Boston Bruins: Previewing Providence's Non-Divisional Opponents in 2012-13

Al DanielCorrespondent IISeptember 25, 2012

Boston Bruins: Previewing Providence's Non-Divisional Opponents in 2012-13

0 of 8

    Earlier this week, we took a preseason peek at the Providence Bruins and their fellow tenants of the AHL’s Atlantic Division based on their presumptive rosters for the duration of the NHL lockout.

    Half of the P-Bruins’ 2012-13 season schedule will be entertained by divisional rivals, while another 38 games will feature one of eight other teams in the Eastern Conference. This includes 10 meetings with the long-tenured rival Springfield Falcons and a combined 14 clashes with the two teams from Connecticut.

    The teams excluded from the non-divisional agenda are the Binghamton Senators and Syracuse Crunch, both of the East Division, as well as all 15 members of the Western Conference.

    The rest, however, will exchange at least one visit over the 76-game slate and are previewed as follows.

Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia)

1 of 8

    Familiar Flyers bound for the mountains of New York state include Sean Couturier, Matt Ford, Erik Gustafsson, Zac Rinaldo, Brayden Schenn, Danny Syvret and Eric Wellwood.

    Of the 26 players en route to Adirondack, nine have combined for 364 NHL career games, while 18 saw action with the Phantoms and/or Flyers in 2011-12.

    The P-Bruins will host the Phantoms on Sunday, Dec. 9, and return the visit 19 days later.

Albany Devils (New Jersey)

2 of 8

    Would-be NHL sophomore Adam Henrique, who proved to be New Jersey’s answer to Nathan Horton in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, headlines the list of locked-out, Albany-bound NHLers.

    As a professional rookie in 2010-11, Henrique tallied a goal and an assist over two tilts with the P-Bruins. He could face them as many as four times in the coming campaign.

    While the future may now be on hold for Henrique in New Jersey, the organization’s candidates to ultimately succeed Martin Brodeur in net should garner extra publicity during the lockout.

    Each of the Devilstop three goaltending prospects―Scott Wedgewood, Maxime Clermont, Keith Kinkaid―are AHL-bound and ought to wage heated competition for crease time in the top development league.

    In front of those netminders, defenseman Adam Larsson could benefit from an extended stay in North America’s No. 2 league as he continues to acclimate to the professional ranks.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NY Islanders)

3 of 8

    The P-Bruins will be the first visitor of the regular season at Webster Bank Arena, where the host Sound Tigers will feature former P-Bruins defensemen Nathan McIver and Marc Cantin, plus one-time Providence College captain Colin McDonald.

    Notable names who have already logged substantial ice time with the Islanders include Travis Hamonic, the Isles’ plus/minus leader and one of their top hitters and shot-blockers in his sophomore NHL season, and Nino Niederreiter.

    Each team will drop in on one another’s mansion four times, with Providence hosting the second installment of the season series on Nov. 18.

Connecticut Whale (NY Rangers)

4 of 8

    The border battle between the Ocean State and Nutmeg State capitals could generate a sibling sidebar with the P-Bruins boasting Chris Bourque and the Whale rostering Ryan Bourque.

    There is also the potential for two former Boston College teammates to oppose one another less than seven months after winning a national championship together. Providence has graduated Eagles captain Tommy Cross while Connecticut has Chris Kreider going to the farm after he bolted B.C. and partook in the parent Rangers’ playoff run.

    As far as public word is concerned, Connecticut’s roster is not taking quite the same rigid shape as many of its AHL counterparts. But the return of such familiar faces as Sam Klassen and Kelsey Tessier has been confirmed.

Hershey Bears (Washington)

5 of 8

    Depending on the length of the lockout, Bruins buffs keenly awaiting a rematch with the Capitals might need to settle for an April 12 visit from a Bears team featuring Braden Holtby. For all of the hockey world’s collective knowledge, Holtby may be an AHLer regardless of whether the parent clubs have a 2012-13 season.

    Two other prominent players who have switched to the other side of the Ultimate Ursine Battle are forward Zach Hamill and goalie Dany Sabourin. Sabourin played 56 games for the P-Bruins in 2009-10 while Hamill spent the better part of his first four professional seasons on the farm before being traded for Bourque.

Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim)

6 of 8

    Emerson Etem headlines a multitude of can’t-miss names on the Ducks’ new AHL affiliate. He will join at least five players, such as Brandon McMillan and Devante Smith-Pelly, who split last season between Anaheim and its former farm base in Syracuse.

    These Admirals will bear the unusual burden of catering to a fanbase seeking a Calder Cup “repeat,” as a Norfolk team serving as Tampa Bay’s affiliate nabbed the title last spring, mere days before the parent clubs traded AHL feeders.

    Regardless, the Baby B's will have a two-night stay in Norfolk over the final weekend of February and host the Admirals on the last two Sundays of the season.

Springfield Falcons (Columbus)

7 of 8

    NHL All-Star SuperSkills participant Ryan Johansen and defenseman Tim Erixon, who was part of the Rick Nash deal, jut out among the first 20 players assigned by the Blue Jackets.

    Erixon will know the division and the region well enough, having played 52 games and tallied 30 assists for the Connecticut Whale last season.

    Cam Atkinson, last year’s team leader with 29 goals (including 13 on the power play), headlines the key returnees to Springfield, which is looking to halt a Calder Cup playoff drought at 10 years.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh)

8 of 8

    Second-year professionals Brian Gibbons and Paul Thompson, both Hockey East products, will need to show they are thoroughly acclimated to the AHL and build on their 30- and 25-point rookie campaigns.

    Of the Baby Penguins forwards returning from 2011-12, according to Pittsburgh’s list of assignments, they were the most prolific last season. Also returning is two-way defenseman Alex Grant, as well as the arrival of Benn Ferriero, one of many Boston College alums on the Penguins’ presumptive roster, from San Jose’s system.

    The blue line, by contrast, figures to be largely unruffled with Grant joining Simon Despres, Philip Samuelsson and Carl Sneep among the returnees. Brian Dumoulin, who came with Brandon Sutter in the Jordan Staal trade, will be reunited with former B.C. teammates Gibbons, Samuelsson and Sneep.