PROVIDENCE – The Providence Bruins coaching staff did its homework on Austin Fyten.
Both Jay Leach and Trent Whitfield made calls to learn more about the 27-year-old center/left wing, who signed an AHL deal a month ago after two seasons with the Texas Stars.
“Everyone – and I mean everyone – said this guy is a top-notch guy,” Leach said after practice on Tuesday.
“He’s a great role player. Will always push the envelope for our guys. We’re excited to have him. He had a good camp (in Boston). For a coach at this level, that guy is awesome,” said Leach.
Hockey in the family
Jack Riley is descended from American hockey royalty.
His late grandfather, also named Jack, coached the U.S. team to a gold medal in Squaw Valley in 1960. His father, Brian, has been the head coach at the West Point since 2004. The Riley family tree is brimming with players and coaches.
Jack, 26, who was the captain for the last two seasons at Mercyhurst University of Atlantic Hockey, is in camp this week with the Providence Bruins. He is under contract for the coming season with Reading of the ECHL, where the coach is former P-Bruin Kirk MacDonald.
Like nearly all of the tryout players in Providence’s camp, Riley is a long shot to earn an AHL deal. That won’t stop him from putting his best foot forward.
“I know they have guys here,’’ he said after practice on Tuesday. “My job is just to work hard, make a good impression on the coaching staff and the rest of the guys here.’’
Riley, a 5-foot-11 winger, scored 17 goals and 31 points in 37 games for Mercyhurst. He had 2-3-5 in five games with Reading after his college season ended.
He is looking to make hockey his career, as have so many other members of his family.
“Growing up around a Division I team, I always wanted to play college hockey. Once I got there, I had to kind of switch goals, move towards the pro game, and then maybe when this is done, get into coaching somewhere. Trying to stay in hockey has always been my ultimate goal,” he said.
Malatesta stands out
Leach mentioned Atlanta (ECHL) defenseman Zach Malatesta as a player he noticed during the first two days of camp.
“Makes some nice plays. You can tell he’s smooth,” said Leach.
Malatesta, 22, was born in Boston. He played for the Junior Bruins before spending three seasons in the QMJHL, where he skated for Moncton and Acadie-Bathurst.
Reinforcements on the way
The five players sent down by Boston on Monday — Zach Senyshyn, Emil Johansson, Cam Hughes, Joona Koppanen and Tanner Pond — didn’t skate on Tuesday, but are expected back on the ice on Wednesday.
Connor Clifton, Karson Kuhlman, and Jeremy Lauzon were sent to the P-Bruins on Tuesday and Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Cody Goloubef, Mark McNeill, and Jordan Szwarz were placed on waivers.