On Wednesday, the club announced that forwards Carter Camper, Craig Cunningham, Josh Hennessy, Lane MacDermid, Max Sauve, Ryan Spooner and Trent Whitfield and defensemen Andrew Bodnarchuk, Kevan Miller and David Warsofsky have been recalled from their American Hockey League affiliate in Providence, which failed to qualify for the AHL playoffs.
Black Aces is the term for the extra players teams traditionally call up during the playoffs to give the big club options to fill in if needed and extra bodies for practice when the veterans could use some rest. In turn, the young players get acclimated to NHL life and gain valuable experience with first-hand exposure to the intensity of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The 10 players will actually physically remain in Providence for now, practicing on their own. But they are eligible to play for Boston if injuries create the need and will join the main roster for practices as the playoff run continues.
Of the 10 players added, six were recalled during the season with Camper, Hennessy, MacDermid, Sauve and Whitfield all appearing in games with the big club, while Bodnarchuk was up for seven games in February but did not dress.
For Cunningham, Spooner, Miller and Warsofsky, this will be their first exposure to NHL life outside of training camp and exhibition games in the preseason.
Carter finished his first pro season leading Providence in scoring with 18-30-48 totals, while Cunningham had a team-high 20 goals in his first full season in the pro ranks. Hennessy finished second on the team with 19-22-41 totals.
Spooner is one of the organization's top prospects. He joined Providence at the completion of his junior campaign for the second straight season and had 1-3-4 totals in five games with Providence after putting up 29-37-66 totals in 57 games split between Kingston and Sarnia in the Ontario Hockey League.
Of note were some of the players not recalled, most due to injury issues. Forward Zach Hamill, who played 16 games in Boston before being sent down in early February, suffered a shoulder injury March 18 against Springfield, while defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who opened the season with the big club, is out with a knee injury and goalie Michael Hutchinson, who backed up Tim Thomas for a pair of games before Marty Turco was signed to replace the injured Tuukka Rask late in the regular season, needs hip surgery himself.