SUNRISE, Fla. — If there is one position at which the Bruins are set, it’s goaltender.
They could even be considered loaded.
In a weekend that saw the Bruins offload Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic, the team also brought two goaltenders on board, in addition to the stockpile the team has already.
With starter Tuukka Rask two years into an eight-year deal with a $7 million cap hit, the Bruins acquired backup Martin Jones from the Kings in the Lucic deal. They also have former first-round pick Malcolm Subban and the newly agreed-to-sign Zane McIntyre in the pipeline.
“We’ve certainly got as strong depth at that position as anyone in the league. I don’t think anyone is deeper,” executive director of player personnel John Ferguson said on Saturday.
The Bruins remain committed to Rask, even with at least one trade inquiry coming in on the Boston starter, according to an NHL source. Rask started 70 games last season — far too many in the eyes of the Bruins — en route to a season that was less than his best.
Jones, a restricted free agent, could back up Rask, unless the Bruins flip him to another team. Ferguson said the team has talked to Jones’s agent, but the sides have not yet started negotiating.
“He’s a backup thus far, and he certainly has a higher upside than that,” Ferguson said. “But we feel real good about our goaltending depth up and down our organization.”
Jones, 25, seems to have his eye on a starting job, which he will not be getting in Boston. He backed up Jonathan Quick last season, playing 15 games with a 4-5-0 record, .906 save percentage, and 2.25 goals-against average.
When asked about that, Ferguson pointed to the situation in New York, where Rangers backup Cam Talbot kept the team afloat while starter Henrik Lundqvist was injured. The Bruins would have had difficulties had Rask been injured for any length of time last season, with Niklas Svedberg as the backup.
But the Bruins weren’t done with goalies when they acquired Jones.
They drafted Daniel Vladar on Saturday, a 6-foot-5-inch goalie out of the Czech Republic. He has size and athleticism but has significant room to grow in terms of technique. Vladar, who will be 18 in August, said that he has a lot of things on which to improve, though Ferguson said he has the upside eventually to become a No. 1 goaltender. He is slated to join the Chicago Steel of the USHL next season.
Agitator in waiting
When director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky addressed the team’s fourth-round pick, Jesse Gabrielle, a grin flitted across his face. He chuckled.
The reason could be seen on Gabrielle’s draft profile: His favorite team is the Boston Bruins. His favorite player is Brad Marchand, a player Gabrielle models his game after.
“He’s entertaining,” Gretzky said. “He plays with his heart on his sleeve, and that was one thing we liked. He’s got to learn to be disciplined, of course. He’s got to know when to play on the edge and when to get under guys’ skin. He can skate. He can score some goals. Killed some penalties last year.
“He’s an agitator, and we thought that would be a good spot for him.”
Sounds a lot like a certain Bruins winger.
“Me and him play really similar,” Gabrielle said of Marchand. “Hopefully one day I’ll be able to put on the Bruins jersey and kind of be a younger version of him.”
Gabrielle said his Bruins affinity developed as a result of his own style of play, growing up in Saskatchewan. He saw the “tough, gritty, hard-nosed game,” and saw what he wanted to be.
“Maybe not the most skilled guy,” Gabrielle said. “The way that I played, I thought that I had to be different than other guys and kind of separate myself in maybe a different way.”
Senyshyn a good fit
There was a question on Friday as to whether the Bruins had reached to take Zachary Senyshyn with the No. 15 pick, with the right wing listed on many projections in the second round. Gretzky, though, felt that the forward fit the needs of the organization, even at No. 15. “We really like the kid,’’ said Gretzky. “He’s got size. He plays right wing. He can fly down the wing. He scored 26 goals, for a fourth-line guy. We think the potential is there. We didn’t want to sit back to wait and see. He was one guy that we really liked, as a whole staff.” . . . The Bruins traded their fifth-round pick, the No. 135th selection, for Minnesota’s fifth-round pick in 2016 . . . The Bruins took a couple of longer-term projects with their final two picks on Saturday, selecting Wisconsin center Cameron Hughes in the sixth round and Minnesota high school center Jack Becker in the seventh.