The 2010-11 season saw the Boston Bruins with one of their best goaltender teams in recent memory. Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask help propel the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup win in nearly forty years. It was hoped that the team would be in place for several years to come. Well, things didn’t quite go as expected.
Things changed pretty quickly. After the Bruins fell to the Capitals in the first round of the 2012 series, Tim Thomas went AWOL from the Bruins. Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli put up with the rants, and the various odd postings, but I suspect they saw the writing on the wall and were ready for it. Tuukka Rask became the new #1, and was given a one year ‘play for your contract’ deal. Anton Khudobin was an AHL player with some NHL experience. In the abbreviated season, it wouldn’t hurt to give him some side time in the crease.
Rask (19-10-5 [5 SO], 2.00 GAA, .929 save%) and Khudobin (9-4-1 [1SO], 2.32GAA, .920 save%) exceeded expectations in the 2013 season. Rask was going to be come the franchise goaltender, and a long-term contract was no longer an ‘if’, but a ‘when’. The Bruins locked up Rask last week with an eight-year fifty six million dollar contract. Unfortunately, the same could not be done for Khudobin. He was signed by the Carolina Hurricanes. (It is expected that Khudobin will be a serious contender for the # 1 slot, competing with Cam Ward for the job.)
Rask is now our confirmed #1 goalie, but there was still a gap to be filled. Thomas gone. Khudobin gone. For a team that plays a lot of defensive hockey, the task to get a new #2 goalie seemed daunting. Peter Chiarelli is a man who seems to enjoy these kinds of tasks though.
The Bruins have choices though. Chad Johnson reminds me of Khudobin. Both are twenty-seven years old and both had limited amounts of NHL experience, going into their first ‘big’ NHL season. (Khudobin had six, Johnson had ten) Johnson signed a one year, one-way contract with the Bruins last week.
The Big Bruins could look to their AHL affiliate as well. Niklas Svedberg is coming off a great season for the baby Bruins. His numbers (37-8-2 [4 SO], 2.17 GAA and .925 save%) are on par with either Rask or Khudobin. Furthermore, Peter Chiarelli confirmed that Svedberg will also be in the running to win the number two spot.
Chiarelli said Niklas Svedberg has definitely earned a look to challenge for the back-up role with Boston ^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 14, 2013
It’s good to know that the Bruins should have another stable team in the net for the 2013-14 season.