Boston Bruins Goaltending Depth Stronger Than Ever

Mar 15, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) deflects a shot by the San Jose Sharks in the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports.
Mar 15, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) deflects a shot by the San Jose Sharks in the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports. /

Boston Bruins Goaltending Depth Is Stronger Than Ever Before

The Boston Bruins have had the luck of having consistency between the pipes the last couple of seasons with net-minder Tuukka Rask being Mr.Reliable. Since the 2013-2014 season Rask’s games played are 58, 70, and 64. Rask won the Vezina Trophy in his breakout 2013-2014 season which came on the heels of a massive 8-year $56,000,000 contract that runs through the 2020-21 season.

Rask has been a fixture of this Bruins team for the last couple of seasons but having solid goaltender depth around him is key to the success of the organization for this season and beyond. The Bruins thankfully have been credited with having one of the strongest organizational goaltending depth in the entire league.

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Here is the current goaltending depth for the entire organization:

  1. Tuukka Rask NHL
  2. Anton Khudobin NHL
  3. Malcolm Subban AHL
  4. Zane McIntyre AHL
  5. Daniel Vladar Juniors

Bringing back Khudobin to back up Rask was a smart move, its debatable if he is an upgrade to Jonas Gustavsson. But Khudobin is coming back to play for the Bruins, a system that he has played well in before. Khudobin fits well and plays well under head coach Claude Julien, statistics wise he has had better career numbers than Gustavsson. Last season Gustavsson was a big step up on former back-up Niklas Svedberg, but this season I think  it is safe to say that Khudobin can be a step up on Gustavsson.

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One of the issues with Svedberg that hurt the Bruins late in the season was Rask being tired from being overworked. Julien and the team couldn’t trust Svedberg, Gustavsson helped fix that issue. The Bruins are hoping that Khudobin can further help improve Rask’s energy late in seasons by playing solid when he is called to play in games. Ultimately Khudobin is nothing more than a stop gap for the Bruins until their goaltending prospects are ready to play in the NHL. One of the top Bruins goaltending  prospects being P.K. Subban‘s younger brother Malcolm Subban.

Depth Strong Deep In Bruins System

Malcolm Subban missed the start of last AHL season when he suffered a fractured larynx injury, but he is now entering his fourth season as a member of the Providence Bruins. Subban shared goaltending duties with Zane McIntyre  last season when he returned from injury, this split time in net should continue in this upcoming AHL season. Subban has steadily addressed some of the inconsistencies in his game and plays a much more composed game after three pro seasons. Part of me thinks that if Subban didn’t go down with an injury last season he would have been the Boston Bruins opening day back-up this season.

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Signing Kuhdobin to a two-year contract might mean that the Bruins are done waiting around for Subban to develop into the NHL star that he could be one day. With goaltending depth the Bruins can afford to wait a bit longer with Subban, if the Bruins are looking to trade for a defenseman at some point this season it would not come as a shock if Subban was included in the deal.

Behind Subban in the organizational depth is Zane McIntyre who is entering his second season with the P-Bruins. McIntyre relies on his athleticism and his unorthodox style may take a while to translate to the pro level against the more-skilled scorers in the NHL. Zane once was a late round project pick and has steadily emerged as a legitimate candidate to one day secure a starting spot at the big-league level. McIntyre is my top pick to one day become the Bruins starter; his play reminds be a lot of former Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.

The Bruins have another goaltender to keep our eyes on in Daniel Vladar. Vladar’s future remains unclear as of right now with him being ineligible to play college hockey due to playing eight games professionally in Europe. Vladar is currently playing in juniors and is a long term play for the Bruins but has the potential to be an everyday NHL goaltender in the future.

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Overall the Bruins goaltending depth looks strong in both the short-term and long-term outlooks. Having strong goaltending depth makes Rask expendable and eventually could lead him to being traded away to help improve other positions on the team. Bottom line is this upcoming season the Bruins will have goaltenders that can help lead the team deep into the playoffs.