A week ago, the race to be the number two goaltender for the Boston Bruins was a wide open competition. Chad Johnson, recruited from the Phoenix Coyotes organization was brought in to replace the surprisingly large hole left by Anton Khudobin. Niklas Svedberg and Michael Hutchinson were being given a shot to come up from Providence. Finally, Malcolm Subban (brother of Montreal’s PK) was given a shot to prove himself.
The preseason started and from the gate, Malcolm Subban pulled out to an early lead stopping all attempts in his half of the Bruins preseason game against the Canadiens. Chad Johnson appeared to have pulled up lame, allowing three goals on only eight shots and casting serious doubt for him to remain in the mix.
Then Svedberg got his chance to prove himself against the Washington Capitals. Svedberg, who took over for Tuukka Rask stopped all but one shot and played the full overtime and an eight round shootout in the Bruins 3-2 overtime win.
“[Svedberg] was solid,” coach Claude Julien said. “He made some good saves. I think he got as surprised as anybody else on that goal [by Casey Wellman]. That guy just turned around and shot it quickly – it was a quick release – I don’t know if he was screened. Yet, he stood up and shined through the shootout. So he was really good tonight. I liked his outing.”
The race was starting to become clear. Hutchinson got send down to Providence, and it became a three man race. The Bruins decided to give Malcolm Subban a shot at an entire NHL-calibre game. It turned out to be a rough shot. The Bruins were thouroghly defeated in an 8-2 rout that saw Subban take some wicked shots from some of the best scorers in the league. In Subban’s defense, the Bruins staff admitted to the poor defensive breakdowns that led to a shooting gallery atmosphere on the young prospect.
Last night’s game was a chance for Chad Johnson to get back into the race. He was able to make a go of it, giving the Boston Bruins their first shutout win in the preseason, and getting a small measure of revenge against the Detroit Red Wings. He stopped everything that came at him, and put himself back in the running.
Still, if it was my call, I’d be going with Svedberg. He has the time with Providence. He knows the coaching staff and Bruins system better than anyone else, and seems to be the most comfortable of the three finalists in a Bruins jersey. In my opinion, it’s his job to lose this year. Subban is ready for the AHL Bruins, and will shine in Providence. We can also call the Johnson experiment a ‘Corvo’, and move on.