Fans are not the only ones impressed with Jeremy Swayman’s start to his NHL career.
The Boston Bruins netminder has gone 4-1 since making his debut April 6. He earned himself an impressive 1.78 goals against average and .938 save percentage in those five games.
This is not the start many had imagined the University of Maine product would begin his NHL career, including the Bruins. But he has managed to impress a lot of people as a result.
In fact, head coach Bruce Cassidy cannot remember another young goalie with a start as hot as this.
“Obviously, not at the NHL level. Typically, guys aren’t even here. And the plan would have been for him to go to Providence and split duties with Vladar and compete with him and (Kyle) Keyser for playing time. But this is what happens sometimes. One a door closes on a Tuukka (Rask) injury or a (Jaroslav) Halak COVID (diagnosis) and it opens up the opportunity for someone else. And it was Vladar first, and now it’s Swayman. … Good for Jeremy. So far, so good.
“… I think everyone would agree that goalies that are aggressive and under control generally have a lot of success if they can mix the two well,” he added. “So, that’s what I see. I see a guy that doesn’t get flustered. He’s not barking or at the referees or coming to the bench or whatnot. He just seems very composed in there no matter what happens.”
Cassidy repeatedly referenced the run Flyers netminder Carter Hart went on after joining Philadelphia in 2020. He, too, got off to a hot start as a youngster but has hit a few roadblocks as time has gone by.
Swayman likely will have to face his own roadblocks in his career. And that is where Cassidy believes we will learn just what kind of netminder he truly is.
“Obviously, he’ll have to battle through, at some point going forward, a tougher game. And let’s see how he responds to that the next time it goes in the net. Those are some of the things you need to reserve judgment on until they happen and before you sort of categorize a guy as ‘Oh, he’s made it.’ I think what you saw in Philly. And I keep using Hart because he was a guy everyone talked about and was a young goalie that had a few tough games, and their whole team did this year. So, how does that affect him going forward? I think that’s an area that we have to look at in the future before, like I said, we have this discussion about where (Swayman will) end up.
“But right now, in the present, he gives us a chance to win every night, made big saves last night when we hadn’t found our game yet and nothing seems to faze him. So that’s the early returns on him and it shows in his record and his numbers.”
As Cassidy said, though, so far so good.