Bruins goaltender prospect Dan Vladar hopes to use this year’s Development Camp to position himself for a shot at Boston’s NHL and AHL rosters.
“It’s a good opportunity, this is my fourth time here so I already knew what was going to happen and what it takes. It’s fun,” Vladar said following Day 2 of Development Camp Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena. “They told me to come to camp and I am ready to be here. Hopefully, I will get a job in Providence but if not I’m ready to play wherever I am going to be.”
Vladar, a 2015 third-round selection, has spent the past two seasons in the Bruins farm system, with the majority of his time coming with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL.
Over the course of 41 games this past year with Atlanta, the 20-year-old goalie from the Czech Republic posted a relatively mediocre 17-18-1 record with a .911 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average.
“It was a lot of fun for me. Obviously, the first year of pro hockey was a little harder for me because I came out early but as the time went on I learned a lot of things,” Vladar said. “Atlanta was a real nice spot to play and I saw a ton of shots every single game and I feel like I learned a lot.”
Despite playing well and delivering a 6-2-1 record during two stints in Providence, Vladar still hasn’t nabbed an AHL roster spot due to the Bruins tremendous depth at the goaltender position.
However, Vladar hopes that this year will be different and he is doing everything to improve every time he is on the ice.
“I’m just trying to do my best. Whether I’m here, Atlanta or back home in the Czech Republic practicing I’m still just trying to do the same thing; stop the puck and stay positive all of the time, even when I let up a bad goal,” Vladar said. “I think that is the key: stay positive, work hard and enjoy every moment.”
Combine his upbeat mindset with the recent rumors that Anton Khudobin, the Bruins current backup goalie, may test the market in free agency and he might get his chance at meaningful playing time in Providence and possibly at the NHL level.
If the Bruins let Khudobin walk without signing a veteran backup to take his place then everyone in the farm system will move up a spot. That would make either Vladar or Zane McIntyre the two favorites to back up Tuukka Rask this fall.
Boston’s coaching staff and management remain mum on Vladar’s status, but the young goalie is elated at the potential opportunity of moving up in the organization.
“I would feel comfortable there. I already spent some time in Providence the past two season and I know the guys and the city,” Vladar said. “I like Providence a lot and it would be an honor for me if I were to get a job there.”
In the meantime, the 6-foot-5 goaltender is taking his time to enjoy the competitive environment of the development camp and all that the city of Boston has to offer.
“It’s a cool experience for everyone. You have a chance to catch a Red Sox game and stuff like that,” Vladar said. “It’s a busy week for us but at the same time, it’s a great experience. I think that every hockey player our age wants to be here and it is interesting to hear the stories of the players that have made it here.”