Bruins Prospects Update 1/11/16

Jesse Gabrielle continues to be a revelation with Prince George out west.

Boston’s fourth-round pick in 2015 is currently tied for the WHL lead in goals with 27 (in 42 games) with Jon Martin and Dryden Hunt, with seven of those goals coming in his last six games, and one goal in four of his last five. In addition to the scoring, Gabrielle makes his presence known by playing an aggressive, high-energy style. He’s not ready to be thought of as an NHL option in the next year or so, but it looks like the Bruins may have struck gold again out West one year after drafting BC native Danton Heinen in the same round in 2014.

Speaking of Heinen, after posting about his down production earlier this week, he posted 1 goal and an assist in a Denver win over the University of Nebraska-Omaha. It was good to see him get off the schneid, because he’s such a smart and gifted player. Going on the record right now in saying that three years from now, Heinen will be contributing in Boston and he’s got 50-point NHL potential in my view.

Boston’s NCAA prospects went off this weekend: Ryan Fitzgerald had a four-point night Friday (1g, 3a) then added a helper the next night, but Saturday night was all right for scoring as Matt Grzelcyk potted a natural hat trick in BU’s trouncing of Mass. NU defenseman Matt Benning also got into the act, scoring a pair of goals to establish a new career-high for goals (and for the record- he went the entire 2014-15 season without finding the back of the net once). Also scoring goals Saturday night were: Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Ryan Donato and Anders Bjork. In fact, when you factor in David Pastrnak’s second period goal against Ottawa, all of Boston’s 2014 draft picks save defenseman Emil Johansson (seventh round) tallied on the same night.

Providence rolled this week, scoring 6 out of 6 points and getting superb play up front and in net from Malcolm Subban.

Now, here’s the update:

AHL

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 26 Goals- 11 Assists- 20 Points- 31 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -6

He didn’t get credit on the stats line, but Koko was the only player to register a shootout goal Sunday against the Falcons, earning Providence its 9th consecutive home win.

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 28 Goals- 10 Assists- 21 Points- 31 Penalty Min- 20 +/- -3

 

Austin Czarnik, C Providence Bruins

GP- 30 Goals- 10 Assists- 17 Points- 27 Penalty Min- 10 +/-  0

Colton Hargrove, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 29 Goals- 8 Assists- 7 Points- 15 Penalty Min- 34 +/- -2

Zack Phillips, C Providence Bruins

GP- 33 Goals- 5 Assists- 8 Points-11 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -11

Chris Casto, D Providence Bruins

GP- 33 Goals- 3 Assists- 10 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 20 +/- -7

Good NHL tools here for the undrafted free agent out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. If the B’s blue line depth takes a hit, he’s earned a recall at some point. Unfortunately for Casto, he’s the same type of defender that Boston has no shortage of, which works against him for obvious reason. He should win an award for best Twitter handle, though- “@FidelCrusto”scores major creativity points.

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 37 Goals- 7 Assists- 6 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -8

Tommy Cross, D Providence Bruins

GP- 29 Goals- 1 Assists- 11 Points- 12 Penalty Min- 45 +/- -11

 

 

Noel Acciari, C Providence Bruins

GP- 25 Goals- 4 Assists-4 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 11 +/-

Anton Blidh, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 35 Goals- 8 Assists- 0 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 18 +/- -5

The 2013 seventh-rounder posted his first two-goal game over the weekend but is still looking for a North American helper.

Anthony Camara, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 20 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 33 +/- -3

Justin Hickman, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 31 Goals- 1 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 27 +/- -7

Former Seattle Thunderbirds captain scored his first pro goal this past week.

Linus Arnesson, D Providence Bruins

GP- 24 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -4

Malcolm Subban, G Providence Bruins

GP- 21 MIN- 1266 GA- 56 GAA- 2.65 Spct- .907 W- 10 L-8 OTL 3 SO- 1

Subban had a tremendous outing Sunday against Springfield, stopping 41 pucks and surrendering just one goal in a 2-1 shootout win (he stopped all three Springfield shooters for good measure).

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 16 MIN- 902 GA- 44 GAA- 2.93 Spct- .887 W- 6 L- 6 OTL- 3

Injured- Brian Ferlin (upper body)- 1 game played.

 

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 39 Goals- 26 Assists- 11 Points- 37  Penalty Min- 12 +/- -5

Two goals this week and he’s already reached his entire 2014-15 goals output with 26 (in 27 fewer games). Spending a top-15 selection on this natural scorer and character kid now looks like a pretty forward-thinking (no pun intended) move for the Bruins.

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 28 Goals- 5 Assists- 29 Points- 34 Penalty Min- 52 +/- 24

Injured- no games since last update.

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 23 Goals- 3 Assists- 6 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 26 +/- 1

 

WHL

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 42 Goals- 27 Assists- 18 Points- 45 Penalty Min- 61 +/- 9

Jake DeBrusk, LW Red Deer Rebels

SCB: GP- 24 Goals- 9 Assists- 17 Points- 26 Penalty Min- 15 +/- -5

RDR: GP- 8 Goals- 5 Assists- 6 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 6

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 22 Goals- 2 Assists- 12 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 57 +/- -5

Has yet to get back into the Tri-City lineup since his standout performance for Team USA at the WJC, winning a bronze medal.

 

NCAA

Ryan Fitzgerald, F Boston College Eagles (HEA)

GP- 19 Goals- 12 Assists- 14 Points- 26 Penalty Min- 35 +/- 20

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 19 Goals- 7 Assists- 11 Points- 18 Penalty Min- 4 +/- 19

After scoring a highlight reel goal against Sweden in the bronze medal game at the WJC, Bjork scored in both games/wins against WMU over the weekend.

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

GP- 20 Goals- 5 Assists- 13 Points- 18 Penalty Min- 10 +/- 0

1 goal and 4 points in 2 games since JFK returned from the WJC.

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 20 Goals- 6 Assists- 8 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -3

Matt Grzelcyk, D Boston University (HEA)

GP- 8  Goals- 6  Assists- 4  Points- 10  Penalty Min- 16 +/-  5

One word to describe Grzelcyk’s weekend for BU after missing three weeks with a LBI: Wow! The 2012 third-rounder posted the first hat trick for a BU defenseman since 2003.

Ryan Donato, C Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 12 Goals- 5 Assists- 5 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 12 +/-  5

Scored two goals in the bronze medal game against Sweden, and followed up with a goal in his second game back with Harvard.Steady as she goes is the mantra for the 2014 2nd-round pick.

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

GP- 15 Goals- 1 Assists- 8 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -6

Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 21 Goals- 4 Assists- 5 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 19 +/- -11

Sean Kuraly, C Miami University (NCHC)

GP- 20 Goals- 2 Assists- 5 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 21 +/- -6

Rob O’Gara, D Yale University (ECAC)

GP- 15 Goals- 0 Assists- 5 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 20 +/- -5

 

 

Wiley Sherman, D Harvard University (ECAC)

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

 

 

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (Sweden)

GP- 26 Goals- 8 Assists- 6 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 0

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (Sweden)

GP- 30 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -1

Maxim Chudinov, D St Petersburg SKA (Russia)

GP- 42 Goals- 6 Assists- 8 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 77 +/- -10

 

USHL

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago (USHL)

GP- 13 MIN- 737 GA- 26 GAA- 2.12 Spct .925 SO- 2; 3-5-3

No games since last update.

Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls (USHL)

GP- 31 Goals- 4 Assists- 7 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -2

5 big Boston Bruins storylines from 2015

As we say farewell to 2015, we’ll take a look back at a turbulent year for the Boston Bruins franchise, one that saw the team miss the postseason for the first time in eight years.

With a solid 20-12-4 record and third place in the Atlantic Division heading into Friday’s Winter Classic against Montreal (just one spot and point above the B’s in the standings) Boston has a chance to start 2016 on a brighter note.

Here are five stories and an honorable mention that highlight the year the was for Boston Bruins hockey:

1.  Bruins miss playoffs, fire GM Peter Chiarelli

Just two years prior, the Boston GM’s team nearly captured a second Stanley Cup since 2011 before falling to the Chicago Blackhawks (winners in 2010, 2013 and 2015) in six games. He followed that up a year later with the top team in the 2013-14 regular season before a second-round seven-game flameout to the Montreal Canadiens. However, with his team in a salary cap mess and missing the playoffs to a tie-breaker on the final night of the 2014-15 campaign, team president Cam Neely relieved Chiarelli of his duties.

It’s an indicator of just how fickle and results-driven the professional sports business is, but personalities and power consolidation might have played a bigger role than Neely and ownership want to admit. Regardless, Chiarelli soon resigned his position in the organization and the Edmonton Oilers went all-in on him building another success story in Alberta, naming him president and general manager just a few weeks later. Chiarelli then had the benefit of watching a generational talent in Connor McDavid fall into his lap at the 2015 draft (he inherited Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask at the 2006 draft- technically before he officially assumed GM duties in Boston).

Chiarelli’s Oilers teams won both games against his old organization this year, but it took a shootout and overtime respectively to do it. This sets up a fun East-West grudge rivalry between the two teams for years as he attempts to change the Oilers’ ways from perennial doormats to legitimate hockey power.

2. Boston names Don Sweeney new GM

Neely’s old teammate and close friend was named to step into Chiarelli’s old position on May 20, 2015 after being his assistant for several years and starting out as a player development consultant from day one of the post-Mike O’Connell (and interim GM Jeff Gorton) era. To think that Sweeney got the job solely because of his connection to the team president is wholly unfair to a man who not only played more than 1,000 NHL games on the Boston blue line, but who also spent countless hours in rinks around the world scouting future talent and working to develop B’s prospects into successful pros.

Sweeney has been active and aggressive since taking the helm. His first (and perhaps most astute) move was to keep Claude Julien in the fold. Make no mistake- had Boston dismissed him behind Chiarelli, another team (Edmonton?) would have pounced quickly. Since then, Sweeney made a series of bold moves that so far, most of which, have worked out (see No. 3 below). One longtime (and very respected) NHL director of scouting I ran into Sunday night in Fort Lauderdale told me point blank that Sweeney had “balls” and that you had to give him credit from making what was sure to be (at least initially) two unpopular and risky trades without a whole lot of proven assets coming back in return. “He’s doing what he thinks is right,” the scouting director said outside a local watering hole. “We’ll see if the heat he’s getting is even warranted by the time we’re halfway through next season.”

With a hot take like that, you might be right to look up a list of chief scouts to see if anyone’s last name is Nostradamus.

There’s plenty of hockey left before we get too carried away, but if most were told the B’s would be 8 games over .500 heading into the Winter Classic, they’d have taken it.

3. 2015 draft day trades: Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton go West

“Trader Don” did not waste much time in making several aggressive, even shocking moves to shed salary and re-work the Bruins roster to fit his vision.

Initial reaction to the decision to trade Dougie Hamilton, with news breaking in the early Friday afternoon before the draft’s first round, was not positive. Beyond the shock of finding out that the new GM had just dealt a 22-year-old and the last piece of the Phil Kessel trade return from Toronto was one thing, but that the B’s got three draft picks from Calgary- their first and two (of three) second-rounders all in 2015- was even more stunning. The team had just opened up a sizable hole on its blue line, which had been exposed in the spring when Boston failed to earn a playoff berth, and in return- the team was placing its hopes on future assets, none of whom had a chance to fill the void of Hamilton’s departure.

Before fans could come out of the daze, more rumors swirled, this time less surprising but nevertheless polarizing when it looked like Sweeney was on the verge of trading fan favorite Milan Lucic to Los Angeles.  On its face- it made sense. Sweeney was trying to rework Boston’s dire cap situation- created by his former boss- and with Lucic entering the last year of a contract that already paid him $6 million, the writing was on the wall that the B’s couldn’t afford to extend him, nor did many feel his play warranted it. This time, Sweeney landed more immediate assets from the Kings- backup goaltender Martin Jones and prized defense prospect Colin Miller, coming off a 19-goal season in the AHL which culminated in a championship. These two players were topped with LA’s first pick- one spot before Boston’s own 14th overall position, giving them picks 13-15. The rest is, as they say, history.

However- there are reports that the Bruins acquired the many assets as currency to move up in the draft to the top-five in order to grab Boston College star and Norwood, Mass. native Noah Hanifin. It didn’t work out, but if in fact that was Sweeney’s vision, the decision to trade Hamilton for what he received in return makes perfect sense. In dealing Hamilton but drafting Hanifin (say that three times- real fast), Sweeney could have spun moving his young defender to the Flames as an eventual upgrade with a marketable asset like Hanifin, viewed by most scouts (including this one) as a future franchise cornerstone and legitimate 2-way defenseman. Hamilton has proven he can generate offense, but his defensive zone play has always been and continues to be an adventure with his new team. Hanifin, who is already in the NHL at 18 with Carolina, is breaking in slowly, but you can see that he’s growing and maturing. It won’t be long until he and Justin Faulk are forming as formidable a 1-2 punch at the position as any in the league.

Sweeney didn’t just stop wheeling and dealing at the draft, though.

He then traded Jones, who was unsigned and not going to be happy sitting behind Tuukka Rask after previously backing up Jonathan Quick, to San Jose for their first-rounder in 2016 plus defensive center prospect Sean Kuraly, captain of the Miami University RedHawks (a 2011 fifth-round pick of the Sharks).

Sweeney added Zac Rinaldo from Philly for a 2017 third-rounder, then made another move by sending Reilly Smith and Marc Savard’s contract to South Florida for Jimmy Hayes.

Those transactions didn’t match the surprise or impact that dealing Hamilton and Lucic did, but so far, they haven’t blown up in Sweeney’s face, either.

Signing veteran farmhand D Matt Irwin was a poor move, but picking up Landon Ferraro off of waivers from Detroit was another solid add for Sweeney and his pro scouts. When you add pieces like Frank Vatrano and Austin Czarnik, signed as undrafted college free agents under the Chiarelli regime, there is hope for the future.

The question that dogs Sweeney now is- how can he find a way to add that heir apparent and future No. 1 to replace Zdeno Chara? When at first you don’t succeed as was the case with Hanifin, then try, try again. It’s much easier said than done, however, and might take a bit of luck.

4. Claude Julien enters ninth season behind B’s bench, in range of coaching record

Boston’s longest-tenured coach since Art Ross stands to break the hockey icon’s franchise record, which has stood since the end of World War II. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has an excellent article on Julien and the idea (I agree with it) that he’s a legitimate Jack Adams Award candidate because of what he’s doing with Boston’s roster amidst all the off-season turmoil and expectations. Go here and read it.  It’s a detailed piece replete with sources and I think it effectively captures the essence of Julien’s legacy in Boston and why an active movement to oust him without a clear solution in place borders on the absurd. Here’s an excerpt from LeBrun’s article:

The Bruins’ season ended in April, Don Sweeney was named general manager on May 20, and Julien had to wait until June 5 for an announcement that he would return as coach.

Bruins star Patrice Bergeron remembers chatting with Sweeney last summer, but the head coach wasn’t a topic of conversation.

“I think he knew what I thought of Claude anyway, that I love playing for him and I’ve learned so much from him,” Bergeron said Tuesday night. “So he didn’t need to ask me the question. I think he just needed time to figure out things is all.”

Julien is the best Bruins coach in my lifetime, and although doesn’t have the longevity of Ross because the NHL played far fewer games when he coached as opposed to now, will deserve his spot on top of the franchise’s coaching list. Not convinced? More from Bergeron:

“He always finds a way to get the best out of each player, it’s really his strong suit to recognize if the team lacks confidence, or has too much confidence, up and down, he has a good pulse for the feeling out of the dressing room,” said Bergeron. “And he’s really fair. It’s easy to play for a coach like that. You want to give him all you’ve got.”

Julien gets criticism for his personnel decisions, and no amount of success is going to bring everyone completely on board because of that. In the minds of some- even if he wins with certain veterans, the fact that he’s not icing a more skilled group will keep the critics supplied with fresh gripes. Having said that, he’s 17 career wins from passing Ross and has managed to keep his players loyal and playing hard for him. With a club that had major questions surrounding it entering the season, you’d need a pretty enticing option in place to supplant Julien for such a move to make sense.

5. Bruins host 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium vs. Canadiens

In 2010, the B’s needed overtime to beat the Philadelphia Flyers at frozen Fenway Park in a memorable first foray in the NHL’s annual New Year’s Day outdoor game tradition. This time, they host their hated rival from the north- the Montreal Canadiens- and go south to Foxboro and the home of the New England Patriots to do it.

There’s plenty of information out there on the game, which has become quite the spectacle since the NHL introduced it more than a decade ago, so I won’t rehash it all here. Three of my friends and colleagues- ESPN’s Joe McDonald, DJ Bean of WEEI and Joe Haggerty of CSNNE are a trio to follow for fine coverage. Be sure to hook on with Brian “Rear Admiral” McGonagle of Barstool Sports, too- he’s a good egg with a large following who blends hockey and pop culture like no one else I know. Finally, the writers at the Boston dailies are all fine people who will give you the ins and outs, starting with the alumni and women’s pro hockey games tomorrow.

 HM: 10 picks re-stock the organizational cupboard

The team entered draft weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with two picks in the first two rounds, and by the time Sweeney & Co. walked into the BB&T Center for Friday’s primetime event, those selections had swelled to six in exchange for Lucic and Hamilton.

Boston was high on Czech defender Jakub Zboril, so when their reported attempts to move up for top-rated D Hanifin proved unsuccessful, he was in that second tier of defenders and made sense at 13th overall. On the plus side, Zboril has size and is highly talented with skating, passing and shooting skills galore. He’s also got some real nasty to his game and he plays with a physical edge. He is inconsistent with his effort and intensity, however- that is something the Bruins will watch closely.

Jake DeBrusk was the team’s second pick at 14th overall and began to raise eyebrows when the B’s did not opt for either of smallish but uber-skilled and fast playmaking center Mathew Barzal or USHL leading scorer Kyle Connor. DeBrusk, who scored 42 goals for the Swift Current Broncos a year ago and was just traded to the Red Deer Rebels as they gear up for the 2016 Memorial Cup, has a natural nose for the net and can score goals by the bushel. The left wing is not a dynamic game-breaker like Barzal, but the B’s wanted a finisher and they got one. The son of former NHL enforcer Louie DeBrusk is a completely different player than his dad was, but is a keeper.

The sharp criticism Boston drew in taking Soo Greyhounds right wing Zach Senyshyn has been much more muted this season, as he has scored 22 goals in his first 33 games of the OHL season. With his impressive NHL tools- a 6-2 frame, fast wheels, superb puck skills and finishing ability, there is much to like about this fledgling power forward. He’s still raw and addressing consistency in his game (more on that in a future blog post), but after getting ridiculed in trading Hamilton for the pick that became Senyshyn, you’re not hearing that as much in pundit circles these days, especially with how shaky Hamilton’s start in Calgary was. This is a trade that in time analysts will say both teams won, but the Flames are getting the more immediate returns.

Big shutdown defender Brandon Carlo came next at 37, acquired with Philadelphia’s pick (obtained from the Islanders in the much-criticized Johnny Boychuk deal on the eve of the 2014-15 campaign). At 6-5, he’s massive, but his long arms give him an even bigger reach than other guys his size. He’s a fluid, mobile skater for one so big, and we’ve seen it in the WJC, as he pretty much shuts down players who try to get to the net on his side of the ice either by using his long stick and strength to block a straight net drive or his quickness to deny opponents room on the outside. He’s as good a shutdown player as you will find in the prospect ranks, but his offensive potential at the NHL level is a question mark at this stage. He scored his first goal of the tourney today against Switzerland in USA’s 10-1 drubbing, so there’s much to like about this player.

Swedish center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, acquired with the second of three Flames picks for Hamilton at 45 overall (the same draft spot that the B’s got Bergeron at in 2003, btw) is surging up the prospect rankings with a superb freshman season at Boston University. ‘JFK’ is smooth, poised and intelligent- he doesn’t push the pace a lot, but is creative and slick- he uses his vision and deft stick to set up quality scoring chances and can find the back of the net, too. He’s very good at the faceoff dot and has surprised many with his poise and maturity for one so young. He’s playing well for Sweden at the WJC.

The B’s also grabbed Quebec defender Jeremy Lauzon with the last of Calgary’s picks at 52nd overall in the second round. The big, rugged and skilled two-way guy was one of Canada’s last WJC cuts and has impressed with a career offensive season while logging upwards of about 30 minutes for Rouyn-Noranda.He doesn’t quite have the flash and polish of higher-regarded blue line prospects, nor does he possess the early draft pedigree of  others, but he’s a perfect blend between the offensive skill of Zboril and defensive prowess Carlo.

With six picks in the books, the B’s could have called it a successful two days, but they landed two more particularly intriguing players with some boom potential down the road.

Huge Czech goalie Daniel Vladar went off the board to them in the mid-third round. At 6-5, he has outstanding size and quickness, and looks like someone who could one day evolve into a legitimate NHL goalie. On the downside, he’s raw and seems to guess at where shots are coming from rather than effectively tracking the puck or reading the unfolding play. There’s no pressure on him to succeed right away, so like Zane McIntyre, the B’s can afford to put him on the long track and take their time.

WHL agitator Jesse Gabrielle looks like fantastic value in the fourth round. A Bruins fan growing up in his native Saskatchewan, he played some Minnesota high school hockey before major junior and likens his playing style to idol Brad Marchand. He’s not quite as blazing fast, but is plenty quick enough. Gabrielle is bigger, stronger and perhaps meaner than Marchand is. He’s well on pace to shattering his previous career bests with his third Dub team- Prince George- after Regina traded him over the summer. He needs to stay focused and make sure the hockey comes first, but this is certainly a player with legitimate NHL potential if he keeps maturing and growing.

Boston rounded out the draft (after trading their 5th-round selection to Minnesota for the Wild’s 5th in 2016) with Wisconsin center Cameron Hughes- a smallish but offensively talented pivot who toils on a struggling club. They took raw but developing Minnesota forward Jack Becker with their final pick in the seventh round.

While none of the ten picks immediately jump out on paper as having elite high-end potential, the initial returns look promising with more than a few who have a chance to one day make the Boston roster and contribute. There’s much work left, but in a deep draft, the B’s appear to have added some quality depth with a few players like Senyshyn, Lauzon, JFK and Gabrielle in particular- who might one day far exceed their draft positions and perform better than players drafted ahead of them.

Only time will tell.

 

 

 

Bruins Prospects Update 12/28/15

It’s the last Bruins prospects update of the calendar year!

When next I post, it will be 2016 and we’ll be just about at the official halfway mark of the NHL season.

There’s a lot going on in the prospects world- six Boston futures (plus one current Bruin- David Pastrnak) are competing in the World Junior (Under-20) Championship in Helsinki, Finland, so their junior/NCAA stats lines will remain static until they return.

The Red Deer Rebels, host team of the 2017 Memorial Cup, made a big move Saturday to acquire Jake DeBrusk from Swift Current. That’s a typical junior trade when a team that has a legitimate shot at winning it all (the last time the Rebels won the MC was in 2001 when then-Bruins prospect Kyle Wanvig was the MVP…ah, the happier days for Boston and Wanvig before the fax machine fiasco in Toronto negated his signing deadline deal to the Leafs for Jonas Hoglund. If you’re too young to remember any of that consider yourself fortunate.)

Seth Griffith has been smoking hot for the past month in Providence, and the team is up and down in the standings.

Now, here’s your update:

 

AHL

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 24 Goals- 10 Assists- 17 Points- 27 Penalty Min- 20 +/- -1

Griffith vaulted over Koko for the team lead in scoring, posting 2 goals and nine points in five games since the previous update. He’s making a strong case to see some time in Boston, especially with Pastrnak now at the WJC and Brett Connolly struggling.

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 21 Goals- 8 Assists- 15 Points- 23 Penalty Min- 2 +/- 0

Four games since the last update- 2 goals and three assists, with a stint in Boston (2 scoreless games) sandwiched in between.

 

Austin Czarnik, C Providence Bruins

GP- 24  Goals- 9 Assists- 10 Points- 19 Penalty Min- 10 +/-  3

Four goals in five games including his first pro hat trick- sounds like someone who is deserving of seeing his first NHL action if David Krejci misses any games to the upper body injury he suffered against Ottawa Sunday evening.

Tommy Cross, D Providence Bruins

GP- 23 Goals- 1 Assists- 10 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 39 +/- -10

Returned from injury and added an assist to go with 10 penalty minutes in five games and a -5 rating.

Chris Casto, D Providence Bruins

GP- 27 Goals- 1 Assists- 10 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 16 +/- -7

 

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 31 Goals- 7 Assists- 4 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -10

Zack Phillips, C Providence Bruins

GP- 27 Goals- 3 Assists- 6 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -12

Colton Hargrove, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 23 Goals- 4 Assists- 4 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 28 +/- -7

He scored a big power play goal over the weekend in a win over Hartford.

Noel Acciari, C Providence Bruins

GP- 21 Goals- 3 Assists-3 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 7 +/- -1

Injured- did not play.

Anton Blidh, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 29 Goals- 6 Assists- 0 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 14 +/- -5

Gritty grinder is an agitator and energy guy, but not much offensive potential at the next level.

Anthony Camara, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 14 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 31 +/- -4

Pretty disappointing pro track record for a third-round pick. If you believe the story that the Bruins were interested in Johnny Gaudreau (I’m not so sure about the published reports, to be honest), then take comfort in the fact that they passed on him to take this guy. Just saying.

 

Linus Arnesson, D Providence Bruins

GP- 21 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -2

Arnesson will play for the Bruins one day, but his one assist in 21 games (no points since week 1 of the season) is indicative of the kind of player he is. Safe, steady mobile defense-first guy (I stop short of calling him a shutdown D- he’s not that either, IMO) who brings smarts and quickness if not offensive production to the mix.

Malcolm Subban, G Providence Bruins

GP- 17 MIN- 1027 GA- 46 GAA- 2.69 Spct- .901 W- 6 L-8 OTL 3 SO- 1

Six games since the last update- raised the save percentage up over .900- small victories, and a much better performance since being injured to start the year and then stumbling out of the gate.

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 12 MIN- 777 GA- 38 GAA- 2.94 Spct- .886 W- 5 L- 5 OTL- 3

Injured- Brian Ferlin (upper body)- 1 game played.

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 32 Goals- 21 Assists- 11 Points- 32 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -6

Another hat trick before the holiday break (he tallied his three-goal game against Kitchener on the same night Frank Vatrano got his 1st NHL 3-goal game, and Czarnik also potted his first AHL hatty for the trifecta) helped get ZS to the point-per-game mark. He’s just five goals and 13 points away from equaling his scoring total from a year ago in half the games.

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 26 Goals- 5 Assists- 28 Points- 34 Penalty Min- 50 +/- 26

The final Team Canada cut at the WJC- Lauzon did not play any games since the last update, but is back in action with Rouyn-Noranda this week. He’s a likely lock for next season’s WJC team given how far he got this time.

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 21 Goals- 3 Assists- 6 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 26 +/- 2

Zboril is with Team Czech Republic in Finland- he was ejected and received 25 minutes in penalties for a boarding call in the first period of his team’s 2-1 shootout loss to Russia on Saturday.

WHL

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 35 Goals- 20 Assists- 17 Points- 37 Penalty Min- 55 +/-  5

Three goals and five points in four games with PG since the last update. We’re going to predict that Gabrielle will be on the 2017 Team Canada WJC squad as well. He’s turning heads this season, but will have to prove his commitment to the Hockey Canada scouts. The production will certainly go a long way, though. He’s just three goals away from equaling his career high in a season.

Jake DeBrusk, LW Red Deer Rebels

SCB: GP- 24 Goals- 9 Assists- 17 Points- 26 Penalty Min- 15 +/- -5

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

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 22 Goals- 2 Assists- 12 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 57 +/- -5

Carlo is with Team USA in Helsinki- had a high-level defensive performance in his team’s tourney-opening win against Canada.

 

NCAA

Ryan Fitzgerald, F Boston College Eagles (HEA)

GP- 15 Goals- 11 Assists- 10 Points- 21 Penalty Min- 33 +/- 17

No games since last update.

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

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

With Team Sweden at WJC.

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 17 Goals- 5 Assists- 11 Points- 16 Penalty Min- 4 +/- 17

With Team USA at WJC.

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 16 Goals- 5 Assists- 6 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -3

No games since last update.

Ryan Donato, C Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 10 Goals- 4 Assists- 5 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 10 +/- 6

With Team USA at WJC.

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

GP- 14 Goals- 1 Assists- 8 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -6

No games since last update.

Sean Kuraly, C Miami University (NCHC)

GP- 16 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 17 +/- -5

No games since last update.

Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 17 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 17 +/- -12

No games since last update.

Matt Grzelcyk, D Boston University (HEA)

GP-6 Goals 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 12 +/- 2

Grzelcyk is still out with a lower body (knee injury).

Wiley Sherman, D Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 10 Goals- 2 Assists- 2 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 5

No games since last update.

Rob O’Gara, D Yale University (ECAC)

GP- 12 Goals- 0 Assists- 4 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 16 +/- -4

No games since last update.

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (Sweden)

GP- 22 Goals- 6 Assists- 5 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 1

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (Sweden)

GP- 26 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -1

Maxim Chudinov, D St Petersburg SKA (Russia)

GP- 40 Goals- 6 Assists- 8 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 77 +/- -7

USHL

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago (USHL)

GP- 13 MIN- 737 GA- 26 GAA- 2.12 Spct .925 SO- 2; 3-5-3

With Czech Republic at WJC; did not dress (3rd goalie) in 2-1 loss to Russia.

Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls (USHL)

GP- 26 Goals- 4 Assists- 5 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 0

 

World Junior Championship tourney underway- notes on B’s prospects in Helsinki

David Pastrnak, Emil Johansson and Zane McIntyre take a break during 2014 Bruins development camp (photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

David Pastrnak, Emil Johansson and Zane McIntyre take a break during 2014 Bruins development camp (photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

The 2016 World Junior (Under-20) Championship showcase is underway from Finland, as the tradition kicks off annually on the day after Christmas, better known in Canada and other parts of the world as Boxing Day.

In a rare twist, USA took on Canada, normally a match in the 2-week tourney’s round robin round reserved for New Year’s Eve, scoring a solid 4-2 victory thanks in large part to the stellar goaltending of Carolina Hurricanes prospect Alex Nedeljkovic (2nd round- 37th overall in 2014) and some opportunistic scoring by USA after falling behind 1-0 in the second period. The Americans overcame an Alex DeBrincat spearing match penalty late in the opening frame that could have put them behind the 8-ball, killing the 5-minute period between the first and second periods. After Islanders 1st-rounder Mathew Barzal scored on a jailbreak play to give Canada the first lead, Senators prospect Colin White (Hanover, Massachusetts) answered for USA. Questionable power play chances yielded goals by both sides (Zach Werenski– Blue Jackets and Dylan Strome– Coyotes). With time winding down in a 2-2 game, a Louis Belpedio (Wild- third round in 2014) shot from the point was inadvertently deflected into the Canada net by Red Wings prospect (and undrafted free agent) D Joey Hicketts past his own netminder, Mason McDonald (Calgary- 2nd round 34th overall in 2014). 2016 NHL draft top candidate Auston Matthews got an insurance goal after a puck squeaked through McDonald and lay near the goal line for the easy tap-in to close out the scoring.

In other games, Finland hammered Belarus (6-0), Russia beat the Czech Republic in a 2-1 shootout in a game where defense and the goaltending shined, while Sweden took vengeance against the Swiss by an 8-3 score but lost key players William Nylander (Leafs- 1st round, 8th overall in 2014) and Adrian Kempe (Kings- 1st round, 29th overall) to injuries. Swiss forward Chris Egli was suspended three games for his vicious blindside check to Nylander, knocking him out of the game with what is believed to be a concussion. The latest report has Sweden keeping him off skates for a ‘few days’ but hopeful the high-end forward can be back by the quarter final round.

The Boston Bruins have seven players at the tournament, with GM Don Sweeney announcing Saturday between the first intermission of the team’s 6-3 loss to Buffalo at home that David Pastrnak is being released to play for the Czech Republic and will be available when the 28 December NHL holiday roster freeze is lifted.

The Bruins have the following players at the WJC, which ties Arizona for the most players league-wide:

USA

Anders Bjork, F (5th round, 146th overall- 2014) ’96- last year of eligibility

Brandon Carlo, D (2nd round, 37th overall- 2015) late ’96 – last year of eligibility

Ryan Donato, F (2nd round, 56th overall- 2014) ’96- last year of eligibility

Czech Republic

David Pastrnak, F (1st round, 25th overall- 2014) ’96- last year of eligibility

Daniel Vladar, G (3rd round, 75th overall- 2015) 2017 WJC eligible

Jakub Zboril, D (1st round, 13th overall- 2015) 2017 WJC eligible

Sweden

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, F (2nd round, 45th overall- 2015) late ’96- last year of eligibility

Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon was one of two final cuts for Team Canada. Watch for him, Zach Senyshyn, Jesse Gabrielle all to be staple players on Canada in 2017, when both are still eligible for the tournament.

David Pastrnak is the player the Boston Bruins have been waiting for. (Photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

David Pastrnak is the player the Boston Bruins have been waiting for. (Photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

On Pastrnak being released to the WJC

You may have seen me commenting on this on Twitter, so I want to clarify my position on a forum that allows me more than 140 characters:

While good news for the Czech Republic and Pastrnak, this is a risky move for the Bruins in that they stand the most to lose should something happen to him over there to affect his availability for his NHL going forward.

Too often, I think the WJC has gained an almost mythical status in the minds of hockey fans in this day and age- it’s a symbol of status that often drives opinions and perceptions of players both positively and negatively. Like some kind of video game, it seems that the more players a team has at the WJC, the bigger the bragging rights fans can claim, even though merely being a part of the carnival atmosphere is no guarantor of future NHL success. I get it- because of the prestige factor associated with the U20 WJC as the premier global showcase for the best hockey talent, many of whom have either already tasted the NHL or will be there soon, there is an expectation that if a player isn’t there, then that means something is wrong with them. Conversely, if a player is named to his country’s WJC roster, their status tends to get elevated, rightly or wrongly, and in turn, a player’s performance is often scrutinized and magnified in a way that either over-hypes them or leads to negative perceptions of their future NHL chances.

What bothers me about Pastrnak going to the WJC is that he is coming off an injury that caused him to miss 24 NHL games after he took a hard shot off the skate and received a fractured foot (or “bone bruise” as reported). On the one hand- the B’s want to rehab him and the WJC provides a way to do that. It also exposes him to risk of either aggravation of the foot or possibly another injury. To those who have tweeted at me about the “safer” aspects of the larger ice surface and more skill/finesse at the WJC, go look at film on the Egli hit on Nylander yesterday in the Sweden-Swiss match and take note. Boston accepts all the risk here- Pastrnak is now playing games that won’t help the Bruins in the standings (nor would Providence, but the similar system would be beneficial to working him back into mental shape for the big club) but he’s also playing for coaches with different priorities/agendas than Claude Julien and Bruce Cassidy over in North America.

Another argument I’ve heard is about how important the “experience” at the WJC will be for Pastrnak. Okay. Assuming that is the case, how is playing in his third WJC going to give him any more experience than he got when he appeared at the same tourney at age 17 and then again a year ago when Boston released him at 18? He played only about half a season in the AHL a year ago before going up to the NHL, so the argument that the talent and overall experience he’d get in the WJC vs. being in Providence at this stage of his career is certainly debatable. You can make good cases for each scenario, but the whole “He *needs* to be at the WJC to develop properly” is hogwash. Nor is it a matter of this being his only chance to skate for his country there- he’s already done it. Twice. And you can bet he’ll do it again, perhaps as soon as the Men’s World Championship, or at the next World Cup of Hockey.

In the end- what I think doesn’t matter, because the Bruins made the decision to send him. I suspect they are acceding to his own wishes, and I get Pastrnak’s desire to play in the WJC versus going to the AHL with the chance to play for his country providing him with a compelling alternative. They might see the WJC as a better opportunity for him to get himself back on track after missing considerable time than riding the buses in Providence will. Perhaps the B’s feel that by doing this- they are acting in good faith and will only solidify their relationship with the player who by most accounts, is probably being groomed to one day replace Patrice Bergeron as the face of the franchise. It’s completely understandable. However, what do the Bruins get if something happens to Pastrnak in his 10-day stint overseas? The answer is- absolutely nothing…aside from blistering questions and second-guesses that will swiftly follow if the team suffers a setback with their prized asset in a game he didn’t really need to be playing, some 3,000 miles away from Boston.

It’s all about risk management here, and the Bruins obviously feel it’s the right thing to do. So, we’ll cross our fingers and hope they are proven right.

B’s WJC prospect notes and updates

Anders Bjork, USA- One of the last cuts a year ago, Bjork is a top two-way forward at Notre Dame, known for his speed, hockey IQ and playmaking skills from the wing position. He played a typically solid game yesterday, showing off his effectiveness on the forecheck to deny Canada puck carriers time and space. He uses his speed to close quickly and has a quick stick to force turnovers or clog passing lanes with. He’s a highly confident, effective penalty killer- he leveraged his vision and instincts to be in the right place and prevent Canada from collapsing USA’s formations and exploiting the extended power play time on the DeBrincat major. You won’t see a great deal of offense from Bjork in the pros, but he’s the kind of player NHL clubs win with.

Brandon Carlo (Kirk Luedeke photo)

Brandon Carlo (Kirk Luedeke photo)

Brandon Carlo, USA- He was beast yesterday defensively, using his 6-5 frame and long reach to repeatedly deny lanes to the American net all game long. Guys as big and mobile as the WHL veteran from Colorado is don’t grow on trees, and he played an effective game; making good decisions, maintaining his gaps effectively and electing the right times to play the body and puck. What I like about Carlo is that he doesn’t think he’s something he isn’t- he plays a refined, disciplined game positionally- not taking himself out of the play to score a big hit, nor pinching up in the offensive zone if a play isn’t there. He’s smooth and effective- he has all the tools to evolve into a very good shutdown defender at the NHL level in the not-too-distant future. Now for the bad news… While I recognize and respect his defensive acumen, I don’t see much in the way of consistent offense from Carlo that would lead me to believe he’s going to be a legitimate two-way threat at the NHL level. He’ll chip in with points on occasion, but his repeated missed shots from the point yesterday illustrate the kind of work he has yet to do on his game. I don’t see the vision or creativity once he’s in the offensive zone to be a real No. 1 defender at the highest level, but he’s only 19, so maybe that comes out in time. As far as the game against Canada goes- he played about as well defensively as you can ask, and that’s what matters most, as it translated into a key aspect of USA’s tone-setting win.

I would only caution folks to slow the roll on the hype train and understand that he has the look of an NHL player for sure- but how much of an impact (I’m studiously avoiding the use of the term ‘upside’ in case you hadn’t noticed) he’ll have is still very much a question mark at this point. I’m not down on Carlo at all- he’s a great kid with a bright future. But for those who don’t see him but hear all these glowing reports about him- just trying to keep things in perspective. In Carlo’s case- I would be thrilled to have him wrong on this score, but when my 2016 Boston Bruins prospect ranking comes out in the New England Hockey Journal next week, you’ll understand why Carlo is not in my top-6.

Ryan Donato, F- I’ll be brief. It was not a good look for the Dexter School prep star and Harvard freshman. He seemed to struggle with the pace and might have been a victim of nerves in his first-ever WJC game against an opponent like Canada. His ice time reflected that, as he didn’t get the regular shifts to work himself into a groove and when he was out there, he made some noticeable mistakes.

Donato is an excellent prospect who often times pays a price for the perception of prep hockey and where it ranks in the developmental pecking order. A sensational season in 2013-14, and one in which I would have been fine with taking him at the end of the first round, saw him slip down to the end of the second. Even with that, I saw grumblings about him being drafted there, which I completely did not agree with. Conversely, getting Donato at 56 overall was a fine value pick for Boston if not one that will take time to develop and see the payoff for.

Ted’s eldest son is a hockey savant- his offensive hockey sense and scoring instincts are second to none. He’s not a burner like his dad was, but he’s bigger and more physically gifted to skate in the modern NHL. He’s off to a fine start in Cambridge, a year after a down season at Dexter was then punctuated by a superb finish in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers.

In other words- just as a lot of folks were eager to jump on Twitter yesterday to sing Carlo’s praises, there is absolutely no reason to pile on Donato for his subpar showing. It’s one game in one tournament. The thing to watch going forward with Donato is to see how coach Ron Wilson and the USA coaches use him and if he can settle in and find a way to do what he does best- bring offense. Given the role he had yesterday, however, that’s a tall order for any player.

Czech Republic

Daniel Vladar, G- Was a non-dress yesterday as Capitals prospect Vitek Vanecek (2nd round, 39th in 2014) got the start with Ales Stezka backing up. Vanecek played very well in a 2-1 shootout loss to Russia, so Vladar will likely have to wait for his chance to play if he even sees a sniff of action. His role will likely be to carry the mail in 2017 if he continues to progress in his development this season.

Jakub Zboril, D- Boston’s top pick in June last just 10:17 into the contest when he was assessed a match penalty and ejected for boarding on a questionable hit that looked worse in real time than it was. He was given 25 minutes in penalties on the play, but no suspension is forthcoming.

Sweden

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, F- The second-rounder scored Sweden’s sixth goal in an 8-3 rout at 12:50 of the second period. No scouting report notes as I did not see the game, but it’s a good sign for the BU center, who tends to be more of a passer/playmaker than a finisher.

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson aka "JFK"

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson aka “JFK”

I will follow this blog post up later with some observations on some of the 2016 NHL draft hopefuls I saw in action yesterday.

 

 

 

 

Bruins Prospects Update 12/15/15

In the AHL, Koko has been crisp since coming back from a hand injury that took him out of action for several weeks. He’s put some distance between him and Seth Griffith atop Providence’s scoring race, going at a point-per-game clip.

Defenseman Chris Casto is quietly having a career year. The former Minnesota high school and Minnesota-Duluth standout was at one time thought of to be a potential top-three round NHL draft pick but it never happened for him.  He had a largely uneventful first two seasons in the Bruins organization since signing as a free agent in spring 2013, but he might make the B’s re-think signing him to an extension at the rate he’s going. The team has a glut of similar type of players at the position- big, mobile, but ultimately limited and lower pairing guys- but Casto is opening some eyes in the early going.

Providence has been getting much better goaltending of late from both of Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre, which is good news for the Bruins and the offense, which doesn’t have to put up major production to have a chance at winning these days.

Multiple Boston prospects are at their respective countries’ World Jr. Championship evaluation camps: Jeremy Lauzon (Canada), Anders Bjork, Brandon Carlo, Ryan Donato (USA), Daniel Vladar, Jakub Zboril (Czech Republic) and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (Sweden) are all in the mix to earn spots at the annual prestigious under-20 hockey showcase. Watch for Zach Senyshyn and Jesse Gabrielle to be there for Team Canada a year from now.

AHL

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

GP- 17 Goals- 6 Assists- 14 Points- 20 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -2

With a goal and 4 points in his last three AHL games, Koko is keeping pace for his most productive year of three professional seasons with Providence.

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 19 Goals- 8 Assists- 10 Points- 18 Penalty Min- 14 +/- -1

Three goals and five points in three games for Griffith gave Providence a nice boost in getting the team back on a winning track.

Austin Czarnik, C Providence Bruins

GP- 19  Goals- 5 Assists- 10 Points- 15 Penalty Min- 10 +/- 5

Heating up as a rookie pro who is figuring out that he’s at his best when pushing the offensive tempo of a game and playing his patented buzzsaw style.

Chris Casto, D Providence Bruins

GP- 22 Goals- 1 Assists- 10 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 16 +/- -5

Scored his first goal of the season; his next assist equals his entire output from 2014-15 (in 62 AHL games).

Tommy Cross, D Providence Bruins

GP- 18 Goals- 1 Assists- 9 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 29 +/- -5

Injured- did not play.

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 26 Goals- 7 Assists- 3 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -5

Colton Hargrove, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 18 Goals- 4 Assists- 3 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 23 +/- -2

He scored a big power play goal over the weekend in a win over Hartford.

Noel Acciari, C Providence Bruins

GP- 21 Goals- 3 Assists-3 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 7 +/- -1

Surgery not required, but still out after taking a shot that broke his jaw in several places. Will wear a full face shield upon his return, perhaps as early as this week.

Anton Blidh, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 24 Goals- 6 Assists- 0 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -2

Zack Phillips, C Providence Bruins

GP- 23 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -14

Has played better of late; posted a pair of assists last week.

Linus Arnesson, D Providence Bruins

GP- 18 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -1

Arnesson returned to action last week.

Malcolm Subban, G Providence Bruins

GP- 11 MIN- 788 GA- 35 GAA- 2.66 Spct- .899 W- 5 L-5 OTL 3 SO- 1

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 12 MIN- 718 GA- 34 GAA- 2.84 Spct- .889 W- 5 L- 4 OTL- 3

McIntyre still has much to learn as he adjusts to the speed and demands of pro hockey, but he’s been more consistent than Subban in the early going. Given his overall ability and work ethic, the former North Dakota star puck stopper is more than the sum of his parts.

Injured- Brian Ferlin (upper body)- 1 game played.

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 30 Goals- 18 Assists- 10 Points- 28 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -9

A three-assist performance in one game over the weekend has boosted him near the points-per-game level.

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 26 Goals- 5 Assists- 28 Points- 34 Penalty Min- 50 +/- 26

Named to Team Canada’s World Jr. Camp as an injury replacement for Jake Walman, Lauzon did not play any QMJHL games last week.

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 21 Goals- 3 Assists- 6 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 26 +/- 2

Zboril is with Team Czech Republic in preparation for the 2016 World Jr. Championship in Finland.

WHL

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 31 Goals- 17 Assists- 15 Points- 32 Penalty Min- 49 +/- 5

With a goal and five assists since the last update, Gabrielle continues to be a scoring force for his team while also bringing a gritty, physical game.

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 21 Goals- 9 Assists- 16 Points- 25 Penalty Min- 13 +/- -1

Rounding into form in the weeks since coming back from a serious groin injury that required surgery.

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 22 Goals- 2 Assists- 12 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 57 +/- -5

Carlo played two scoreless games before departing for Boston to attend Team USA WJC camp. He’s a lock to make the 2016 squad after playing well at the WJC last year.

 

NCAA

Ryan Fitzgerald, F Boston College Eagles (HEA)

GP- 15 Goals- 11 Assists- 10 Points- 21 Penalty Min- 33 +/- 17

No points in just one game (loss to Notre Dame) since the last update.

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

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

JFK is now with Team Sweden preparing for the WJC after playing 2 scoreless games since the last update.

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 17 Goals- 5 Assists- 11 Points- 16 Penalty Min- 4 +/- 17

Posted a helper in the Fighting Irish’s win over Boston College last week. Now with Team USA in Boston for WJC camp.

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 16 Goals- 5 Assists- 6 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -3

Ryan Donato, C Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 10 Goals- 4 Assists- 5 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 10 +/- 6

Did not play; now at USA WJC camp.

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

GP- 14 Goals- 1 Assists- 8 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -6

Did not play.

Sean Kuraly, C Miami University (NCHC)

GP- 16 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 17 +/- -5

Did not play

Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 17 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 17 +/- -12

Did not play

Matt Grzelcyk, D Boston University (HEA)

GP-6 Goals 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 12 +/- 2

Grzelcyk is still out with a lower body (knee injury).

Wiley Sherman, D Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 10 Goals- 2 Assists- 2 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 5

Rob O’Gara, D Yale University (ECAC)

GP- 12 Goals- 0 Assists- 4 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 16 +/- -4

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (Sweden)

GP- 21 Goals- 6 Assists- 4 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 0

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (Sweden)

GP- 25 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -1

Maxim Chudinov, D St Petersburg SKA (Russia)

GP- 37 Goals- 6 Assists- 8 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 75 +/- -7

USHL

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago (USHL)

GP- 13 MIN- 737 GA- 26 GAA- 2.12 Spct .925 SO- 2; 3-5-3

Vladar has left his team to participate in Team Czech Republic WJC camp.

Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls (USHL)

GP- 25 Goals- 4 Assists- 5 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 6 +/- 0

University of Wisconsin recruit scored a goal last week, his first since mid-November.

Scouting Post Bruins Prospect of the Month November: Ryan Fitzgerald

With Massachusetts native Frank Vatrano getting the honor last month (and what do you know- he was up to the big club shortly thereafter) we’re staying in the Bay State this month with Boston College junior Ryan Fitzgerald winning a close race between Prince George Cougars forward Jesse Gabrielle and crosstown NCAA rival Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson.

The intent for the SPBPOTM is not to stick with the hometown guys, but North Reading native Fitzgerald earned it with his consistent offensive play, impact on special teams with power play and shorthanded scores, and an overall energy and hunger to prove himself. The 2013 fourth-round selection is currently second on the Eagles in scoring behind freshman and Ottawa first-rounder Colin White.

Fitzgerald’s highlight game happened against Michigan State on Nov. 13, when he scored a pair of goals (one into an empty net) and added two more assists for the first four-point night of his NCAA career in a 6-4 win over the Spartans.

The former two-time Massachusetts state champion at Malden Catholic played a season of junior in the USPHL with the Valley Jr. Warriors before entering BC for the 2013-14 season. Going into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Fitzgerald was widely projected as a second-round pick, but concerns about his size and lack of breakaway speed might have conspired to give his hometown Bruins a superb value with the penultimate pick of the fourth round (120th overall).

Like his father, Tom, who played more than 1,000 career NHL games after being a first-round pick of the NY Islanders in 1986 (and finished his playing career with the B’s two decades later), the oldest of three sons plays a scrappy, energetic game. If he’s not blazing fast, Fitzgerald uses his high-end hockey sense and anticipatory instincts to get the jump on opponents. Constantly in motion, he creates turnovers with an active stick and reads the play before it develops, getting himself into position to set up and finish plays.

Fitzgerald’s ties to the Bruins are not just restricted to his father’s brief stint in the Black and Gold. His uncle, Scott Fitzgerald, is the team’s assistant director of amateur scouting and is hitting his scouting stride again after suffering life-threatening injuries in a vehicular accident in early 2013. A younger brother, defenseman Casey Fitzgerald, is a freshman at BC and was not selected in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

With 10 goals and 19 points in his first 12 games, Fitzgerald is off to the best start in his three impactful seasons on Chestnut Hill. He scored 30 goals in 78 games of his first two NCAA seasons, so the consistency and ability to finish has been evident from day one.

The Bruins will be patient with Fitzgerald and allow him maximum time to develop, and when he turns pro, expect for him to spend time in Providence of the AHL before he’s ready to try his two-way game at the NHL level and follow in his dad’s footsteps.

Gabrielle, who has 16 goals and 25 points in 26 games with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, is having his finest WHL season to date after beginning with the Brandon Wheat Kings before a mid-season trade to the Regina Pats in 2015. Dealt to the western outpost of Prince George over the summer, Gabrielle has been a productive, gritty forward who isn’t afraid to bring some nastiness to the mix. He’s scoring, hitting and fighting. He’s bigger than his idol, Brad Marchand, and therefore able to assert himself more on the physical side. Also like Marchand, he’s still working on reining in the emotions at key moments and not putting his club behind the 8-ball with undisciplined play. The fourth-round selection who played Minnesota high school hockey before major junior is looking like an impressive value pick on the back end of Boston’s 10-player 2015 draft.

Forsbacka-Karlsson or “JFK” is having a strong freshman campaign after being Boston’s fifth choice at 45th overall last June. The slick and heady playmaking Swede spent the last two seasons in Omaha of the USHL, adapting to the smaller North American ice surface and dealing with the challenges of travel and play in a rugged league, so don’t expect him to hit the “rookie wall” that affects other young players who enter the NCAA out of the less-demanding prep/high school ranks. With four goals and 13 points in his first 14 games for BU, he’s playing a mature, refined game that has earned Terriers coach David Quinn’s trust out of the gate. One NHL scout who saw him recently came away impressed with how much better JFK looked in the Hockey East than he did a year ago in the USHL.

Bruins Prospects Update 12/01/15

We’re in the final month of 2015 and it’s time for another prospects update from the Boston Bruins system.

Providence continues to have problems finding the back of the net consistently without the presence of Alex Khokhlachev (injured) and Frank Vatrano (in Boston). The goaltenders have been better but still rank among the last in AHL for key statistical categories.

Ryan Fitzgerald is having a superb season for BC, breaking out offensively as a junior and scoring on the power play and while shorthanded. Crosstown rival Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson continues to impress in his freshman season, scoring at nearly a point-per-game clip and demonstrating a mature, refined game beyond his 19 years.

Daniel Vladar had an outstanding week with the Chicago Steel, allowing just one goal in two wins. When on top of his game, he’s fluid and tough to beat with his size and quickness.

AHL

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

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

Hand injury; did not play. Expected to be out an additional 2-3 weeks.

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 13 Goals- 4 Assists- 6 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 10 +/- -4

As an indicator of how much the Providence offense has struggled this year since Koko was injured two-plus weeks ago and Frank Vatrano called up to the Bruins, Griffith is still three points away from tying Koko for team best in scoring.

Tommy Cross, D Providence Bruins

GP- 16 Goals- 1 Assists- 9 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 29 +/- -6

With a goal and three points in his last six games, Cross has been one of the few bright spots on Providence of late. Since returning from his first NHL stint, Cross is playing with renewed confidence and energy as team captain.

Austin Czarnik, C Providence Bruins

GP- 13 Goals- 2 Assists- 6 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 10 +/-  3

Czarnik has struggled to find the score sheet since coming back from a shoulder injury-he has just one assist in his last six games.

Chris Casto, D Providence Bruins

GP- 14 Goals- 0 Assists- 8 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 14 +/- -10

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 20 Goals- 5 Assists- 2 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -8

Like Czarnik, Cave has just one assist in his last six games after scoring a respectable five goals in his first 14 contests.

Noel Acciari, C Providence Bruins

GP- 20 Goals- 3 Assists-3  Points- 6 Penalty Min- 7 +/- -3

The former PC captain has three points in his last six games to pick up some of the scoring slack after tallying just 3 points in his first 14 games.

Anton Blidh, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 18 Goals- 5 Assists- 0 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 10 +/- -5

Colton Hargrove, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 13 Goals- 3 Assists- 1 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -2

Linus Arnesson, D Providence Bruins

GP- 15 Goals- 0 Assists- 1 Points- 1 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -1

Malcolm Subban, G Providence Bruins

GP- 9 MIN- 542 GA- 19 GAA- 3.10 Spct- ..872 W- 2 L-5 OTL 2 SO- 1

Subban has shown improvement since the last update, raising his save percentage, lowering the GAA and posting his first shutout of the season against Lehigh Valley this past Saturday.

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 10 MIN- 598 GA- 31 GAA- 3.11 Spct- .876 W- 3 L- 4 OTL- 3

 

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 20 Goals- 11 Assists- 5 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -10

With one goal/point in his last five games, the scoring has fallen off. The 15th overall pick last June has tallied several highlight reel goals over the course of the season, using his speed and hands to light the lamp, but while the tools are there, the consistent production has been elusive to date.

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 23 Goals- 4 Assists- 27 Points- 31 Penalty Min- 40 +/- 23

Rouyn-Noranda’s top scoring D continues to play well at both ends, logging a lot of minutes, playing strong positional defense and continuing to put up points.

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 20 Goals- 3 Assists- 6 Points- 9 Penalty Min- 24 +/- 2

 

WHL

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

GP- 16 Goals- 8 Assists- 15 Points- 23 Penalty Min- 13 +/- -2

Jake DeBrusk returned to action last week, scoring in the first two games he played for a total of three points in the two contests.

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 24 Goals- 14 Assists- 8 Points- 22 Penalty Min- 38 +/-  2

Brandon Carlo, D Tri-City Americans

GP- 18 Goals- 2 Assists- 11 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 51 +/- -5

Carlo is back in the Americans’ lineup after missing games to injury. He tallied a goal and five points in seven games since getting back on the ice while maintaining a physical, rugged edge to his play.

 

NCAA

Ryan Fitzgerald, F Boston College Eagles (HEA)

GP- 12 Goals- 10 Assists- 9 Points- 19 Penalty Min- 29 +/- 19

Fitzgerald is off to the best offensive start in his third/junior season for the Eagles with three goals in his last three games. He’s making an impact on both the PP and PK special teams. His 10 goals lead BC, but is second in overall points to freshman Colin White (Senators), who has 21.

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

GP- 14 Goals- 4 Assists- 9 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 10 +/- 4

JFK is tied with Ahti Oksanen for second on the Terriers in scoring and has been impressive in the faceoff circle thus far this season with a better-than-projected impact as a freshman.

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

GP- 14 Goals- 3 Assists- 9 Points- 12 Penalty Min- 4 +/- 10

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 12 Goals- 5 Assists- 5 Points- 10 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 3

Ryan Donato, C Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 8 Goals- 4 Assists- 3 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 10 +/- 5.

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

GP- 12 Goals- 1 Assists- 5 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 6 +/- -2

Matt Grzelcyk, D Boston University (HEA)

GP-6 Goals 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 12 +/- 2

Grzelcyk was sidelined briefly by a knee injury- not the same surgically repaired knee from offseason.

Sean Kuraly, C Miami University (NCHC)

GP- 14 Goals- 1 Assists- 4 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 17 +/- -6

Another stretch of play with no offense for the senior center.

Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 15 Goals- 2 Assists- 3 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 17 +/- -10

Wiley Sherman, D Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 8 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 4 +/- 4

Rob O’Gara, D Yale University (ECAC)

GP- 9 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 12 +/- 0

A slower-than-expected start offensively…more expected of the senior D and he will pick up play at both ends as the season goes on.

 

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (Sweden)

GP- 19 Goals- 5 Assists- 3 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -2

2013 third-rounder scored a couple of goals in SHL play since last update.

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (Sweden)

GP- 21 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -1

Maxim Chudinov, D St Petersburg SKA (Russia)

GP- 32 Goals- 6 Assists- 8 Points- 14 Penalty Min- 75 +/- -7

Chudinov’s production has ticked up over last seven games with a couple of goals and helpers. It is still not known whether he and the Bruins will work to sign a contract or if the team will allow him to enter free agency in  summer.

USHL

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago (USHL)

GP- 11 MIN- 610 GA- 20 GAA- 1.97 Spct .930 SO- 2; 3-4-2

Vladar went 2-0 last week, allowing one goal and posting his second shutout of the season.

Jack Becker, C Sioux Falls (USHL)

GP- 20 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -1

 

 

Bruins Prospects Update 11/16/15

It has been a tough season for the goalies in Providence.

Malcolm Subban missed just about a month with a lower body injury suffered before the start of the year and has been mediocre at best (and that might be putting it mildly) since returning to the lineup. Zane McIntyre is a gamer, but he’s undergoing  a challenging transition, which only further underscores the folly and foolishness displayed by some who really thought he should just waltz into the NHL backup spot behind Tuukka Rask without having seen a single shot at the pro level. McIntyre is a terrific competitor and will eventually right the ship, but he’s struggling at the AHL level right now.

As for Subban, much bigger things are expected of him, and the 2012 first-rounder needs to start showing more consistency in his preparation and execution. If the B’s had toyed with the idea of trading him in order to get a nice return, they can shelve those plans, because Suban’s value is down is right now. He needs to get back to basics.

Austin Czarnik returned to the Providence lineup and not a moment too soon with Alex Khokhlachev now out with a bad hand. The diminutive former Hobey Baker finalist picked up where he left off, tallying a goal and assist in three games.

The NCAA prospects had another big week, which included a 2-goal, 4-point night from Ryan Fitzgerald and Wiley Sherman’s first career NCAA goal in his second year with Harvard. BU center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson had another strong weekend and is getting positive reviews by NHL scouts who all point to the uncommon maturity of his game for one in just his first collegiate season. NU defenseman Matt Benning got his second goal of the year, significant in that he went all of 2014-15 without scoring once, though still managed to lead the Huskies in scoring from the blue line.

AHL

Alex Khokhlachev, C Providence Bruins

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

Hand injury; did not play.

Austin Czarnik, C Providence Bruins

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

Czarnik returned to the lineup after missing seven games; if he can stay healthy, he’ll infuse the Providence lineup with much-needed speed, skill and energy.

Tommy Cross, D Providence Bruins

GP- 10 Goals- 0 Assists- 7 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 25 +/- -4

Chris Casto, D Providence Bruins

GP- 14 Goals- 0 Assists- 7 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -9

Seth Griffith, RW Providence Bruins

GP- 7 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -3

Colby Cave, C Providence Bruins

GP- 14 Goals- 5 Assists- 1 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 4 +/- -4

Colton Hargrove, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 11 Goals- 3 Assists- 1 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -2

Expected to be more of an enforcer type of forward this season, Hargrove has been one of the more consistent players providing scoring from the lower lines.

Anton Blidh, LW Providence Bruins

GP- 14 Goals- 4 Assists- 0 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 8 +/- -1

Noel Acciari, C Providence Bruins

GP- 14 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 7 +/- -3

Former Bishop Hendricken and Providence College captain scored his first career professional goal over the weekend.

Linus Arnesson, D Providence Bruins

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

Malcolm Subban, G Providence Bruins

GP- 5 MIN- 304 GA- 19 GAA- 3.75 Spct- ..850 W- 1 L-3 OTL 1

Zane McIntyre, G Providence Bruins

GP- 8 MIN- 480 GA- 26 GAA- 3.25 Spct- .875 W- 2 L- 3 OTL- 3

 

OHL

Zach Senyshyn, RW Saulte Ste Marie Greyhounds

GP- 20 Goals- 10 Assists- 5 Points- 15 Penalty Min- 2 +/- -6

 

QMJHL

Jeremy Lauzon, D Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

GP- 19 Goals- 3 Assists- 24 Points- 27 Penalty Min- 34 +/- +19

Jakub Zboril, D Saint John Sea Dogs

GP- 16 Goals- 3 Assists- 4 Points- 7 Penalty Min- 20 +/- 2

 

WHL

Jake DeBrusk, LW Swift Current Broncos

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

Groin injury; DNP

Jesse Gabrielle, LW Prince George Cougars

GP- 19 Goals- 14 Assists- 6 Points- 20 Penalty Min- 29 +/-  1

Big week for Gabrielle, who scored three goals and five points in three games and continues to turn heads in the WHL. By comparison he had 10 goals and 19 points in 33 games with the Regina Pats after a mid-season trade last season. He’s well on his way to beating all of his previous career highs.

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- 9 Goals- 7 Assists- 6 Points- 13 Penalty Min- 27 +/- 13

Anders Bjork, LW University of Notre Dame (HEA)

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

Danton Heinen, LW Denver University Pioneers (NCHC)

GP- 10 Goals- 4 Assists- 4 Points- 8 Penalty Min- 0 +/- 4

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

GP- 10 Goals- 3 Assists- 8 Points- 11 Penalty Min- 8 +/- 2

2 goals and 2 assists in 2 games over the weekend put JFK second on the team in scoring behind Sharks prospect Danny O’Regan.

Ryan Donato, C Harvard University (ECAC)

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

No points in two games played for Donato this week.

Sean Kuraly, C Miami University (NCHC)

GP- 12 Goals- 1 Assists- 4 Points- 5 Penalty Min- 12 +/- -6

The Miami captain finally got off the schneid to record his first goal of the season over the weekend.

Matt Grzelcyk, D Boston University (HEA)

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

Cameron Hughes, C University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)

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

Matt Benning, D Northeastern University (HEA)

GP- 11 Goals- 2 Assists- 2 Points- 4 Penalty Min- 15 +/- -9

Wiley Sherman, D Harvard University (ECAC)

GP- 6 Goals- 1 Assists- 2 Points- 3 Penalty Min- 4 +/- 2

Sherman tallied his first career NCAA goal in game No. 43 for the Crimson.

 

Rob O’Gara, D Yale University (ECAC)

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

 

Europe

Peter Cehlarik, LW Lulea (Sweden)

GP- 14 Goals- 3 Assists- 3 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -2

Emil Johansson, D HV71 (Sweden)

GP- 16 Goals- 0 Assists- 2 Points- 2 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- 15 Goals- 2 Assists- 4 Points- 6 Penalty Min- 0 +/- -3

No points in three games for the 7th rounder since last update.

Daniel Vladar, G Chicago (USHL)

GP- 9 MIN- 490 GA- 19 GAA- 2.33 Spct .912 SO- 1; 1-4-2

Vladar’s only action last week came in 21 minutes of relief of a losing effort, where he allowed no goals.

THN gives Senyshyn some love after highlight reel goal this week

Zachary Senyshyn Photo credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Zachary Senyshyn Photo credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

If you’ve read this blog since the inception in July, then you probably know quite a bit about Soo Greyhounds right winger Zach Senyshyn. My fellow prospect analyst and OHL guru Dominic Tiano even had a point-counterpoint here about the Ottawa native over the summer and I drew the unenviable task of trying to argue that taking him at 15th overall was a reach by Boston. You can read that debate if you missed it.

But now, the Hockey News has a nice little feature on him (along with video of his memorable goal provided by the fine Weekend and Bergy’s Bruins blog), so it is readily apparent that the mockery and jeers that dogged the Bruins on draft weekend are pretty well in the rearview mirror at this point. The kid is a player and he’s proving it in his second OHL season after scoring 26 goals and 45 points as a rookie on the bottom two lines. Now skating on the top line, he’s got 10 goals in 17 contests…well on pace to blow past his impressive freshman totals.

Senyshyn’s success is a reminder that when it comes to any pro sports draft, winners and losers aren’t decided the day of the event. There’s no guarantee that he’ll go the distance and establish himself as a legitimate top-two scoring wing in the NHL with the Bruins, but given the near-universal panning of the pick, the snarky, condescending snickering that occurred in Fort Lauderdale, Boston is getting some immediate contributions from Colin Miller and Senyshyn looks completely comfortable as a player selected in the middle of the opening round.  That’s not even taking into account that in addition to Senyshyn, the B’s also drafted BU center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and QMJHL two-way D Jeremy Lauzon with the other two Calgary picks acquired for Dougie Hamilton.

It is now apparent that had the Bruins not stood pat and taken Senyshyn at 15, someone else would have grabbed him before the B’s would have likely had another opportunity (if the rumor about offers for trading out of the 15th spot are true).

He’s not just a bull on the wing who uses explosive burst and acceleration to blow by defenders on the outside, then uses his 6-foot-2 frame to drive the net and score, but he’s a quality kid who wears the ‘A’ this season (the Greyhounds do not have a captain) and is a prime candidate that Tiano believes will captain the team next year. That’s assuming he doesn’t make the Bruins, but in all honesty- when he was drafted by Boston, the talk all along was that Senyshyn was going to need several years of development before he could realistically compete for a spot in the NHL. We have to remember that unlike many of his peers, Senyshyn is only in his second OHL season after spending 2013-14 with the Tier 2 Smith’s Falls Bears before making the jump to the Soo.

In short- Senyshyn is exhibit A for why the NHL draft is an inexact science. You would be hard pressed to find many people out there who thought he could be chosen in the top half of the first round, yet the Bruins went for it. Their reward for showing faith in the young colt was to be blasted by pundits and fans alike, even though he represents a far better fit for what Boston values and is trying to do versus a skilled but undersized center who has battled injuries and would be harder pressed to crack this Bruins lineup given the strength up the middle.

The point of this post is not to crow about Senyshyn- there is still a tremendous amount of work ahead for him, and he’s not come close to making it yet. He’s still pretty raw and far from a finished product. However- when you do some film study, he’s still doing the things that brought him success a year ago. The best thing of all is that his opponents don’t have an answer for it. Senyshyn works hard and imposes his will on games given his size, speed and impressive offensive skills. The big difference for me in seeing the film this season versus last year is that he’s displaying creativity I wasn’t sure he had.

Put that all together and it’s adding up to a fine situation for the future, all the more rewarding for the Boston scouts who wanted Senyshyn and convinced Don Sweeney and Keith Gretzky to spend the third first-rounder on him rather than trading out of 15 and all but missing out.

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