Thanks so much Malt. I really appreciate your reviews and analysis. Look forward to reading about the defense and goaltending.
Just last night I was thinking about the P-Bruins line-up for next season. Lots of change coming, hopefully for the good, and I believe they will have a good team.
Here is a first cut at the roster, with the caveat that much can change before the season.
Bourque - Camper - Tardif
Sauve - Spooner - Knight
Cunningham - Whitfield - Randell
MacDermid - Arniel - MacDonald
Bartkowski - Miller
Krug - Trotman
Button - Warsofsky
Cross - Bodnarchuk
Khudobin - Svedberg
They have more players under contract than can fit on the roster. Lots of questions on players like Cohen, Florek, Goulet, Hutchinson, Ridderwall, etc.
What does everyone think about the team for 2012?
Thanks for the kind words. While it's anyone's guess as to what the actual lineup will be, you certainly have to consider that players under contract--i.e. Florek and Cohen will defintely be in the mix. That means there is an uncertainty when it comes to RFAs such as Arniel and Bartkowski.
As far as the forwards go, can they possibly go wrong with Bourque, Camper, possibly Spooner and Knight and an upstart like Cunningham? Remember, a lot of us--including me--thought the team was going to be a force with Colborne, Hamill and Alexandrov playing together a couple seasons ago.
Problem is, he's an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs now.
There's gotta be another diamond-in-the-rough ala Lavvy, Sully, or Gordon out there somewhere ...
And is being an Assistant with the Leafs better than a Head Job in Providence????? I`d be inclined to say a better gig for Gordon within MLSE would be with the Marlies as they are the only team in the MLSE franchise who actually makes playoff appearances
Providence’s defense struggled through the first two or three months of season, as the team’s lack or talent and experience showed on the back end (on opening night, the team’s D was Marvin Degon/David Warsofsky/Ryan Button/Marc Cantin/Kevan Miller/Colby Cohen—not exactly a recipe for success there). However, as more experienced players got healthy (Bodnarchuk/McIver/Bartkowski), the team defensive play became more than adequate.
Stats are games played-goals scored-assists-total points
-David Warsofsky (66-5-24-29): The undersized BU product was the team’s leading scorer and utilized his skating ability to earn a respectable 29 points in his first full season in the AHL. His defensive play is still a work in progress, and he still needs to add muscle to his 5’9” frame, but there is still potential for an NHL career. However, he will likely face competition from a similar undersized player—Torey Krug.
-Kevan Miller (65-3-21-24): One of the more positive stories to come out of Providence this year was the play of this undrafted product of the University of Vermont. Steady and strong, Miller finished with a team high +20 rating while adding 24 points. Miller also showed decent skills with the gloves off and racked up 98 pims on the year. Keep an eye on this player—he could make it to the big show sooner than later.
-Matt Bartkowski (50-3-19-22): Bartkowski had an up and down year, contributing little offense through the first couple months of the season before scoring 8 points in December. A late season injury limited his season to 50 AHL games. Bartkowski has shown in his 9 games in Boston that he isn’t ready for the NHL, so more time in the AHL will be needed. He’s RFA, so the organization will have to decide if he’s worthy of another contract.
-Andrew Bodnarchuk (63-5-12-17): A suffering through a miserable 2010-2011 season in which he battled a shoulder injury much of the year, Bodnarchuk bounced back with a 17 point season, although his -6 plus/minus was a disappointment considering this was his 4th full season in a spoked B. Undersized but strong, he could still find NHL employment soon, but it may not be with this organization.
-Colby Cohen (58-4-11-16): The former BU star has struggled in the AHL and did not improve upon his defensive play this year. Although armed with a big shot from the point, Cohen only managed 4 goals all year, 3 of which came on the PP. His decision making and passing need to improve ASAP, as he’s in danger of falling down the depth chart even further next year with Zach Trotman, Torey Krug and Tommy Cross ready to contribute next season.
The rest: Steve Kamper split his time between Providence and Boston and traded to the Wild at the trade deadline…Zach Trotman made his professional debut and played 9 games, putting up 3 points. He’s expected to help out the team’s PP next year…Zach McKelvie finally turned pro after finishing up his Army commitments but was ineffective and spent some of the season in the ECHL. A UFA, we wish him the best of luck…A third round draft pick in 2009, Ryan Button could not crack the lineup on a regular basis and also spent much of the year in Reading. He should get more playing time next year, but his upside is really unknown at this point. He managed only 2 points in 28 games in Providence…Nathan McIver spent much of the year recovering from an injury and played only 41 games. Although he has considerable NHL/AHL experience, there’s likely no need to resign the 27 year old whose best work comes with the gloves off…Tommy Cross played in 2 games and by some reports had a tough time adjusting to the pro level, but 2 games is too small a sample to jump to any conclusions. Cross should be in the regular rotation next year…Marc Cantin played only a few games in Providence and was traded to the Islanders organization at the trade deadline.
(Stats are games played-wins-losses-shootout losses-goals against average-save %)
-Anton Khudobin (44-21-19-1-2.61-.919): Khudobin’s stats are not indicative of his talent and work ethic, as Providence’s defensive play was inadequate for a good part of the year. Sure, Anton had his bad nights, but more often than not he was able to give his team a chance to win (the team won 7 shootouts this year). With the recent goaltending developments in Boston, it appears that Khudobin will get a chance to be the backup for Tuukka Rask next season.
-Michael Hutchinson (29-13-14-1-2.36-.927): After 2 notoriously bad showings at the Bruins-Islanders rookie games, Hutchinson took his place as Khudobin’s backup, playing only once in October and unable to earn his first win until November 9th, a 1-goal effort against Manchester. To his credit, Hutch improved through the year, including a 4-1 record in April, with a .177GAA and a .947 save percentage. With Khudobin likely headed to Boston, Hutch has a chance to win the starters job in Providence, but he’ll have to beat out newly signed Niklas Svedberg for the gig.
THE REST: Adam Courchaine, Adam Morrison and Karel St. Laurent appeared in a total of 8 games, with only St. Laurent being able to gain a victory, allowing 3 goals in an effort against Portland on 10/22.
COACHING: As I have written before, I do not have enough expertise to judge coaches. The general feeling on the board is that head coach Bruce Cassidy is not the right man to develop young talent in Providence. With several Bruins’ draftees—Ryan Spooner, Jared Knight, Justin Florek—likely playing in the AHL next season, it’s crucial for the right person to be in place. It should be noted that former Providence coach Rob Murray (whose Providence teams struggled in his last two years behind the bench) just coached the ECHL’s Alaska Aces to a 97 point regular season in the ECHL.
LOOKING AHEAD: Things can only get better, right? With Chris Bourque, Ryan Spooner, and Jared Knight likely joining players like Sauve, Camper and Cunningham, the team’s forward lineup looks great. But questions remain in regards to the team’s defensive makeup (still very young) and goaltending (Can Hutch maintain a consistent level of play? Will Svedberg adjust well to North American play?) The organization has secured the AHL’s leading scorer from last year, but they may want to sign at least 1 experienced defenseman to mentor a young crop of D.
PREVIOUSLY SIGNED TO AN AHL CONTRACT