By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12
A pair of Boston Bruins prospects will earn some firsts Tuesday night as the Boston squares off with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second-straight night. Goaltender Dan Vladar will earn his first career start, while forward Osskar Steen will make his NHL debut, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said to the media Tuesday morning.
Cassidy said Monday night that either Vladar or fellow rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman would start Tuesday. Vladar has been serving as Boston’s backup behind veteran Jaroslav Halak after Tuukka Rask went down with injury.
“There was some discussion, Vladar versus Swayman,” Cassidy said. “I think they both played really well in Providence. But [Vladar] is what the goalie department decided, so that’s what we’re gonna go with.”
Steen will slot into the lineup alongside Nick Ritchie and Charlie Coyle, in place of Anders Bjork.
“[Steen] has played a little more center this year, but he’s played right wing,” Cassidy said. “He’s got a good shot. We’re going to insert him in there for now. If it doesn’t look like wing is working out for him, we might slide him to the middle and move someone over to the right side.
“The [right wing] has been a challenge for us all year. The ask is to go in that spot, play well and do what you do best.”
Vladar made his NHL debut during Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the bubble. In 28:42 of action, the 23-year-old gave up three goals on 18 shots in relief of Halak, and Boston ended up losing 7-1.
This season with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate, Vladar posted a 2-2-1 record, a .923 save percentage, a 2.01 goals-against average and one shutout in five starts. In 25 AHL games last season, he posted a 1.79 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage, both of which were tops in the league. Vladar also recorded a 14-7-1 record with three shutouts.
During the 2020 offseason, Vladar and the Bruins agreed to a three-year extension with an annual cap hit of $750,000. Boston selected the Prague native 75th overall in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Steen has three goals and five assists for eight points in 12 games with Providence. He also boasts a shooting percentage of 15 percent.
Last season in his first professional action in North America, the 23-year-old posted 7-16-23 totals in 60 games with the P-Bruins in addition to a plus-six rating. Boston originally drafted Steen 165th overall in the sixth round of the 2016 draft.