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Remember the days of yore where players such as Mark Stuart, Matt Hunwick and Patrice Bergeron were just players doing their best to crack a roster spot? Since then, the team is on the rise, but as is the case with any good NHL franchise (see: Detroit Red Wings), the foundation is laid within the organization and their prospects.
Appearing to have set spots on this year’s big league Bruins are defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who won the Eddie Shore award last season in the AHL with Providence, center Vladimir Sobotka, and goaltending phenom Tuuka Rask, who spent yet another year down in Rhode Island.
However, injuries are an inevitable evil in hockey and there are a great deal of prospects to keep an eye on this season down on the farm.
The Boston Bruins first round pick from the 2007 NHL Draft is showing strides of becoming a more capable player and solidifying his argument for a spot in line for a trip to Boston. While the 20-year-old center struggled last year in Providence, putting up just 26 points in 65 games, the former Everett Silvertip is coming off a strong camp and even better preseason to date.
Looking at his struggles at the AHL level, it’s almost necessary to give Hamill a pass on his first trip into the league and when you factor in the broken wrist he suffered early in the season. Bigger things should arrive this upcoming year for the P-Bruins.
Given his smaller size, Hamill could be looked upon a possible fill in for Phil Kessel and if injuries strike the forwards in bunches. He’s in the midst of a battle for a spot on the big league roster due to his impressive preseason play and absence of David Krejci for at least the first two weeks of the season.
Simply put, the 5’9″ winger is a perfect fit for the new NHL.
Taken in the third round of the 2006 Draft, the Nova Scotia-native is already making serious strides towards becoming ready for the leap to the NHL. Marchand followed a spectacular regular season where he finished with 59 points in 79 games with an even better post-season where he had 15 points in 16 games for Providence.
The Bruins’ prospect is currently ranked as the 8th best prospect in the Bruins system by HockeysFuture.com, but the 21-year-old is quickly on the rise on not only their charts, but the Boston depth chart.
Along with Hamill, Marchand is playing very aggressively and is hungry for a spot on the Boston Bruins to begin the season.
Unfortunately, Arniel’s NHL career didn’t start off on the right foot that he wishes it did. Shortly after being drafted by Boston with the 98th overall pick in 2008, Arniel was busted for driving while under the influence in Canada.
Since then, Arniel has matured greatly and has let his play do the talking for him. Following another successful season with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League where he put up over 60 points, Arniel joined the Providence Bruins for their bid for the Calder Cup. In his eight games with the P-Bruins, Arniel had one goal and seemed to be going through adjustments to the AHL.
Arniel is set to begin his first season as a full-time AHL-er and strong camp, Arniel should get many looks from the front office located on Causeway Street.
When Bruins fans got their first look at Maxime Sauve during the 2008 Rookie Training and Development Camp, the results were not so good. The center simply appeared to be lost out there, out of sync and not ready to take the next step on the path to the NHL.
However, when Sauve arrived in Wilmington in July in 2009, it was as if the six-foot tall forward made a complete transformation. Sauve was coming off a great season with Val D’Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he tallied 76 points in 64 games and it appeared as if the 19-year-old did some serious maturing in his all-around game during the season.
Due to his age, Sauve will begin the season in the Q for another go-round, where he’s already on the board with one goal in one game. However, once his season is finished, the lefty is sure to join the Providence Bruins for their stretch run where we’re expected to get an even better preview of what’s to come in the future.
When the Bruins came to an agreement on an entry-level deal with Yannick Riendeau, the fan reaction from the die-hards was a mix of questions, concerns, and anticipation.
The undersized forward who went undrafted is coming off his best season in the QJMHL with the Drummondville Voltiguers. Riendeau put up an amazing 126 points in 64 games, only to out do himself with 52 points in 19 playoff games. Without question, Riendeau and linemate Dany Masse were the most dominant duo in the Q in 2008-09. Ironically, as Riendeau told me during an interview, he and Masse were roommates throughout the season and found themselves rooting against one another as Masse signed a contract with the Montreal Canadiens as Riendeau did with Boston just before the playoffs started.
However, the questions are raised when seeing that Riendeau was a 21-year-old playing against mostly teenagers. Also, why wasn’t he drafted? Is Riendeau just a beneficiary of playing next to Dany Masse or vice-versa? Can Riendeau compete at the same level in the AHL and transpire that into success with the black and gold of Boston?
Riendeau is currently out due to shoulder surgery, but he is expected to return to action in November and take to the Providence ice.