By: Tim A. Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson
Next up on my prospect season review is netminder Dan Vladar. The young goaltender was drafted in the third round, 75th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. Coming into the season, some question marks surrounded Vladar. He had a less than stellar 2018-2019 season. He had gone 13-13-4, with a 2.73 GAA and a .898 save percentage in 31 games played (stats courtesy of EliteProspects). The Prague native was looking to bounce back and prove his worth as a prospect.
The start of the 2019-2020 season saw the young netminder splitting time with veteran Max Lagace. Vladar’s first appearance of the season was stellar, stopping 21 of 22 shots in a 2-1 overtime win against Hershey (stats courtesy of the AHL). His next appearance wasn’t as fruitful, turning away 23 of 28 shots in a 5-2 thumping against Springfield (stats courtesy of the AHL). His third appearance started off great, but after just one period, he would leave with an injury. That injury would sideline Vladar from October 16th to December 1st. In his first game back, the young netminder looked like a new goalie. He stopped all 36 shots he faced in a 4-0 shutout of Charlotte (stats courtesy of the AHL).
That game against Charlotte would launch Dan Vladar to an outstanding 2019-2020 campaign. In 25 games played, he would go 14-7-1, with an AHL leading 1.79 GAA and a .936 save percentage (stats courtesy of EliteProspects). The young goalie would also have three shutouts. Vladar elevated himself in a big way this season. He’s a big and tall netminder who moves well in the crease. He also proved to be very athletic. Vladar moves well, laterally, for his size. He also keeps rebounds to a minimum and shuts down loose pucks in the crease.
Something else that I believe helped Vladar this season was playing with veteran Max Lagace. Lagace helped the young goalies a lot in Providence, giving them advice on and off the ice. This mentorship and Vladar’s hard work contributed to his outstanding season. The potential with the young netminder is there. Vladar could potentially be a number one goalie in the NHL. With Tuukka Rask getting up there in age, we could be looking at the person who takes over the reins a few seasons from now. The one major question remaining is, where does Vladar end up next season?
I would expect Vladar to be the primary goaltender in Providence next season, while also serving as an injury or emergency back-up in Boston if needed. The Bruins re-signed Halak for another year, so Rask’s back-up spot is locked up. While Vladar will be the primary backstop in the AHL, I still expect him to split time. Former University of Maine Black Bear Jeremy Swayman signed his entry-level contract this off-season. The Bruins also have prospect Kyle Keyser still in the system. I would expect both Swayman and Keyser to rotate in Providence behind Vladar. When all is said and done, I think Vladar ends up being a solid professional goalie in Boston. I hope everyone is staying safe. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!