Not only do the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin this week for the Boston Bruins, but the American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup Playoffs begin for the Providence Bruins. In this edition of the Bruins Prospects Report for The Hockey Writers, we will look at some roster additions and subtractions for Providence ahead of the playoffs, while two draft picks from last summer’s Entry Draft have been making big impacts for their teams in their respective playoffs.
Providence Opens Playoffs Shorthanded
Providence, who lost the final six games of the regular season, will begin the AHL playoffs Monday night (May 2) at the Dunkin Donuts Center against the Bridgeport Islanders. When the P-Bruins take the ice, they will be without some of their top players because of injuries, illnesses, or some players being called up to Boston.
Chris Wagner and his 15 goals this season will remain in Boston as an extra player for the Bruins. Jesper Froden and his 16 goals will not be in action, as well as Cameron Hughes and Eduards Tralmaks, who each had 14 goals. Some reinforcements will be available from Boston as the Bruins sent Marc McLaughlin, Oskar Steen, and Jack Studnicka down after they played in the regular-season final against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 29.
McLaughlin started out well in Boston, scoring his first career goal in his first career game against the New Jersey Devils on March 31. He has bounced around the lineup and has played between center and wing, but he struggled in his last few games. Getting some confidence in the AHL is what he needs right now. Johnny Beecher and Georgii Merkulov have been playing well for the P-Bruins and will get their first taste of playoff action in this series.
Lysell & Giants on the Verge of History
In the history of the Western Hockey League (WHL) no eight-seed has ever upset the top-seed in the playoffs. With one more win in one of the final two games, Bruins 2021 first-round pick Fabian Lysell and the Vancouver Giants can be the first team to pull off the feat as they have a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 at home Monday night against the Everett Silvertips.
A big reason why the Giants are on the verge of history is because of Lysell, who has at least one point in each of the first five games. He opened the series with a five-assist game and then had two goals in an 11-6 win over the Silvertips in Game 4, then he had a goal in a 3-0 Giants victory in Game 5. Lysell has four goals and seven assists in the series and an upset of Everett will almost eliminate the possibility that he signs and gets a shot with Providence in the AHL postseason.
No matter how this series plays out, Lysell is following up a very good regular season with an even more impressive postseason.
Harrison & Oshawa Eliminated
The Oshawa Generals were eliminated from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) playoffs Sunday night by the Kingston Frontenacs, but it was not without a strong series from the Bruins’ 85th overall pick in the 2021 Draft. Brett Harrison helped the Generals stave off elimination on April 29 with a power-play goal in a 3-1 win.
Harrison and Oshawa were bounced from the postseason Sunday night with a 5-4 overtime loss, in a game in which the Generals tied off a faceoff in the final seconds. Harrison finished the season with 31 goals and 37 assists between the regular season and playoffs.
Prospect Quick Hitters
- Andre Gasseau, picked 213th in the seventh round in 2021, was held without a point as the Fargo Force were swept in their best-of-three USHL series by the Omaha Lancers. A first-line center, Gasseau led the force in goals this season with 22 and is expected to attend Boston College in the fall.
- Goaltender Philip Svedebäck, selected 117th overall in the fourth round in 2021, was lifted after the first period for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in a Game 1 4-3 loss to the Muskegon Jacks on April 29 with an injury after allowing two goals. Dubuque was eliminated from the USHL playoffs Sunday night with a 8-5 loss in Game 2.
As some of these prospects found out, the postseason runs can come to an abrupt end. Despite being ravaged with injuries, Providence is hoping for a longer stay in the Calder Cup Playoffs beginning Monday night with a limited roster of Black and Gold prospects.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.