Providence Bruins 2013-14 Season Starts Tonight!

Things I did not see coming: Kevan Miller being the last defenseman cut from Boston - Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Providence kicks off the 2013-14 AHL season in St. John's against the Ice Caps at 6pm. They may be better than they were last year, when they finished first overall in the AHL.

The Providence Bruins kick off the 2013-14 regular season tonight. The roster has many new faces with the departure of many players that were integral to Providence's success last season, when they finished first in the entire American Hockey League with 105 points. Whether or not the addictions outweigh the subtractions is unsubstantiated speculation...but let's do it anyway!

Among those who left were captain Trent Whitfield, which means speculation about who his replacement will be. Tonight's game will feature three Alternate Captains: Craig Cunningham, Kevan Miller, and Mike Moore.

Here is a quick overview of the 24-man roster as it stands now, with newcomers italicized:

Forwards

  • Anthony Camara
  • Carter Camper
  • Craig Cunningham
  • Alex Fallstrom
  • Rob Flick
  • Justin Florek
  • Matt Fraser
  • Seth Griffith
  • Nick Johnson
  • Jared Knight
  • Alexander Khokhlachev
  • Matt Lindblad
  • Tyler Randell
  • Ryan Spooner
  • In limbo: Bobby Robins

Ryan Spooner was Providence's leading point-scorer last season, but the team leading goal-scorer and one of Spooner's linemates, Jamie Tardif, signed with Buffalo. The top line's other winger, Chris Bourque, apparently couldn't handle the crushing disappointment of getting cut from yet another NHL team, and was not content with excelling above and beyond in the AHL, so he skipped out on the last year of his contract to play in the KHL.

Christian Hanson also signed with the St. Louis Blues in the NHL on a two-way deal, so the Factory Line, formerly the BuzzSaw Line, is without it's centerman. Bobby Robins is currently floating around Providence recovering from a knee injury sustained in a preseason game with Boston. I don't know the official rules but I'm guessing the reason he hasn't been officially been placed on waivers for the purpose of reassignment to Providence is because he is still injured.

The other losses at the forward position were captain Trent Whitfield, who retired and signed in Europe, along with Graham Mink, Kyle MacKinnon (I am actually very sad about this...damn you St. John's!), and of course the irreplaceable actual horse Jordan Caron.

Incoming are Bruins draft picks fresh out of the OHL and into AHL eligibility Anthony Camara and Seth Griffith. The Bruins also have Matt Fraser, who came over in the Rich Peverley trade (take note: I will be referring to the Tyler Seguin trade as the Rich Peverley trade.) Nick Johnson was signed as an unrestricted free agent, after he spent last year between Phoenix and Portland.

Defense

  • Chris Casto
  • Tommy Cross
  • Kevan Miller
  • Mike Moore
  • Joe Morrow
  • Zach Trotman
  • David Warsofsky
  • Ben Youds

Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug's immediate departure at the conclusion of the first round series against the Hershey Bears was a big reason the team collapsed in the second round against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Sadly, Providence will probably never see those two again. (But come on down, Dougie Hamilton!) The Bruins also parted ways with Colby Cohen, who signed in Finland, and traded Ryan Button to Dallas.

The new guys are former Worcester Sharks captain Mike Moore along with former Penguin (and for a hot second, a Star) Joe Morrow and Ben Youds. Youds split last season between the ECHL's Tolledy Walleye and the Rockford IceHogs.

Moore, who will probably be named captain to replace Trent Whitfield, should be a positive addition to the defense with the loss of Garnet Exelby. A traffic cone would also be an improvement over Exelby, but seriously, I am optimistic about Moore and you should be too.

Goaltenders

  • Malcolm Subban
  • Niklas Svedberg
Svedberg should be in the NHL backing up Tuukka Rask and expanding his awesomeness across the NHL. Seriously, Chad Johnson?! Nope, I won't get started on this. But the point is Svedberg achieved pretty much all you can possibly achieve in his rookie season last year, winning the AHL award for best goaltender, pretty much every team award, named to the AHL All-Rookie Team as well as starting goaltender in the AHL All-Star Game. He also should have (...could have) won Rookie of the Year and MVP. Not to mention he tied a team record for wins by a goaltender in a season and I believe shattered the record for goalies who are better than Chad Johnson.

Subban, who is only 19 right now but qualifies for the AHL because of whatever the technical rules are, will benefit a lot from playing in the AHL. Do not expect Svedbergian (I just made that up) performances from him, or maybe do I don't know I didn't watch him play in junior...but also don't expect him to fall apart like he did against Detroit in the Boston preseason.

Of course, the loss of Michael Hutchinson will be devastating...hahaha okay I can't even finish that sentence. Hutchinson is missed so much that most of the Boston Bruins media doesn't even realize he left, and consistently refer to goalie prospect Adam Morrison, who will spend another season with the ECHL affiliate the South Carolina Stingrays, as Hutchinson.

Tonight, forwards Alex Fallstrom and Seth Griffith will be the healthy scratches along with defensemen Ben Youds and Chris Casto. (In case you're wondering where I get ANY of my Providence information from, it's Mark Divver.) Svedberg will get the start in goal. Commence the awesomeness.

Here's to another fantastic season! One in which I'm sure we'll see a few players go on up to Boston (Spooner is basically on call at a second's notice) and maybe never come back down because Providence has groomed them to be too awesome for the AHL to handle (Svedberg). And certainly one in which we'll see some great new talent emerge. This weekend, I will be posting a more thorough player-by-player analysis to get a better overview of the current 24 player team.

Oh by the way, don't forget St John's is in Newfoundland, which means the game tonight starts at a ridiculously early time of 6pm EST. Thanks a lot, Baby Jets.

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