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Prospect Report: Providence 2012-13 Preview

by Evan Sporer / Boston Bruins

The following feature appears in the October 15th edition of the Boston Bruins Prospect Report. Download the complete report, which includes features, upcoming games and statistics on all Bruins prospects, by clicking here.
- The AHL’s Providence Bruins have finished their training camp, exhibition schedule, and now the first two regular season games of the 2012-13 campaign.

The P-Bruins opened the season on Friday, October 12, falling to the Manchester Monarchs 3-1, and then dropped a 4-2 decision to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on October 13. Despite the disappointing opening week- end, Providence will regroup for a rematch against Manchester in New Hampshire on Friday, October 19, before heading to Springfield on October 20 to face the Falcons.

After finishing 12th in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference last season, and missing the playoffs for the third straight year, Providence is hoping to rebound with the influx of experienced players on its roster—a lack of which plagued the team last season.

Providence has seen the arrival of Chris Bourque, who is one of the players to have competed at the NHL level, and who comes in with a wealth of AHL playing time and success.

Traded to the Bruins after the 2011-12 season, Bourque has played parts of seven seasons in the AHL—mostly with the Hershey Bears—and has tallied 21 or more goals in five of those seasons. Last year in Hershey, he recorded a career-high 66 assists and 93 points.

Bourque also played a significant role on the Hershey teams that won consecutive Calder Cups in 2009 and 2010, and was a member of the 2006 winning squad as well (though he only suited up for one playoff game that year).

The P-Bruins also returned their leading goal-scorer and top point-getter, with Craig Cunningham and Carter Camper both coming back to Rhode Island. Cunningham’s 20 goals led all Providence players, while Camper netted 18 goals and added 30 assists for a team-high 48 points.

Last season’s defensive leaders David Warsofsky and Matt Bartkowski will also be back in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The duo was one-two respectively in scoring for the defensive unit, and will be joined on the Dunk’s blueline by former Michigan State standout Torey Krug.

A three-year starter for the Spartans, Krug signed with the Bruins in April, and will look to make an immediate impact on Providence. A Hobey Baker finalist last year (the award given to the nation’s top college player), Krug is a heady defenseman who was one of the most effective defensemen at the collegiate level. Krug’s 34 points were the fifth-most for any defenseman in the nation last season, and led all players in the CCHA.

In the crease, Michael Hutchinson and Niklas Svedberg will battle it out for ice time after the departure of last year’s starter Anton Khudobin.

Hutchinson posted a 2.36 goals against average in 29 games last season for Providence, the lowest of all goaltenders on the team. Svedberg, who was signed by the Bruins to an entry-level contract in May, played seven seasons in the Swedish Elite League and Swedish First Division before joining the P-Bruins this season.

With the AHL season just beginning, Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney weighed in on the development of the B’s prospects in Providence Black & Gold.

“I think the expectations are very high for this group overall,” he said. “I think that we’ve got players that are returning, that are looking to establish themselves and move forward in their careers, and hopefully get back to the NHL.

And then new guys that are coming in and saying, ‘hey, I’m on the scene and I want to make sure that I’m moving forward in my development’.”

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