By: Cody Stelluto | Follow me on Twitter @TownieTalkCody
With much of the fanbase’s focus being on the Boston Bruins’ dominant NHL season this year, it might have slipped your attention that the Providence Bruins are also having a great season so far, sitting first in the Eastern Conference with a record of 28-9-7-2. They are only one point out of first place overall in the AHL. Part of that is due to Bruins prospect goaltender Brandon Bussi playing at a high level. You might think, “We have two good goalies already; who cares?”
A Little Intro to Bussi
Anyone who has watched this kid should care and be excited about what they have seen from the 24-year-old prospect out of Western Michigan University. Bussi led the Broncos to their first-ever NCAA tournament victory while setting a program record of 26 wins in 2021-22. He’s 6-foot-5 and about 210 pounds, the perfect body for an NHL goaltender. He plays a calm but aggressive game with the ability to make some acrobatic and unorthodox saves. His game reminds me of our beloved Tuukka Rask, but with a bigger body.
Being a full-right goalie in the league is a little different, and Bussi is one of the few you see these days at the professional level. However, that doesn’t stop him from posting a 2.19 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage on his road to a 14-2-4 record with the Providence Bruins this season. He also punched a ticket to this year’s AHL All-Star weekend, where he had a solid showing. He led the eastern conference team to a win in a lengthy 11-round shootout.
How The Bruins Should Handle Bussi
It’s obvious we have the top goaltending tandem in the NHL right now, and much of the fanbase would despise the idea of trading Jeremy Swayman. As my Black N’ Gold Founder and colleague Mark Allred would say, “This is a business.” Look, I don’t want to jump the gun here and be a victim of recency bias by getting caught up in the moment. It is a small sample size, and goaltenders have proven to be streaky sometimes. However, the way Bussi is developing at a rapid pace and with the Bruins only having signed him to a one-year entry-level deal, it might make sense to take a serious look at keeping this kid long-term. At the end of the day, Swayman will need a 3 to 4-million-dollar upgrade, and I don’t think the Bruins can do that right now. They need cap space, and trading off of a strength like Swayman might have to be one of those tough business decisions.
No one is saying we should break up our goalie-hug tandem this year, but as mentioned before, there will be a need for salary cap down the road, and Swayman will have some solid trade value. Bussi put on a show in college, and he’s developing into a solid goaltender. Whether with the Boston Bruins or somewhere else, I anticipate him playing at the national level. Keep an eye on him, Bruins fans!