By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
Dan Vladar, drafted by the Boston Bruins with the 75th pick in the 2015 draft, has been impressive in net for Boston and looks like the #1 candidate for the starting goaltender position in the future. His most recent performance was against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 5th. In that game, he saved 29 shots out of 32 shots faced and only allowed three goals. Although Vladar stands at 6’5″, he provides quick movement in the net and makes some spectacular saves. With Tuukka Rask on the injured list and Jaroslav Halak on the covid list, we could be seeing Vladar getting more starts for the Bruins in net, and so far, it has been exhilarating to watch the young stud, and he looks like the future for the Bruins starting goaltender gig.
Vladar’s time before Boston
Before coming up to the Boston Bruins, Vladar spent some time with the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators and the AHL Providence Bruins. With Providence, he was able to rack up 35 wins out of 69 games played. He made his AHL debut October 26th, 2016, and two days later got his first AHL win against the Albany Devils when they won 4-2. Vladar posted a career save percentage of .922 while with the Providence Bruins. Vladar’s best year with Providence was arguably the 2019-2020 season, where he went 14-7-1 and had a .936 save percentage. In 2017-2018 Vladar spent most of his season in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators. In Atlanta, he went 16-18-1 and had a 2.96 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Besides playing for the ECHL and AHL, Vladar has also played in the Hockey World Junior Championships as the Czech Republic’s starting goaltender in 2016 and 2017.
First NHL Start
Vladar got his first NHL start on March 16th against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was granted the start since Tuukka Rask was out with an injury, and backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak needed some rest. So Vladar got the call up from Providence and hence made his debut on March 16th. That same night, he earned his first career win after dominating in the net. He saved 34 shots on 35 attempts and was named the night’s first star. After the game, Vladar was quoted saying:
“I’m just the happiest guy in the world right now. I mean, it was always my dream to play in the NHL, and I got the opportunity, and I won. So there hasn’t been a better day for me, hockey-wise. So I really appreciate the coaches gave me a chance”.
Confidence Growing with more Starts
After his first career start, Vladar has been the starting goaltender three more times this season. He added another win against Buffalo in those three games, a close loss to Pittsburgh and a no-decision to Philadelphia. He’s managed to post a 2.25 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Impressive numbers for a guy who got called up suddenly and has made a significant impact for the B’s.
So, what happens when Halak and Rask come back? Well, Vladar will most likely be sent back down to Providence until he is needed again in Boston. However, Boston might be seeing a lot of Dan Vladar next season. With Tuukka Rask’s eight-year contract expiring this offseason and Jaroslav Halak’s contract also expiring, it raises some questions for the Bruins management on what they’re going to do going into next season.
Do they want to re-sign two goaltenders that are reaching the end of their careers and have been on the injured list frequently this season? Or do you stick with promising young goaltender Dan Vladar who has shown he is capable of making the big-time stops in the NHL and helping a team get the win? It’ll be a tricky move for Don Sweeney and the rest of the Bruins front office this offseason, but let’s get one thing straight, Dan Vladar is the future for Bruins Goaltending.