clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

SCOC Midseason Report Cards: The Backups need to be better.

An evaluation of a cavalcade of backups that can’t keep the puck out. The grade won’t surprise you.

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images


Boston has a Goaltending controversy, but it’s not the kind you think.

A regular goaltending controversy usually works as a starting goaltender has a few down games, the backup comes in and plays really well, and everyone has a big kerfuffle about whether or not the starter or the backup is truly better.

Boston, does not have one of these scenarios.

Starting goalie? Just fine! Rask has been one of the better goaltenders in the league! And his last couple of starts, while some of the goals that actually went in didn’t look all that impressive, has been phenominal to start the season and going into it! He’s making his money, and impressing the NHL.

The Backups on the other hand? Bad. All of ‘em bad.

Since the beginning of the season, Boston’s backup situation has been a brutal effort, even in times when it was called upon them to be at their best. The culprits are as follows:

Anton Khudobin:

I had high hopes for the pride of Kazahkstani goaltending. Khudobin had been a backup for Boston in the 2012-2013 abbreviated season, where he posted a .920 in SV%. In the middle of most plays Khudobin seems like a perfectly decent goaltender! But that was at this point four years ago. Khudobin is now 30. This is not a season where Khudobin can say he’s been the player he used to be.

Over the few games he’s completed, Anton has put up a paltry .885 in SV% and has been hovering in (while a stat I do not necessarily agree with using it gets the point across) 3.06 in goals against average, with his last two efforts being extremely brutal affairs, four goals against each time and under .900 in save percentage. This is not good. This has gotten him sent to Providence.

But he’s not the only one.

Malcolm Subban:

He is not his brother.

I am saying this because there seems to be this prevailing conspiracy theory that Malcolm Subban has some kind of weird link to the level of defenseman talent that Pernell Karl has that can influence Malcolm’s. Malcolm Subban is not his brother. He might look a little bit like him (They ARE brothers, after all), but he is not PK. They do not play the same position.

That said, he comes with his own set of issues.

Malcolm came in relief of Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin in the early part of the season where Rask was briefly injured. He played precisely one game, let three goals in, and was promptly yanked. He had a .813 when his night ended. He returned to Providence, where Malcolm has slowly been trying to get back into form, currently hovering around .905 in SV%, with a 2.96 GAA. It’s not great. Boston, which has been going through some scoring woes, can’t expect for him to play against an NHL level opponent at this point, not without going through the same old schpiel with him.

Zane McIntyre:

Zane is the most interesting prospect in this case. If nothing else, he’s been the most traveled. And this part was written at a time in which we knew very little about McIntyre to begin with and so it wouldn’t have hurt to see him.

Okay, so McIntyre plays three games for the Bruins in relief of both Rask/Khudobin. He plays ‘em, gets shelled all three nights, and leaves the NHL with a .859 SV%. Not good.

Then, he goes to Providence. He does pretty well in his six starts for the club, getting a .955 in SV%! That’s VERY good!

So one would assume he would be first in line for a callup, right?

Then he gets called up. And the results, unfortunately, are the same. Goofy Mistakes, simple errors, panic moves, and sub-900% levels of save percentages. His last game in relief of Rask had him below .800 in SV%. For reference, a performance in the .800’s in SV% would be an awful performance for a starter.

Not. Good.

Grade: F-.

Someone, anyone, has to step up before the season ends.

The Bruins have had a lot of concerns lately. Defense is shaky, Offense comes in bunches, but the one thing many could still point to and beat their chest proudly about is the goaltending, and even that isn’t working out the way it’s supposed to. Rask has shown up. He is playing like the player they pay millions of dollars for. But he can’t play every night. Boston has seen what that does to him.

It doesn’t look good. It looks like no playoffs.