With the National Hockey League officially in another lockout, it looks like we won’t be seeing any Boston Bruins hockey any time soon, but just because the NHL will be canceling its games, that don’t mean professional hockey won’t be played in New England.
Here at Bruins Daily we are set to cover the 2012-13 American Hockey League (AHL) season with a key focus on the Providence Bruins.
With a roster full of future and current NHL talent, the Providence Bruins look to make the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time since the 2008-2009 season where they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual Calder Cup Champions, the Hershey Bears.
The Bruins are set to kick off the season at home on October 12, 2012 when they host the Manchester Monarchs who are the minor league affiliate of the defending Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings.
Last season was another disappointing year for head coach Bruce Cassidy and his Bruins as the squad finished 12th in the Eastern Conference, six points out of a playoff spot. The Bruins were led by forward Carter Camper who had 48 points (18 goals and 30 assists) in 69 games for the Bruins. Craig Cunningham led the team with 20 goals, the only Bruins player to hit the 20-goal mark. Forward Josh Hennessy was also a bright spot for the “Baby B’s” with 41 points (19 goals and 22 assists) in 69 games.
The most exciting aspect of the Providence Bruins this year will be the crop of young talented prospects that the Bruins have in the pipeline. Ryan Spooner, Jared Knight, and Tommy Cross, among others are all expected to be key factors for Providence this season.
Spooner has appeared in eight games for the Providence Bruins over the past two seasons. Spooner has lit the lamp three times and chipped in with four assists. Knight who was drafted by the Bruins in the second round of the 2010 Entry Draft appeared in three games for Providence last season where he added two assists.
Some people—myself included—believe that Spooner will win a roster spot with the big club when Bruins training camp gets to take place—maybe beating out Jordan Caron—so maybe some time in the AHL will help Spooner with his goal of making the Bruins this season.
Due to the AHL’s age restrictions,—players must be a least 20-years old—this coming season will be the first time Knight and Spooner are allowed to play a full season in the AHL.
One guy to keep an eye on this year in Providence is Max Sauve. The former second round pick by the Bruins is a name that most of you should know as the 22 year-old Tours, France native has attended multiple training and rookie camps. Sauve is a talented forward who shows tons of potential but has never been able to get over the hump and get his shot with the Bruins. Sauve did appear in one NHL game last season for the Bruins, but only saw 3:43 of ice time in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Just prior to NHL locking out its players, the Boston Bruins assigned 23 players to the AHL roster. Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Button, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Colby Cohen, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Michael Hutchinson, Jared Knight, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Adam Morrison, Tyler Randell, Max Sauve, Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky were straight out assigned while Garnet Exelby, Christian Hanson, Jamie Tardif and Trent Whitfield had to clear waviers.
As of now 20-year old Tyler Seguin would have to clear waivers in order to play in the AHL for the Providence Bruins, something the Bruins are not willing to do. Top prospects Dougie Hamilton (Niagara Ice Dogs) and Malcolm Subban (Belleville Bulls) are ineligible to play in the AHL due to their age and therefore will be sent back to their respective teams in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Training camp is set to begin on September 28.