Tommy Cross has always brought leadership to the Providence Bruins over his six full AHL seasons and entered his third year as P-Bruins captain in 2017-18. His offense really spiked a season ago in what was, at the time, a career season for Cross on the Providence blueline and after re-signing with the club looked to prove that was no fluke. That is just what the 28-year old did, surpassing his point total from last season while taking on more responsibility throughout the year
Ever since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2015, Colby Cave has brought leadership and a team-first approach to the Providence Bruins. Cave, who entered his third full professional season this year, has always been a player that teammates can look up to and rely on. He was captain of the Swift Current Broncos prior to turning pro and after just one season with the P-Bruins was named an alternate captain. While he isn’t a flashy player, the 2017-18 season may have been his best to date from start to finish.
When Colton Hargrove had his contract non-tendered at the start of the 2017 offseason, it could have spelled the end of his time in Providence after just two seasons. Fortunately for the P-Bruins, that was not the case as he re-signed with the club on an AHL deal for the 2017-18 season and was a solid source of scoring. The 25-year old left wing knew he would have to produce if he wanted to consistently crack a deep lineup, but the versatility he showed early in the season allowed him to do just that.
When the Boston Bruins traded Milan Lucic to the LA Kings in 2015, the organization got what turned out to be a huge haul for him. Among the assets they collected was the 13th overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, a pick they used on defenseman Jakub Zboril. Boston also acquired Colin Miller and Martin Jones, but flipped Jones to the San Jose Sharks for Sean Kuraly and the 29th overall pick in the 2016 draft that became Trent Frederic. P-Bruin fans have already seen Miller and Kuraly skate at the Dunk for Providence before going onto the NHL, though it likely won’t be long before Zboril and Frederic reach that level after the seasons they put forth in 2017-18.
Of all the top prospects that started the year with the Providence Bruins, fans were perhaps most excited about seeing Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson begin his first full professional season. Part of Boston’s loaded draft class of 2015, Forsbacka Karlsson was taken 45th overall in the second round out of Boston University and signed his entry level deal March 2, 2017. He made his NHL debut for Boston last season in their season finale, but 2017-18 would be his first full professional season. Nicknamed “Patrice Bergeron 2.0” by teammate Matt Grzelcyk, Forsbacka Karlsson showed his similarities to the Bruins star with a good rookie season in Providence.
Connor Clifton was drafted in 2013 by the Arizona Coyotes out of Quinnipiac, but failed to reach an agreement with them by the August 16, 2017 deadline. The organization stated that there just wasn’t a fit for him and it was best they both go their separate ways. The Coyotes’ loss was the Bruins’ gain as they quickly signed him to an AHL deal when he hit the open market. Quinnipiac’s captain as a senior, Clifton played four colligate seasons with the Bobcats before turning pro this season and was ready to bring his aggressive style of play to the Providence blue line.
With so much hype at the start of the season around other rookies who were drafted higher, it was easy to overlook Ryan Fitzgerald and the impact he could bring to the team. After getting his first taste of pro action at the end of the 2016-17 season, Fitzgerald opened up his first full AHL season at left wing on the second line. A 2013 fourth round pick and four-year player at Boston College, Providence was looking for him to provide a solid goal scoring presence while showing he was physical enough to play consistently in the pros.
It is nearly impossible to win consistently throughout the course of the season without strong play from your starting goaltender. However, relying on one player to carry the bulk between the pipes can lead to ineffective play when it matters most down the stretch. Fortunately for the Providence Bruins, they boasted one of the top goalie combinations throughout the 2017-18 season and the group was relatively unchanged or tampered with throughout the season.
The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have been among the top teams in the NHL this season, so it is only right that they meet in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their series has already started up, and P-Bruin fans saw a mini-preview of this series just last season. Both of these team’s farm clubs, the Providence Bruins and Syracuse Crunch, met last season in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs with eight players from that series now on their respective club’s NHL roster.
The Providence Bruins fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Saturday night in overtime 4-3 in game four of the Atlantic Division Semifinals, ending their 2017-18 season. The P-Bruins got goals from Tommy Cross, Anton Blidh and Austin Czarnik while Jordan Binnington made his third start of the series in net.