It’s very difficult to read the name “Zane McIntyre” and not think that person is the real deal. It’s a cool name built for bright lights; something you’d read on an action movie poster. It’s awesome. But in this case it’s the name of the up-and-coming Boston Bruins goaltending prospect that most casual fans don’t know yet.
Zane McIntyre played his college hockey at the University of North Dakota where this past season he was a Hobey Baker Finalist, the award for college hockey’s top player. He also took home the Mike Ritcher Award for the top NCAA Division 1 goalie. In his tenure at North Dakota McIntyre was dominant, backstopping his team to two Frozen Fours. But before his college career even began he was Zane Gothberg, a 6th round pick (165th overall) by the Boston Bruins back in 2010. He recently changed his last name to his mothers surname McIntyre. Now everything has come full circle.
This week McIntyre is attending his 6th Bruins development camp with all the other pieces that will hopefully be the foundation of the teams future. The question is can the 23-year-old rookie work his way into the back-up goaltender spot behind Tuukka Rask this season? Most likely not. He’s up against former 1st round pick Malcolm Subban, and recently re-signed Jeremy Smith. Both goalies have faired well in the AHL and despite Malcolm Subban laying an egg in his NHL showing against St. Louis last year the young goalie is expected to develop into an NHL starter.
History shows goalies can be very difficult to peg. Former Boston University star goalie Rick DiPietro was taken 1st overall in 2000 NHL draft and is considered by most to have been a huge bust. In the 7th round of that same draft, at 205th overall, a goalie named Henrik Lundqvist was drafted. You could say he’s done pretty well for himself. It’s one of the hardest positions to assess when players are developing. Much like catchers in baseball goalies often don’t find their stride until later on and can often not even blossom until into their 30’s, much like Timmy Thomas. It’s why players like McIntyre can emerge even after being a 6th round pick.
I like Zane McIntyre’s chances of becoming an NHL starter someday. His situation reminds me of Ryan Miller coming out of Michigan State once upon a time. A very accomplished NCAA goalie that was ready for the NHL. I’m not saying McIntyre is the next Ryan Miller, but he certainly ran the show in the NCAA and has been developing steadily under the watchful Bruins eye since his 2010 draft. Malcolm Subban is not ready either and I’m not so sure that “1st round draft pick” tag hanging over him helps. Jeremy Smith is probably the most ready to serve as a backup and the front runner going into camp this September.
Whoever backs up Tuukka Rask has probably one of the most important jobs going into this season, yet it’s the least talked about topic because of the headline grabbing Lucic and Hamilton departures. Backup goaltending is something that was non-existent last year and cost the Bruins dearly in overplaying and leaning on Rask too much. I know I’m certainly pulling for Zane McIntyre to be that guy, that difference maker, who’s name does end up in bright lights.