( Above Photo Credit: bisoninc .com )
By: Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Last week, website teammate Andrew Thompson wrote an article about the Boston Bruins signing of both prospect goaltenders Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to two-year two-way deals to solidify the depth in the crease throughout the organization. Whether liked or not starting netminder Tuukka Rask is locked up for the next four seasons, and backup Anton Khudobin signed for the upcoming season, you can almost navigate where these players will represent for the upcoming year.
The Bruins signed McIntyre and Subban to two-year, two-way deals. Both will be at camp trying to get Khudobin’s job. https://t.co/3v27Vxpgf3
— Andrew E Thompson (@Godwentwhoops) July 14, 2017
As many Bruins fans know, last season was a disaster when it came to quality starts from the backup role until late in the season when Khuddoibin decided to show up and help secure playoff points. The neglect to add to the position via free agency was disturbing to me with the available cap space but starts the speculation of who’s going to climb the mountain and knock the current goaltender with a National Hockey League netminder off to be the 2017-18 sidekick to the Tuukka?
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) July 9, 2017
Not long ago the Providence Journal’s Bruins Beat Writer Mark Divver reported the one-year minor league deal with goaltender Matt Ginn to an American Hockey League/East Coast Hockey League deal and mentioned Bruins 2015 third round pick Dan Vladar remain with the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators to split duties in the “AA” Premier League. So training camp in September is going to be very interesting to see who wants it but right now the line ups looked like Rask and Khudobin in the NHL, McIntyre, and Subban in the AHL and mentioned Ginn and Vladar in the ECHL.
( Above Photo Credit: NHL .com )
As a fan that watches all of the B’s minor-league prospects, I saw an incredible year in the AHL with McIntyre as he stole many games for a Providence team that went to the third round of the Calder Cup Playoffs but has yet to prove himself at the NHL level. Subban is the same thing. Very athletic smart netminder that just came up on bad luck in his entry-level years with the Bruins organization and seems ready for the challenge with a clean slate. McIntyre’s numbers in the AHL are always going to be the primary focus when it comes to where he should be, and he’ll have a tremendous shot to prove himself but if he doesn’t make it another year with Providence couldn’t hurt.
I believe if Zane works hard this summer, has an excellent camp and regular season regardless of the level, he’ll be back in the mix in the fall of next year as Khudobin’s contract will seemingly be through and almost be a shoe in if Subban doesn’t miraculously pass him on next seasons depth chart. I believe fans shouldn’t get frustrated with goaltending progression because some players have it while others have to wait but continue to be a team player and an important role with the Bruins organization. The good thing about the goaltending position in the minor leagues is there’s really no starter anymore at least the Baby B’s games that I’ve seen the past few seasons. The AHL’s 76-game campaign is pretty much split seeing 30-35 games per year each.
( Above Photo Credit: providencejournal .com )
Now, if, and I mean if something happens to Subban and his services needed elsewhere, I Believe Vladar would be the one to rise from the ECHL Gladiators to take a share with Zane with the Baby B’s. Vladar’s a much better goaltender than his numbers in the ECHL as the team in front of him isn’t built correctly and questionable trades last season didn’t exactly help the situation. Dan’s time with the Providence team leads him to a 4-0-1 record in eight games played during the 2016-17 season. He’s much better with a better defensive structure in front of him which is also a mitigating factor as a developing player. Everyone know’s goaltenders take awhile to develop but in my opinion, in his games that I watched in both leagues last season he is definitely progressing well, and the Bruins are doing this right. Something special in the making if you ask me.