As of Sunday morning, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has confirmed that the Bruins are very close to making a deal to tie up Tuukka Rask long term for Boston. OK, let’s for the moment say that we’ll have a primary goaltender locked up for the 2013-14 season (and a few more). My concern is that we are currently lacking any significant depth for our #2 goaltender, and this could be a serious problem for Boston if we want to remain in Stanley Cup contention.
Anton Khudobin was our back up goaltender, but that is no longer the case. He signed a one year, eight hundred thousand dollar contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. From what I’ve been able to determine, there was a desire from Bruins management to keep the Kazakh goalie, but there was a never a serious effort to retain his services. (Since they were doing their best to lock down every available cap dollar in order to offer Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask long term deals.) Anton spent two seasons in the Boston system. He ended up with a 9-4-1 record with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage last season.
So, where does that leave us? The Bruins did sign free agent Chad Johnson to a one year, six hundred thousand dollar contract. Johnson played last season with the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes. While in Phoenix he posted a 2-0-2(one shutout) record with a 1.21 goals against average and a .954 save percentage. Johnson also has several seasons of minor league experience as well. He appeared in a total of 170 American Hockey League games in the last four seasons with the Hartford Wolfpack, Connecticut Whale and Portland Pirates, compiling a 74-70-12 record.
While Johnson’s NHL record reminds me of Khudobin’s, he may not be the only person fighting for the # 2 slot in Boston. The Bruins can also fall back on their AHL goaltender in Providence, Niklas Svedberg. Svedberg had a very good season last year in the AHL. His overall record was 37-8-8 record with a 2.17 GAA and .925 save percentage.
So as long as we sign Tuukka, the Bruins should be good. With all the surprises going on in free agency so far, I was still hoping in the back of my mind that someone (maybe even Boston) picked up Tim Thomas. I figured if we could take back a player who burned us three months earlier like Jarome Iginla, taking on Thomas wouldn’t be that far out of the realm of reality.