Bruins general manager Don Sweeney bolstered the team’s organizational depth in net on the first day of free agency Monday, signing goaltender Maxime Lagace to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 at the NHL level.
A 26-year-old, Lagace comes to the Bruins after spending the last two seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights organization, and checked off an important box for the Bruins in their quest for a No. 3 goaltender in the wake of Zane McIntyre’s departure.
“Max has some NHL experience,” said Sweeney. “That was one of the caveats we would like to have and the box we would like to check.”
Thrown into the NHL fire in 2017-18 when injuries ravaged the Vegas crease, Lagace posted a 6-7-1 record and .867 save percentage in his first NHL season, and took a loss behind a 27-of-31 in his NHL only appearance of the 2018-19 season.
But the Bruins seemed fully confident in what the 6-foot-2 Lagace has done in the AHL, with 16 wins and a .914 save percentage in 33 appearances for the Chicago Wolves last season.
“[Lagace] continues to get better when he’s had more opportunity,” said Sweeney. “We basically told Max that he can complement our top two guys, push our top two guys when we run into trouble because he has that NHL experience, but most importantly our younger guys have to take the net from him. He’s been in situations where he’s been the go-to guy with a couple different clubs in the American Hockey League, and our younger goaltenders need to understand they will have opportunity, but they need to take the net from a guy who has it without being blocked out, obviously.”
With Lagace signed, it’s believed that the P-Bruins backup job will be a battle between Daniel Vladar and Kyle Keyser, with the loser of such a battle making their way to the ECHL for a starting role.