BostonBruins.com - On Monday, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the Bruins had signed goaltender Niklas Svedberg to a one-year, one-way contract.
Svedberg would have become a restricted free agent on July 1. His deal is worth an annual cap hit of $600,000.
The 24-year-old Sweden native made his NHL debut with Boston on January 2, 2014, in a 3-2 overtime victory over Nashville at TD Garden, recording a 1.97 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.
With a one-way deal, Svedberg is guaranteed his NHL salary, whether he plays with the big club or in the AHL. He first contract with Boston came in 2012-13, when he was signed as a free agent to a two-year deal after three seasons in the Swedish Elite League.
Svedberg earned AHL Goalie of the Year honors in 2012-13, becoming the first rookie to receive the honor since 1994-95. The netminder didn't have as consistent of a season in 2013-14, but has developed well in Providence and has proved himself to be calm and confident between the pipes. He'll come into September's training camp pushing to earn the backup role behind Tuukka Rask.
Rask's backup goalie in 2013-14, Chad Johnson, is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Svedberg has appeared in 102 regular season AHL games with Providence, compiling a 66-27-6 record. He put up a 25-15-4 record in 2013-14, with two shutouts, a 2.63 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
The goaltending competition at training camp heading into the 2013-14 season was a heated one with Svedberg, Johnson and even 20-year-old Malcolm Subban pushing for a spot.
Johnson received his first full-time NHL gig as a backup and strongly improved throughout the course of the season, helping give Rask his proper rest.
For Svedberg, being sent to Providence was significantly about development and getting him plenty of game action as a starter. When the goalie was one of the final cuts at training camp last September, Chiarelli noted his age and the importance of playing 40-50 games, versus 20 or so up with Boston as a backup.
After spending the first three months of the 2013-14 season with the P-Bruins, Svedberg received his first NHL recall on December 27, 2013. He was slated to make his NHL debut a night later in Ottawa, but a perfect storm of injuries and emergency recalls left Boston needing to send Svedberg back to Providence.
He got his chance a few days later, earning his first NHL win against Nashville. It marks his only NHL game as he heads into his third season playing pro in North America.
Svedberg has shown a confidence between the pipes similar to Rask, and doesn't shy away from pressure. It's not uncommon to hear the words "calm," "poised" and "confident" when the Bruins are asked about him.
"He’s a good competitor," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said the morning of Svedberg's NHL debut on January 2. "I think he’s improved over the course of the year with his experience. Earlier on, when I first saw him, when he first came, he had to make some adjustments to his game because of how they played in Europe versus here."
"From there on in, I think he just kept getting better and better."
When the goalie was sent back down to Providence following his debut, he understood the situation, but it was still tough to take. He had gotten his glimpse of the NHL, and felt he was ready.
"That's how it works. you just move on, go back to Providence, play there and wait to get another chance," he said.
While Svedberg will have to earn his spot, and the situation with pending unrestricted free agent Chad Johnson hasn't been disclosed by Chiarelli, this deal appears to provide the P-Bruins netminder with another prime opportunity.
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