Mike Milbury: Some in Bruins organization did want to go with Swayman-Vladar tandem in net
The Bruins’ offseason goaltending plan has been brought back to the forefront this week after former Bruin Dan Vladar shut them out Sunday night in a 4-0 Calgary win .
The Bruins traded Vladar for a third-round pick this offseason, electing to not take the chance on a tandem of two young (but cheap) goalies in him and Jeremy Swayman. Instead they went out and signed Linus Ullmark in free agency for four years and $20 million to pair with Swayman.
Vladar has outperformed Ullmark so far this season, although it’s worth noting that he’s playing behind the Flames’ league-best defense. Still, there’s a case to be made that the Bruins would’ve been better served rolling with the youngsters and spending Ullmark’s money on another part of the roster.
Some have argued that case is nothing more than revisionist history, though, claiming there was no chance the Bruins were ever going to enter the season with two relatively unproven goalies.
According to Mike Milbury, though, there was at least some debate within the Bruins organization about doing exactly that. Making his weekly appearance on The Greg Hill Show, the former Bruins coach and longtime NHL analyst said he heard there were in fact people with the team who wanted to give the Swayman-Vladar tandem a shot.
“Easy to say that now, right?,” Milbury acknowledged. “There were some people in the organization that thought they should’ve gone with Swayman and Vladar. It was the cheaper option. Vladar and Swayman, in particular, had suggested [with their play] that they were going to be able to handle the load.”
That said, Milbury said he also understands why general manager Don Sweeney ultimately chose the path he did, even if it isn’t really working out so far.
“I understand what Sweeney was doing. I mean, if you don’t have a good goalie, if you don’t have a reliable goaltender, no matter what you do at all the other positions, it’s bound to fail,” Milbury said. “So Ullmark had to have been somebody that they targeted, their scouts had seen play, and thought, despite the fact that he didn’t play a whole ton last year, had enough promise to be a number one goaltender.
“Right now, you’re right: It’s looking like it was not the right way to go, and that Vladar and Swayman would’ve been a good option. And then you still have the Rask option in January or February in your holster. Now they’re going to have to move Ullmark or ride with what they have the rest of the year. I think they’ve limited their options with that signing. You have to live with that. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you pick a bad goalie.”
Listen to the full interview below: