Boston Bruins: The Case for Jeremy Smith as Backup Goaltender


The Boston Bruins goaltending situation last season was among the most tumultuous of the problems that the team faced.  The season-long debacle that was the Niklas Svedberg failure left the B’s with an exposed defense as a result of Tuukka Rask‘s fatigue while appearing in a career high 70 games.

Down the stretch, Rask tended to drop down to his knees too early and leave the top half of the net open well before he needed to commit.  That’s the sign of a worn out goaltender, and Rask was certainly every bit of that.

The Bruins haven’t had a serviceable backup goalie since Tuukka himself was backing up Tim Thomas.  And I don’t want to hear about Chad Johnson, who was the product of a Bruins team who was stacked on defense and played the majority of the game in the offensive zone (remember those days?).

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Over the next few posts, I’m going to dive in and dissect the three most likely candidates to be the Bruins backup goaltender to start the 2015-16 season.  That will be Jeremy Smith, Malcolm Subban, or Zane McIntyre, barring, of course, Don Sweeney making another move to land a formidable veteran backup.  After this summer and all the sweeping changes Sweeney has made to this point, I wouldn’t rule anything out.

The case for Jeremy Smith:

Jeremy Smith is 26 years old and has way more professional experience between the pipes than any of the potential candidates.  As seemingly the first guy in line to claim the spot as backup net minder, Smith has to come up with a relatively strong camp to earn the job after a good season down in Providence (22-11-5, 2.05 Goals Against Average, with a .933 save percentage in 39 games).  Whether or not he is up to the task remains to be seen.

Remember, Niklas Svedberg had similar numbers when he was the man in Providence, and turned out to be a huge letdown in Boston.  Smith does seem to be the early front-runner to take the job though, and is without a doubt the safest option for the time being.  This  is mainly because his experience would suggest he’s more likely to keep his composure when things get hairy in a regular season game.

That’s why I like Smith.  He’s been playing hockey at the professional level much longer than Subban or McIntyre, and shouldn’t be blown away by anything he encounters.  There’s nothing to suggest he won’t be productive, as he’s only gotten better throughout his AHL career.  The jury is still out on him, and I can’t say I’m completely sold, even though I think that’s just because of the Svedberg letdown still fresh in my mind.

Keep a close eye on Jeremy Smith throughout training camp.  He’s the one who will have to set the tempo for this position battle, although he will not exactly have to be lights out to make Don Sweeney put him on the Bruins roster to kick off the year.

Next:  The Case for Malcolm Subban

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