Very little has been consistent for the Providence Bruins this season. The team currently ranks near the bottom of the AHL Atlantic division with a 10-11-1-1 record, due in part to a slow schedule, call-ups to Boston and a large number of first year players. While their performance has been far from stellar, there have been bright spots for the baby B’s. Rookie Tyler Redenbach has consistently put points on the board, and is quickly establishing his place in professional hockey.
The 6’0 195 lb Saskatchewan native is the younger of two brothers, and has been playing hockey since he was four years old. This season in Providence marks not only his first year as a professional hockey player, but also the first time he’s lived on his own. Now, over 2000 miles from his home, Redenbach has adjusted well to life on and off the ice.
“I like the city and living away from home,” he admitted, but added, “Now there’s no one to cook and do my stuff for me, and it’s a little different living on your own, but the city’s nice and everyone on the team is great, so it’s made the transition a little easier.”
Like many young players, the 21-year-old center didn’t know exactly where he was headed. He was originally picked in the third round (77th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix, but after two years in the system, the Coyotes failed to sign him.
“I became a free agent after the lockout ended, when they had that week period to sign the players,” Redenbach explained. “[Boston] just contacted my agent and said they were interested, offered me a contract and I came to camp.”
Redenbach joined the Bruins camp after completing a strong junior career in the WHL, beginning in 2001 with the Prince George Cougars. He quickly became one of the league’s most productive centers, posting 68 points (17 goals, 51 assists) in 60 games when he split the 2002-03 season between the Cougars and the Swift Current Broncos. Redenbach earned accolades for what would be his finest season with Swift Current during 2003-04, when the young centerman led the WHL with 105 points (31 goals, 74 assists) in 71 games. While he wouldn’t recapture that success in his final season, Redenbach still found ways to put points on the board. He would split the 2004-05 season between Swift Current and the Lethbridge Hurricanes, for a combined 63 points (19 goals, 44 assists) in 65 games.
Redenbach turned heads early on in the Bruins camp, and has quickly adjusted to the pro game. His strengths are in his offensive playmaking, as he will seek out the puck and try to create scoring opportunities. Whether he’s passing to a teammate or putting the puck in the net, Redenbach’s got an accurate shot, and he seems to have a talent for being in the right place at the right time.
“I enjoy the professional atmosphere. In juniors it’s fun for a while, but you want to go on to the next level, just to get a chance to play at a higher level, to be a professional hockey player.”
Redenbach currently ranks seventh among AHL rookies and he’s second on the Bruins with a total of 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in 23 games and a +11 rating. Like any other rookie, he will need to fine tune his overall game. While he isn’t flashy, he is one of the more dependable parts of the Providence offense so far this season. Certainly the rigorous 72-game schedule played in the WHL helped to ease the transition to the AHL’s schedule, and Redenbach has also had the benefit of playing on a line with veterans Eric Nickulas and Eric Healey in a number of games. Right now, Redenbach has a promising future, and just how far he goes will depend on his own motivation and hard work.
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