Some people think being the backup goalie on a hockey team is easy. Your dead wrong if you honestly think that.
The backup goaltending position is one of the hardest jobs on the team. You have to consistently prepare yourself on a nightly basis not knowing when your opportunity will come. Could be when the starter has a bad night or goes out with an injury or an illness. Having to come off the bench during the middle of the game is not easy especially at the NHL level. Hell, even when the starter starts 5, 6 or even 7 straight games, the backup netminder doesn’t see any game action for 2 -3 weeks and it’s natural to think that he isn’t going to look sharp.
The Boston Bruins have had a good run of backup goaltenders over the years such as Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin and Chad Johnson. When Tim Thomas left town; Tuukka Rask took over the reigns and has had success as a full time starter. After Johnson signed with the New York Islanders, the backup spot hasn’t been the same since. The porous play from goaltenders Niklas Svedberg in 2014-2015 and Jonas Gustavsson in last season’s campaign were atrocious to watch. In hopes of bringing stability back to Boston’s backup goaltending position, the Bruins brought back Khudobin on a 2-year contract.
In Anton’s first run with the team in the lockout shortened season in 2013, Khudobin went 9-4-1 in 14 games played with a Goals Against Average of 2.32 and a save percentage of .920. He then had another decent campaign the following year with his new team, the Carolina Hurricanes. In 2013-2014 he went 19-14-1 with a GAA of 2.30 and a save percentage of .926. Since that season Khudobin has fallen on tough times winning just 11 games and losing 26 in 2 seasons combined with Carolina and the Anaheim Ducks.
This year, Tuukka Rask has been in the Vezina trophy conversation all year long and deservedly so. His counterparts however haven’t had much luck this season. Khudobin and rookie goaltenders Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban won just 1 game in 10 attempts. You can call that not good.
General Manager Don Sweeney knew something had to be done.
Today the Bruins waived Anton Khudobin thus setting the stage for Zane McIntyre to get called up to the big club.
Throw Malcolm Subban out the window as he’s having a terrible year with the Providence Bruins. Subban has a record of 4-7-1, a GAA of 3.01 and .902 save percentage. Although he is raw, Zane McIntyre might be the best option at this point. McIntyre is undefeated collecting 10 wins and an impressive 1.41 GAA and .951 save percentage at the AHL level. In 3 games with Boston, Zane went 0-2 with a .859 save percentage and GAA of 4.04. Not the best numbers by any stretch, but did play reasonably well in his NHL debut at he Bell Centre in Montreal in a 3-2 loss.
Outside options look very slim, as only a few teams seem to be shopping backup goalies. The Bruins should not trade for NHL veterans Jaroslav Halak and Ondrej Pavelec as they come with a heavy contracts and this team can’t afford that on their cap.
Lets give Zane a chance. He definitely deserves it with the way he’s played for the P-Bruins. It can’t be any worse than what Khudobin brought to the table in goal.
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