Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the Boston Bruins have had to turn to their third and fourth-string goalies. Surprisingly the combination of Jeremey Swayman and Dan Vladar has been very successful early on. Both have appeared in their first NHL regular-season games this season and shockingly won their first appearances. With Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak suffering injuries and illness, they have seemingly reached the end of their tenure with the franchise the Bruins seem to have found their goaltending tandem of the future.
How Did They Get This Opportunity?
Both Rask and Halak came into the season as the Bruins goaltending tandem but due to some unfortunate circumstances, they have not been able to be in the crease for the Bruins. The first two goalies are unable to play right now as Halak tested positive for Covid-19 and has been placed in the NHL’s covid protocol.
Rask does not have covid but he suffered an upper-body injury that has lingered for quite a while. He originally suffered the injury in the Bruins matchup with the New Jersey Devils on March seventh. He returned on March 25th to face six shots in the first period against the New York Islanders. He did not return after intermission and has not played since. Luckily Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar have played hero so far and have kept the Bruins’ playoff hopes alive.
Who Is Dan Vladar?
Vladar is a 23-year-old goaltender from Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Bruins originally drafted him with the 75th pick in the 2015 NHL draft. Since then he has been very good as part of the Bruins franchise. Vladar joined the Bruins AHL affiliate during the 2016-2017 season.
In his first season, he played eight games for the Providence Bruins of the AHL and earned a 2.62 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Also during the 2016-2017 season Vladar played 2 games for the Czech Republic team during the World Junior Championships. In those two appearances, he earned an underwhelming 3.97 goals-against average and .864 save percentage. He rebounded by earning a 2.23 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in four games for the Providence Bruins during the 2017-2018 season.
In the 2018-19 season Vladar got his first consistent playing time with Providence. In 31 games he played his way to a 2.73 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage. Despite the underperformance, he would rebound in the 2019-20 season as he had an incredible 1.79 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 25 games.
This season with Providence he has played five games and earned a 2.01 goals-against average to go along with a .923 save percentage. Since being called up to the Bruins Vladar has played four games and has been shockingly good. He has won two and lost only one of his four appearances in regulation this season. Early on in his NHL career, he has accumulated a 2.25 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. These impressive numbers have given Bruins fans hope and optimism for the future.
Who Is Jeremy Swayman?
Jeremy Swayman is a 22-year-old goaltender from Anchorage, Alaska. The Bruins originally drafted him with the 111th pick in the 2017 NHL draft. He played three seasons at the University of Maine before joining the Bruins. Since joining the Bruins franchise he has been nothing short of spectacular.
Jeremy Swayman joined the Bruins organization this season. He has played nine games with Providence and has been incredibly successful. In those nine games, he has compiled a save percentage of .933 to go along with a 1.89 goals-against average. On April 7th, 2021, Swayman suited up for his first game in the NHL. He stopped 40 of the 42 shots that the Philadelphia Flyers fired at him. The rookie’s incredible first game was amazing and should inspire hope in all Bruins fans.
The Real Question
The real reason why you clicked on here is to find out if Swayman and Vladar are the future of Bruins goaltending. Well in short, yes they are. With Rask and Halak both on expiring contracts, the Bruins might be hesitant to resign older and aging goaltenders especially with the health issues they have experienced in their careers.
Vladar and Swayman have risen to the occasion to replace Rask and Halak. In the AHL both Vladar and Swayman have compiled impressive statistics that proved that they were at the top of their position in the league. Since being called up to the NHL both goaltenders have exhibited their ability to perform incredibly well at the highest level as they have won the majority of their appearances. The future looks bright for the Boston Bruins and their goaltending situation.
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