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There’s competition for Bruins’ backup goalie gig

Jul 15, 2013, 9:55 AM EDT

Chad Johnson #31 of the Phoenix Coyotes makes a save against the St. Louis Blues in the third period at the Scottrade Center on April 18, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Blues beat the Coyotes 2-1 in a shootout.
(April 17, 2013 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

There’s no question that Tuukka Rask will enter the 2013-14 campaign as the Boston Bruins’ undisputed starting goaltender. He was superb in the lockout-shortened season after spending years as the overqualified backup of Tim Thomas.

The fact that the Bruins signed him to an eight-year, $56 million contract speaks volumes about their level of confidence in him and it’s warranted. But Rask’s understudy will still have relevancy next season.

After all, while the Bruins will lean on Rask, the 26-year-old has never played in more than 45 NHL games in a single season. If you expand those numbers to include the minors and professional European leagues, Rask’s regular season career-high was in 2008-09 when he played in 57 contests with the AHL Providence Bruins.

So the Bruins might be cautious about overworking him and with Anton Khudobin gone, they don’t have a clear backup netminder. Chad Johnson, who is 27 years old and has 10 games worth of NHL experience, signed a one-way contract, so he would seem to have the inside track going into training camp, but he’s not the only candidate.

23-year-old goaltender Niklas Svedberg is coming off a great season where he recorded a 2.17 GAA and .925 save percentage in 48 games with Providence. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has confirmed that Svedberg will get a shot to win the number two spot, according to the team’s Twitter account.

Malcolm Subban, 19, would be an exciting candidate, but the Bruins aren’t looking to rush him to the NHL. He will start the 2013-14 season in the AHL after a superb campaign with the OHL Belleville Bulls.

  1. ibieiniid - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    can you be Chad Johnson and NOT wear #85? either ironically or as a tribute.

    • ballistictrajectory - Jul 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      only if you change your name to eightyfive-eh…

  2. thailer35 - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Sad to see Johnson won’t be in sedona red and white again this season. Got to see his first career shut out. A little surprised he chose to sign somewhere with such a crowded net.

  3. nhstateline - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    This is roughly what they did with Khudobin. Find a guy in the AHL who has a little bit of NHL experience and will be good enough while Rask gets some nights off. Johnson seemed like a very decent goalie in the AHL game I saw him play in. Svedberg seemed like much more than that but he also has a bigger cap hit if he makes the roster. Either one of them suits the strategy the Bruins used to put last year’s team together. My guess is they start with Johnson as the backup but if Rask actually gets hurt up comes Svedberg to play at least half of those games.

    I agree, he should wear either 85 or 58……….

  4. hockeyflow33 - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I think it would be a big mistake to have Svedberg come up and then not play. Keep him playing regular games in Providence

    • pastabelly - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      Svedberg should come up. He proved himself at that level already and Subban needs to get most of the Providence games. Svedberg should back up Rask and Subban and Johnson can split time in Providence, with more time going to Subban.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jul 15, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        I think there’s a couple issues with that though.
        Johnson is reported to have signed a 1-way deal so you already have your two roster spots filled.
        I’m not sure what changes, if any, were made to junior eligible players under this CBA but in addition to burning a valuable year of his contract, Subban has a cap hit of almost $1.5m. Because he’ll turn 20 before Dec 31, he would have been eligible to play pro under the old CBA.

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