Denied a chance to compete for Calder Cup, a red-hot Providence Bruins team can still help Boston in 2020

(Photo by Stephane Dube /Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins remain hopeful about getting a chance to see this season through for a chance to hoist hockey’s greatest prize, but the same unfortunately can’t be said for those further down the prospect pipeline. 

The American Hockey League announced Monday morning that the remainder of the 2019-20 season, including the Calder Cup playoffs, has been canceled due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement from the AHL read:

“After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions.

The League’s operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season.

We are very grateful to the National Hockey League and its teams for their support and leadership in navigating through the challenges faced over the past two months.

The AHL continues to place paramount importance on the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans and all of their families, and we all look forward to returning to our arenas in 2020-21.”

The league added that both its standings — sorted by points percentage – and statistics as of March 12, 2020, are considered final and official. As such, they will serve as the basis for determining league awards for the 2019-20 season.

For the Bruins’ AHL affiliate down in Providence, Monday’s news comes as an expected result — but one that isn’t any easier to accept, given the run the Baby B’s were on when the season came to a halt.

Providence finishes the season with a record of 38-18-6 — leading all Eastern Conference clubs with 82 points and in the midst of a 12-0-1 run through the middle of March. 

It's a tough break for third-year head coach Jay Leach and a club loaded with promising talent in the form of Jack Studnicka, Dan Vladar, Trent Frederic, Urho Vaakanainen and many others.

Vladar — with both an AHL-leading goals-against average of 1.79 and save percentage of .936 in 25 appearances — should be in contention for Baz Bastien Memorial Award, given out annually to the top netminder in the league. Studnicka, who very well could have played his final game for the Baby B's, should also earn plenty of consideration for the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award as AHL Rookie of the Year. The dynamic forward tallied 23 goals and 49 points over 60 games, while also pacing the rest of the league with seven shorthanded goals.

With the 2019-20 campaign now in the rearview mirror, so ends one of Providence's best chances at hoisting its second Calder Cup in franchise history. But for many on Leach's roster, Monday's news does not entirely mean a summer held off the ice.