NHL Statline: 24 Games played, 11 wins, 9 losses, 2.72 GAA, .908 SV%
Aggregate Grade: C-
Jonas Gustavsson. Swede, former Red Wing and Maple Leaf.
In his campaign with the Bruins, he played 24 games, he won more than he lost, coming to a final win-loss record of 11-9. And he sometimes came in relief of Tuukka Rask when the team, or even Tuukka himself, was not playing up to snuff.
But Jonas Gustavsson was the backup. And he was not playing out of his mind when he did. Nor was he playing world beaters.
Throughout his 24 games, he usually ended up playing the following, some of whom multiple times:
Buffalo, Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton, New Jersey, Ottawa...
Very few playoff teams saw Gustavsson start against them. But he did beat a considerable portion of the teams he did start against.
The truth about Jonas Gustavsson is that he just isn't that great of a goaltender. And this is not a recent development, he is not just recently bad or has recently had issues with his game. History has never been on Jonas Gustavsson's side. He has always been on the wrong side of the average SV%, the wrong side of the average GAA. and in general, the wrong side of the puck. And this is fine! Being the backup in a transitional year with tons of bad luck for the organization, you're expected to play your best and be up to snuff when they asked you.
Unfortunately, Gustavsson didn't always deliver.
From the optics side, Gustavsson had a similar issue with his game that the last two backups had individually: Svedberg's aggressiveness without caution, and Chad Johnson's mobility. Sure, he'd get a few easy saves early on, but then he'd start going on adventures outside his crease, or he'd have to make a quick motion laterally when he wasn't tracking the puck all the way. It was here where you saw Gustavsson's play devolve from relative poise to barely hidden desperation. Jonas had to fight his own body and mental preparedness to make saves in some extreme cases. That's not a good goaltender. That's a lucky one. And in many cases, Jonas Gustavsson got VEEERY lucky.
These two things made watching Jonas Gustavsson an absolute nightmare to those who wanted to watch. Combine that with a defense that was not playing to it's best potential, and some of the monster's play could be truly abominable to watch.
The worst thing is that sometimes? He really would look like a lights out goaltender that could save the whole game himself! He really could make you think he could do it! He managed to take on a team that's currently playing in the ECF right now and bring the bruins to a 1-0 win after stopping almost 45 shots!
...But then it'd come crashing down. Especially in relief of Rask. Normally, when you throw your backup in relief of your starter, your starter's mojo is off, they're just not playing right, or maybe they're playing hurt and it's costing them dearly. Your backup is expected to be a moderately safe option whenever he's called to play in this capacity. He is expected to stop the bleeding; whether by waking the team up or by putting the team on his back. Jonas Gustavsson did neither of these things.
And in the single biggest push of the year, where the Bruins absolutely had to win most if not all of their games, where the season depended now solely on the Bruins playing to their caliber and Gustavsson playing his best, he played like, and I cannot think of a more tasteful analogy than this, rancid ass. He lost his last four starts. Including of course, the game against Ottawa.
Gustavsson was expected to be a backup on a team that was underserviced on defense and he played his game to the letter. Unfortunately, that means Jonas Gustavsson may not always play at 100% of what he might be capable of. At a mere 600k, and a few years older than Jeremy Smith, and with Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre chomping at the bit to avenge a lackluster season in Providence (to start out, anyway), Gus' time in Boston might be coming to a swift end.
But hey, such is the nature of the NHL Backup. I'm sure he'll be able to find a job real soon if this is the case.