Peter Chiarelli said on Tuesday that he expected to provide some competition for Niklas Svedberg while vying for the Bruins backup goalie job in training camp next fall. He followed through with that thought on Wednesday, and signed 25-year-old goalie Jeremy Smith to a one year, two-way deal.
It’s highly likely that Smith will be splitting time with Malcolm Subban in Providence when the actual season gets going, but Chiarelli likes to see young players fighting for jobs in training camp competitions.
“He’s almost ready, if not ready,” said Chiarelli of Svedberg. “It doesn’t mean he gets the job; his stats weren’t as good as they were [in 2012-13]. I thought he had a terrific training camp. This is a fellow who won the Swedish Elite League championship. He was goalie of the year in the American [Hockey] League the next year. It may be in his mind [that] he thought he was ready to play and start and certainly had a very good training camp.
“I think for that reason, mentally, he was a little off last year. I think he’s a professional. He’s got areas to work on in his game. What I do know is that our goalie coach is good and our system is conducive to good goaltending. We keep the pucks on the outside. That doesn’t diminish anything from our goalies’ accomplishments, but it can be a better system. You have to be able to find pucks in traffic. But generally, they’re on the outside. Every goalie that we’ve brought in – at least the last two or three – has improved as a backup, and Niklas [Svedberg’s] work ethic is terrific. He’s got some areas in his game he has to improve, but we had [trade] calls on him from other teams. He’s certainly going to challenge for a spot.”
The 24-year-old Svedberg put up 25-15-4 with a .910 save percentage and a 2.63 goals against average last season, but it was clearly a step down from him brilliant first season in North America.
Smith spent last season as the AHL goalie in the Columbus Blue Jackets system for the Springfield Falcons, and posted a 21-14-3 record along with a 2.78 goals against average and .898 save percentage. Smith spent the majority of his AHL career with the Milwaukee Admirals, and put up a 66-46-7 record, and enjoyed his best season in 2011-12 when he put together 31 wins, a 2.17 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.
Smith was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the second round (54th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.