The Bruins’ affordable price paid to acquire Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar wasn’t the Sabres’ original ask, as Buffalo initially tried to grab one of the team’s promising young netminders in their deal with the Bruins.
“I believe Buffalo asked Boston about their two young goalies, Jeremy Swayman and Daniel Vladar, but the Bruins weren’t going there,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote in his latest ’31 Thoughts’ column. “Knowing they were Hall’s preferred destination, they could take a harder line.”
The latter is key, of course, as the 29-year-old Hall used his no-movement clause to push his way to the Bruins. But it’s also worth mentioning that the Bruins weren’t exactly in a great position to part with either Swayman or Vladar in the now, especially with Jaroslav Halak still on the COVID list and Tuukka Rask working his way back from an injury that’s kept him out of action for all but one period over the last month and change.
There’s also the fact that both goaltenders have performed admirably in 2021.
Vladar has begun his NHL career with two wins in five starts, and posted respectable stat lines before the Bruins deserted him in an 8-1 loss to the Capitals last Sunday. That loss dropped Vladar’s save percentage from .922 to .886, and ballooned his goals against average up to 3.40. He’s certainly played better than both those numbers would indicate.
Swayman, meanwhile, has completely stolen the show. In just his first professional season after spending the last three seasons at Maine, Swayman has stepped up and looked every bit like an NHL-ready netminder out of the gate, with a 3-1-0 record and .926 save percentage through four starts this season.
So they instead settled for Bjork, a player the Sabres had familiarity with from his team with the U.S. developmental program, as well as Notre Dame, according to Friedman.