Bruins Prospects Report: Lohrei, Bussi, DiPietro & More

Things are going very well for the Boston Bruins and things are going just as well for their top minor league affiliate, the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL). The P-Bruins are getting some impressive performances from some of the Black and Gold’s prospects and a veteran.

Boston Bruins Prospects Report

After nearly a month’s hiatus, the Bruins Prospects Report is back. In this edition along with checking in with what’s going on with Providence, we take a look at how a prospect recently acquired in a trade is faring, as well as how one of Boston’s top prospects is faring in a bounce-back season following an injury that cut his freshman season short in 2021-22.

Brandon Bussi Playing Well in Providence, DiPietro Struggling With Maine

Last season following his senior season at Western Michigan University, Brandon Bussi signed a free-agent contract with the Bruins. After playing well to close out the season, he is having a strong first full season in the AHL.

In the P-Bruins 2-1 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds on Dec. 3, he made 25 saves, but he saved his best for the third period. With Providence killing a 5-on-3, Bussi made two point-blank saves to preserve the lead and victory. In nine games this season, he has allowed 20 goals and has a 6-1-2 record. He has a 2.31 goals against average (GAA) and a .932 save percentage (SV%), which is tied for the top spot in AHL. The Bruins appear to be set in goal in the NHL, but Bussi has added depth to the organization.

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

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On Oct. 27, the Bruins traded Jack Studnicka to the Vancouver Canucks and in return, they got a pair of prospects in defenseman Jonathan Myrenberg and goaltender Michael DiPietro. It will be some time before Myrenberg gets to the organization, but DiPietro is with the Maine Mariners in the ECHL and struggling.

In a 9-6 loss on Nov. 25 to the Newfoundland Growlers, DiPietro allowed eight goals on 39 shots. In two games with the Mariners, he has a 5.55 GAA and a .843 SV%. The 23-year-old has three NHL games under his belt with the Canucks and has a 5.25 GAA and a .771 SV%. Trading Studnicka was eventually going to happen, but the returns for the former Bruins’ top prospect are not promising between the pipes.

Toporowski & Wagner Producing in Providence

In September at the Buffalo Prospects Challenge, Luke Toporowski had an impressive weekend, which carried over to training camp and preseason games. With a veteran roster in front of him, he was sent to Providence and he is making the most of his AHL opportunity.

In 20 games, he has nine goals and eight assists for coach Ryan Mougenel. In his last five games, he has four goals and three assists, including a hat trick against the Syracuse Crunch on Nov. 26. Toporowski signed a two-year AHL contract in June after five seasons with the Spokane Chiefs and Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he had 96 goals and 103 assists.

Chris Wagner, Boston Bruins
Chris Wagner, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Veteran Chris Wagner, who the Bruins placed on waivers in October and went unclaimed, is playing his second straight season in Providence and he has eight goals this season, including the game-winning goal against the Crunch on Nov. 26 in overtime. Wagner has gone about his business in the AHL and he is a good veteran presence for the P-Bruins to have in the locker room with the younger players.

Lohrei Continues Strong Bounce-Back Season at Ohio State

Top defensive prospect Mason Lohrei had his freshman season at Ohio State cut short last season with a knee injury before the Big Ten Conference postseason. He attended the Bruins Development Camp in July, did not participate, but said that he wanted to return to the Buckeyes for his sophomore season and work on some things with his all-around game.

Mason Lohrei Green Bay Gamblers
Bruins prospect Mason Lohrei with the Green Bay Gamblers (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

“Going back and just continuing to work on my game and get stronger, quicker, work on my defending, just little details,” said Lohrei. “Stuff like that is pretty intriguing to me to go back. I grew up dreaming of winning a national championship. That’s the main goal. I’ll go back and try to accomplish that this year.”

Through the first 18 games of the 2022-23 season, he is certainly accomplishing his goals and appears fully healthy. He is known for his offensive skill set and he has 13 assists and is tied for second on the team in points. Defensively, he has 22 blocks, plays in all situations for Ohio State, and has logged over 30 minutes a night in time on ice multiple times early this season. The 58th overall pick of the 2020 Entry Draft had a pair of assists in the Buckeyes’ 4-3 win over Penn State on Dec. 3.

There have been questions surrounding just how good the Bruins’ prospects pool is, but so far this season, they have been playing well in Providence and college. Fortunately for Boston, they have not had to dive too deep into the AHL for bodies, but if they do, they should feel comfortable with whoever is called up.

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