BOSTON — Boston Bruins rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman is pushing his way into the B’s history books with an overwhelmingly impressive start to his NHL career.
The latest accomplishment: A 15-save shutout of the New York Rangers for the 22-year-old youngster in a 4-0 win for the Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday night. There weren’t any head-standing saves in a game that the Bruins dominated from beginning to end, but Swayman still displayed the footwork, confident composure, ability to track pucks and top-notch technique that has so many excited about his goaltending future in Black and Gold.
“I think everyone would agree that goalies who are aggressive and under control generally have a lot of success if they can mix the two well,” said Bruce Cassidy. “That’s what I see. I see a guy that doesn’t get flustered. He’s not barking at the referees or coming to the bench or whatnot. He just seems very composed in there, no matter what happens.”
With the win, Swayman improved to 7-2 with a 1.44 goals against average and a .946 save percentage that has him matching the Boston Bruins start for Hall of Fame legend Mr. Zero, Frank Brimsek.
That game was brutal but this is wild. Swayman is good. pic.twitter.com/UqocHHG0wD
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) May 7, 2021
That’s as impressive as it gets for a rookie, and it has essentially aced Jaroslav Halak out of the backup goaltender spot headed into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
That’s probably the main culprit behind Halak’s complete nutty as he left the ice following an overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils earlier this week.
Jaroslav Halak not loving the OT loss pic.twitter.com/qbuY5Otidq
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) May 5, 2021
Perhaps best of all is the giant smile Swayman is sporting underneath the goaltending mask when he’s out on the ice. The first-year goalie is vocal communicating with his teammates on the ice, energetic with his joy and passion for goaltending and uncommonly poised when it comes to dealing with situations for the first time as an NHL goaltender.
Combine Swayman’s strong makeup with his abilities to stop the puck on the ice, and it would appear the Boston Bruins have something truly special here. It’s something his Boston Bruins teammates sense down the stretch as they get ready for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“He’s having a blast and he’s playing well,” said Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who has had a front row seat to the entire thing. “The attitude he has and the way he carries himself, he loves to have fun at the rink and it’s awesome. It’s contagious. For him to come in and play the way he has, it’s a testament to where he’s at one year removed from college.
“Seeing him come in and make the impact he’s had has been great. His attitude is awesome. It’s off the charts. He’s always smiling, and he talks a lot on the ice, which is helpful for the D-men. He’s having a heck of a time and it’s awesome.”
The only question now is how good Swayman can be at the NHL level and how quickly he can get there. The way that he’s played the last two months paves the way for the rookie netminder getting a look in the Stanley Cup playoffs if anything goes sideways with Tuukka Rask, and it certainly puts him in the likely spot as Rask’s backup for next season.
It was impossible to imagine any of this at the beginning of the year when Swayman was just entering his first year as a pro hockey player coming out of college, but it’s a testament to just how historically good the young goaltender is proving to be.