Bruins' top prospect Jack Studnicka reflects on first AHL season, learning 'how to become a pro'

Scott McLaughlin
May 19, 2020 - 12:35 pm
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Jack Studnicka is generally considered the Bruins' No. 1 prospect right now, and his play in his first full season as a pro with the AHL Providence Bruins only reinforced that notion.

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The 21-year-old center led the first-place P-Bruins with 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 60 games before the AHL season was suspended and eventually canceled. On Monday, P-Bruins coach Jay Leach said Studnicka had "a terrific year" and highlighted his strong play both offensively and defensively while also saying he'd likely be one of the first choices for the Bruins' "Black Aces" squad of call-ups if and when the NHL playoffs begin.

Studnicka already has one NHL call-up under his belt, as he played in two games for the Bruins back in November, registering his first NHL point with an assist in Montreal in his debut. He was also one of the Bruins' Black Aces last season during their playoff run.

During a virtual town hall with Bruins season ticket holders on Tuesday, Studnicka reflected on his first pro season.

"First pro year, it's definitely a learning curve in terms of preparing yourself to compete every night at a level of consistency that you might not have to do in junior hockey," Studnicka said. "Definitely off the ice, learned how to watch the more veteran players, how they care of their body, how they eat, how they stretch, prepare, cool down, stuff like that that doesn't always happy in junior hockey. I think it was just a little learning curve to learn how to become a pro and approach the game like a pro. I think down in Providence I couldn't have had a better cast for seeing that done right with the leadership that they had."

Studnicka also said that having Leach as his coach in Providence was a big help.

"Lot of fun. He is a very approachable coach," Studnicka said. "I think he's definitely what I needed my first year in the AHL. He was able to communicate with me when things weren't going right, and was able to communicate with me when things were going right. Very transparent coach. He lets you know how he wants it to be done. If you're doing it right, he'll let you know. If you're not, he'll let you know. Just very approachable in terms of my first year, made me feel very comfortable. I think he knew I wanted to improve every day at the rink, and he put me in a position to learn something new every day."

Here are some other highlights from Studnicka's town hall:

- Studnicka said he's spending this quarantine period back home with his family in Michigan. He said they recently put in a hot tub, which gives him something to do. He said he also likes going for long rollerblading sessions when it's nice out, sometimes with a stick and ball and sometimes without.

- Asked about his missing front teeth, which have been gone for a over a year now, Studnicka said he never bothered to get them fixed the last time they got knocked out because he's already had them fixed twice, only to have them knocked out again. He did say that being stuck at home has made him think about giving it one last shot, but that he hasn't made a final decision yet.

- Asked about which players' games he models himself after, Studnicka said he doesn't try to totally copy any one player, but that he grew up watching Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane a lot and took some things from them. Once he joined the Bruins organization, he said he's watched a lot of Patrice Bergeron and tried to learn from his defensive play and penalty-killing especially. Studnicka also highlighted Charlie Coyle's ability to spin off defenders and create separation as something he works on.

- Studnicka said he would be comfortable playing wing at the NHL level if that's what the Bruins need from him, noting that he played on the wing a little bit in Providence this season and has done it before.

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Related: P-Bruins coach Jay Leach weighs in on Bruins' top prospects, which ones could get postseason call-up