The Bruins enter the 2021 offseason with a question they haven’t had in about a decade.: who is going to be their starting goaltender? At his pre-draft presser on Thursday, Don Sweeney confirmed Tuukka Rask’s surgery will be later this month. The expectation is that Rask will be out until January 2022. Sweeney also touched on the present goalie situation on the roster. With Jaroslav Halak’s departure, the team is left with rookie goaltenders Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar. Sweeney stated that the team may look to add a veteran presence.
What’s the Plan?
Sweeney took the wind out of peoples’ sails a bit with his statement about bringing in a goaltender. They could have very well opted to roll with the two rookies and see how the season went until Rask is available. But it appears they will opt to bring in a veteran who can take a good chunk of starts off both the rookies’ plates.
You Can’t Roll with Three Goaltenders
Well, you can. But that’s not ideal with rookie goaltenders you are trying to groom. With a veteran presence brought in, someone is going to have to play in Providence. In this scenario, my money is on Jeremy Swayman being the odd man out. Now, before you come at me, hear me out. Dan Vladar has done his time in Providence of the AHL and some stints in the ECHL as well. The backup will most likely see a split with the veteran to be named later. Thus, leaving the starting role in Providence wide open.
Jeremy Swayman has 20 pro games under his belt. 11 of those with the big club and nine down in Providence where he posted a very impressive 8-1 record. However, he hasn’t played more than 35 games in a season. Let him continue his development and take on the starting role down in Providence. That also doesn’t mean he’ll be down there the entire season. This, however, is just one scenario. Vladar could very well be sent back down instead.
Veterans on the Market
Here are some of the goaltenders set to be unrestricted free agents at the start of free agency next Wednesday, July 28th. I wouldn’t say it’s slim pickings, but the Bruins may end up looking to the trade market for their solution in net.
Devan Dubnyk, UFA
Dubnyk was a late bloomer as an NHL starter. Bouncing around from Edmonton to Nashville and Arizona then eventually landing in Minnesota. He really found his game in Minnesota and was their go to guy for the better part of five seasons. Since then, he has resumed the role of backup for San Jose and, most recently, Colorado. His numbers weren’t pretty last season, so a situation such as Boston could bode well for the 35-year-old veteran.
Linus Ullmark, UFA
The 28-year-old net minder has posted some rather impressive numbers with the lowly Buffalo Sabres. He was riding a solid .917 save percentage last year before he was shut down after various stints with injury. If you can get this guy on a competitive team like Boston, I would love to see what he can do.
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