We didn’t think we would be taking about Dan Vladar at all this season. Most people probably had never heard of him. Well, you better get used to hearing his name a lot more. Much to the shagrin of the Boston Bruins and the Bruins faithful, Dan Vladar has become a steal for the Calgary Flames.
Who Is This Guy?
I’m so glad you asked. Vladar up until the bubble in 2020 was serving as a goalie for the Providence Bruins, the AHL affiliate. He was called to duty in the Toronto bubble after Tuukka Rask decided to return to Boston. Jaroslav Halak became the primary netminder while Vladar was not expected to do much. However, a bad performance against Tampa Bay in round two of the playoffs thrusted Vladar into duty. Halak was pulled from the game on August 26th, 2020 making way for the Czech Republic native. It was baptism by fire and everyone knew he didn’t stand much of a chance out there.
With the injury to Rask in 2021 and Halak also missing time, the Bruins were forced to turn to Vladar and Jeremy Swayman. Vladar made his first start and won on March 16th against the Penguins. Initially, it was looking like he was the goalie of the future in Boston. Halak returned and was eventually fazed out due to poor play and Rask returned from his injury. After going 2-2-1 with Boston, Vladar was sent back to Providence after being in net during an 8-1 drumming by the Capitals. He was deemed by most not ready to be a full time NHL goaltender yet. That is certainly understandable. Rask and Swayman became the goalies the rest of the way with Rask getting the nod for the playoffs. Swayman flashed during his appearances and was dubbed the future goalie months after Vladar got all of the attention.
What Happened To Dan Vladar?
The Bruins parted ways with Jaro Halak after the season and he signed with Vancouver. Rask began to recover from his surgery. All signs pointed to Swayman and Vladar getting a lot of playing time, especially since Vladar signed a three year contract extension after the bubble. However, Linus Ullmark came over from Buffalo on a four year deal. Dan Vladar was subsequently traded to the Calgary Flames for a third round draft pick in 2023. This was a surprising move. For whatever reason, the Bruins felt having two young goaltenders would not be a good idea. Perhaps they wanted more experience behind Swayman and that is why they opted to sign Ullmark. There also could have been a concern about tensions mounting with two young guys in net, granted the Rangers are making it work with Shesterkin and Georgiev.
Instead of heading back down to the minor leagues, Vladar became part of the Flames right away and joined Jacob Markstrom on the team. The two have become a forbiddable tandem as Vladar is currently 5-1-1 with .928 save percentage. The icing on the cake (no pun intended) is that he blanked his former team in Boston as the Flames rolled to a 4-0 victory. He is single handingly debunking the narrative that he wasn’t ready for primetime. Swayman has been okay so far with a 7-4-1 record and a .918 save percentage. Meanwhile, Linus Ullmark is having a rough start to the season at 5-4-0 and a .911 save percentage. Safe to say the Bruins wish they could undo that deal.
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