The Boston Bruins have traded goaltender Dan Vladar to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third-round pick in 2022. The Flames were set to enter the 2021-22 season with Jacob Markstrom as their only goalie on the roster prior to this transaction.
The 23-year-old Vladar was taken with the 75th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Don Sweeney’s first Draft as the general manager of the Bruins. Since then, the Prague-native would spend the majority of his time split between the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL and the Providence Bruins of the AHL, showing flashes of a future NHL goaltender every season.
It wasn’t until the 2020-21 season, however, that Vladar would get a chance to play at the NHL level. He’d go 2-2-1 in five starts with the Boston Bruins, allowing 17 goals, good for a 3.40 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage. The one game that really tanked those numbers, however, came in his final start of the season for Boston. He’d surrender eight goals on 33 shots to the Washington Capitals in one of the team’s worst losses of the season.
If you take that one start away, however, Vladar would have finished the year with a 2.25 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in four games. While it’s disingenuous to pick-and-choose which stats are counted and which stats aren’t, it also wouldn’t do Vladar justice to say he had a bad season due to one atrocious game.
For the Flames, this deal gives them a very young goalie who has the potential to be an NHL starter one day. At the very least, it would be surprising if he didn’t at least have a long career as a backup goalie at the NHL level. With the cost only being a third-round pick, this seems like a pretty good gamble for a Flames team looking to compete in a wide-open Pacific Division next season.
If that’s the cost of trading for a potential future starting goalie who’s about to enter his age-24 season and also happens to be 6 foot 5, that’s a move that most teams would make every single time it’s offered.
Bruins Going in a Different Goaltending Direction
On a day that saw the Bruins sign Linus Ullmark to seemingly be their new starting goaltender, many in Boston were left confused as to what this signing meant for the team’s goalie tandem moving forward. On the one hand, the Bruins had to make a move to address their starting goaltender position given Tuukka Rask just underwent surgery that will keep him out until early 2022. On the other hand, the Bruins probably couldn’t just deploy a tandem of Vladar and Jeremy Swayman and hope that they could get the job done until Rask was ready to return and hopefully sign a new contract.
Signing a veteran to bridge the gap until Rask came back, keeping Vladar as the backup goalie and giving Swayman a full season as the starter in Providence seemed to be the plan in place. Instead, the Bruins would bring in Ullmark on a four-year deal worth $20 million, leaving Rask’s future in question. Rather than giving Swayman the keys to the Providence Bruins, they also appear ready to have him play with the NHL club until Rask’s future is known. With Vladar requiring waivers to return to Providence, the trade route was the way the Bruins opted to go instead.
To start the season, at least, the Bruins will be deploying a tandem of Ullmark and Swayman. This is much different from the Rask and Jaroslav Halak tandem the Bruins have run over the past few seasons
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.