Who's No. 1?
Manny Fernandez was the Bruins’ biggest off-season acquisition and he wasn’t brought in to the ride the pine, that’s for sure!
Fernandez, 33, went 30-18-7 two years ago with Minnesota to take sole ownership of the starting job with the Wild. He lost that title in the second half of last season because of the emergence of Niklas Backstrom and was dealt in the summer.
Now, Fernandez once again will have every opportunity to carry the load. He has the skills to do it, too. Since joining the Wild in 2000, Fernandez has gone 113-102-21 in 260 appearances. During that time, he carried a GAA that regularly hovered just below the 2.50 mark and save percentage consistently around .910.
”Manny is a goalie who has been part of a winning duo and has also led the charge himself,” said Peter Chiarelli, the Boston GM. “He's got some size. He is quick post to post. He's experienced. He's very competitive and yet he's technically very sound, also.”
The arrival of Fernandez means that Tim Thomas faces yet another challenge to his playing time. That, however, is nothing new for the battling Thomas.
During the 2005-06 season, Thomas broke into the NHL and forced himself into a rotation with Andrew Raycroft, who was traded that summer. This past season, Thomas then outlasted touted prospect Hannu Toivonen to play in a career-high 66 games, going 30-29-4 with a .905 save percentage.
Now, Thomas will begin the 2007-08 season as the backup to Fernandez, but that does not mean he will remain the caddy all season. Thomas has proven repeatedly that he can handle No. 1 minutes and will try to do so again.
In the Wings
Tuukka Rask – A first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rask arrived in Boston last season when the Bruins traded starting goalie Andrew Raycroft to the Maple Leafs. Rask was dominant last season for Ilves Tampere in Finland’s top league, posting a 2.38 GAA and .928 save percentage, and appears ready for North American hockey.
Kevin Regan – Entering his senior season at the University of New Hampshire, Regan has already proven that he is ready for the challenges of the pro game. Regan, a late-round selection in 2003, won a career-high 24 games to go with a 2.06 GAA and .935 save percentage.
Jordan Sigalet – The former Bowling Green star is likely destined for his third season in Providence after playing as a backup for the Baby Bruins last year. He was impressive in limited action, going 15-5 with a 2.39 GAA and .915 save percentage in 20 outings.
Mike Brown – A fifth-round pick in 2003, the 22-year-old Brown spent the past season with the ECHL’s Long Beach Ice Dogs, posting a 3.26 GAA and .900 save percentage.