With the six additions to the COVID-19 protocol for the Boston Bruins this week, prospects are getting some big opportunities.
In response to Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic and Jeremy Swayman going into the protocols, the Bruins called up goalie Kyle Keyser and winger Jesper Froden from Providence. They join Oskar Steen and Jack Studnicka, who were called up Tuesday.
Froden, 27, is in his first season in North America after signing with the Bruins over the offseason. His game is polished, and he had a real-nice training camp, and since has gone down to Providence and played well. He has four goals and nine assists in 21 games, playing largely on his off side on a line with Steen and Steven Fogarty — which, as Bruce Cassidy put it, is arguably Providence’s most productive and consistent line.
He’ll start Thursday’s game against the New York Islanders on the fourth line left wing with Curtis Lazar and Karson Kuhlman.
“Froden’s played predominantly left side,” Cassidy said of the right-shot winger, over Zoom. “We just saw him down in the lobby, so I’ll have to have a discussion with him before the game where he feels most comfortable. It’s his first NHL game, so that’s what Ryan Mougenel and Donny (Sweeney) had said, he’d played both sides, so I think he’ll be comfortable on either.”
While it’s unclear how specifically the Bruins plan to use Froden, he’s emerged as an all-situations player in the AHL, so he could see some time on special teams.
“He’s a skilled player, can play in traffic, make good plays, compliment good players,” Cassidy said “He’s played in the bumper on the power play, which for us, losing (Patrice Bergeron and Craig Smith), is important to have someone in there that’s played it before. … I know he’s been good on the kill, I don’t know if he’ll have that responsibility here, we’ll discuss that with Joe (Sacco).”
Keyser will back up Linus Ullmark on Thursday, but it seems possible he could get into a game over the weekend with the Bruins scheduled to play at night on Saturday and in the late afternoon on Sunday.
The 22-year-old netminder has had tantalizing upside, but his career thus far has been railroaded by injuries. Healthy last season, he spent a good chunk of time in the ECHL where he could play regularly. That helped him get back on track, and he’s since found his game in Providence as a regular in net this year. Keyser has a .914 save percentage and 4-5-4 record in 12 games this season.
By no means is Keyser a finished product but he’s done well in 17 career regular-season AHL games and is most certainly on the radar for the future. Getting NHL some game action in could be good for his development.
They might not be the only ones the Bruins need to rely on, as the B’s have had at least one player enter the protocols in each of the last three days.