BostonBruins.com - The Providence Bruins are ready for a run at the Calder Cup. At 47-21-0-5, the P-Bruins have qualified for the their first taste of the postseason since 2009 and rookies Ryan Spooner
and Niklas Svedberg
are part of the reason why.
Spooner, a forward, and Svedberg, a goalie, have both had tremendous debut seasons for Providence, with both being named to the AHL all-rookie team.
Svedberg, who also was named to the AHL’s first all-star team, lead the AHL with 36 wins and was sixth in goals against average, and third in save percentage.
“It's always fun to get those kind of awards,” said Svedberg. “I've got to thank my teammates in Providence, it's been a good season so far. The most important part is coming up.”
“Obviously it's a good honor,” added Spooner. “I was really excited about it. I've been working hard and the team's been doing awesome. The hockey players I play with here are really gifted players, they've made it easy on me in my first year. The coaching staff has helped me a lot. To be recognized like that is always good, too.”
Spooner, who has racked up a team-high 53 points, like Svedberg, gave credit to his teammates for his success this season.
“I've gotten the opportunity to play on the power play and also play with guys like Jamie Tardif, he's got 30 goals this year,” said Spooner, who has 14 goals and 39 assists. “Obviously it helps; it helps to play with players like that. Also, that I've been playing here too, I'm grateful for that opportunity. I've just been trying to take advantage of that.”
Svedberg, a native of Sweden, said he hasn’t changed much from his time playing in his home country.
“I've got three pro seasons before in Sweden before I came here, I just tried to build on my game that I have from back home,” said the goalie. “I haven't changed too much. Obviously you want to get better at everything, but I try to keep my game the way I want to play and make some small adjustments with the size of the rink.
“I try to keep it simple and not change too much.”
The way the young players in Providence have been able to step up and contribute has been one of the major reasons why the P-Bruins are atop the AHL with 99 points.
“There's a lot of younger guys this year. I think we have 10 or 11 rookies,” said Spooner. “A lot of the older guys on our team have been really, really good with us. They've been really positive and helped me out a lot. I've been with [Chris] Bourque and [Jamie] Tardif and they're two of the older guys.
“They've been really positive with me which makes me a lot more comfortable out on the ice. To play with two guys like that have been successful in this league has hoped me out a lot, too.”
That mix of young, fresh talent and veteran experience has been essential.
“We have a good mix of people here in the team,” said Svedberg. “We've got some young guys, we've got some older guys that take good care of the young guys too. It's a good mix of guys here, guys like Spooner coming in his first year and getting a lot of points, scored a lot of points.
“We've got grinders, hard-working guys too. We've got players for every role. We have a special team here.”
For Spooner, a trip to the playoffs is not something he is too familiar with. The center said this has been the first time in years that he has been on a winning team.
“I've actually never really been apart of a team that's been winning like we have this year,” said Spooner. “My four years at juniors, I don't think I was on a winning team. I think once, maybe, in the four years. This year, it just seems like everything has been coming together.
“We've been playing really well, the goaltending's been awesome. Our defense has been good, we've been scoring goals, the power play has been good, the penalty kill. I think the main thing is for our team to focus heading into the playoffs. I think if we play how we're capable of playing, I think we should be successful.
On the other hand, Svedberg pointed to his playoff experiences back in Sweden and said the postseason is the best time of the year.
“I'm really excited,” he said. “That's the most fun part of the season, the playoffs. I know from last year's experience back in Sweden how much fun it is in the playoffs.
“Everything means so much. You play hockey because you want to win a championship. It's going to be a lot of fun, a lot of pressure, a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it.”