00 goals-against-average, and .907 save percentage in 16 games played for the Premier “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the NHL Bruins.

Due to the Holidays, there were no Bruins prospect games last week in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League, or the NCAA collegiate levels. Most of the leagues mentioned will be back in operation starting on December, 27th.

2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships

This years event will be hosted in Buffalo, New York in two different locations to maximize the number of games played during the week-long event. Games will be played at the KeyBank Center and the HarborCenter with one game being played outdoors at the New Era Field in Orchard Park,. New York featuring team Canada and team USA on December, 29th.

Boston Bruins prospects participating in this year event are defenseman Urho Vaakanainen and forward Joona Koppanen both of Team Finland. Goaltender Jeremy Swayman, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, and forward Trent Frederic all playing for Team USA. Forward Oskar Steen of Team Sweden rounds out the B’s young players involved in this year’s festivities.

2018 World Junior Championship Will Feature Plenty Of Bruins Prospects

(Photo Credit: Rena Laverty: Rena Laverty Photography & Design)

By Mike Cratty                                                    Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

The 2018 U20 World Junior Championship will get underway starting Monday, Dec. 26 in Buffalo, New York. Team USA won the tournament last year in dramatic fashion over team Canada in a shootout. The World Junior Championship is a great tournament every year – one that is worth gluing your eyes too as you watch some young, highly-touted players showcase their skills. The two groups in the tournament are comprised of five teams. Those groups, as well as the schedule for the whole tournament, can be found below.

Group A: USA, Canada, Denmark, Slovakia, Finland.

Group B: Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus.


Six Boston Bruins prospects will be in action throughout the tournament and will all be worth watching. These prospects are featured three of the 10 teams; USA with Trent Frederic, Ryan Lindgren, and Jeremy Swayman, Finland with Urho Vaakanainen and Joona Koppanen, and Sweden with Oskar Steen.

USA: Trent Frederic

The 29th overall pick in 2016, Trent Frederic is having yet another solid season at Wisconsin, this time as a sophomore assistant captain. Frederic’s 16 points in 21 games have him in second place on the Wisconsin Badgers, two points behind senior forward Ryan Wagner.

Something very noticeable about Frederic’s game is his composure and maturity on the ice. His calm, intelligent hockey mind allows him to make smart plays with smoothness in his stride, making things happen in all three zones. In his first go-around in the world juniors, Frederic will be looked to in order to help secure back-to-back tournament victories for the United States.

USA: Ryan Lindgren

At 49th overall in 2016, 20 picks after Frederic came Ryan Lindgren, who will wear an “A” on his sweater throughout the tournament, as he does at the University of Minnesota. Through the first 20 games of his sophomore season at Minnesota, Lindgren has scored two goals and added two assists. This will mark Lindgren’s second world junior tournament with team USA. Last year, he tallied an assist in seven games en route to a shiny gold medal,

Although he isn’t known to put up prolific offensive stats, Lindgren boasts a rigidly defensive game, awareness with and without the puck, and solid skating ability. The United States goaltenders have comfort in knowing Lindgren will be there to clear opponents out of their faces.

USA: Jeremy Swayman

The third Bruins prospect on Team USA is Jeremy Swayman. Drafted just this past summer, 111th overall, Swayman has already taken the role of starting goaltender at the University of Maine of Hockey East in the NCAA. A good friend of the Black N’ Gold team, Drew Johnson of the Hockey Writers, has been all over it when it comes to Jeremy Swayman. Just a glimpse of Drew’s praise for the young goaltender is given when talking about an incredible weekend Swayman put together earlier in the month.

With Jake Oettinger and Joe Woll in the goaltending mix as returners to the team, it is uncertain how much playing time Swayman will receive. Regardless, learning from fellow talented Hockey East goaltenders in Oettinger (BU) and Woll (BC). Swayman carries a 7-3-1 record with a 2.58 GAA and .927 save percentage for the Maine Black Bears heading into Christmas. It’s worth noting that Swayman holds the nation’s eighth-best save percentage, amongst goalies who have played at least 33 percent of their team’s total minutes. Pretty impressive for a freshman.

Finland: Urho Vaakanainen

The most recent of Don Sweeney’s first-round pick’s, specifically 18th overall in 2017, will return for his second World Junior Championship. Likened to that of Scott Niedermayer, Vaakanainen is an excellent skater who makes smart decisions with the puck. Spending his first season with SaiPa of the Liiga, Urho has a goal and three assists in 23 games. Like Ryan Lindgren, he’s not a defenseman who will be leaned on to produce offensively, but rather jump start chances with their skating ability and vision.

In his last go-around in the World Juniors, Urho had a goal in six games on a surprising struggling Finnish squad one year removed from taking gold in 2016 on a wheelhouse Finnish team. Finland will boast an experienced blueline this year including five first-round picks on it (Vaakanainen, Juolevi, Heiskanen, Jokiharju, Valimaki). Vaakanainen will be relied on heavily to make Finland a powerful force in the tournament again.

Finland: Joona Koppanen

Joona Koppanen is off to a weird start to his season playing for Ilves Tampere in the Liiga. Moving up a level from playing for Ilves in juniors to playing for the big club has proven to make things tougher for Joona scoring wise. Playing juniors last year, Joona tallied 23 goals, 31 assists and 54 points in just 38 games. Since being loaned from his junior team to the big club, he has yet to tally a goal but has eight assists in 24 games. The stats show that this may be an adjustment year for the young Finn, which isn’t a bad thing for his development in the long run.

Craziness aside, Joona is an intriguing late-round prospect, 135th overall in 2016, with a daunting 6-foot-5 frame. He skates well for someone of his size, uses his frame effectively and has solid offensive tools. A big guy like him playing amongst a talented Finnish team could produce more great results for Joona in his first go-around in the U20 tournament.

Sweden: Oskar Steen

Oskar Steen, drafted 165th in 2016, boasts some of the best speed and acceleration in the Bruins’ prospect core. An undersized player who can play center and wing that turned some heads at Bruins prospect development camp this summer.

Oskar is adjusting to new surroundings in his first SHL season for Färjestad BK this year. In 28 games, he has scored three goals and added two assists in a year that will be a feeling out process where he’ll have to earn his keep. Tons of points shouldn’t always be expected in those types of years. Not only does Steen show great speed and acceleration, he shows a great desire to have the puck on his stick often, as well as a pretty decent wrist shot. His speed and offensive mind will certainly help within a dynamic, highly skilled Swedish U20 team.

The World Juniors come the day after Christmas so the gifts just keep on giving. Keep an eye on some Bruins prospects playing important roles and enjoy this fantastic tournament. Happy holidays.

Bruins Prospects Added To USA Hockey Preliminary Roster

( Above Photo Credit:  Team USA Hockey – Sports Engine )

By: Mark Allred               Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The USA Hockey headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado announced today that the preliminary roster for the 2018 U.S. National Junior team has been released and three Boston Bruins prospects have been added. The 2018 IIHF World Junior  U20 Championships will play its 42nd annual tournament and the second time host Buffalo, New York will house the festivities. The Tournament will go on from December 26, 2017, to January 5, 2017, from three locations which include the HarborCenter, KeyBank Center and an outdoor final at New Era Field at Orchard Park the home of the National Football Leagues Buffalo Bills.

The ten team tournament will consist of participating countries that are split into two groups. Group “A” with have Canada, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, and host United States while group “B” will have Belarus, Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland. Last season the United States won the 2017 tournament with a 5-4 shootout victory over Canada at a sold-out Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.

Below are highlights of the above mentioned 2017 WJC if you missed the action almost a year ago.

Bruins Prospects Added

Trent Frederic – University of Wisconsin

The 6′-2″ 203-pound center hails from St, Louis, Missouri which is starting to become a hotbed for young talent in the mid-west. Selected by the Bruins in the first round (#29 Overall) of the 2016 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the talented forward is currently in his sophomore year with his Badgers team and has 16 points in 19 games played in the Big-10 Conference.

After successful campaigns on the U-17 and U-18 U.S. National Teams in the United States Hockey League which is a pre-collegiate developmental program, he would go on to commit at Wisconsin and the close tutelage of head coach and former NHL’er Tony Granato who will be Trent’s bench boss for the upcoming 2018 WJC tourney. Although missing some due to an upper-body injury during his freshman season, the then 18-year-old managed to have a great season posting 33 points in 30 games in 2016-17.

Ryan Lindgren – University of Minnesota

Another U.S. National Team USHL alumni who joined the NCAA College Hockey ranks last season, Bruins prospect, Ryan Lindgren was a solid addition to the Gophers program as a freshman last season and although his offensive numbers are not going to blow you away, his shutdown style will. The 6′-0″ 198-pound Minnesota native has a strong ability to use his body effective whether moving opposing players trying to create havoc in front of his goaltender or with bone-crunching hits to those who dare cross the blueline offensively.

This, his sophomore year the well-balanced wrecking ball is on pace to have a better year on the stat sheet with 2-2-4 numbers in18 games which is close to the half-way point of the 2017-18 NCAA Big-10 regular season. Lindgren ended his National Championship hopes last season in the final game of the 2016-17 regular season when he crashed into the boards with a season-ending injury that would later require surgery.  Lindgren was selected by the Bruins in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Jeremy Swayman – University of Maine

After having a decent 2016-17 year with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede posting a 7-18-3 record with a 2.90 goals-against-average and .914 save percentage the Anchorage, Alaska native was selected in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 Entry Draft and was a commit to play a long way from home with the Black Bears team.  The 6′-2″ 187-pound 2017-18 freshman goaltender has played well enough to earn more time in the crease than Rob McGovern who’s been with the Black Bear team for the last three seasons and was a Bruins development camp invite in early July of 2017.

This season with the Black Bears Swayman has a record of 5-3-1, a GAA of 2.38, and a .925 save% and has played very well and gaining the trust of head coach Red Gendron who’s entering his fifth season as the Maine, bench boss. I’d imagine Swayman will play a majority of the remaining games as former Maine alumni goaltender Mike Dunham will be making his rounds visiting and advising the developing youth in the Bruins organization crease until Swayman leaves for a pro job or remains until he gets his degree.