The 2021 NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and the Boston Bruins figure to be active ahead of it this year. The team has some cap space and will be looking to improve their secondary scoring and defensive depth as they look to make another playoff run.
One area that they won’t have to look at anymore is the goalie spot. In the wake of the solid performances of rookies Jeremy Swayman and Daniel Vladar in net, the team appears to be well-stocked with goalie depth.
This is a departure from the thought process of just a days ago, when the Bruins were rumored to have an interest in goalies on the trade market. It made sense that they would consider targeting some goalie depth with both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak sidelined, and Mike Felger had a theory about why they were doing that.
“I think they started to look at goalies earlier in the season with term — with contract left after this year — because they thought Rask was gone or they weren’t going to re-sign him,” Felger said on NBC Sports’ Boston’s Boston Sports Tonight.
“I’m not sure that they thought Swayman or Vladar were ready, or they didn’t want to turn the whole thing over to those guys. So they had to protect themselves with some sort of veteran [option].”
But now, both rookies have shown that they are capable starters, albeit in limited action. Either way, the B’s are looking much deeper at the goalie spot now.
Swayman’s save percentage
Vladar’s save percentage
In fact, they’re so deep at the position that they may want to consider trading Tuukka Rask. At least Felger thinks they should.
“Now that you’ve seen Vladar and Swayman play, I wonder if that’s changed their thinking. That they might have the guys for next year and they don’t have to go out on the trade market and give up anything,” Felger said.
Maybe they were looking at goalies because they were considering moving Rask, which I would absolutely 100 percent consider.
Mike Felger, Boston Sports Tonight
On the surface, that may seem like a strange assertion. After all, Rask has been strong in net this year, logging a 2.40 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. Why would the Bruins trade their most proven goaltender ahead of a playoff run?
It all goes back to whether or not they believe Rask will return next season. If the answer is no, the team may want to consider trading Rask, as Felger mentioned. That way they can at least get some assets for him.
Trading Rask would open up more opportunities for Swayman and Vladar to play. But still, the team would have Halak on the roster to serve as a veteran presence, so that would still have experience at the position.
Of course, as long as Rask (back) is out of action, it will be tough to trade him. Plus, the Bruins may not want to move him anyway, especially considering that Rask has played well while healthy. But as Felger said, it’s worth considering.
The NHL trade deadline will be here soon enough. It will pass at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, April 12. At that point, we’ll see what moves the Bruins make to bolster their roster ahead of another playoff run.