American Hockey League Roots: 2013-14 Edition

Johnny Boychuk and Ryan McDonagh both got their start in the AHL. - Bruce Bennett

The AHL is important, let's take a moment to appreciate what it's done for the players on the current Boston Bruins.

I wrote this post last year during the playoffs when Torey Krug was on fire in the New York Rangers series, and since it was a pretty popular article, I wanted to make an updated version that looks at the AHL components of the current Boston Bruins roster.

I won't try to argue again how important the AHL is to NHL player development, because that should be known by now. It's very important, especially in giving at least one year of transition from college, junior, or European hockey to professional hockey. Some players have to spend more time fighting for an NHL career from the AHL than others. For example, Ryan Spooner is still in the AHL when on most other organizations, he would be on their NHL roster. Since Boston is deep at center and would do him no justice by playing him limited minutes in inefficient roles, he is spending another year developing into a phenomenal player in the AHL.

The current Bruins AHL roster is an interesting mix of guys from college hockey and junior and European hockey. All aspects of a players development prior to cracking the NHL are important to look at, of course, but the current NHL roster has far fewer former college players than their AHL affiliate. (Only Krug, Reilly Smith, Chad Johnson, and briefly, Matt Bartkowski played college hockey). I'll look at that at the end of this post.

Of the current 22-man roster, 18 have played in the AHL. The only four who never played in the AHL are Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla, Dougie Hamilton, and Carl Soderberg.

12 current Boston Bruins have played in at least 100 AHL regular season games.

Shawn Thornton: 605 games

Teams: St. John's Maple Leafs, Norfolk Admirals, Portland Pirates.

Stats: 61 goals, 100 assists, 161 points, 2, 478 PIM.

Playoff Stats: 39 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, 92 PIM.

Notes: Served as Norfolk Admirals captain.

Johnny Boychuk: 374

Teams: Hershey Bears, Lowell Lock Monsters, Albany River Rats, Lake Erie Monsters, Providence Bruins

Stats: 48 goals, 120 assists, 168 points, 391 PIM

Playoff Stats: 21 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, 23 PIM

Notes: 2008-09 AHL All-Star Game, First All-Star Team, Eddie Shore Award (best defenseman), Player of the Month (March), Player of the Week (October 19), Most Assists by a Defenseman, Most Points by a Defenseman.

Chris Kelly: 239

Teams: Binghamton Senators

Stats: 59 goals, 72 assists, 131 points, 190 PIM

Playoff Stats: 27 games played, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, 28 PIM

Adam McQuaid: 178

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 8 goals, 26 assists, 34 points, 280 PIM

Playoff Stats: 26 GP, 3 assists, 35 PIM

Matt Bartkowski: 175

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 11 goals, 58 assists, 69 points, 136 PIM

Playoff Stats: 5 GP, 5 assists/points, 4 PIM

Chad Johnson: 170

Teams: Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale, Portland Pirates

Stats: 2.69 GAA over 4 seasons, .909 save%

Playoff Stats: 3 GP, 3.53 GAA, .898 save%.

Notes: 2011-12 season Goalie of the Month (October)

Gregory Campbell: 157

Teams: San Antonio Rampage, Rochester Americans

Stats: 28 goals, 35 assists, 63 points, 216 PIM

Daniel Paille: 153

Teams: Rochester Americans

Stats: 35 goals, 42 assists, 77 points, 95 PIM

Playoff Stats: 9 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, 6 PIM

Dennis Seidenberg: 131

Teams: Philadelphia Phantoms

Stats: 25 goals, 46 assists, 71 points, 95 PIM

Playoff Stats: 27 GP, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, 23 PIM

Notes: 2003-04 AHL All-Star Game, 2004-05 Calder Cup Champion

Brad Marchand: 113

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 31 goals, 60 assists, 91 points, 118 PIM

Playoff Stats: 16 GP, 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, 26 PIM

Jordan Caron: 111

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 27 goals, 32 assists, 59 points, 64 PIM

Playoff Stats: 12 GP, 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points, 10 PIM

Tuukka Rask: 102

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 2.42 GAA over 2 seasons, .910 save%

Playoff Stats: 26 GP, 2.19 GAA, .919 save %

Notes: 2007-08 AHL All-Star Game

Loui Eriksson: 95

Teams: Iowa Stars

Stats: 37 goals, 33 assists, 70 points, 42 PIM

Playoff Stats: 16GP, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, 0 PIM

David Krejci: 94

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 38 goals, 64 assists, 102 points, 66 PIM

Playoff Stats: 13 GP, 3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points, 22 PIM

Notes: AHL Player of the Week (January 21, 2007), 2006-07 Most Assists by a Rookie in the Playoffs

Zdeno Chara: 71

Teams: Kentucky Thoroughblades, Lowell Lock Monsters

Stats: 6 goals, 11 assists, 17 points, 172 PIM

Notes: 1997-98 AHL All-Rookie Team

Patrice Bergeron: 68

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 21 goals, 40 assists, 61 points, 59 PIM

Playoff Stats: 16 GP, 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points, 4 PIM

Notes: AHL Player of the Week (November 21, 2004)

Torey Krug: 63

Teams: Providence Bruins

Stats: 13 goals, 32 assists, 45 points, 37 PIM

Playoff Stats: 7 GP, 3 assists, 2 PIM

Notes: AHL Player of the Week (April 14, 2013), AHL Rookie of the Month (February 2013)

Reilly Smith: 45

Teams: Texas Stars

Stats: 14 goals, 21 assists, 35 points, 20 PIM

Playoff Stats: 7 GP, 4 assists, 0 PIM


All in all, the 16 skaters have combined for 462 AHL goals, 792 assists, and 1,254 points, plus 4,559 penalty minutes. Many of these players may have only spent parts of seasons in transition, or in cases of Bergeron and Smith, were just killing time during lockouts, but the importance of the development the AHL adds to a young players game can never be understated. Because the current Bruins roster is so solid, there isn't much room for current AHL Providence Bruins to crack the lineup.

Pre-Professional Roots

Current Providence Bruins and Boston Bruins and the leagues they came from out of the draft or free agency.

Providence Bruins Boston Bruins
OHL: Spooner, Khokhlachev, Knight, Griffith, Camara, Randell, Flick, Subban. OHL: Hamilton, Kelly, Thornton, McQuaid, Paille, Campbell
WHL: Fraser, Morrow, Cunningham WHL: Iginla, Lucic, Chara, Boychuk
QMJHL: None QMJHL: Krejci, Bergeron, Caron, Marchand
Svedberg Erkisson, Soderberg, Seidenberg, Rask
Camper, Johnson, Fallstrom, Moore, Lindblad, Casto, Cross, Miller, Youds, Robins, Florek, Warsofsky, Trotman Smith, Johnson, Krug, Bartkowski
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