When the Boston Bruins signed 24-year-old goaltender Niklas Svedberg to a one-year, one-way contract Monday, it became obvious that veteran backup Chad Johnson probably wouldn’t return to the Black and Gold for the 2014-15 season.
Johnson later confirmed that he will leave the Bruins, via The Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin: [tweet https://twitter.com/AmalieBenjamin/status/481210343352721408 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/AmalieBenjamin/status/481211790177873920 align=”center”]
Svedberg likely will back up Vezina Trophy finalist Tuukka Rask next season and Johnson will go to the open market as an unrestricted free agent. He can sign with a new team when free agency begins July 1. Johnson earned $600,000 — what Svedberg will be paid next season — on a one-year deal last season.
Johnson should receive a fair amount of interest as a UFA. The 28-year-old was one of the NHL’s best backup netminders in 2013-14 with a 17-4-3 record, a .925 save percentage and a 2.10 goals against average. Did Johnson post those stellar numbers because of his talent or the excellent group of defensemen in front of him? It’s probably a little of both, but there’s no question that he bailed out the Bruins several times when they failed to play well in the defensive zone.
Several teams, including the New York Islanders, need a backup goaltender and might sign one in free agency.