Are the Boston Bruins still looking for goaltending help before the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline next Monday or will they take their chances with two rookies if Tuukka Rask and Jaro Halak can’t stay healthy?
Will Rask retire this offseason as David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported some within the Bruins organization believe he will?
A text to a team source from Boston Hockey Now and an email to Rask’s agent Markus Lehto regarding this report were not returned but with five days to go until the NHL Trade Deadline, there are suddenly plenty of questions surrounding the Bruins’ goaltending situation and some are being answered maybe earlier than expected.
This past Sunday, it was reported here that the Bruins were poking around for some goaltending depth before the NHL Trade Deadline, and well, let’s just say a lot has happened since then when it comes to the present and future of the Bruins goaltending situation.
Plenty of Bruins fans scoffed or laughed at the idea, citing the Bruins already have the reigning William Jennings Trophy Award winners in Rask, the 34-year-old 2020 Vezina Trophy Finalist and soon-to-be 36-year-old Jaro Halak. However, with the health of Rask (lower-back), who has played just one period of hockey since March 4, up in the air, and Jaro Halak struggling at times, Bruins GM Don Sweeney wouldn’t mind securing some experienced depth between the pipes.
“From what I’m told, there is considerable concern with Rask in Boston,” an NHL source told BHN Saturday. “They have Halak just for this situation and like what they’ve seen from [Dan] Vladar but what if [Jaro] Halak goes down or isn’t doing what they expect from him. He’s had some issues and it can’t hurt to add more experience to that position for the playoffs.”
On Monday another wrinkle was thrown into the team’s current goaltending situation when Halak tested positive for COVID and was put on the NHL COVID Protocol List and has missed the Bruins’ last two games. Enter Vladar, who made 29 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, and then fellow rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman got the starting nod Tuesday night in Philadelphia and made 40 saves to help the Bruins take the rematch 4-2.
So did the back-to-back brilliant starts from Vladar and Swayman ease the fears about goaltending depth before the NHL Trade Deadline, should Rask and/or Halak not be able to go in the playoffs as they haven’t been this week?
Ironically, prior to the game and on Tuesday morning, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period had reported that the Bruins and other teams were poking around on the availability of Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins and potentially Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper.
So there ya go doubters, stuff isn’t reported here by throwing darts, and clearly that NHL source was correct. However, as my partner-in-crime Joe Haggerty opined Wednesday, the poise and skill showed by Vladar and Swayman when thrown into the fire of a late-season NHL playoff race in the East Division, not only showed the Bruins that there’s a bright future between the pipes after Rask is no longer with the team but that bright future may be arriving as I write this.
Needless to say, whether it’s before the NHL Trade Deadline next Monday or in the offseason, it suddenly appears that after TSN Insider Bob McKenzie reported in early March that the Bruins were willing to re-sign Rask and Halak to extensions, either the goalies balked at talks or the team is suddenly considering major change between the pipes now and in the future.
Now onto the rest of your BHN Puck Links:
Are the Bruins and Anaheim Ducks looking to pull off another trade with each other before the NHL Trade Deadline? (Boston Hockey Now)
Minnesota Wild GM Billy Guerin says his team ‘is in it to win it’ but he won’t mortgage the future to do so. (NHL)
The Montreal Canadiens were already missing goalie Carey Price and now they will be without their heart and soul Brendan Gallagher for a while. As FOBHN (Friend of Boston Hockey Now) wrote though, that may not be such a bad thing before the NHL Trade Deadline. (Sportsnet)
The TSN Insiders speculated on plenty of moves that could take place before the NHL Trade Deadline next Monday on ‘Insider Trading’ (TSN)
National Hockey Now
Pittsburgh: For those who like a good scrap, Sam Lafferty and Brendan Smith had a go.
Philly: With the trade deadline three days away, the Philadelphia Flyers need a top-four defenseman now and in the future.
NYI: Ilya Sorokin is on top of his crease this season. His mental game is rock solid.
Colorado: Sources told Adrian Dater that Sampo Ranta and Alex Newhook could make their debuts this weekend.
San Jose: More trade deadline chatter–For the right price, Kevin Lebanc is available.
Vegas: Three players Vegas should NOT acquire at the NHL tradedeadline.