There are times I am very glad I do not have Peter Chiarelli’s job. This is one of those times where I completely disagree with him, but under the circumstances do exactly what he did. Today, Chiarelli had to send the best AHL goalie(and one who did pretty well against NHL talent) back to Providence. Niklas Svedberg(in my and a lot of other people’s opinion) had come out as the clear winner in the crease police sweepstakes, beating out all other comers to win the number two position in Boston.
However, there were complications that led Chiarelli to pick Chad Johnson as the new back up for Boston. (Yea, I’m cringing a little here too.)
First there was the waiver issue. Here’s the skinny in Chiarelli’s own words:
“Chad[Johnson] needs waivers; Nik [Svedberg] doesn’t,” the GM said last night. “They both had strong camps. Just on a per minute played basis, Nik played better, but Chad played well, that game in Detroit he played well. So it gives me a comfort they played well over the course of camp. That means we have some depth there.”
On some level, Svedberg can find some measure of solace that the general manager of the parent club he’s playing for stated outright that he had played the best of all the potential candidates to win the job. It’s small comfort that he’ll be enjoying that news while wearing a ‘P’ jersey (again) this season.
Then there was the salary cap issue. The Bruins are going to be scrimping and squeezing to get themselves under the cap this season. They have even alluded to a possible plan to initiate transactions sending players with a two-way contract (like Dougie Hamilton) down to the AHL on a temporary basis in order to become cap compliant. Svedberg’s NHL salary would have been one million. Johnson’s is six hundred thousand. (Then again, if they had taken the time to sign Anton Khudobin when they had the chance, they wouldn’t have even been in this mess. [But that's another story.]) They’ll be cutting it razor thin, even with putting Marc Savard on long term injured reserve.
So, we will likely see Svedberg in a ‘B’ at some point this season. I loved his work during the preseason, as did a lot of you. Hopefully, Johnson will have a season like Khudobin did last year and we won’t be needing his services too much.