You may have (quite understandably) missed it in the five-odd months of floundering the P-Bruins did en route to yet another playoff no-go. But Jamie Arniel averted the sophomore slump and instead had a sophomore surge last season.
On the other side of an ankle injury that sidelined him for the homestretch of his rookie year, Arniel elevated his productivity rate from where it was in 2009-10. And there should be plenty of room and opportunity to take another step forward with the prospective cast of teammates for 2010-11.
· Led the team with 23 goals and 50 points while missing only two games, which was due to a brief promotion to Boston.
· Improved upon his rookie totals from 2009-10 by 11 goals and 22 points.
· Scored three overtime goals within the first 17 games of the season.
· Converted five out of nine shootout attempts and scored two shootout clinchers.
· Was held without a single shot on goal in only two out of 78 games-played.
· Had at least one point in nine out of 10 games in November, finishing the month with six goals and 12 points.
· Two three-point outings (goal, two assists): One at home versus Bridgeport Nov. 5 and the other in the Whale Bowl against Connecticut Feb. 19.
· Three two-goal games: Oct. 23 at Worcester, March 20 versus Portland and April 1 versus Connecticut.
· Had a two-point outing and plus-4 rating for the Eastern Conference at the AHL All-Star Game.
· Ranked near the bottom of the team leaderboard in plus/minus with a minus-10 rating.
· Went 21 consecutive games without scoring a goal, beginning on Dec. 31 at Manchester and ending on Feb. 12 at Springfield.
· Finished a single night with a minus-2 rating on eight occasions.
As much as the summer spotlight may have focused on the re-signing of goaltender Anton Khudobin and seasoned captain Trent Whitfield, the P-Bruins will also need an offensive sparkplug.
And if Jordan Caron is going to become a full-time NHLer this year (no guarantee, but a distinct possibility), then it’s on Arniel to elevate his productivity yet again in his third professional season. As Arniel goes, so goes the Providence attack, which means the 30-goal and 70-point range are the ideal minimum for him.
All that will take is a little consistency, which was egregiously lacking during his January drought last season.
In a way, Arniel is to the Baby Bs what Patrice Bergeron was to the parent club a handful of seasons ago. While young and unripe in his own right, he will be a veteran compared to the likes of Carter Camper and Kyle MacKinnon. And he will have a largely unparalleled familiarity with the environment.
Accordingly, he is one of those who will have to lead by example as this rash of rookies finds its collective self at the professional level.