The Boston Bruins are not the deepest team in minor league prospects, but some of the ones they do have could be impact prospects sooner than later. Ryan Spooner is off to a great start in Providence as one of the teams top scorers, in only his first year at the professional level. In goal Niklas Svedberg has jumped over Michael Hutchinson, and if he keeps up his solid play could end up being Tuukka Rask's back up sooner rather than later.
Jared Knight, RW, 21
When the Bruins drafted Jared Knight they probably envisioned more of a speedy player with quick release coming off the rush, but Knight has transformed into a gritty two-way player for the Bruins.
"When we drafted him we saw a lot of goal scoring ability because he has a great release," Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney said.
"He is a hard-nosed player that plays in straight lines and gets to the net. He can play either side, will shoot from either side, or he will drive to the net with authority. He has also developed an appreciation playing without the puck by taking the body and playing defense."
Because of injuries he has played in only five games this season, including a two-game conditioning stint in the ECHL.
"He went down [to the ECHL] for two games to get his legs back, and so he could also get himself into game shape,” Sweeney said. “Ultimately we expect him in the [Providence] lineup this weekend."
Had Knight not had injury issues he probably would have been invited to Bruins camp as he was expected to compete for a spot on the third line. Knight has yet to register a point this year in four professional games.
Ryan Spooner, C, 20
Outside of Dougie Hamilton, Spooner may be the best bet to make the NHL roster out of training camp. Spooner was one of a handful of player to get invited to camp, and Bruins management has high hopes for the crafty forward.
"With Ryan's skill set we look forward to see him playing with NHL players, and we'll see how he handles the speed of the [NHL] game," Sweeney said.
"We should also be able to see what his strengths are and we should be able to get a good indication of where he measures up. We have had a good indication of his play so far at the AHL, and he has had a bit of success down there. We are hoping he can continue to bring that forward in an NHL environment."
Spooner has had a lot of success and has been one of the top offensive weapons for Providence with 20 points, in 26 games.
"He is just shy of a point-per-game player, and he has been given an opportunity to play with Chris Bourque and Jamie Tardiff who are older guys," Sweeney said. "Ryan has had lots of power play time, so we have been using him in situations where he can use his skill set and take advantage on the ice."
Niklas Svedberg, G, 23
With some stellar play it didn't not take Svedberg long to claim the starting reigns in Providence. The young Swedish netminder has posted a solid 2.46 goals against average, a .920 save percentage, and a 15-6-1 record, in only his first season in North America.
"He has been one of the pleasant surprises for us down in Providence," Sweeney said.
"Adjusting to the North American ice surface is difficult for anyone especially a goalie because of where shots come from and how players get on you quicker," Sweeney said. "He has had some adjustments learning how to play the puck more, and he has had some growing pains in that area but he is working at it. He has found a way to win games for us, and he battles for every save."
It came as a surprise to some that Svedberg was not invited to Bruins training camp, but camp is only going to be about a week. So the Bruins do not need anyone else, already having two goalies in Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin in camp.
"If we need him we can easily pull him up, and this way the continuity stays with Providence," Sweeney said. "Knock on wood, but we could easily call someone up.
Max Sauve, LW, 22
If he is healthy Max Sauve can be one of the top players in the AHL, but staying on the ice during his pro career has been a problem. Sauve's injury problems cost him a legit shot at the NHL level when he was called up last season.
"He got called up for a game last year, and he got injured in his first shift," Sweeney said. "It has been a very frustrating and difficult process for him."
Sauve has not put up the numbers this season in the AHL that he has in others with only 13 points in 29 games. He put in a lot of work to prepare for camp this fall, but an injury again will prevent him from going to this season's camp.
"Overall, he is identifying himself as a player that is very productive when healthy," Sweeney said. "He continues to look to get stronger and recognize where and when he can get to the hard areas. He is trying to learn how to get to pucks and score goals without putting himself in [a vulnerable spot]."
If Chris Bourque and Ryan Spooner grab a roster spot with the Bruins at the NHL level, Sauve's health and production will be vital if Providence wants to make a playoff push come spring
Carter Camper, RW/C, 24
Camper made a splash last season in the AHL as he made the All-Star game. He put together a solid season with 48 points, in 60 games.
"Carter came in last year and he was a pleasant surprise for everyone," Sweeney said. "He made the All-Star team, and he was very productive."
Camper has been okay this year for the Bruins with 18 points in 27 games, but off-season hip-surgery has bogged down his play a bit. With some players possibly moving up to the NHL with the season starting, the Providence Bruins will depend more upon their undersized pivot going forward.
"The season is still pretty young, and we are looking for him to step back up to the number one center role down the stretch," Sweeney said.
Lane MacDermid, LW, 23
There is little question that MacDermid is being groomed into Shawn Thornton's replacement, the only real question is when that will be. MacDermid continues