“Hey, remember...?” is a lighthearted look back at some of the lesser-known former Bruins we’ve seen pass through these parts in recent years. They might not have been stars and might not be the first guys you’d think of as “former Bruins,” but they’ve all got unique stories.
Who? Manny Fernandez
When did he play here? 2007-2009
What were his stats? 32 GP, 18-10-3, .902 save percentage, 2.76 GAA
What happened after the Bruins? He sailed off into the sunset, unofficially retiring from professional hockey.
After a brutal 2006-2007 season, the Bruins were looking to improve in all aspects as the 2007-2008 league year began.
One of the areas of concern was between the pipes, as the Bruins entered the summer of 2007 without a true number-one goalie.
Peter Chiarelli tried to address that need right before free agency began, trading Petr Kalus (remember him?!?!) and a fourth-round pick in the 2009 Draft to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Manny Fernandez.
Fernandez, 32 years old at the time of the trade, was coming off of a solid season with the Wild. He and Niklas Backstrom combined to win the Jennings Trophy, as Fernandez went 22-16-1 with a .911 save percentage and a GAA of 2.55.
After that season, the Wild committed to the younger Backstrom, signing him to a two-year deal. This made Fernandez and his $4+ million contract expendable.
The Bruins were looking for a guy to challenge Tim Thomas for the top spot between the pipes, and there weren’t many other options in the system. Goalies to play for the Bruins in the 2006-2007 season included Brian Finley, Phillippe Sauve, Hannu Toivonen and Joey MacDonald.
Fernandez came to Boston with promise and potential, and...promptly got injured. He had a lingering MCL issue that was never really resolved, and it showed. In his four games in October of 2007, he posted a GAA of 3.93 and a save percentage of .832. NOT IDEAL.
The Bruins decided to shut him down, and he had surgery in December. Thus ended his first season in Boston.
So, was he a lost cause?
Actually, no. Fernandez bounced back and had a solid season in 2008-2009, that magical year where everything seemed to go right for a Bruins team that played a lot better than it should have.
Fernandez split the goaltending duties with Tim Thomas at a ratio of about 30/70, with Fernandez starting 28 regular season games. In those games, he went 16-8-3 with a GAA of 2.59 and a save percentage of .910.
In fact, Thomas and Fernandez combined to win the Jennings Trophy, making Fernandez a 2-out-of-3 winner. NOT BAD.
Unfortunately, things didn’t end well for Fernandez. His last NHL start came on April 11, 2009, where he got shelled in a 6-1 loss to Buffalo.
Tim Thomas got the playing time in the Bruins’ playoff run, and when the season ended, so did ManFern’s contract. The Bruins, seeing that some Finnish kid named Tuukka Rask was ready to give the NHL a shot, decided to let Fernandez walk.
He didn’t sign anywhere else and chose not to go overseas, ending his NHL career at the age of 35.
He finished with some decent career numbers: a GAA of 2.50 and a save percentage of .912.
My most vivid ManFern memory was when I went to a Bruins-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden, and ManFern got turned around by a dump in off the boards. It carromed back out front and the Rangers tucked it in an open net.
The Bruins had come back from down 3-0 to tie it 3-3 in the third, but that goal ended up being the game-winner for the Rangers. Good times.
Petr Kalus ended up playing just 2 NHL games for the Wild. Minnesota used the fourth-round pick to select Alexander Fallstrom, he of Harvard University fame. Oddly enough, the Bruins ended up getting Fallstrom back when they traded Chuck Kobasew to Minnesota in 2009.
Thus ends the ManFern saga.