Looking at the Goaltending in the Bruins organization is cause for pride. We have arguably the best goaltender in the league the last two years in Tuukka Rask. But as the Bruins move forward there is a hope that Tuukka remains healthy as most of the goaltenders behind him in the system have one thing in common. Little to no experience in the NHL. Last year we saw Los Angeles struggle mid season when Jonathon Quick was out to injury and it seemed like every replacement also went down to injury in short order. So The threat for depth is real.
The Bruins have also been taking this risk since Tim Thomas left the team of wondering who can we rely on in unproven backups. In the last two years, by signing inexperienced free agent goaltenders, we have been blessed and lucky that their collective talent was good enough and the team playing in front of them was good enough to weather the storm. I can't say enough about what I felt Anton Khoudobin and Chad Johnson came in and did the last two seasons. Both were rewarded with decent contracts by other teams after playing well in Boston.
This years new backup seems to be Niklas Svedberg. He's been signed to a one year, one way contract at $600 thousand. The downside is that he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season. I think it likely that he will take advantage of that as he has starting potential if playing for several other NHL teams. I do expect him, barring injury, to be every bit as good as Johnson was last season and expect him to get a nice contract. However, I think the Bruins have erred by making him essential this season as he could have fetched a fine price as a trade chip. But because there is no other real backup depth on the team, I think it's likely he plays out the season and leaves.
One of the few signings that the Bruins made in the off season this year was Jeremy Smith. He comes to the Bruins by way of the Nashville system and Columbus. He is a goalie much like Chad Johnson who was behind in the depth chart in other organizations and never had a chance to showcase his skill. Unfortunately for Smith, he finds himself in the same situation in Boston. Unless there are significant injuries to Rask, Svedberg and Subban; he can expect few opportunities to play. He's been signed as the insurance goalie for the season. He can expect to find himself playing backup to Malcolm Subban down in Providence.
Malcolm Subban by way of age and projected development is the Bruins goalie of the future and just like Svedberg the last two years he has to play his way up to the NHL squad. I think he needs two more years of seeing pucks down in Providence before he is ready to move up to be the backup behind Rask.
There is another goalie down in Providence, Adam Morrison and he's been in the Bruins system the last 4 years. His development is such that he is the floater between being the backup in Providence and the Bruins ECHL affiliate on the Carolina Stingrays down in Charleston SC. A goalie who could move up and hold down the fort in Providence should the Bruins catch the injury bug in goal.
Two years away is Zane McIntye, formerly "Gothberg". He just recently changed his last name legally. He was at this years Rookie development camp. I was favorably impressed with him and he is currently playing in Division I western conference of the NCAA for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. He was a Bruins 2010 draft pick and may make some noise next year for the Bruins. He has two years left of eligibility in North Dakota, but may leave early to pursue his professional options after this year.
Next the Defense!
Until Next Time !