The circumstances that have put Jeremy Swayman in this position aren’t ideal. That doesn’t make the situation any less fascinating to observers or exciting for the player himself, as he gets the opportunity to make his NHL debut after just nine AHL games.
Swayman will be the fourth goalie to play for the Bruins this season when Boston takes on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Jaroslav Halak tested positive for COVID-19 and Tuukka Rask is hurt, so with Dan Vladar playing the first leg of the back-to-back Monday, it made sense to give Swayman a look.
There’s a lot to be excited about with the University of Maine product. He’s in his first pro season after an electric junior season (18-11-5 record with a .939 save percentage) with the Black Bears in 2019-20, which saw him get named a finalist for the Hobey Baker, which is college hockey’s MVP.
His game has transferred well to the pro level, as he’s been borderline unbeatable with Providence this season. The 22-year-old is 8-1-0 in Providence this season, posting a .933 save percentage with a 1.89 goals against average.
When the Bruins selected Swayman in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, they obviously had high hopes for him, like they would with any prospect. But he really took off after getting drafted, which came ahead of his freshman year in Orono, and has shown nothing but promising signs since getting selected.
Developing goalies is a challenging, and unscientific, process. It used to take years for goalies to develop and become full-time NHLers. But more and more, younger goalies are having success right when they make the jump to the NHL, such as Swayman’s counterpart Tuesday, Philly’s Carter Hart. The Bruins are in a position where Swayman could look incredible, and he’d still be the third or fourth option since the ideal duo is a Rask-Halak tandem. So, all you want to see is the potential in these starts.
Thus far, Dan Vladar looks like he can hang with the varsity. Swayman hopes to do the same.