For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the Bruins goaltending immediate future appears a bit cloudy. Back then Tim Thomas played 38 games going 12-13-10 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average. Then during the 2012-13 season, Rask took over and has been one of the league’s best since. The current Bruins goaltending tandem of Rask and Halak are both becoming UFAs this summer. Considering their age Rask just turning 34 and Halak turning 36 in May either or both could decide to hang them up. Despite the looming uncertainty, the future of the position looks bright. With Prospects Daniel Vladar and Jeremy Swayman both excelling at every level so far the long-term future of the goalie position looks bright.
Vladar was a Bruins third-round pick back in the 2015 draft. Since then he has spent parts of five seasons in the AHL honing his craft. In 73 AHL games, Dan Vladar has a 34-24-10 record to go with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. During the 2019-20 season Vladar had the best save percentage a .936 and the best goals-against 1.79 in the AHL. In five games this season Vladar has a 2-2-1 record with a 2.01 goals-against and a .923 save percentage.
More recently Dan made his NHL regular-season debut in an important matchup with the Penguins. Vladar not only got the victory but stopped 34 of 35 shots in the 2-1 win over Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. That performance included this highlight reel save against Colton Sceviour which you can watch here. With Rask still suffering from an injury, Vladar could see more NHL action very soon.
Swayman was a fourth-round pick back in the 2017 draft. Since then he spent time playing for the University of Maine where he became one of the best goalie prospects in the country. In 100 NCAA games, Swayman has a record of 47-34-18 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. In his final season, Jeremy played in 34 games finishing with an 18-10-5 record to go with a 2.07 goals-against and a .939 save percentage.
Those numbers won him several awards including Hockey East Player of the Year as well as the Mike Richter Award for the NCAA’s best goalie. Swayman was also a Hobey Baker Award finalist which is given to the top player in the NCAA. Swayman made the jump to the AHL this season and has been impressive, to say the least. He has a perfect 7-0-0 record with a 1.57 goals-against and a .942 save percentage. So far he ranks first in goals against and third in save percentage in the league.
Bruins Goaltending Final Thoughts
While both Swayman and Vladar have impressed at every level it might still be too early to hand them the keys. Vladar is likely the more ready of the two prospects. However, it will take more than one NHL win to secure a roster spot. Life after Rask has previously been covered about a year ago in this article. If Vladar proves to be ready for the backup role he will still need an NHL starter ahead of him. Let’s also not forget about Swayman who looks unbeatable in the AHL. If he can continue this level of play We could have a battle for that backup role next training camp.
While the Bruins will likely still need a veteran starter next year both prospects have shown they deserve a shot. While Swayman might have more potential to be a franchise goalie he still needs to develop his game. Rushing him into a starting spot he’s not ready for could set his career back years. Next year might still have some uncertainty around the Bruins goaltending position but the long-term future looks very bright. Until next time stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of Peter Diana/Post-Gazette.