With Cam Neely possibly making a comeback, this could leave some Bruin prospects out in the cold.
Neely is not likely to make a comeback this season, but if he does it probably would be next season. This would leave a lot of prospects wondering about their futures. Names like Cameron Mann, Randy Robitaille, and Shawn Bates would have to make a huge impact this season if they hope to get a spot on the Boston roster. To fill Neely’s shoes, it would probably take all three of those players; but if he makes a return, likely only one will make the big club and the rest will either sign with other teams or play in Providence.
Cameron Mann looks to be the brightest light of those 3, but don’t leave out Bates, Robitaille, and Joel Prpic. Many scouts are wondering whether Prpic has NHL potential but others claim he has a lot. Bates, who starred at Boston University definitely has NHL potential and Robitaille appears to be close as well. Robitaille was injured in his first game with Boston back in March 1997; he was out for the remainder of the season. He played the 1997-98 campaign in Providence where he was one of the bright spots in what was a dim season.
There are many other prospects that could also be left out in the cold. Players like: Johnathan Aitken, Andre Savage, Mattias Karlin, Jay Henderson and Ben Clymer. Clymer (20), who played only 1 game last season with Minnesota (WCHA) looks like he still needs some time to develop and could be at least 2 seasons away from a the Bruins roster. If he does, it will either be at an East Coast Hockey League level or, if he performs well in camp, with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. Aitken (20) has been a top prospect for the past few years and many question his status as a Bruin top prospect. Savage (28) was recently signed by the Bruins directly out of Michigan Tech. He racked up 41 points in 33 games and 34 penalty minutes, and is likely to spend the 98-99 campaign in Providence. Watch out for Jay Henderson (20). The Bruins signed him towards the end of last season out of Edmonton (WHL) and was immediately assigned to Providence, where he quickly made an impression on the P-Bruins. He was on fire from the moment he was assigned to Providence.
Recently-signed Peter Ferraro will likely be playing in Providence and try to help their sagging offense.
Boston’s lost the following players:
D Dean Chynoweth Chynoweth was traded to the IHL after a horrid season in Providence back in January to the now suspended Quebec Rafales, where he played out the 97-98 campaign. He has since been hired by the Utah Grizzlies (IHL) as an assistant coach.
D Barry Richter Richter, who spent the whole 97-98 season in Providence was signed by the New York Islanders as a free agent. He will likely play in Kentucky of the AHL if he does not make the big club.
D Dean Malkoc Malkoc was pretty much taking up space on the Bruins roster; he played in only 40 games, finished with 1 point, a +/- rating of -12 and 86 penalty-minutes. The Bruins just couldn’t afford to keep him on the roster, where they can now carry 3 goalies or an extra player.
RW Jean-Yves Roy Word from hockey circles has Roy heading to Austria. All attempts to contact the Austrian league he is rumored to be playing in failed, but more on this will probably be available later this week once camp starts. This is not really losing a prospect, but rather losing a star forward for the Providence Bruins.
RW Kirk Nielsen Nielsen, a Harvard graduate, played in 6 games with Boston and played the rest of the season in Providence. He had a pretty good season in Providence, but was signed away by an IHL team this off-season.
LW Mike Sullivan Was taken by Nashville in the Expansion Draft and since traded to Phoenix.