Bruins Prospects Update 11/09/15

With only one game on the Providence schedule, a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver affiliate Utica Comets, there isn’t much in the way of AHL updates this week. Unfortunately for Boston, Alex Khokhlachev suffered an unknown injury to his hand, and per Mark Divver of the Providence Journal is in Boston being seen by a hand specialist to determine the extent of it. The hits just keep on coming. Rugged forward Colton Hargrove got the lone goal of the week down on the farm, his second in eight games this year.

Frank Vatrano is off the list for now while he is up with Boston, but his 10 goals in 10 AHL games served as a nice springboard for his callup to the big club and his first NHL goal against Montreal.

Also injured out in the WHL are 2015 picks Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo, neither of whom played last week.

The NCAA prospects form the bulk of the system nucleus beyond the AHL guys and it was a busy week for them, with Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen and Ryan Fitzgerald all continuing to score for their clubs. Anders Bjork is quietly having a productive sophomore year with the Fighting Irish, with 9 points already in just eight games.

The bigger news in college play this past weekend was Matt Grzelcyk’s return to action after May knee surgery. He scored goals in his first two games for BU this weekend, quite a departure from a year ago, when he went well into 2015 before tallying his first goal.

AHL

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 11 Goals- 4 Assists- 9 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 6

The reported hand injury is something to monitor going forward. With Austin Czarnik still out since game 4 of the new season, the Providence forward depth has taken a hit.

Tommy Cross, D Providence Bruins

GP- 8 Goals- 0 Assists- 7 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 25 +/- -3

Chris Casto, D Providence Bruins

GP- 11 Goals- 0 Assists- 6 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -7

Austin Czarnik, C Providence Bruins

GP- 4 Goals- 1 Assists- 4 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 4

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 6 Goals- 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -4

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 11 Goals- 5 Assists- 0 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -4

Colton Hargrove, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 8 Goals- 2 Assists- 1 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -2

Hargrove scored the lone goal of the week for Providence, which came in a 5-1 loss to Utica.

Malcolm Subban, G Providence Bruins

GP- 3 MIN- 179 GA- 13 GAA- 4.35 Spct- ..847 W- 1 L-2

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 6 MIN- 362 GA- 20 GAA- 3.31 Spct- .882 W- 2 L- 2 OTL- 2

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 18 Goals- 10 Assists- 4 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -6

Senyshyn’s one goal scored this past week was a memorable one against Saginaw Spirit. Be sure to check out the video on the update I posted here on him Saturday.

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 17 Goals- 3 Assists- 21 Points- 24 Penalty Min- 34 +/- +19

Quiet week for Lauzon, who was held pointless in two games.

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 13 Goals- 3 Assists- 4 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 20 +/- 1

Zboril had a goal and assist this week, plus some roughing penalties and also got into the plus column.

WHL

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 14 Goals- 6 Assists- 14 Points- 20 Penalty Min- 13 +/- -3

DeBrusk took a hard shot to the groin area and has not played since.

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 16 Goals- 11 Assists- 4 Points- 15 Penalty Min- 25 +/- 2

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 11 Goals- 1 Assists- 7 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 32 +/- -3

Carlo is injured and did not play this past week.

NCAA

Ryan Fitzgerald, F Boston College Eagles (HEA)

GP- 8 Goals- 5 Assists- 4 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 27 +/- 11

Fitzgerald returned to action and scored a goal after sitting out a game for a match/DQ penalty last week, which carries an automatic one-game suspension. If nothing else- Fitzgerald is scrappy and intense- plays with a real chip on his shoulder.

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 8 Goals- 2 Assists- 7 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 9

The 2014 fifth-rounder is tied for the team lead in scoring as a sophomore after posting 22 points in all of last season.

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 8 Goals- 4 Assists- 4 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 5

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C Boston University Terriers (HEA)

GP- 8 Goals- 1 Assists- 6 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 1

Ryan Donato, C Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 4 Goals- 3 Assists- 2 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 4

The 2014 second-rounder is off to a great start at Harvard. He posted his first two-goal game (one was an empty-netter) against Brown University in a win over the weekend.

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

GP- 10 Goals- 1 Assists- 3 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -2

Matt Grzelcyk, D Boston University (HEA)

GP-2 Goals 2 Assists- 1 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 2

The Terriers got a big boost with the return of their captain, who tallied a goal and assist in his first game of the season Friday night in a win over Northeastern.

Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 9 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 13 +/- -9

Wiley Sherman, D Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 4 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 3

The 6-foot-6 defenseman is still looking for his first NCAA goal, but is off to a solid statistical start with two helpers in his first four games after posting three in 37 games as a freshman.

Sean Kuraly, C Miami University (NCHC)

GP- 10 Goals- 0 Assists- 3 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 10 +/- -4

Rob O’Gara, D Yale University (ECAC)

GP- 4 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 0

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (Sweden)

GP- 12 Goals- 3 Assists- 3 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -1

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (Sweden)

GP- 14 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -2

Maxim Chudninov, D St Petersburg SKA (Russia)

GP- 24 Goals- 5 Assists- 4 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 71 +/- -5

USHL

Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls (USHL)

GP- 12 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -3

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago (USHL)

GP- 8 MIN- 469 GA- 19 GAA- 2.43 Spct .907 SO- 1; 1-4-2

Koko down, Frankie Vatrano up as forward carousel goes round and round

The Boston Bruins announced today that Alex Khokhlachev has been returned to Providence of the AHL, with left wing Frank Vatrano summoned to Montreal for what could be the Bay Stater’s first career NHL appearance against the Canadiens on Saturday night.

Let me ask you- could achieving the dream of reaching the NHL get any better for a kid who grew up in Western Mass. cheering for the Bruins than by getting to take on the hated les Habitants?

Some folks are none too happy about Koko being relegated, but I have to be honest- I get that he’s played a total of 6 NHL games without ideal ice time, but the player I’ve seen do some impressive things at the AHL level is not the passive, tentative, mediocre forward I’ve seen for limited stretches in Boston. There is no doubt he’s skilled, but there seems to be an element of fans out there who so desperately want him to succeed that they’ve created this illusion of strong performances with the Bruins, and I don’t really see it at all. He’s just kind of been there- neither making egregious errors, but not asserting himself in particularly effective fashion, either.

Most on Twitter who engage me about it seem to want to blame Claude Julien once again- as some kind of Hobgoblin to young players- a draconian taskmaster who employs a system that only the Chris Kellys and Gregory Campbells of the world can figure out. I think at some point- you have to raise expectations for a player as talented as Koko is, and its okay to ask- “where’s the beef?” when he comes up and flits around the ice but doesn’t get a whole lot accomplished.

Too harsh on the guy? Perhaps. As was said before- we’ve seen a completely different, more assertive Koko down in the AHL. He’s capable of more.

So, Frankie Vatrano, Bruins nation turns its lonely eyes to you. The wicked shot with an instantaneous release, pinpoint accuracy and heaviness that belies his lack of height (though he is built like a bowling ball with a thick, powerful trunk) is already well documented. What isn’t as well known to B’s fans is the natural instincts/smarts, the willingness to hustle over all 200 feet of the ice even if the innate ability to play a defensive game aren’t there and the overall body of work still needs to improve.

With 10 goals in 10 AHL games, Vatrano is getting his first shot at the big show. We knew it was coming at some point sooner rather than later, but just a month into the regular season? I’d say that’s worth raising a glass.

As for Koko- it’s not over. He needs to go down, keep scoring and working hard. Many of us thought we had seen the end of Ryan Spooner in a Boston uniform as late as mid-February of this year, and he managed to establish himself. It’s not all lollipops and unicorns, but Khokhlachev could do the same thing if he’s willing to keep his eye on the prize and not give into his frustration by going through the motions or demanding a trade. It’s okay to be disappointed if you’re him, but at 22, it’s doubtful Boston has given up on Koko- he just hasn’t given them a reason to keep him in the mix. For now. The real test is to see how he reacts to this latest setback. We’ll soon learn how he spells c-h-a-r-a-c-t-e-r.

Until then, Vatrano is living the dream- from undrafted free agent snub to Boston Bruin in just under eight months with the offseason thrown into the middle. That’s not too shabby. And while he could soon find himself back down on the farm as well, he’s earned this shot…with that shot of his.

Scouting Post Bruins Prospect of the Month October: Frank Vatrano

No surprise here, folks. Providence Bruins left winger Frank Vatrano is the inaugural winner of Scouting Post B’s Prospect of the Month designation for October.

In just 31 days, Vatrano managed to post a four-goal game and a couple of two-goal efforts along the way to posting 10 goals and 12 points in his first 10 AHL contests of the 2015-16 season. The East Longmeadow, Mass. product signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent after posting 18 goals in 36 games with the UMass Minutemen in his first full season a year ago.

Here’s a UMass-produced YouTube video that shows the personal side of Vatrano and even takes you behind the scenes of the famous Antonio’s Pizza & Grinders- his family’s business where you can see his parents hard at work.

The Western Massachusetts hockey sensation left home at 16 to play for the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he was a member of the 2012 Under-18 World Champion gold medal-winning squad. Despite putting up some impressive numbers in his draft season, none of the 30 NHL clubs took a chance on him, and after his original commitment to Boston College fell through for academic reasons, Vatrano spent some time in the EJHL with the Boston Jr. Bruins.

He spent the 2013-14 (1 game) and 2014-15 NCAA seasons in Amherst, and jumped at the chance to sign with his favorite team, the Bruins. He skated in five AHL games last spring, scoring his first pro goal during the span.

Over the summer, Vatrano re-dedicated himself to conditioning, shedding 15 pounds and improving his cardiovascular endurance. Now playing at about 200 pounds, he’s quicker, faster and able to take longer shifts for sustained offensive pressure. His wicked shot is as dangerous as it always has been, and AHL goaltenders have had to find that out the hard way, as Vatrano’s natural nose for the net has paid immediate dividends. Here’s some hard evidence of his goal scoring prowess (4 goals against the Portland Pirates in the second game of the season), compliments of the Providence Bruins:

Given Boston’s hot offensive start, there isn’t a reason to think the B’s will bring him up to the big club in the immediate future unless there are some injuries or the scoring well runs dry. He’s got some things to address in terms of his 200-foot game and rounding out his skill set in order to be better prepared to meet the requirements of playing at the highest level. However, with his impressive start and natural ability to finish, fans shouldn’t have to wait much longer before seeing Vatrano make his NHL debut. He’s shown some resilience to keep the goals going after the early loss of center Austin Czarnik to injury just four games into the schedule. The duo had showed some impressive chemistry together going back to the brief stint in Providence to finish out the 14-15 season, but Vatrano has skated well with Alex Khokhlachev, who moved into the pivot position from the right wing while Czarnik has been out.

Honorable mention for Prospect of the Month honors: Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) with 3 goals and 24 points in just 15 games, the 2015 second-round selection has been boss in the early going, playing upwards of 31 minutes a night in all situations for the league’s second-most lethal offense. He’s not a flashy coast-to-coast kind of scoring defender, but keeps the play in front of him and gets many of his assists by working a heavy, accurate shot to the front of the net or finding open teammates in prime scoring positions.

Lauzon could have very easily been the top guy for October, but when it comes to Vatrano’s goal scoring and the fact that he’s doing it at the pro level versus major junior, I had to give the slight nod to Vatrano in a very close race. From the looks of it, Lauzon will continue to rack up the points if he can stay healthy, as he is very clearly the Huskies’ top defenseman and one of the team’s true go-to guys.

 

Bruins prospects update 11/02/15

Zach Senyshyn (Photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

Zach Senyshyn (Photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

The Bruins got some good production this week from prospects at all levels.

Zach Senyshyn picked up a hot stick after the scoring well had run dry for him the previous few weeks, while Frankie Vatrano continued his scoring ways to push his AHL-leading total to 10 goals in the young season. At that rate, we will see him make his NHL debut sooner rather than later. Alex Khokhlachev also tallied a couple of markers in Friday’s ‘Pink the Rink’ game to stay atop the team in scoring.

Malcolm Subban returned from lower body injury to post a 1-1 record, winning his first start. Zane McIntyre played well against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Halloween night, but fell in overtime on a goal by Brian Gibbons in a 2-1 contest.

Jakub Zboril got two goals over the weekend, his first scores of the season after a tough start dogged with some criticism of his attitude. This will be something to watch going forward, but the talented Czech appears to be finding his offensive groove. Jeremy Lauzon cooled off a bit (if you call four assists in three games cooling off, that is) from his blistering start, but is still playing a ton of minutes for RN’s high-powered team.

Jake DeBrusk keeps motoring along with a four-point week (1g, 3 a) to push his point total to 20 in 13 games. Jesse Gabrielle was held off the score sheet after being named WHL Player of the Week seven days ago.

In college, Ryan Donato scored his first NCAA in a Harvard win over Dartmouth, as the Crimson went 2-0 to open the ECAC season. Danton Heinen had a brilliant 3-point (2 goals) night against Boston College on Friday, but lost the war, as a late third period goal sent DU down in defeat.

AHL

Frank Vatrano, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 10 Goals- 10 Assists- 2 Points- 12 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -1

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 10  Goals- 4 Assists- 9 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 5

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -1

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 10 Goals- 5 Assists- 0 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -4

Tommy Cross, D Providence Bruins

GP- 7 Goals- 0 Assists- 7 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -1

Anton Blidh, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 10 Goals- 3 Assists- 0 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -1

Colton Hargrove, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 7 Goals- 1 Assists- 1 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -2

Malcolm Subban, G Providence Bruins

GP- 2  MIN- 119 GA- 8 GAA- 4.02 Spct- ..871 W- 1 L-1

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 6 MIN- 362 GA- 20 GAA- 3.31 Spct– .882 W- 2 L- 2 OTL- 2

Providence center Austin Czarnik is still out of the lineup since taking a hard hit in the fourth game of the season.

 

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 15 Goals- 9 Assists- 3 Points- 12 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -6

Senyshyn scored three goals in three games last week.

 

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 15 Goals- 3 Assists- 21 Points- 24 Penalty Min- 28 +/- +18

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 10 Goals- 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 16 +/- 0

Zboril got off the scoring schneid- his first of the season came in a loss to Rouyn-Noranda (Lauzon tallied an assist in his club’s win), a low bullet-fast wrist shot from out near the point.

 

WHL

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 13 Goals- 6 Assists- 14 Points- 20 Penalty Min- 13 +/- -3

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 13 Goals- 10 Assists- 2 Points- 12 Penalty Min- 23 +/- 3

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 11 Goals- 1 Assists- 7 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 32 +/- -3

Carlo is injured and did not play this past week.

 

NCAA

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C Boston University Terriers (HEA)

GP- 6 Goals- 1 Assists- 5 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -2

One NHL scout from a Western Conference team at the BU-Merrimack game on Friday texted me to say that JFK was “the best player on the ice”, passing on that the Bruins scouts really might have outdone themselves with the picks the team got from Calgary- Zach Senyshyn, JFK and Jeremy Lauzon.

Ryan Fitzgerald, F Boston College Eagles (HEA)

GP- 6 Goals- 3 Assists- 3 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 10 +/- 6

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 6 Goals- 3 Assists- 2 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 2

Heinen scored a pair of impressive goals against BC before his team dropped a Saturday contest to BU.

Ryan Donato, LW/C Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 2 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3  Penalty Min- 2 +/- 2

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

GP- 8 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -3

Rob O’Gara, D Yale University (ECAC)

GP- 2 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 0

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 6 Goals- 1 Assists- 4 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 6

Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 7 Goals- 1 Assists- 1 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 11 +/- -7

After going without a goal in the 2014-15 season (24 assists) in 36 games, Benning has already tallied once and should be one of the Huskies’ top players as a junior.

Sean Kuraly, C Miami University (NCHC)

GP- 8 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 10 +/- -5

Brutal offensive start for the Redhawks captain, who was acquired last June for Martin Jones. Far more was expected of the senior and 2011 Sharks pick, but there is time for him to get his season on track, but for someone who was expected to build on his 19 goals from a year ago, that’s going to be a tough proposition.

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (Sweden)

GP- 12 Goals- 3 Assists- 3 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -1

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (Sweden)

GP- 14 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -2

Maxim Chudninov, D St Petersburg SKA (Russia)

GP- 24 Goals- 5 Assists- 4 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 71 +/- -5

 

USHL

Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls (USHL)

GP- 10 Goals- 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -2

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago (USHL)

GP- 7 MIN- 404 GA- 16 GAA- 2.38 Spct .908 SO- 1;  1-4-1

 

 

Bruins Prospects Update 10/26/15

With the final weekend in October now in the books, the Providence B’s are getting a boost from Seth Griffith, who tallied a trio of assists in his first AHL game of the year Friday before adding a goal on Sunday in a loss to Lehigh Valley. A lower body injury (suffered on a questionable hit from Devils forward Tuomo Ruuttu) derailed his hopes of making the big club out of camp, but if he continues producing on the farm, he could be brought back up. However, with the Boston offense clicking right now, that’s a long shot unless someone else gets knocked out of the lineup.

Frank Vatrano scored another goal to keep pace at more than a goal per game, but Austin Czarnik remained out since taking a big hit in the open ice more than a week ago- he’s missed the last three Providence games.

In the major junior ranks, second-round defenseman Jeremy Lauzon continues to produce. Even more impressive than the points, has been his ability to log 30 minutes of ice time a night while playing a mobile, smart defense. He looks like an all-around player at this point who was terrific value where the Bruins got him as the third of three Calgary picks acquired for Dougie Hamilton on draft weekend. It was also a good week for the WHL forwards Jake DeBrusk and Jesse Gabrielle.

AHL

Frank Vatrano, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 7  Goals- 8  Assists- 2 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 4 +/-  -1

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 7  Goals- 2  Assists- 9 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 0  +/- 2

Four assists over the week put him on top of the Providence Bruins scoring list, as Koko continues to make his case for NHL time in the best possible way: with production.

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 2 Goals- 1 Assists- 3 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 0

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 7 Goals- 4 Assists- 0 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -3

Former Swift Current captain tallied a pair of goals in Providence’s Friday night victory.

 Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 6  MIN- 362 GA- 20 GAA- 3.31  Spct- .882 W- 2 L- 2 OTL- 2

With the exception of one game, McIntyre has started every other contest for Providence with mixed results.

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 12 Goals- 6 Assists- 3 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -6

No points for Senyshyn, who has cooled off after a hot start with six goals in his first 7 OHL games.

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 12 Goals- 3 Assists- 17 Points- 20 Penalty Min- 22 +/- +13

With five assists in three games last week, the Val-d’Or native just keeps on rolling. His point totals are something a forward would be proud of. He’s a rugged, capable defender as well- which makes his early scoring all the more compelling. This blog said back in July that Lauzon might be the best of the three defenders taken in 2015, with the first two (Jakub Zboril, Brandon Carlo) grabbing more of the attention and spotlight. Both of them have already signed ELCs with the B’s, but the team would be wise to lock up Lauzon as well.

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 8 Goals- 0 Assists- 3 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 8 +/- 0

WHL

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 11 Goals- 5 Assists- 11 Points- 16 Penalty Min- 13 +/- -3

The goals have not been as plentiful in the early going for DeBrusk, but he’s setting them up from the left wing side to good effect. He’s the kind of player who doesn’t wow you with his skill when he’s out there, but then he’ll make an impressive pass or shot and you’re reminded that he was the 14th overall pick in last June’s draft.

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 10 Goals- 6 Assists- 3 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -5

Senyshyn only had an assist in a couple of games this week after tallying six goals in his first eight contests. Part of that has to do with the offensive struggles of teammate Blake Speers.

WHL

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 8 Goals- 4 Assists- 7 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 9 +/- -4

After scoring goals in each of his first two WHL games after being returned from Boston, DeBrusk did not find the back of the net in three contests this week. He did put up a couple of assists, and while his point totals aren’t anything to write home about, the focal point of Swift Current’s offense will pick up the scoring pace.

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 11 Goals- 9 Assists- 2 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 23 +/- 4

Gabrielle went on a tear since the last update, firing home five goals and throwing in a fight for good measure. He’s getting on the radar as someone who has a higher-level talent base than where he was drafted in the mid-fourth round and will have to guard against undisciplined play.

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 11 Goals- 1 Assists- 7 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 32 +/- -3

NCAA

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C Boston University Terriers (HEA)

GP- 3 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 1

The impressive freshman notched his first multi-point game of his collegiate career with a goal and helper over the weekend.

Ryan Fitzgerald, F Boston College Eagles (HEA)

GP- 5 Goals- 3 Assists- 2 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 8 +/- 5

The 2013 fourth-rounder is off to another solid start with the Eagles in his junior season. He doesn’t possess ideal size, but he’s instinctive and adept in all three zones.

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 4 Goals- 1 Assists- 1 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 10 +/- -1

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

GP- 6 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -4

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 4 Goals- 0 Assists- 4 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 2

Boston Bruins prospect update 10/19/2015

Jeremy Lauzon has continued his excellent start to the 2015-16 season, scoring 15 points in just 9 games for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies…and he’s a defenseman! Frank Vatrano proved he’s human when he didn’t score in his last game, but he’s still clicking along at a great pace- we’ll see if he can keep it up after losing center Austin Czarnik to injury.
AHL
Frank Vatrano, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 5  Goals- 7  Assists- 1 Points- 8  Penalty Min- 0 +/-  -1

Vatrano continued his early season assault, scoring in two more games last week before the Bridgeport Sound Tigers held him off the score sheet in a 3-1 loss for Providence on the road Saturday. It was a tough night for the line, which was a minus unit, and wasn’t able to generate much in the way of sustained offensive pressure. Vatrano did net a nifty goal against the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday night by going to the net and zipping a one-timer that deflected over to him off an initial point shot past goaltender Magnus Hellberg for his seventh goal of the young season. What was far more impressive in that game, however, was how fast Vatrano got back on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break after defenseman Ben Youds got caught on a bad pinch. The scoring is what Vatrano is known for, but when he shows such hustle and dedication on the back check, you know he’s not just impressing the coaches but the management types who decide who comes up to Boston and who stays on the farm when injuries create opportunities. File that one away.

Austin Czarnik, C/RW Providence Bruins

GP- 4 Goals- 1 Assists- 4 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 6  +/- 4

Injured Friday night, the loss of the explosive little center necessitated a re-wickering of the top line, with Koko moving back to the middle and Zack Phillips moving over to the right wing. The injury is not expected to keep him out all that long, but the P-Bruins missed his pure speed and high-end creativity for much of the Hartford contest and against Bridgeport.

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 5  Goals- 2  Assists- 5 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 0  +/- 2

The skilled Russian is playing like he wants a recall to Boston, and it has showed in the early going. He made some hay playing on the right side with Czarnik and Vatrano but is now back at center in the interim. The always excellent Mark Divver has a good piece over at the Providence Journal worth reading with quotes from John Ferguson Jr. and Bruce Cassidy about Koko’s potential future at wing in the NHL.

Linus Arnesson, D Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -1

Boston’s top pick in 2013 (60th overall in the second round after the B’s gave up their first-rounder for Jaromir Jagr) is playing the type of hockey he’s known for- steady, unspectacular defense. He’s a smooth skater who is particularly good in puck retrieval, but I continue to look at his offensive zone play and don’t see anything that leads me to believe he’ll be anything other than a solid defense-first middle pairing defender at the NHL level. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, either- but if anyone is expecting him to put up points and push the pace of a game when he eventually arrives in Boston (and he will- it’s just a matter of time) will be left wanting more.
Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 2 Assists- 0 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -3

Former Swift Current Broncos captain has looked like the gritty, two-way pivot he was as an undrafted diamond-in-the-rough out of the WHL. He’s quick and opportunistic; goes into the greasy areas of the ice, competes hard on pucks and has even found the back of the net a couple of times in the early going to balance out some scoring that was being done primarily by the top unit. He’s going to have a tough time cracking the Boston lineup at center, but for now- he’s precisely where he needs to be and making an impact, which is good news.

 Zack Phillips, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 1 Assists- 1 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -1

Former 1st-round selection of the Minnesota Wild in 2011 (28th overall) just doesn’t have the look of a legitimate NHL prospect right now. He’s an average skater and while he sees the ice well and handles the puck effectively enough, the decisions aren’t there yet. You don’t want to give up on a guy who is just 23, but you can understand why the Wild gave up Phillips in the deal last spring for Boston’s unsuccessful early pick in Jared Knight. Phillips has talent, but he’s having a tough time putting it together.
Noel Acciari, C Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -2

The hometown hockey hero registered his first point while skating on the Providence third line flanked by wingers Anton Blidh and Anthony Camara– an industrial-grade sandpaper line. The line has not produced much in the way of offense this season, but they are engaged and on one shift against Hartford, I think I saw them throw more hits than the parent club did in the entire game against Tampa Bay early last week.
Anthony Camara, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 5 +/- -1

 

Anton Blidh, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 0 Assists- 0 Points- 0 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -3

 
Chris Casto, D Providence Bruins

GP- 5 Goals- 0 Assists- 3 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -3
Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 4  MIN- 242 GA- 15 GAA- 3.72  Spct- .873

With Malcolm Suban’s still out, McIntyre had a tough couple of games this past week, giving up 9 goals to go 0-1-1 and raise/lower his GAA and save percentage totals considerably. This is the type of valley that a young goaltender will go through, but Cassidy put Matt Ginn into the Saturday game against Bridgeport, and the former Holy Cross standout played well in the loss.
OHL
Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 10 Goals- 6 Assists- 3 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -5

Senyshyn only had an assist in a couple of games this week after tallying six goals in his first eight contests. Part of that has to do with the offensive struggles of teammate (and Devils prospect) Blake Speers. The one thing about Senyshyn when you watch him is this: he’s noticeable…keeps his feet moving and generates scoring chances with his speed and ability to use his size to get to the front of the net. He had a nice helper on Speers’ first goal of the year, making a bullet pass off the rush.
QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 9 Goals- 3 Assists- 12 Points- 15 Penalty Min- 16 +/- +9

Ho-hum…another week, another productive stint for the defenseman, whose stats line is one you would think belongs to Jakub Zboril. Lauzon is a smart defender who is playing with a ton of confidence right now and logging premo minutes- up over 30 per game in all situations.
Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 5 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -1

Zboril finally got on board with a helper last week, but he also had to sit out with a one-game suspension for being overly exuberant in the application of his defensive responsibilities. Translation: he cross-checked an opponent to the point of ejection and the supplemental discipline meted out by the QMJHL. It once again reinforces the fact that Zboril is an atypical European player- he brings a nastiness and physicality to the ice with him (though not always in consistent fashion) and just needs to make sure that he channels that in the right way so as not to put his team behind the 8-ball unnecessarily.

WHL
Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 8 Goals- 4 Assists- 7 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 9 +/- -4

Productive week for DeBrusk, who posted a couple of goals and finished out with a pair of assists in his team’s game against Lethbridge on Saturday night. Having watched a bit of DeBrusk going back to Team Canada’s WJC evaluation camp, one thing has become standard to me: he’s not one of those players who grabs your attention. He skates up and down the wing, slips through defenses and goes stretches where you don’t notice him until a goal gets scored and he was in on it. That’s going to lead to criticisms from those who don’t see the nuances in his game, but as long as DeBrusk keeps producing, you can’t make too much of an issue.
Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 7 Goals- 4 Assists- 0 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 16 +/- 0

Did not see Gabrielle in action last week- he did not add to his scoring totals. Have by-appointment viewings to check him out.
Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 8 Goals- 1 Assists- 6 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 23 +/- -3

 

USHL
Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls Stampede

GP- 7 Goals- 2 Assists- 1 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 1
Daniel Vladar, G Chicago Steel

GP- 4 Min- 218 GA- 9 GAA- 2.48 Spct- .910 W-L-T: 1-2-0

 

NCAA

 Danton Heinen, LW University of Denver (NCHC)

GP- 4 Goals- 1 Assists- 1 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 0

Tough weekend against Michigan State- no points for Heinen, who is off to a slower start this season after posting a goal and assist in DU’s first game of the year vs. Air Force but has not found the score sheet since.
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C Boston University (HEA)

GP- 2 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 1

Smooth, intelligent freshman looks like a keeper after BU decisively defeated the moribund Wisconsin Badgers in a two-game series. Spoke to one NHL scout in attendance who said that JFK is like a “Patrice Bergeron-lite- doesn’t wow you with his skating but is always around the puck and makes the right decisions with it.”
Ryan Fitzgerald, C Boston College (HEA)

GP- 3 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 3
Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 2 Goals- 0 Assists- 3 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 2
Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 3 Goals- 0 Assists- 0 Points- 0 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -4
Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big 10)

GP- 4 Goals- 0 Assists- 0 Points- 0 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -4

Looks like another tough year for Wisconsin, and Hughes, who looked like a solid value in the sixth round. Goals are not going to come easily for this team, so Hughes’ production this season (or lack thereof) will require context.
Europe
Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (SHL)

GP- 6 Goals- 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 2

 

Maxim Chudinov, D St. Petersburg (KHL)

GP- 20 Goals- 5 Assists- 2 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 65 +/- -6

To quote former NHL goalie Darren Pang- Holy jumpin’- if the database is right, Chudinov racked up 31 penalty minutes since the last update. He might be small, but his reputation as a one who lives on the edge (a nice way of saying someone is a dirty player) endures.

 

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (SHL)

GP- 8 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 10 +/- -1

 

This just in: Frankie Vatrano = legit

Frank Vatrano's UMass Minutemen sweater from 2013-14 (Kirk Luedeke photo)

Frank Vatrano’s UMass Minutemen sweater from 2013-14 (Kirk Luedeke photo)

The torrid start for the one-time UMass Minuteman who signed with Boston as an undrafted free agent last spring is no fluke: Frankie Vatrano can flat-out play hockey.

Although his team fell to the Hartford Wolf Pack in OT (linemate Austin Czarnik took a hooking penalty that HFD forward Adam Tambellini cashed in on), Vatrano had another standout performance.

The AHL’s Player of the Week after five goals (including a four-goal outburst on Sunday vs Portland) in his first two games of the season continued his blistering pace by netting his sixth goal in three contests late in the second period when he drove to the net and put himself in the perfect spot to corral a point shot deflection off a player in front of the net. The puck was on his stick for a split second before he rifled it past Hartford goalie Magnus Hellberg (as an aside- I once had breakfast with young Magnus the morning he was drafted by the Nashville Predators- nice kid).

Back to Vatrano…

We all knew he could shoot the puck. He was the 88th-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting for the 2012 NHL draft, but went unchosen in Pittsburgh (and Newark and Philly after that). For those scoring at home, that’s a solid 4th-round draft grade, but teams were likely scared off by how much extra weight the kid was carrying around. Even when lighting it up for the Boston Jr. Bruins and U.S. NTDP (he didn’t score a ton, but his goals were often memorable snipes), you could see he had that stocky build and scouts behind the scenes talked about him being fat.

Well, it took him a while to get to where he is, but an aborted stop at Boston College, followed by 1 game in the 2013-14 season at Mass and then his 18-goal freshman year which promoted his hometown Bruins to come calling, he worked hard in the offseason to lose weight. The end result? He came to camp ready to go and was arguably the B’s top player at the rookie tournament in Buffalo. He followed that up with a strong main camp and exhibition season performance.

Tonight’s performance wasn’t just about the goal, though. In the third period, with Providence on the power play, Ben Youds pinched in from the point and lost the race to the puck lying just inside the right circle. As a result Hartford broke it out on a 2-on-1 that was developing into a disaster until there was a flash of black and gold streaking up the ice- No. 49- Vatrano!  The Wolf Pack managed to get a shot off, but the back check was impressive- not only for the speed Vatrano showed to catch up to the play, but for the sheer effort and hustle he showed.

Vatrano is serious about playing for his Bruins. They’re the team he grew up dreaming of playing for and he’s putting action to his words. In a second period interview, he talked about how the decision to leave school was a “no brainer” for him when Boston showed interest, and I had heard from at least one other NHL source that they were disappointed in not getting a chance to talk to him, as they would have made a push had they known he would come out after just one year in the NCAA.

Amherst’s loss was the B’s gain. I don’t know how close Vatrano is to getting called up. In fact, if I had to be completely honest, I’d say that fans should resist the shiny new toy syndrome and accept that by getting top line minutes and special teams time in Providence, it probably benefits him in  the long run over rushing him to Boston. As the wise Mark Divver remarked on Twitter tonight- “let’s see where he (and Czarnik) are in January.”

But, I don’t think the six goals in three games is an accident. He can’t sustain that level of scoring, but I thought he could get 30 goals in the AHL right off the bat for this very reason- he’s always been able to snipe the puck. However, what I didn’t realize is how much better shape he would be in…and how hard he would work on all 200 feet of the ice. That’s the kind of thing that earns a young player a chance at the big show sooner rather than later. Vatrano, Czarnik and Koko have been a dynamic line and there are bigger things ahead for all three if they keep playing hard and producing.

It’s all anyone can ask.

Providence captain Cross brought up, Koko still in the mix

There is some good stuff posted yesterday in the Providence Journal by friend and colleague Mark Divver on Tommy Cross and Alex Khokhlachev. The piece has analysis and quotes from Cross on his playing style and development since turning pro so I won’t go into that.

Cross, 26, was recalled by the Boston Bruins yesterday after Joe Morrow went on the IR in the wake of Matt Irwin’s demotion to the AHL. Irwin was not claimed on waivers by any of the other 29 teams (And why would they? His two-game stint in Boston was one of the more distressing performances in recent history), but he’ll be a valuable contributor in Providence, as his NHL experience and skill set will serve him well at the lower level.

On the other hand, Cross to Boston is a positive story for the team. He’s the last remnant of one of the worst draft classes in Bruins history- 2007- when the B’s held the eighth and 38th overall selections after Peter Chiarelli’s first full season as GM. The B’s drafted WHL leading scorer Zach Hamill with their top pick, then traded their 38th and third-round picks to move up three spots to 35 to grab Cross, the Westminster prep captain who brought good size, skating ability and a cannon shot to the mix.

It’s easy to look back at those decisions and shake the head in 2015, as the B’s would almost certainly have drafted Logan Couture at 8 and P.K. Subban at 35 (heck- they could have had him at 38 if they had stood pat), but that’s life and the NHL draft, where projected 17-18-year-old kids is more art than science. The hardcore fans who follow the draft still dredge up the memories of the failures of Boston’s ’07 class (which included such luminaries as Dennis Reul, Alain Goulet, Radim Ostrcil and Jordan Knackstedt) and that’s fair. The team not only missed on its early picks, but it absolutely swung and whiffed everywhere else that year. Blowing an entire draft class has a delayed penalty that the B’s are feeling now, especially when you take into account that they had two picks in the top-35 that year. Poor showings at the draft table in 2008 and 2009 have added to the issues the team faces, but in getting back to 2007 and what the Cross callup means for a second…

First of all, Cross is a solid minor league defenseman who just might play his way into a supporting role at the NHL level if not with Boston then another club, perhaps. His development was stalled at the beginning because he suffered a knee injury playing baseball right before the draft. The B’s took him anyway, which shows how much they liked him, but he continued to have issues with it, having several more surgeries before seemingly putting it all behind him in his last two full seasons at Boston College. By then, it had become apparent that the player Boston projected at 17 in his draft year to be a potential top-3, big minutes, two-way defender with character, was more of a solid stay-at-home bottom pairing journeyman.

A coach’s son, Cross has always demonstrated a level of leadership and a top attitude that makes him easy to root for. He probably has a future in politics when his playing career is done, and you don’t ever want to take away from who Cross is as a person and valuable presence in the room as a guy who sets the right example and is a total pro. At the same time, because of the expectations that went with his draft standing and what the Bruins gave up to draft him, Cross has always been more of a symbol of that failed Bruins draft year than even Hamill was. The B’s moved on from Hamill relatively quickly, dealing him in 2012 to Washington for Chris Bourque, who at least played some games in Boston during the lockout-shortened season, but Hamill never got another sniff of the NHL after that.

In Cross’ case, he stayed in the organization, going to five development camps and getting quickly relegated to the minors each autumn he was vying for a spot in Boston. In his first pro season, he was optioned to the ECHL after not making enough of an impression at Providence’s camp. Although Cross played very well for the South Carolina Stingrays and was soon brought back up to the AHL where he’s stayed since then, it was one more reminder that the Connecticut kid who had looked so promising coming out of prep hockey (before the knee injuries) was not on track to have any impact in Boston let alone what the team had expected him to make.

That’s why the B’s bringing Cross up is a good news story. In the grand scheme of things, he’s not likely to have an inspirational awakening and significant effect on the team’s fortunes like Johnny Boychuk did during the 2009-10 season, but you never know. Like Cross, Boychuk was a second-round pick who took a long time to reach the NHL after showing such promising tools as a teenager, but he never gave up and when his chance came, he seized it.

This is not to say that we’re looking at the dawn of another age of JB55 in Boston, but the team could do worse than at least try Cross and see how he does. He stuck with the organization (and they him) when most other players would have looked at the B’s defense depth chart and wanted out. That gets to the heart of who Tommy Cross is and what he’s about. I don’t know if this move is anything more than bringing him up to be a seventh D to sit in the press box until Morrow is ready to return, or the team finally wants to give Cross a chance to taste the NHL and see what he is made of.

One thing is certain: he’s earned it.

***

Providence coach Bruce Cassidy’s cup was overflowing with praise for Koko in the same Divver piece. Check it out:

“He’s going to be one of our assistant captains for a reason. He plays hard. He produces. He’s well-liked by his teammates. He works hard. Koko’s a little frustrated that he hasn’t gotten a better look in Boston and hopefully he takes care of that here. You can only control your own environment so he needs to be our best forward here every night so that when there is a callup situation at his position, he’s the first guy,’’ he said.

“I love the guy. I love his compete. Every year in the playoffs he’s arguably been our best player. That says a lot about a person. He’s going to have to lead for us. A lot of these guys, we don’t know what we’re going to get out of them. He’s a guy that we expect will lead us offensively and hopefully it translates to an (NHL) opportunity. He’s worked hard down here and as a coach of these young guys, you hope they get their chance. Especially for him, the way he’s played for us.’’

Translation: He’s off to a fine start in the AHL with 4 assists in two games. Keep grinding and making a difference and that next shot in Boston will come a lot sooner rather than later. With the big club off to its worst start in 50 years, the coaches are going to be far more willing to try new things and no one can argue with Koko’s talent.  When it comes, he’s got to find a way to get some points on the board, however. All the hustle and energy is great, but when you have a skill player like that, it’s not good enough to just try hard.

Watch for the next appearance of Khokhlachev in Boston soon.

Boston Bruins prospect update 10/12/15

This week’s headliner for the Boston Bruins prospects update is Providence B’s winger Frank Vatrano, who tallied five goals in the first two AHL games of the season, in which his club went 1-0-1. With the AHL and NCAA seasons now underway, the B’s futures are all playing games that count around the globe. This week, we’ll kick off in the AHL:

AHL

Frank Vatrano, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 2  Goals- 5  Assists- 0 Points- 5  Penalty Min- 0 +/-  4

The undrafted free agent from East Longmeadow, Mass. looks like a real find after a Texas Hat Trick (four goals as opposed to three) on Sunday at home against the Portland Pirates. Vatrano spent two seasons with the NTDP after lighting up the Bay State minor hockey circuit and was always a talented scorer, but he struggled with his weight and conditioning, which led to his not being drafted. Originally a Boston College recruit, academic issues forced him out of that school before he ever played a single game and transfer rules meant he missed nearly the entire following season before playing 2014-15 with the Minutemen and leading the team in scoring right out of the chute. Vatrano signed with his hometown Bruins, scored his first pro goal last spring with the P-Bruins and now has 6 markers in his first 7 AHL games going back to last year. He can score from just about anywhere…two of his goals yesterday happened because he was driving to the net with some pretty good speed, while the other two were snipes from the circle, where he likes to set up and unleash his vicious shot. The 21-year-old will be called up to Boston if he can continue finding the back of the net at the AHL level, and Brad Marchand’s concussion might accelerate that transaction, especially if the Boston offense continues to struggle.

Austin Czarnik, C/RW Providence Bruins

GP- 2 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 2  +/- 4

Like Vatrano, the diminutive but highly skilled former collegian signed with the B’s last spring after passing through the NHL draft process. More of a set-up man than a finisher, the Michigan native has combined with Vatrano and Alex Khokhlachev to form a lethal top line that has combined for 11 points in the first two games. Czarnik is a blazer who puts defenders on their heels when he comes right at them at full sprint, while effortlessly handling the puck and he’s able to thread the needle with his passes. The two NCAA products impressed at their first pro training camp and it’s not unrealistic to think that both could see some NHL time in Boston this season if injuries take a toll or the B’s offense can’t get out of first gear. Czarnik is probably not ready for primetime, but other than his 5-8 frame, he plays a mature, refined game.

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 2  Goals- 0  Assists- 3 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 0  +/- 2

Koko is off to a good start, and it’s nice to have skilled linemates with the ability to finish. Stacking all the eggs in one basket offensively has paid dividends for Bruce Cassidy, as the 22-year-old Russian is the team’s most experienced and talented forward. If he wants another crack at the NHL sooner rather than later, this is the kind of start that will aid him in making his case. Either that, or it provides the Bruins with a boost in value to make a trade. Bottom line- with a dangerously aggressive shooter like Vatrano to go with a speedy waterbug in Czarnik, Koko supporters can’t point to his surrounding cast if he fails to produce in this setting.

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 2  MIN- 121 GA- 6 GAA- 2.97  Spct- .915

Because of Malcolm Suban’s lower body injury, the rookie played both of his team’s games in the AHL’s first weekend slate, coming away with his 1st pro win on Sunday after losing to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in OT on opening night. He was very good in his first start, but the free-flowing game yesterday opened things up a bit for him. Luckily, Vatrano bailed him out (Czarnik and defenseman Ben Youds had the other goals) and he can look forward to building on his season going forward. McIntyre is an outstanding prospect, but he’s also proving that some of the internet calls for him to play in the NHL right away were about as unrealistic as you can get. Goaltenders don’t need to be rushed, and given what the B’s have looked like in the first two NHL games, throwing a young player to the wolves, even in a backup capacity, would have been a disaster.

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 8 Goals- 6 Assists- 2 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -3

Senyshyn continues to score consistently for his club, adding a couple of more tallies this week for his team leading six (he’s also tied with 2016 draft prospect Timmy Gettinger for the points lead with 8). He has impressed with that speed of his, using his acceleration and powerful stride to catch defenders flat-footed and motor around them while driving the net. He has such a heavy shot that he gets off in the blink of an eye, and you would think that teams would figure out to defend him, as there isn’t a great deal of complexity to Senyshyn’s game- he just goes up and down the wing and takes a straight path to the net. It’s probably a lot more easier said than done.

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 7 Goals- 2 Assists- 9 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 12 +/- +9

The 52nd overall pick continues his point-per-game pace, picking up 1g and 2 helpers in three games this week after the previous update. He’s just five points away from equaling his rookie season point totals (done in 55 games) and with his smooth skating and instinctive play at both ends, is shaping up to be a fine choice where the Bruins got him.

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 4 Goals- 0 Assists- 0 Points- 0 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -1

Zboril is still looking for his first point of the season, but there is no reason for panic, as the offense will come. When you watch him (on film in my case), his skating is the first thing that jumps out at you. His acceleration is smooth and gets him out of his own end quickly. With a strong defensive core in place on the Sea Dogs, he isn’t logging the kind of minutes Lauzon is, and watch for him to break through soon- likely with a multi-point game that will get his production back on track.

WHL

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 5 Goals- 2 Assists- 2 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 9 +/- 1

After scoring goals in each of his first two WHL games after being returned from Boston, DeBrusk did not find the back of the net in three contests this week. He did put up a couple of assists, and while his point totals aren’t anything to write home about, the focal point of Swift Current’s offense will pick up the scoring pace.

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 5 Goals- 4 Assists- 0 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 10 +/- -1

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 5 Goals- 1 Assists- 5 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 19 +/- -2

Good offensive week for the fan favorite, who scored his first goal of the season and is tied for second on his team in points behind center Parker Bowles. Not sure how long he can sustain the production, but Carlo is expected to shoulder a heavy load this season with a multitude of opportunities to compete against top competition in a key role.

USHL

Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls Stampede

GP- 4 Goals- 1 Assists- 1 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 1

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago Steel

GP- 1 Min- 160 GA- 7 GAA- 2.63 Spct- .901 W-L-T: 1-1-0

After allowing six goals in his first USHL start, Vladar settled in, allowing a single goal in relief and then posting a shutout for his first North American win this week.

NCAA

Save for Danton Heinen (1g, 1a in season opening 5-4 OT loss to Air Force) no other B’s prospects whose college seasons began this past weekend found their way on the score sheet: Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Ryan Fitzgerald, Matt Benning and Cameron Hughes all saw action. Anders Bjork did not suit up for Notre Dame. Ryan Donato, Rob O’Gara and Wiley Sherman have yet to get started. Matt Grzelcyk is still injured an expected to miss the first few weeks of the Hockey East season while he recovers from knee surgery.

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (SHL)

GP- 4 Goals- 2 Assists- 2 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 1

It was a hot week for Cehlarik who posted 2 goals and 3 points in two games for Lulea. He’s a skilled scoring type winger who is expected to sign with Boston at the conclusion of his season in Sweden and either finish the year in the AHL or he might even see some big league time- there’s a lot of hockey to be played between now and then. However, watch for him to be a full-time North American player in 2016-17.

Maxim Chudinov, D St. Petersburg (KHL)

GP- 18 Goals- 5 Assists- 2 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 34 +/- -8

No change to offensive stats from last week for Chudinov in two more games played.

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (SHL)

GP- 6 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 8 +/- 0

The 2014 seventh-round pick registered his first point of the season with an assist in one game played this past week.