It’s been said that the Boston Bruins have the best goaltending tandem in the National Hockey League. You will not get much of an argument from me there. It’s also been said that the Bruins prospect pool is one of the most lacking in high end talent. Again, you won’t get much of an argument from me there.
Here’s the challenge for you today:
Find me a deeper or better goaltending prospect pool among the other 31 NHL teams. I’m not talking about Jesper Wallstedt or Dustin Wolf or Yaroslav Askarov. No, this isn’t about the best prospect, but the team’s entire goaltending prospect pool.
If you believe that the best way to build an NHL roster is from the net out, then the Bruins are in a solid position.
Linus Ullmark is locked up for two more seasons after this one and the Vezina Trophy leading candidate. Jeremy Swayman is developing perfectly under his tutelage and that of goaltending coach Bob Essensa and is a future number one or 1A netminder. And that buys the prospects the all-important time to develop.
Philip Svedeback was drafted in the 4th round – 117th overall in 2021 and is coming along just fine in his first year at Providence College. Brandon Bussi was signed as a free agent out of Western Michigan University and is setting the AHL on fire as a first-year pro. Kyle Keyser was signed as a free agent from the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League but injuries have slowed his development. He too was setting the AHL on fire this year until the inevitable injury hit.
Reid Dyck was drafted in the 6th round – 183rd overall in 2022 and while his numbers aren’t Earth shattering, he is developing very well with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. He however, is several years away. He has shown to possess the tools at times and now it’s about developing them.
Finally, there is Michael DiPietro who was developed so poorly by the Vancouver Canucks that he became an after thought. Now, it’s up to Goaltender Development Coach Mike Dunham to try and get him back on track.
Place the five prospects in whatever order you wish and I’ll ask again: Have you found a better one-through-five among the other 31 franchises?
The blue paint is going to get crowded eventually and realistically, all of them will not pan out. And the Bruins were so confident in Svedeback that after they signed Ullmark they were willing to part with Dan Vladar in a trade to the Calgary Flames. They just have to “hit” on one of these prospects and the net will be covered for 10-plus years along with Swayman.
Is Svedeback that guy? I’m not taking anything away from Bussi and I still believe Keyser can be that guy if he can remain healthy but yes, if you’re asking me today, Svedeback will be that guy.
Svedeback’s numbers with Dubuque of the USHL rivals those of Swayman’s with Sioux Falls if the USHL. And Svedeback is allowing over half a goal per game less with Providence College than Swayman did with the University of Maine in the NCAA. Swayman does have a better save-percentage but let’s revisit that at the end of the season.
At 6’3 and 205 pounds, Svedeback has some good size and some surprising athleticism. His technique is that of a modern-day goaltender. He has the technical foundation and it will be just a matter of further development and coaching. He fights through traffic to follow the play and the puck very well. Positionally, he is very sound and can be aggressive, sometimes overly aggressive. In close, he tracks the puck well and takes away the bottom of the net while also remaining big in his crease to take away as much of the upper portion of the net as he can.
To put it another way, Svedeback stops the pucks he is supposed to stop and then some. He gives Providence a chance to win every night and while his numbers don’t jump out at you like some other goaltenders in the NCAA, he does his job for the 14th ranked school in the country (as of last week).
The Bruins have the luxury of taking their time with Svedeback, even allowing him to spend the entire 4 years at Providence college before a year with the Providence Bruins in the AHL.
On the flip side, Bussi spent three seasons at Western Michigan before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Bruins. He got a cup of coffee with the Providence Bruins after his season was completed last year. Bussi was pegged to be the starter for the Maine Mariners of the ECHL this season but the injury to Keyser just 6 games into his season forced the Bruins to bring Bussi up.
In an ideal world, Bussi and Keyser would be manning the crease for Providence this season but Boston needed a number 3 goaltender in case of injury to Ullmark or Swayman and they brought in Keith Kinkaid to fill that role. However, Bussi has made it near impossible for the Bruins to send him back to Maine and he is tearing apart the AHL.
As for Keyser, he was making a strong case himself that he should be getting more starts and the crease should be his. You wouldn’t have gotten much of an argument from me, but once again, the injury bug hit.
Svedeback, Bussi, Keyser, Dyck, DiPietro – how do they stack up against the other 31 prospect pools in your opinion?
Here’s a look at the non-professional Bruins prospects around the world:
Here’s a look at the Providence Bruins leaders:
Coming up this week:
|PLAYER||MON 16||TUE 17||WED 18||THU 19||FRI 20||SAT 21||SUN 22|
|MANTYKIVI||At TPS||At K P||Vs K K|
|LOCMELIS||At OHK||At DIF|
|MYRENBERG||Vs AIM||Vs IF B|
|JELLVIK/GASSEAU/KUNTAR||Vs VER||Vs VER|
|LOHREI||At WIS||At WIS|
|LANGENBRUNNER||At YAL||At BRN|
|SPICER/OLSON||At N D||At N D|
|SCHMALTZ||Vs M D||Vs M N|
|GALLAGHER||Vs MNE||Vs MNE|
|MCFAUL||At REN||At UN|
|POITRAS||Vs PBO||Vs KGN|
|HARRISON||Vs ER||At BAR||At OSH|
|MAST||Vs ER||Vs KIT|
|EDWARD||At KIT||Vs O S||Vs KIT|
|BRUNET||Vs GAT||At SHE||Vs SHE|
|DYCK||Vs M H||Vs REG||At REG||At M H|
AROUND THE GLOBE
Dans Locmelis has returned from the WJC to join his Lulea HF teammates in the J20 Nationell Top-10 league play. He missed the first game but has 2 goals and 3 assists in the two games he has appeared in. His overall streak in J20 Nationell play has reached 5 games with 3 goals and 6 assists.
Mason Lohrei scored his first goal of the season Saturday and now has points in 6 of his last 7 games with 1 goal and 7 assists. He may not surpass last season’s totals but considering he had major surgery that doesn’t concern me.
Brett Harrison is on a 3-game point streak with 4 goals and 3 assists and points in 16 of his last 17 games with 11 goals and 15 helpers.
Matthew Poitras has a 5-game point streak going with 10 points – all assists. Since December 1st, he’s been held off the score sheet just 4 times in 17 games and has 3 goals and 17 assists in that time.
Andre Gasseau is on a 2-game point streak with 1 goal and 3 helpers and has points in 4 of his last 5 games with 2 goals and 4 assists. The Freshman plays in all situations and even has 2 shorties on the year.
Trevor Kuntar is going quietly about his business with Boston College. The Junior is averaging nearly a point-per-game and is on the verge of surpassing last years totals. I would not be surprised to see him turn pro at the end of his current season.
Reid Dyck has won 6 of his last 7 starts. He’s taken over the number one role and Swift Current’s chances of making the playoffs rest on his shoulders.
Roman Bychkov has been loaned to Molot Perm of the VHL (Russia’s equivalent to the AHL) by his KHL squad Locomotiv Yaroslav. If nothing else, he’ll get a lot of ice time with Molot. Unfortunately, I have no way of watching VHL games.
Jake Schmaltz is on a 6-game pointless streak. After an excellent season as a freshman with 6 goals and 16 assists in 39 games, he is well below that pace this season. What looked like a promising season coming into this year, it has gone south.
Matias Mantykivi is now up to a 7-game pointless streak.