Bruins Prospects Lysell & Beecher Headline Providence Roster

Two nights after the Boston Bruins began their season against the Washington Capitals, their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Providence Bruins, kickoff their 2022-23 season. Coach Ryan Mougenel will be familiar with his roster as he had a handful of his current players last month at the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. He will also have some veterans mixed into his lineup early in the season.

As the P-Bruins begin their season tonight, here are some players that will be worth keeping an eye on this season as some will find themselves at some point in Boston once injuries occur.

Lysell, Beecher & McLaughlin Headline Forward Grouping

Mougenel will have some of the Bruins’ top prospects available to him. Fabian Lysell begins the season in the AHL and according to Boston coach Jim Montgomery, he has some stuff to work on. 

“[Lysell] needs to learn the consistency of being a pro. I think [Jack] Studnicka has learned that, he’s had his tutelage in Providence. I think that’s why he could assert himself playing against [Vincent] Trocheck most of the night [Wednesday] night. And Lysell, that’s his first time, you’re in Madison Square Garden, you’re playing against [Artemi] Panarin and [Mika] Zibanejad and all those guys you’ve watched on TV.”

Lysell played very well at the 2022 World Junior Championships in August and then at the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo in September. Still, despite having his moments in the preseason, he clearly looked like a player that needs some seasoning in the AHL to begin the season, but don’t be surprised to see him in Boston at some point this season.

Fabian Lysell Boston Bruins
Fabian Lysell, Boston Bruins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Johnny Beecher came into the preseason looking like a different player than the one who closed out last season in a short stint in Providence after his college career ended at the Frozen Four in April in Boston. He played well in all situations for the P-Bruins, but he added some weight and muscle this summer and was impressive in the preseason. Another season in the AHL is not the worst thing in the world for the 2019 first-round pick who will get plenty of action in all situations. 

Marc McLaughlin had one of the best preseasons for the Bruins, but he was part of the second round of cuts on Oct. xx and will begin the season in Providence. He impressed on just about every preseason shift and had a two-goal game with Beecher in Boston’s 4-0 preseason win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 1. The free-agent signing by the Black and Gold last March has proved that he is NHL-ready and it’s only a matter of time before he’s back in Boston. 

Related: Bruins Make Wrong Decision Sending McLaughlin to AHL

Georgii Merkulov is a talented forward that has an impressive offensive game that he needs to translate to the pro game. After signing with the Bruins following his explosive freshman season at Ohio State where he had 20 goals and 14 assists in 36 games for the Buckeyes, but fell victim to a numbers game ahead of him in Boston. This will be an interesting season for Merkulov to see if he takes the next step as a pro.

Chris Wagner was placed on waivers Sunday by the Bruins along with Nick Foligno and Mike Reilly. All three players cleared on Monday and Wagner is looking at another AHL season after spending all of last season in Providence. He is in the final year of his contract and you would think that McLaughlin would be ahead of him in terms of getting to Boston should an injury occur. Other forwards that are worth keeping an eye on in Providence are Luke Toporowski, Oskar Steen, and Joona Koppanen.

Ahcan Headlines Providence Defense Full of Questions

It is no secret that the Bruins have a deep left-shot defensive chart. One of the blueliners that had a pretty good training camp was Jack Ahcan, but he was in a round of cuts by Boston and will begin another season in Providence. Since signing as an undrafted free agent out of St. Cloud State in 2020, Ahcan has improved his game in the AHL and he has even had impressive flashes during his stops in Boston. 

Jack Ahcan, Boston Bruins
Jack Ahcan, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Despite being short, Ahcan plays like a bigger defenseman, and the offensive game that he showed at St. Cloud State is starting to show at both levels. He made some stops in Boston last season and even scored his first career goal against the Chicago Blackhawks, but another AHL will allow him to play in all situations and fine-tune his game.

Related: Boston Bruins Top 15 Prospects Heading Into 2022-23

Michael Callahan was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes last season for a seventh-round draft pick in 2024 and will play his first pro season down the street from where he played his college with the Providence College Friars. Other defensemen looking to make a name for themselves this season are two physical blueliners in Nick Wolff and Connor Carrick. Wolff is a 6-foot-5, 223-pound big bruiser that showed in the preseason that he loves a physical game, while Carrick is another tough defenseman that will look to make a name for himself this season in the AHL.

Providence Will Have Veterans in Goal

If there is one area that will have plenty of experience this season for Mougenel this season, it’s going to be in goal. Boston signed Keith Kinkaid over the summer and the veteran will begin the season with another seasoned goal in Kyle Keyser.

Keith Kinkaid Boston Bruins
Keith Kinkaid with the Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kinkaid has plenty of NHL experience. In 167 career NHL games, he has a record of 68-58-21 with a 2.92 goals-against average (GAA) and a .905 save percentage (SV%). Should an injury happen to Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman, Kinkaid is more than a serviceable backup. Keyser has spent the last two seasons in Providence and will once again split time in the final year of his contract.

This season is one where there will be a lot of eyes on Providence. Lysell, Beecher, McLaughlin, and others are knocking on the door of an NHL spot, and should injuries pile up in Boston, some will hear their names called to take the ride up Route 95 to the NHL. There has not been a Providence Bruins team that has seen this much speed and skill in a long time.

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