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Affiliate Report: Providence starting to hit its stride

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The Providence Bruins are the top team in the Eastern Conference and have several players ready for the NHL.

Providence Bruins v Laval Rocket
Ryan Fitzgerald.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The two Boston Bruins minor league affiliates have gotten off to different starts in the 2019-20 season.

Boston’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, are currently the top team in the Eastern Conference with a 19-9-3 record and 41 points. In the midst of a five-game road trip that will stretch through the end of 2019, Providence is really starting to hit its stride.

That road trip started Wednesday with a 6-0 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the second straight shutout for Providence. They’ll play a rematch on Friday, followed by two games at Hartford sandwiched around a trip to Springfield.

The P-Bruins have won nine out of its last 11 games, and here’s who’s leading the charge:

  • Paul Carey – The veteran forward is the team’s leading scorer with 14 goals and 11 assists this season. He’s also the team leader in plus/minus among forwards at plus-13.
  • Jack Studnicka – Five of his 13 goals have been shorthanded this season as the young center is tied with Carey for the team lead in points (13-12—25).
  • Peter Cehlarik – The ultimate “tweener”, it’s a matter of time before he’s recalled to Boston given he’s almost on a point-per-game clip this season with Providence.
  • Robert Lantosi – Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard. The rookie forward has 21 points in 27 games this season, including 13 helpers. The 24-year-old Slovakian is on a minor-league deal with Providence for one year after two strong seasons with HK Nitra in Slovakia.
  • Ryan Fitzgerald – The hometown kid and one of just two Providence players to appear in all 31 games this year (Jeremy Lauzon), he has taken a team-leading 74 shots, scoring seven goals. The Boston College graduate deserves his shot and should get a call by season’s end.

Atlanta Gladiators

The ECHL affiliate for the Bruins has been largely inconsistent this season, sitting in 5th place in the South Division with an 11-13-0 record; that includes a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the Florida Everblades (best name in pro sports).

The Gladiators have a road matchup with the Jacksonville Icemen on Friday before kicking off a five-game homestand against the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday.

With only a handful of players under contract with Providence and none under contract with Boston, it’s unlikely any will ever crack an NHL roster. But here’s who has the best chance:

  • Samuel Asselin – Already receiving a couple call-ups to Providence, the 21-year-old Quebec native has 17 points in 16 games with the Gladiators including a team-leading nine goals.
  • Joel Messner – The soon-to-be 26-year-old defenseman has 15 points from the blue line this season and is already three points shy of matching his point total from all of last season.
  • Alexey Solovyev – After playing his college hockey for Bentley University in Massachusetts, the defenseman made the jump to the ECHL and has seen limited action at the AHL level.