Let’s face it, Zane McIntyre’s play has not been up to the level this season as it was last season when he was named as a 2nd team all-star in the AHL. Last season McIntyre was second in the AHL with a 2.03 goals against average and first in the AHL with a .930 save percentage.
This season McIntyre is rocking a 2.78 goals against with a .904 save percentage. A significant drop. Now, these are AHL stats and the Providence Bruins are a much different team this season than last season when they made it to the Eastern Conference Final. They have a lot of rookies in the lineup this year learning the pro game, including defensemen Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. So McIntyre is exposed to more of the growing pains in front of him than he was last year.
Also, the decrease in his performance could also be due to a touch of the “I shouldn’t be here anymore” or a complacency mind set. I’d like to think that isn’t the case but you never know. We’ve seen Junior players get this sometimes when they get cut from their NHL teams and get sent back to their Junior team. McIntyre isn’t engaged in the same daily internal competition he had with Subban last year either.
Going into the off season last summer I would have bet that McIntyre would be the Bruins backup goalie this season but he clearly didn’t earn it. He did not have a great preseason with the big Bruins, Anton Khudobin did, and Dobby earned the backup job and has played fantastic in that role this season.
Hopefully his recent performance means McIntyre has turned the corner on the season. This past weekend he got 2 out of the 3 available starts and posted a shutout in both games earning the BostonPucks.com’s Prospect of the Week honor. His trophy room might be getting a little crowded these days since he also took home the CCM/AHL Player of the Week honors. It’s not as prestigious as BostonPucks.com’s Prospect of the Week, but still a great honor. He stopped 55 shots combined in both games and is now sporting a 13-8-3-3 record.
Last season when there was an injury to a Boston goalie McIntyre was first in line to get the call to the big club but (knock on wood) he has not seen any NHL action yet this season. Unless there is a long term injury to either Tuukka or Khudobin we won’t see him called up this year.
Next year however could be his year. Khudobin will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and McIntrye might need to clear waivers to be sent down to Providence next year. It would not be a great look for Don Sweeney if he goes all Malcolm Subban 2.0 again and loses another homegrown goalie to the waiver process.
I would like to see McIntyre get his chance at an NHL backup job next season, but it does makes sense to either bring back Khudobin, or bring in a different reliable veteran if needed, to challenge McIntyre for the backup job. McIntrye is still a very valuable prospect in the Bruins system and his current down year is not going to change that. He has had success at every level he has played and he will most likely straighten his game out. Getting consecutive shutouts in his last two games is a great place to start.
- Jack Studnicka continues to have a solid season with the Oshawa Generals. Studnicka now has 47 points (13 goals and 34 assists) in 45 games. This past weekend Studnicka played in 3 games scoring 2 goals and had an assist.
- I got a nice little treat on Sunday. On my flight from Newark to Fort Myers I was comped DIRECTV. I was able to watch the Wisconsin/Notre Dame game at the United Center in Chicago. I was flipping back and forth from the Patriots game. It was perfect timing. Notre Dame was on the power play and Trent Frederic created a turnover, raced down the ice on a breakaway, and scored his second short handed goal of the season. Wisconsin beat the Irish 5-0. The Fighting Irish were #1 in the country at the time. Frederic also added a goal on Friday night against Notre Dame and now has 11 goals and 8 assists for 19 points in 26 games played.
- Ryan Donato continues his scorched earth goal scoring on all of the NCAA. Donato recorded a goal on Friday night against Clarkson (Tie 6-6) and 2 goals on Saturday against St. Lawrence (4-3 win). He also recorded an assist on Saturday as well.
- It cannot be all good news in the Bruins prospect world. Zach Senyshyn has not scored a goal since December 16th. Since then he has played 13 games and only has 2 assists and was a healthy scratch on Sunday. He has been playing more of a 3rd line role and hopefully the scratch will be the kick in the butt he needs to get the scoring touch going again. One thing we know from following him over the past few years is prone to scoring in bunches and can make up for the dry spell quickly.
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