AHL alumni help Bruins to Stanley Cup

American Hockey League alumni will be well represented on the Stanley Cup again after the Boston Bruins captured the franchise’s first championship in 39 years on Wednesday night.

Eighteen of the 21 players who appeared in a postseason game for Boston were graduates of the AHL.

Tim Thomas, a veteran of 119 AHL games with the Providence Bruins (2002-04, 05-06) and Hamilton Bulldogs (1998-99), won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thomas set NHL records for most saves and most shots faced in one playoff year, and posted a 1.15 GAA and .967 save percentage in the Bruins’ seven-game win over Vancouver.

David Krejci, who led all scorers with 12 goals and 23 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, netted 31 goals in his first pro season with the Providence Bruins in 2006-07, and shows 102 points in 94 career AHL games.

Patrice Bergeron, an AHL All-Star in 2005, and Brad Marchand, who helped Providence reach the AHL’s conference finals in 2009, scored two goals apiece in Boston’s decisive Game 7 win. Bergeron is one of five former AHL All-Stars on the Bruins’ Finals roster, joining Andrew Ference, captain Zdeno Chara, back-up goaltender Tuukka Rask and Johnny Boychuk, who won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman in 2008-09.

Dennis Seidenberg becomes the newest member of an exclusive club with his name on both the Stanley Cup and Calder Cup; Seidenberg won an AHL title with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2005. Michael Ryder lifted the Stanley Cup eight years after his bid for a Calder Cup championship fell short in a Game 7 Finals loss with Hamilton in 2003.

Boston head coach Claude Julien guided the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs from 2000 until his promotion to the Montreal Canadiens midway through the 2002-03 campaign. Julien, who shared AHL coach of the year honors that season with his then-successor and now-assistant Geoff Ward, becomes the eighth consecutive Stanley Cup-winning head coach to have been an AHL bench boss, following Joel Quenneville, Dan Bylsma, Mike Babcock, Randy Carlyle, Peter Laviolette, John Tortorella and Pat Burns.

Bruins assistant coach Doug Jarvis succeeded Ward in Hamilton and spent two seasons (2003-05) at the helm of the Bulldogs, and fellow assistant Doug Houda was a defenseman on the 1996 Calder Cup champion Rochester Americans and also played in the 2000 Calder Cup Finals.

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli spent seven seasons with the Ottawa Senators, where his responsibilities included overseeing the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.

Other AHL graduates contributing to Boston’s first Stanley Cup since 1972 include Nathan Horton, Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, Tomas Kaberle, Daniel Paille, Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Shane Hnidy.