The Boston Bruins have found themselves a real steal with Jeremy Swayman. The Alaska native was selected by the team with the 111th-overall pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Now, just five years later, he is emerging as their best goaltender and having a fantastic rookie campaign. Although those who follow the team are well-aware of how good he’s been, the same can’t be said when it comes to opposing fans. That ought to change, as his excellent play warrants league-wide recognition.
Although Swayman was just named the NHL’s most recent Rookie of the Month, that honestly doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s provided strong reliability for the entirety of his season but hasn’t been given much recognition in the process. Although the NHL has many marvelous goaltenders, he deserves to be known by all fans as one, too. Let’s now discuss why.
Swayman Is Playing at Elite Level
Swayman left a fantastic first impression with the Bruins last season. In 10 appearances, he had a 7-3-0 record, 1.50 goals-against average (GAA), and a .945 save percentage (SV%). However, even though he had a great start to his career, the Bruins were still unsure if he was ready to be their starting goaltender. They viewed his sample size as too small, so general manager Don Sweeney opted to sign Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract during the offseason. Yet, the former’s marvelous play is now making that move a questionable one.
In 24 games this campaign, Swayman has a 13-7-3 record, 1.95 GAA, and .929 SV%. Although his numbers are a bit lower than last season, they are still among the best in the sport. Any goaltender who has GAA under 2.00 deserves an immense amount of praise. With that, he also has three shutouts on the season and has allowed no more than two goals over his last six starts. It’s been a wonderful first full season for the rookie, and it will be intriguing to see if he can continue to perform this well from here.
Swayman Arrived at Perfect Time for Bruins
Although Tuukka Rask attempted a comeback this season, the severity of his hip injury made it too difficult for him to regain his elite form. As a result of this, the 34-year-old decided to retire. The Finnish netminder had the starting job for over a decade and became the franchise’s most winningest goaltender in the process. Therefore, many fans were scared of the day when he would call it a career. However, Swayman’s arrival to the Bruins has made this unfortunate occurrence easy to accept.
The Bruins honestly should be feeling fortunate right now. It isn’t very often that an NHL team finds another potential star goalie immediately after another one calls it a career. Truthfully, if Swayman can continue to play at this strong of a level, the team has the potential to remain a contender for many more years. They also will have to find eventual replacements for Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, of course. However, they at least have crossed off one major item of their to-do list with Swayman. That certainly isn’t the best of news for their Atlantic Division rivals.
Swayman Is Bruins’ Present And Future in Net
Swayman has been deemed by most as the Bruins’ future in the net. However, when seeing how well he has played this season, he is also should be their choice for the present. He is not only proving that he is a legitimate starting goaltender but also showing signs of potentially being among the best in sport. Although Ullmark was expected to be the team’s starter, the 28-year-old has been noticeably worse out of the pair. In 28 appearances, he may have a 17-9-1 record, but he also has a 2.80 GAA and low .908 SV%.
Although the prospect of having a $5 million goaltender as the team’s backup is certainly not ideal, Swayman’s excellent play may make that come to fruition. As he begins to become more comfortable at the NHL level, it should only help improve his case to become the team’s permanent starter. If he’s this much better than Ullmark as the year continues, they will need to stop splitting their starts in half.
Swayman Deserves More Calder Trophy Consideration
When it comes to the Calder Trophy race, it’s clear that Trevor Zegras, Moritz Seider, and Lucas Raymond are the front-runners. This is entirely understandable, as they each have been spectacular and have very bright futures in the league. However, Swayman should also be discussed more frequently in this debate, as his statistics are near the top of all NHL goaltenders. His 1.95 GAA is currently the best in the entire NHL, while his .929 SV% is ranked fourth among all goalies. This is extremely impressive in general but even more so when remembering that he is a rookie.
Truthfully, if Swayman can continue this dominant play, it should help him be brought up in the Calder Trophy discussion more frequently. At a minimum, however, he is still having himself a rookie year to remember. At the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters.
Nevertheless, Swayman is a goaltender who all fans should keep an eye on as his career progresses. It’s clear that Bruins fans value him immensely, but others seem to not realize just how good he’s been. Now, the real challenge will be for him to maintain it. Let’s see what happens on that front from here.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.