Wiley Sherman playing big role for Providence
Recent injuries to bigger, more physical Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller left relatively large voids in both Boston and Providence. The Bruins recalled Jeremy Lauzon and Connor Clifton to fill the roles of Miller and Chara, leaving Providence to be a bit thin on the backend for the last few weeks.
The Bruins organization could use a physical defenseman large enough to eat up minutes. Enter Wiley Sherman. The 6-foot-6 Harvard-product is in his first full season with the Providence Bruins — aside from two games at the tail end of the 2017-18 season — and is looking to be a player the Bruins can rely on for size and strength in their own zone while occasionally chipping in on offense.
“Just be kind of a big, tall guy,” said Sherman, who has three points (two goals, one assist) and an even plus/minus rating through 21 games. “Be good in the defensive zone, play the body and hopefully keep improving on breaking the puck out and making that first pass.”
The Greenwich, Connecticut, native collected his first career goal and point back on Nov. 16 during Providence’s 5-4 loss to the Leigh Valley Phantoms. Sherman found the back of the net again on Dec. 1 in the P-Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. His lone assist also came against the Phantoms, getting the helper on Ryan Fitzgerald’s game-tying second period tally in Providence’s 6-3 road win.
Though his offensive numbers aren’t anything to write home about, Sherman has generally been thought of as a high-scoring defenseman. Just look at his stats at Harvard, where he was a teammate of Ryan Donato. In 137 games, Sherman only totaled 33 points (7 goals, 26 assists) during his four-year Crimson career.
But while Sherman champions himself as a shutdown defenseman, he knows his offensive output can improve.
“Definitely that first pass,” Sherman stated when asked what he felt he could improve on. “Identifying that first man and breaking in out as soon as possible. That’s a focus for now.”
Listed at 205-pounds, the 23-year old Sherman can afford to add some mass in order to help shut down opponents equal or greater in size. The Bruins could certainly have used his big presence in last week’s losses to Florida and Tampa Bay.
Sherman will continue to grow — both figuratively and literally — into a shutdown defenseman during his stay in Providence. He plans on making the most of his opportunity if he’s lucky enough to make the trip up I-95.
“Obviously [a call-up] would be a dream come true,” Sherman said. “It’s something you think about your whole life and it’s the reason why you play the game right now.”