Boston Bruins: Subban, McIntyre, and Khudobin all eye No. 2 goalie spot

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25: Malcolm Subban
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25: Malcolm Subban /

The Boston Bruins have a wide open competition for the backup goaltending spot, with Malcolm Subban, Zane McIntyre, and Anton Khudobin all in the mix.

Tuukka Rask is the Boston Bruins goalie, there are no questions there. He’ll play a ton of games and will help to keep the Bruins in the mix in the Atlantic division, but there are question marks behind him.

Malcolm Subban, Zane McIntyre, and Anton Khudobin are all eyeing the backup spot on Boston’s roster this season. They’ll all aim to improve Boston’s .888 save percentage from backups last season when the team won just 7 games without Rask on the ice.

Subban is ready to compete and he’s ready to prove he can compete in the NHL.

“I believe I can play,” Subban said this past week, via the Boston Herald. “I know my talent better than anyone else and I believe I can play. I want to come into camp and prove that. Obviously, it’s easier said than done. Everyone in camp believes they can play or else they wouldn’t be here. I’m just trying to prove I can play in the NHL, or get an opportunity at least.”

Subban’s stock seems to have dropped a bit and last season in Providence McIntyre posted better numbers in about equal amounts of games played. Subban posted a .917 save percentage in 32 games, while McIntyre was at .930 in 31 games. The play from McIntyre puts Subban in danger of being passed up within the organization.

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Last season, Khudobin was Rask’s main backup. He went 7-6-1, with 2.64 goals against average and .904 save percentage. He was sent up and down between Providence and Boston to find his groove, but the Bruins will need more consistency this year. Khudobin improved as the year went on, and down the stretch, he helped win some key games to get the black and gold into the playoffs. Right now, he’s the favorite to win the job backing up Rask.

Boston likely wants to play Tuukka Rask less than they did last season, and the backup is probably looking at 20-25 starts this season. Khudobin, in his second year in Boston, should be able to provide that. It’s his job to lose, but if he plays up to his abilities he won’t let it go. Goaltending could be one of the Bruins strengths this season as they explore lineup options with a bunch of young talent. The netminders will play a huge role in determining Boston’s success.

Next: 2017-18 Atlantic division outlook

The Bruins will get their first real look at the 3 goaltending prospects in game action on September 18th as they take on Montreal to begin the preseason. The first regular season game in 2017 comes on October 5th when the Bruins host the Nashville Predators.