On Friday the Boston Bruins announced that "backup" goaltender signed a one year contract extension worth $2.25 Million. That extension makes Halak a Bruins through the end of next season. This deal not only keeps one the best goaltending tandems in the league together for another year, but it also gives the Bruins and their young buck goalie prospects some more time to develop before taking their game to the NHL level.
A chance to develop in Boston
With the Bruins recent signing of Maine goaltender Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins have themselves one heck of a goalie fight brewing for camp this fall. The signing of Halak gives the Bruins the option to keep these goaltenders in the minor leagues to let them progress their game, rather than force them into a role in Boston and leave them out to dry.
A chance to properly develop a young player's talent, rather than having to force them into a role that they're not yet ready for, is huge for any sporting team or organization. It's especially big for a team like the Boston Bruins after seeing what happened to Malcolm Subban. Subban was and still is a real talent. The early side of his career however was a train wreck. He was put into a position that was a need for the Bruins and he was moved up too fast for his own good. He was dominating in the AHL, but when it came time to play NHL hockey he simply wasn't ready. After a few bad showings in Boston the Bruins were essentially forced to let him go. After an offseason and a change of scenery, Subban is now an essential part of the Las Vegas Golden Knights success as a backup goaltender.
With the time that Jaroslav Halak has bought the Bruins and their goaltending prospects the situation above will be impossible to repeat again. That puts the Bruins in a really good spot.
Let the battle begin
Swayman potentially comes into an already crowded crease in Providence. With Maxime Legace and Dan Vladar splitting most of the starts in Provicence last season, it will be very interesting to see what happens come time to make a decision on who stays and who goes. With Vladar and Legace already in Providence, adding Keyser and Swayman to the mix is really going to put a crunch on spots available for goalies.
One thing that will come into play will certainly be the fact that Legace and Vladar both have contracts that expire this year. Vladar is a restricted free agent however. With Vladar being younger, having the better season of the two in Providence and, the youth that the Bruins have in the system at the goaltender position, I think its a very big possibility that the Bruins let Legace walk come free agency.
It will all depend on how the Bruins front office feel about Keyser and Swayman. If they feel that one of them is good enough to fit the backup role in Providence, Legace will be gone and the other will be the starter in Atlanta in the ECHL. If the Bruins feel that both Swayman and Keyser need more time however, Legace will be brought back to again fill a platoon starting goaltender role in Providence.
I personally think Legace stays and the Bruins let Swayman and Keyser take as much time as they need before even making the next step to the AHL. Time as well as injuries will play a big role in determining how many goalies the Bruins role with come next season.
Credit to nbcsports.com for the featured image.