Don Sweeney Announced that the Boston Bruins will be diving into the goalie free agent market come Monday. What does this mean for Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak?
Changing of the guard?
NHL free agency opens on Monday. Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney has already confirmed that the Bruins will be active come Monday. One surprising note that Sweeney mentioned was that the Bruins will be active in the goalie market. Some fans immediately jumped to conclusions that Tuukka Rask and or Jaroslav Halak might be on the move. Rest assured, that isn’t the case.
If its not broken, don’t fix it.
Last year the Bruins goaltending tandem was one of if not the best in the NHL. While there is the never ending debate surrounding Tuukka Rask, this move will hardly effect him. After one of the better years of his career and a stellar postseason performance, Rask is still the guy for the Bruins. That turns the attention to Jaroslav Halak. While some might think that Halak is just a backup goalie, he’s much more than that. Now Halak might be the backup for Tuukka Rask, but that doesn’t mean Halak isn’t good enough to start elsewhere.
Amongst the best
Last season was one of the better seasons throughout the career of Jaroslav Halak. Despite being the Boston Bruins backup goaltender, Halak made his mark. Halak had one more shutout than Tuukka Rask despite playing in six less games, but still played in enough games to qualify for rankings in the league leaders. Again, playing in six less games than Tuukka Rask, but the numbers are impressive nonetheless. Halak ranked seventh in goals against average (GAA), and ninth in save percentage (Sv%). Both ranked higher than Tuukka Rask. Halak has one more year on his contract and has definitely earned the right to play out his deal in Boston. The only way this isn’t the case is of the Bruins decide to trade him at the trade deadline because they don’t think they’ll make the playoffs. I highly doubt that’ll be case.
What’s the big idea?
When the Bruins address the goalie situation in free agency, its likely gonna be the Providence Bruins that it effects the most. A starting goaltender for Providence is most likely what Don Sweeney will be looking for come Monday. Zane McIntyre is currently the Providence Bruins starting goalie. Despite a pretty good year last year, McIntyre looks like he’s the odd man out in the Bruins goalie race. McIntyre’s contract expired this season, making him a free agent. A free agent that likely doesn’t come back to the Bruins organization next season.
Inside options? Not quite yet.
Dan Vladar is a 22 year old goalie who sat below McIntyre on the Providence depth chart last year. Vladar managed a .500 record and only allowed 2.73 goals per game. He will likely share time with whoever the Bruins sign next season in Providence. Kyle Keyser is another very intruiging goalie prospect that the Bruins have. Keyser is 20 and he played most of last season with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. Keyser played in 47 games with Oshawa, only allowing 2.75 goals per game and held down a solid .915 save percentage. The general consensus is that Keyser isn’t quite ready for a full time role in Providence yet. Injuries could play a big role in Keyser moving up however.
As we’ve now looked at all of the options within the Bruins organization we know that one will likely be out. My thinking is that Don Sweeney is going to be looking to bring in a veteran who can help the young Vladar and Keyser and set them on the right track to the NHL.