Time For Niklas Svedberg To Find A New Home?

Chad Johnson spoiled the Bruins by posting otherworldly numbers when relieving Tuukka Rask of his duties between the pipes. After cashing in on a nice payday with the New York Islanders, the Bruins turned to Niklas Svedberg to attempt to replicate those numbers. While Svedberg has played rather decently this season, he will need to raise his game in order to fend off Malcolm Subban.

With a 3-4-0 record to go along with a .922 save percentage and 2.28 goals against average, Svedberg has played well. Granted, he isn’t turning heads around the league, but he has done enough to give Rask a night off every once and awhile. However, he won’t have an extended stay in Boston.

Malcolm Subban Is Knocking On The Door

It’s nearly impossible to compete with an organization’s top prospect. It really is. Nine out of ten times, you’ll lose the battle because the organization values that particular player more than you. Although Svedberg and Subban have posted relatively similar numbers while in Providence, Svedberg will get the boot in the future.

Touted as Tuukka Rask’s eventual replacement, Subban flashes potential that gives Bruins’ fan hope for life after the Finnish goaltender. The brother of P.K. of the hated Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks prospect Jordan, Malcolm Subban was Boston’s first round pick in 2013. Last season, when both played for the Providence Bruins (AHL), Subban actually outplayed Svedberg. Below are the respective stats from both goaltenders.

Svedberg: 25-15-4, .910 SV %, 2.63 GAA

Subban: 15-10-5, .920 SV %, 2.31 GAA

While Subban’s goals against average has jumped this season due to more shots on net, he is still on track to be in Boston next season. If he keeps his current production on par or improves upon his numbers from last season, he’s a lock to be backing up Tuukka Rask.

His Play Doesn’t Warrant a New Contract

According to CapGeek, the 25 year old’s contract expires after the season. With Subban knocking on the door, Svedberg will need to elevate his level of play to indicate to Peter Chiarelli that he deserves to be awarded an extension. In the graph below, created on War-on-ice.com, we compare Svedberg, Rask, and Johnson the past two years.

png-1The X-axis variable is the unadjusted save percentage, and the variable on the Y-axis is shots faced per 60 minutes. The size is based on time on ice, and the color variable is total games.

While Rask has clearly outplayed his counterparts, Johnson’s numbers, with an admittedly small sample size, are quite solid. While facing the least average amount of shots of the three, Johnson stands out because of his surprisingly strong save percentage. Svedberg is clearly not comparable to Johnson, and his stats don’t compete with Rask either. In order for a 25 year old with no experience as a number one goaltender to get rewarded with a new deal, Svedberg would have to be playing out of his mind. At this rate, Svedberg is not.

And that’s why he won’t be playing in Boston next season.


Don’t agree? Think he deserves an extension? Comment your opinion below!


11 thoughts on “Time For Niklas Svedberg To Find A New Home?”

  1. Even if you are convinced Subban is better right now than Svedberg (he’s not), are you really going to stifle any further development by calling him up to the Bruins to sit and watch 65 games/year instead of playing 65 games/year? Chiarelli’s not that dumb.

  2. That’s a pretty fancy chart, but it does nothing but compare save %’s (which we can see without a chart) and let’s us know that it’s a really small sample size with Svedburg (which we already know because the evaluation is based on 9 games played for him), and that they all face a similar number of shots per game. IMO – the “fancy chart” is supposed to support the article, but it doesn’t provide any insight beyond the base stats.

    The scaling of the “fancy chart” makes it looks like Svedburg is no where close to being in the same league as Rask/Johnson, which is a total fallacy IMO because it completely fails to take into account very significant factors such as the significant differences in the Bruins team this year (when Svedburg play the vast majority of his games) and last. How significant is it losing Chara to injury this year compared to last? How significant is the Bruins trading away their #2-3 d-man in Boychuk for a couple of draft picks while replacing him with a much lesser player? Those factors are vital in any objective analysis of the Bruins back-up goalies over the last couple of years, and are completely ignored.

    If Svedburg performed as well this year as Johnson did last year (based on save percentage), he would have allowed .7 fewer goals this year, which isn’t likely significant over his 9 GP’ed. I 100% agree that the Subban will get the benefit of the doubt as a future back-up to Rask, but from my perspective that is based on Chiarelli wanting his drafted prospects on the roster, which makes him look good, rather than any difference in performance.

  3. Rask is a very good regular season goalie but not a Stanley Cup playoff goalie. I hope the Bruins move beyond him sooner than later.

  4. ever child in the Subban family is an athletic phenomenon…I can’t wait to see this kid and what he will bring to Boston. Subban/Montreal vs Subban/Boston……what true hockey fan wouldn’t want to watch that?!

  5. Subban has always been trade bait. The Boston faithful would have to swallow hard to accept PK’s brother, even though his personna is much different. Every game between the Habs and Montreal the media would hype the Subban family. It would get old fast.

  6. Cam, do you write with stream of consciousness or do you think about what you’re going to write? There is not a chance in hell that Bruins management expected or even hoped for Svedberg could or would try to replicate Johnson’s numbers from last year. One incorrect assumption. Secondly you compare Svedberg’s stats to those of Subban. You say very similar. Wrong. Svedberg’s are against NHL players. Subban’s numbers are against AHL players. Believe it or not, there is a BIG difference. Second issue in your article. The third is Svedberg might not be playing in Boston next year because of his style and technique. It is not one that usually succeeds in the NHL.
    He is serviceable as a back up goalie. He or someone else will be the back up next year. If The Bruins think Subban could be a number one in the future, he needs to play 60 or so games a year in Providence to develop. Sitting on the bench and playing 20 games for Boston would be as bad for him and the Bruins as this article.

    • You bring up some good points. I agree that playing in more games is helpful, but playing against the “big boys” will also help Subban improve to the number one goalie that the Bruins envision him being in the future. A little bit of both might be the right answer.
      Thanks for reading

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