With injuries affecting both Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin of the Boston Bruins at various times this season, Providence’s No. 1 netminder Zane McIntyre has gotten used to the trip up Interstate 95.
McIntyre, who is in his third year as a professional, became the full-time starting goaltender in Providence after Malcolm Subban was lost on waivers prior to the start of the season.
For two seasons, Providence enjoyed the “1A and 1B” goaltending duo of McIntyre and Subban. Although neither was able to record a win in their respective appearances in the NHL with Boston, both McIntyre and Subban (whether you like him or not) were key players for the P-Bruins for several years.
It may not be sustainable to carry two starting goaltenders on an NHL roster, but it’s perfectly fine to do so in the AHL. It worked out for Providence from 2015 to 2017. When one of McIntyre or Subban got called up to Boston, Providence’s management never had to worry about losing their starting goaltender because they always had the other one on the roster.
When the Bruins lost Subban on waivers, most fans were ecstatic. However, for the P-Bruins, they were losing one half of a goaltending duo that enjoyed success in the AHL for two seasons.
To help fill the void, the P-Bruins received veteran goaltender Jordan Binnington on a loan from the St. Louis Blues in early October. Binnington had been with the Blues since 2011 and put up a couple solid seasons during his five seasons with the Chicago Wolves (the Blues’ affiliate was still the Peoria Rivermen when he played his first game, however).
A lot of people were surprised by this move because Dan Vladar, who bounced between Providence and the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators last season, put up solid numbers in his eight games with Providence last year (2.62 GAA, .921 SV%).
With that said, Vladar is still very young (20 years old) and needs as much playing time as possible. It makes more sense to have him start almost every game in the ECHL instead of only playing every couple nights in the AHL.
Despite starting in the East Coast league, Vladar has appeared in a few games for Providence this season while McIntyre was on recall. He has a 1-1-0 record so far with a 1.46 goals against average and a .949 save percentage.
It might not be as strong as it was with Subban on the roster, but when (or if) McIntyre gets recalled again, Providence’s goaltending situation will be fluid.
His AHL numbers don’t exactly stand out, but Binnington is a serviceable starter. He has a respectable 3-1-1 record since debuting with the P-Bruins and has posted a 1.99 GAA and a .929 SV%. Vladar has performed very well when called upon, too.
McIntyre is the clear No. 1 goaltender in Providence, but the play of the goaltenders behind him should not be ignored. The P-Bruins are hoping to get back to the Eastern Conference Final this season and it is going to be a grind.
With that said, whoever is in goal will give Providence every opportunity to get a win each and every game. Things might get tough if McIntyre stays in Boston for an extended period of time, but on the whole, the organizational depth between the pipes ensures the P-Bruins’ will remain in a good place.