Lone Star Bruins: Future is in the AHL

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*Lone Star Bruins is a series discussing Bruins/Stars history and more, leading up to the big game in Dallas on February 20th.*

Welcome to Day Two of Lone Star Bruins!

Every team has their players begin somewhere. That somewhere, where they call players up from, is their AHL team.

The AHL (American Hockey League) teams often show a team’s future and shows fans what they have to look forward to in the coming years. For the Bruins, their minor league affiliate is the Providence Bruins, and the Dallas Stars have the Texas Stars.

The P-Bruins show loads of promise and hope for us. Based in Providence, Rhode Island, the Bruins are showing us our future of the franchise in goaltender Malcolm Subban and forwards Frank Vatrano and Seth Griffith. Being an affiliate of a playoff team has it’s benefits, including the P-Bruins also consistently being in the playoffs.

The P-Bruins have had Tommy Cross, Tyler Randell, and Frank Vatrano make their NHL debuts this season. The amount of prospects we have seen this season with the big club has shown the trust of the prospects from the big club.

Players to look out for?:
Seth Griffith: Currently second in the AHL in points, Griffith has proven his smart hockey sense and spectacular offense skills. He made his NHL debut last season in October, and played 30 games in the NHL before being assigned back to Providence a few months after. His size and non physical play may not be a perfect fit for the Bruins’ system, but he can be a good fit on the second/third line in the future.

Tommy Cross: Currently in his 4th full season in the AHL, Cross has show more and more promise season after season. Cross plays physically and defensively, but is limited offensively. He currently has 2 goals and 12 assists on the season, and also had his first NHL call up earlier this season. He is also the current captain of the P-Bruins, replacing Craig Cunningham, who was claimed via waivers by the Arizona Coyotes last season.

Jeremy Smith: After spending a majority of this season with the Iowa Wild, Smith is back in Providence replacing Malcolm Subban, who is out with a fractured larynx. He finished last season with a 22-11-5-2 record and a 0.933 save percentage. His record in Iowa this season isn’t as impressive, due to a weak system in front of him, but he has won two straight since his return to Providence. Smith has won the ECHL championship, and is very hardworking and gets the job done.

The Baby Stars are also loaded with promise in the brand new Pacific division, featuring all of the new California expansion teams added this year. Based in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, the Stars won the Calder Cup in the 2013-14 season and made it to the playoffs last season as well. The Stars are loaded at every position, Travis Morin at forward, Esa Lindell at defense, and Maxime Legace at goaltender, which will allow them for a deep run at a second Calder Cup.

Mattias Janmark, Radek Faksa, Devin Shore, and Esa Lindell have all made their NHL debuts in Dallas this season, with Faksa and Janmark still up in Dallas as of 2/13. The amount of talent of a team like this makes the team great to wash with their energy and fire on the ice.

Players to look out for?:

Devin Shore: In 23 games played this season, he had 15 goals and 11 assists (26 points) and earned his first NHL call up in November. His first NHL game was November 3rd against the Boston Bruins in Boston. He set a Texas Stars record six game goal streak and was one game away from tying the franchise record eleven game point streak. Shore had his first career AHL Hat Trick at a 5-2 in Rockford. The season ended short for Shore, as he injured his shoulder in December. With the performance that Shore has given this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Shore has a spot on the Dallas roster next season.
Esa Lindell: Currently in his first full AHL season, Lindell had a five game point and 4 game goal streak in the same span. Lindell is best described as an offensive d-man, with 9 goals and 19 assists on the season, good for second in points for d-men on the Texas Stars (behind Julius Honka). He was also one of three Stars named for the All Star game (Morin, Ranford).
Julius Honka: With offense already fully stacked in Dallas, it is a good thing when the farm team shows loads of promise in defense. A former first round draft pick by the Stars, Honka has improved season by season, and currently has 8 goals and 24 assists on the season. Those 32 points nearly match his point total from last season, in less games. Honka excels at moving the puck and knowing the offensive play, while still being able to play defense.

fear the bear

^AHC

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