For the last few years, the Boston Bruins have had a lot of things going for them. Players willing to play two way hockey. Claude Julien as their bench boss. A capable general manager. One of the biggest strengths the Bruins have had is keeping talented players in the position of goaltender.
Tim Thomas was part of that renaissance in Boston. While his political statements earned him a fair share of detractors, his brilliance in goal (especially in game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final) was the big reason why the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in over a generation. When Tim Thomas wasn’t in goal, the Bruins crease was protected by its current lead goalie, Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins have still been blessed by having some very capable backups covering the crease in Boston. Two years ago, Anton Khudobin did an outstanding job as the number two for the Black and Gold. Khudobin went 9-4-1, had a .920 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against average. The Bruins chose to let Khudobin go, and now he’s got a chance to be a star for the Carolina Hurricanes. Last season, Chad Johnson went 17-4-3, had a .925 save percentage and a 2.10 goals against average. The Bruins once again let a capable back up go (this time to the New York Islanders), and this season we could be looking at a greater unknown.
Going into training camp, it seems that Niklas Svedberg will end up with the job in October. His record has been up and down these last few years. He was the AHL’s goaltender of the year in Providence during the 2012-13 season. Last year saw Svedberg struggling with the Baby B’s, posting a .910 save percentage and a 2.63 goals against average. Svedberg did get a taste of the NHL last season for Boston, playing in January against the Nashville Predators. He had a solid showing with a .943 save percentage in the 3-2 overtime win.
The Bruins have done well with finding quality back ups, but have let them go for various reasons. Hopefully, Svedberg will continue that trend in Boston.