Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 176 pounds
Drafted: Signed as a free agent by Boston Bruins in 2012
Current Contract: One-year, one-way deal worth $600,000
Strengths – Size, Experience, Positioning
At 24 years old, Niklas Svedberg has been playing hockey against high competition since he joined the Swedish Elite League (SEL) at the age of 18. That experience has shown in his time with the Providence Bruins and his brief stint with Boston. Svedberg is very calm in net and makes good positional saves. His presence in net is more reminiscent of Tuukka Rask’s style than Tim Thomas’s often frantic technique. Despite not being overly big at 6-foot-1, Svedberg does a good job at protecting the bottom of the net when he drops into the butterfly.
Weaknesses – Rebound Control, Maturity
Although Svedberg has shown good awareness with his positioning, his rebound control is a bit shaky at times. In his only regular season start with the Bruins last season, Svedberg gave up two goals in an eventual 3-2 overtime win by Boston. Allowing only two goals in his first career NHL start was an excellent showing, but the two goals he allowed were both on rebounds.
On both goals Svedberg needed to do a better job at either holding on to the puck or directing the rebound to less dangerous areas.
Another area of concern for the 24-year-old is whether or not he has matured in his time within the Bruins organization. Svedberg came over from the SEL with a couple of questionable actions on the ice.
Although there have not been instances like that in his three seasons with the Bruins, he did have a down season last year after he was sent down to Providence out of training camp in favor of the more affordable option, Chad Johnson. Svedberg’s goals against average went from 2.17 in 2012-13 to 2.63 last season, and his save percentage went down from 0.925 to 0.910. That drop in production may have been caused by his not making the team out of camp and that could be a sign he still has some maturing to do.
After the departure of Chad Johnson and a new one-way, one-year contract, Svedberg appears to be slated for the Bruins backup job next season. Svedberg will be expected to give the Bruins much of what they got last season when Johnson was their backup. Despite those lofty expectations, Svedberg is definitely capable of putting up such numbers. The Bruins are expected to once again have one of the NHL’s best defenses and that should help Svedberg ease into his backup role. After two seasons playing down in Providence, Svedberg will finally have a chance to prove he is a legitimate NHL goalie this season as he is the clear favorite to be the Bruins backup goalie.