One very big factor in the Boston Bruins success the last few seasons is the play at the goalie position. Jaroslav Halak is a backup for the Bruins, but he could start for numerous teams in the NHL. With Halak in the final year of his contract, he’ll most likely be wanting to get paid and become a starter in the NHL again. Do the Bruins bring him back? Or do we trust the system and give a prospect a shot?
More than worthy
Jaroslav Halak is more than worthy of earning a contract extension from the Boston Bruins at the end of the season. Technically being a backup, but playing more than most backups to save Tuukka Rask for the playoffs. And playing better than most backups (and even some starters) has absolutely earned Halak a spot on the roster next season – If the Bruins are willing to give him what he wants.
Being 34 there’s a chance that Halak wants to stay as a backup, and not put his body through the workload of a starting NHL goalie. If so, I’m willing to bet that the Bruins are willing to bring him back at least for next season.
However, Halak might choose to make another run at being a starter in the NHL. Perhaps for a team that only needs a spot starter for a year or two until a prospect is ready to takeover. If so, depending on how hard Halak and his agent push, he might not come cheap.
Supported by numbers
Last season Jaroslav Halak was at least a top 15 goalie in the NHL. He finished around the top of the league for multiple stat categories.
GAA -2.34 (7th)
Save Percentage – .922 (9th)
Shutouts – 4 (9th)
He also managed to win 22 games despite starting just 37 games and playing in 40.
Kyle Keyser, Dan Vladar, and Maxime Legace are the other options for the Bruins who are currently in the organization. Keyser and Vladar are both very talented, young goalie prospects. The only issue with letting one of them make a run at an NHL roster spot next season is their age and inexperience. Keyser (20) and Vladar (22) both are virgins at the NHL level. Vladar is currently playing his second full season at the AHL level. Keyser is playing in his first season at the AHL level. Maxime Legace does however have NHL experience. The 26 year old played 17 games for the Las Vegas Golden Knights during the 2017-2018 season. Legace maintained just under a 4.00 GAA. His numbers weren’t the best but he was just 24 at the time that he was in Las Vegas, so perhaps he was thrown into the NHL a little prematurely.
Money money money
The fate of Halak’s playing days in Boston could come at the hands of the Don Sweeney’s checkbook. With the Bruins having so many free agents this upcoming offseason, a lot of players will be evaluated. Current Bruins and players throughout the league who the Bruins might choose to target in free agency. Kyle Keyser is the only player mentioned in this article who isn’t a free agent at the end of this season. Halak and Legace are both unrestricted free agents. Daniel Vladar is a restricted free agent. If one of the three goalies outside of the NHL level manages to make a push and prove he is NHL worthy, Don Sweeney will have a very big and interesting decision on his hands.
Credit to 98.5 The Sports Hub for the featured image.