Boston Bruins backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg is departing Boston and is moving onto the KHL. Svedberg signed a one year deal with Salavat Yulaev. Svedberg played an intricate role for the Bruins who was able to provide some relief to Bruins work horse Tukka Rask. Svedberg spent four years in the Boston Bruins organization between Providence and Boston. In the two years Svedberg played in Boston he boasted a record of 8-5-1 in the fifteen games he started. He finished with a .920 save percentage, and a 2.31 GAA. He spent most of his time starting for AHL Providence. This now leaves the Bruins in a bit of a bind as they now have no NHL backup. Malcolm Subban and Jeremy Smith are in the system, but aren't quite ready to emerge as NHL back-ups. North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre was drafted by the Boston Bruins, but is entering his senior year for the Fighting Sioux. However he could forego his senior year for the opportunity too contend for the backup spot.
It will be a focus for the Bruins now to find a backup goalie who is willing to sit behind Tukka Rask, but also provide reliable backup for Boston. Tukka Rask is clearly the front runner to play most nights for Boston, however it was clear that by the end of the season Rask was psychically exhausted carrying the load. Rask played in 70 games this season for Boston. Now the question will be if Boston decides to sign a veteran backup with experience in the league or take one of their young minor league starters and give them experience to develop as an NHL backup. Svedberg noted in an interview in his departure that it was "frustrating" to sit for long periods of time, and was expecting to play more.
The departure of Svedberg stings a bit more now as the Bruins let Anton Khudobin go last season to Carolina, and played significant minutes in Carolina. He played in 36 games in Carolina, and posted a record of 19-14-1 with a 2.30 GAA and a .926 save percentage when filling in for injured ridden Cam Ward. The list is long with goalies who will become unrestricted free agents this summer. In that list are goalies such as Viktor Fasth of Edmonton, Andrew Hammond of Ottawa, and Dan Ellis of Florida. It is also worth noting that Bruins backup Jeremy Smith is a UFA this offseason, as Svedberg was also expected to be a UFA this summer. Only time will tell on what Boston decides to with their backup goaltending situation, but there are a lot of viable options out there for the Bruins to choose from.