( Above Photo Credit: NHL .com )
By: Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Earlier this week the Boston Bruins held a press conference to announce a few organizational hires with one being the addition of Goaltending Coach Mike Dunham to oversee the netminding situations throughout the organization as a member of the developmental staff. With days of heavy speculation of what Dunham’s actual job is going to entitle and the rumors of the B’s moving on from current Goaltending Coach Bob Essensa who’ll be with the team for his 15th year this upcoming season, CBS Boston Bruins Writer Matt Kalman shed some like many with his explanation of how things are going to work moving forward.
Mike Dunham joins staff as a Goaltender Development Coach
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 31, 2017
In Matt’s article which was published yesterday, he said “Mike Dunham was announced as the new coach by general manager Don Sweeney on Monday. In a position many teams have created over the past several seasons, Dunham’s going to work with goaltenders throughout the organization in Boston, Providence and beyond”.
Also mentioned in Kalman’s article was the increased hires of Goaltender Development Coaches in the past few seasons and while I believe this is a positive move to get younger netminders the proper tutelage in their progression to the National Hockey League but was disappointed to see the end of the hyper linked quote above with the news that Dunham will help the Boston goalies, Providence and beyond. What I’m getting at here is he’s not going to be a permanent fixture with the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins where his mentorship on a full-time basis is sorely needed.
Smart move by #NHLBruins, doubling down on goalie development by adding Mike Dunham to work with prospects along with Bob Essensa
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) July 31, 2017
Before the announcement of the new hires, current Goaltending Coach Essensa would spend a majority of his time with the NHL Bruins and when team travel and close proximities to Providence, Rhode Island allowed him to go to Providence to work with the top minor-pro goalies, he would. For myself and many Baby B’s fans, I thought the hire was for him to work completely in the AHL but the sounds of it, he’s going to float around which is a bit concerning to me and those who pay close attention to the pro affiliate on a regular basis.
So does this raise the questions of how the Bruins developing netminders would perform with a full-time coach? Could’ve Zane McIntyre had a better rookie season in the AHL before his emergence as the top AHL goaltender last season? What about the 2012 first round pick for the B’s Malcolm Subban and his up and down three year’s with the organization? At this point, it’s hard to say how a young player grasps the knowledge from former professional players and how they perform while struggling but I’m going to go out on a line with my unprofessional opinion and say that they could’ve benefited greatly with a trusted coach always around under any circumstances.
With the hiring of mike Dunham today that makes 3 former players from the New Jersey devils pipeline on the Bruins coaching staff
— derek delvecchio (@delvecchiodere1) July 31, 2017
Let the past be the past I guess, but now as B’s fan, we can look forward to the help a man like Dunham can do with a player like Dan Vladar who was selected in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and 2017 fourth round selection Jeremy Swayman. Vladar just finished a decent first year of professional hockey, and with the signings of McIntyre and Subban, the big, athletic netminder will most likely return to the East Coast Hockey League Atlanta Gladiators. Swayman played in the United State Hockey League last year and is committed to play at the University of Maine in the fall.
Between meeting up with Boston, Providence, Atlanta, and now Maine, Dunham is certainly going to get a lot of travel time to prepare the future in the crease for the Boston Bruins but a permanent coaching position should become available in a league that transitions players to the highest level and in my opinion with the limited NHL games played between McIntyre and Subban it’s clear they weren’t ready with neither of them gaining a win in combined efforts.