Sweeney acknowledged the obvious disappointment from Swayman, who’s played 16 games this season with the free-agent Rask working his back from offseason surgery. Rask signed a one-year deal for $1 million on Tuesday.
Sweeney also explained what he took from the 23-year-old netminder’s reaction, and it’s an outlook he appreciated.
“Having driven 95 North over the course of my time a long time ago, I understand the disappointment, especially when you feel like you’ve positioned yourself to be on an NHL team, you’ve had some success,” Sweeney said during a video conference. “And, you know, it’s generally not a straight, linear path. Take the opportunity to, you know, to work on your game and expand it and realize that there’s challenges associated with everybody’s professional career, and Jeremy, to his credit, recognizes all those things.
“I think the single biggest thing that came out of my conversation today was he just stared at me and looked and he said, ‘Well, if those two guys struggle, do I get the net?’ And that’s what you want to hear from a player, any young player that has confidence in himself. And he’s had some success.
“We’ll accept the fact that he’s got some things to continue to work on, but in a competitive environment that we’re trying to win, the best players are gonna play. I don’t think Linus (Ullmark) and Tuukka (Rask) would look at it any differently. And so hopefully it’s just a bump in the road for him in terms of not a huge setback, it’s just a matter of going and getting some experience in some situations that we’ve got some areas in his game we would like him to continue to work on. He’s going be a goalie for us for a long time. That’s ultimately what the message was.”
Swayman compiled a 8-6-2 record this season in Boston with a .918 save percentage.
Linus Ullmark will remain in Boston with Rask. Swayman is not eligible for the Bruins taxi squad, according to Sweeney, which is part of the reason why will head to Providence on Wednesday.
“Disappointed, you know, not overly surprised based on what was trending and how it was tracking for Tuukka’s health and potential availability,” Sweeney said of Swayman. “Internally, we knew what the plans were, but even those went sideways with some of the cancellation of recent games in Providence.
“But Jeremy took it in stride as a professional and he’s extremely motivated to be a top-flight goaltender, which we believe in. He knows that,” Sweeney added. “He knows he’s a big part of our current team as well as moving forward. Most importantly, he’s got a hell of a long career in front of him as a Boston Bruin.”
Ullmark will start Wednesday when the Bruins play the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. Rask will serve as the backup.