The news of the impending return of Tuukka Rask has Bruins fans everywhere rejoicing. But does it have Jeremy Swayman wondering about his job security?
Swayman is exempt from waivers, which means he can be sent to Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence without the danger of being claimed by another NHL team. That, and the fact that he could appear on the team’s taxi squad, makes him an easy choice to demote over Linus Ullmark should Boston decide not to carry three goaltenders on the NHL roster.
Still, head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters Thursday he would consider other factors when deciding what to do when Rask eventually returns to the NHL.
“That he does not need waivers doesn’t mean he’ll be the guy to go,” Cassidy told reporters, via Eric Russo of BostonBruins.com. “You have a taxi squad. I think you’d be able to move Swayman on there … It could be that way. I think if you ask any goalie, one net for three goalies at some point becomes a challenge.
“But we’ll do whatever we have to do to get everyone in the right spot. At the end of the day, I’ll say this about any position: you never want a young player that’s still in development, still building his game to a certain extent, sitting out too long, whether he’s a goalie, (defenseman) or forward. So we have to manage that if it does become Swayman. But by the same token, if he’s given us the best chance to win, then we’ve got to factor it in that that he needs his fair share of starts.”
Swayman and Ullmark have split time between the pipes this season and put up pretty similar statistics. The rookie has started 15 games for Boston and boasts an 8-5-2 record with a 2.20 goals against average and .920 save percentage, while Ullmark is 9-5 through 14 starts with a 2.58 GAA and .917 save percentage.
For what it’s worth, Swayman was the ultimate professional when he was asked about Rask’s return in December, noting the veteran was a “great mentor.” Rask on Thursday similarly explained the relationship he has with both Swayman and Ullmark.
“Obviously people from the outside are looking at controversy,” Rask said. “There’s always going to be controversy when you play in Boston. So far, in sharing the net with Sway and Linus in practices, we get along great, and it’s been good.”
Rask on Thursday inked a professional tryout with the Providence Bruins and is expected to get the start Friday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The 34-year-old, who spent his free-agent offseason rehabbing from hip surgery, does not have a contract with Boston but said there is “a plan in place.”