Jeremy Swayman in 2022
Key stats: 23-14-3, .914 save percentage, 2.41 GAA
Other stats: 7.3 GSAA, .784 HD save percentage
Reader rating: 8
Writer rating: 7.3
Jeremy Swayman ended the 2021 season as the presumed future in net for the Bruins.
By the end of the 2022 season, he proved he was ready to be a #1 goalie at the NHL level.
It was a bit of a weird season at times for Swayman. After some impressive outings in end-of-season duty in 2021, most assumed that Swayman would be “the guy” for the Bruins in 2022, with Tuukka Rask’s future in doubt.
Then the Bruins went out and threw a pretty big contract at Linus Ullmark when free agency began, shifting Swayman from the #1 to #1A.
Rask’s return really threw a wrench into things, with Swayman heading back to the AHL prior to Rask’s retirement.
However, it was Swayman who was handed the crease at season’s end, starting five of the seven games against Carolina – and you can’t say he didn’t earn it.
For the most part, Swayman and Ullmark served each other well all season. When Swayman hit a rough patch, Ullmark stepped up; when Ullmark slowed down, Swayman was ready.
The two certainly pushed each other all season, and it’s pretty wild to see just how similar their statlines were by season’s end (Swayman at .914, 2.41; Ullmark at .917, 2.45).
While you’d expect a rookie goalie to have some struggles, Swayman’s season had more ups than downs.
Soft goals happened and he occasionally had trouble tracking pucks or controlling rebounds, but it’s hard to remember any sort of extended run of troubles – when he had an off night, he pretty much always corrected course the next time out.
Swayman won eight consecutive starts from mid-February to mid-March, part of a run of 12 wins in 15 appearances.
He kept the Bruins in the Carolina series with solid outings at home in Games 3 and 4, and at least gave them a fighting chance in Game 7.
Overall, it’s hard to be anything but pleased with the kid’s rookie season.
Compared to his peers, Swayman was the best – he led all eligible rookie goals in wins, GAA, and save percentage.
I suppose the one knock (and “knock” is kind of harsh) is that you might have liked to see Swayman, as the team’s presumed future in net, really seize that starter’s position at some point and not let it go.
Most of that can be attributed more to the solid play of Ullmark than to Swayman’s shortcomings, but as we look ahead to 2022-2023, you wouldn’t say without hesitation that Swayman is the #1.
Of course, I’m nitpicking at this point – Swayman won 23 games, three playoff games, and was the best rookie goalie in the league last year.
You really can’t ask for much more than that.