When the Providence Bruins announced their training camp roster of 27 players, many of the names listed were already familiar either from their time spent playing for the Baby Bs last season or for some of their time spent at this year’s Boston Bruins’ camp, before being returned to the Providence club.
However, there are three forwards, three defensemen and one goalie currently involved in the Providence Bruins camp that some hockey fans may not be as knowledgeable. All of these players are on a try-out basis with Providence. Where they end up after camp will depend on their energy, skill, commitment and competitive nature. All of these players were born between 1986 and 1989.
Igor Gongalsky (LW) , born in Kiev, Ukrainien SSR, Soviet Union, 1986, and who spent the 2012-13 season playing for Berkut Kiev , a founding member of the Professional Hockey League. In the 33 games he played, he potted 11 goals and had 18 assists for 29 points. He ended the season with a +10 and 32 penalty minutes. Though only 26 years old, he has played on teams in the OHL, ECHL, and AHL levels before spending last season in Kiev. Based on his statistics, it appears that his struggles may have to do with consistency.
Marc Hagel (F), born in Hamilton, Ontario, 1988, spent last year at Miami University (alma mater of Providence Bruins’ Carter Camper), though he spent the four years before at Princeton. In the 42 games he played for Miami University he had 6 goals and 13 assists for 19 points, though he did finish that with a +11. His penalty minutes were 37. In the 6 games he played for the Lake Erie Monsters, he only managed 2 assists.
Tyler Murovich (C), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1989, is the smallest of this group of players at only 5’9”, which doesn’t seem to bother the Bruins organization who has been looking at a number of smaller players. During the last season, Murovich played with the ECHL Gwinnett Gladiators. During his 42 regular season games he got 9 goals and 14 assists for 23 points, though he finished with a -5. He also had 60 penalty minutes. In 10 playoff games he got on the board with 2 goals and added 3 assists for 5 points and a +1, and only 12 penalty minutes. He was loaned to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs for 18 games where was a -7 and averaged 2 penalty minutes per period (37 PIM), though he did get 3 goals and an assist.
Guillaume Lépine, born in Montreal, Quebec, 1987 is the tallest of these players, standing 6’4”. During the 2012-13 season he played for the Nottingham Panthers, a British professional hockey club that is part of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), where he has now played three seasons. His penalty minutes speak to his willingness to drop the gloves. In 50 games, he had 4 goals, 15 assists for 19 points, and a hefty 148 penalty minutes.
Isaac Smeltzer, born Estevan, Saskatchewan, 1987, is another player not afraid to defend his team, earning 120 penalty minutes in the 58 games he played for the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles last season. He did manage to get 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points and a +2.
Luka Vidmar, born Ljubljana, Slovakia, 1986, has some of the best statistics of this group of players. In his 62 games with the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays (and affiliate of the Boston Bruins), he finished the season with a +11 rating having netted 6 goals and earned 21 seasons for 27 points. He also has the lowest penalty minutes of these players receiving only 22.
John Muse, b. East Falmouth, Massachusetts, 1988, is a graduate of hockey powerhouse Boston College. He split last season between the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL and the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. In his 16 games between the pipes for the Checkers, he had a goal-against-average of 3.22 and a save percentage of .891. His 21 games with the Everblades were about the same with a GAA of 3.61 and a save percentage of .866.
As the Bruins’ organization has often stated, it is sometimes not as much about the skills of a player but of finding one who can play the Bruins’ way. There are always diamonds in the rough. It will be interesting to see if any of these players get offered something more than their try out.