The Boston Bruins haven’t dubbed goalie Jeremy Swayman as their starter for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and truth be told, they may not do so until they’re within a few days of the postseason that kicks off on May 2. However, not that you needed Captain Obvious to help you figure it out, Swayman is the man and it’s his job to lose down the stretch as the Bruins jockey for home advantage in the first round.
Based on post trade deadline chatter around the NHL over the past week, one has to wonder if that’s been the plan not only since veteran goalie Tuukka Rask ended his comeback bid and retired back on Feb. 9, or even before that. Since last offseason when the Boston Bruins started to be mentioned in NHL trade rumors surrounding Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, the rumor was that if the Boston Bruins wanted the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Chychrun in black and gold by the March 21 trade deadline that just passed, Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong was insisting Jeremy Swayman be part of any package that would get Chychrun to the Bruins.
Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney wouldn’t budge though, not with Armstrong and not with any other interested general manager, and there were plenty according to one NHL executive source.
“Don had plenty of big time trade offers if he wanted to trade Swayman,” the source told Boston Hockey Now recently. ‘The Bruins weren’t ever trading Swayman. He’s the man for awhile.”
The Boston Bruins rookie goalie is now 19-8-3 with a 2.09 GAA and a .925 save percentage. Swayman was named NHL Rookie Of The Month in February after going 5-1-1 with a 1.13 GAA and a .960 save percentage, both of which were first among all goalies with at least five starts during the month. Swayman didn’t rest on his accolades though and in March he has helped backstop the Bruins back into position to gain home advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Swayman has won ten of his last eleven starts and the magnitude of big games like this past Monday in Montreal against the Bruins’ arch-rivals, the Montreal Canadiens or this past Thursday against the Lightning, don’t just not phase him but he seems to embrace and enjoy them.
“As for Swayman, like I said, I don’t think the moments bother him at all, a bit like (Charlie) McAvoy like that as a young guy,” head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the 3-2 win over the Habs at the Bell Centre Monday. “There are exceptions when they come in as young players that can rise up as the temperature of the game goes up and the importance of the game, their game goes up. And Swayman seems to be that guy, too.”
Of course, if Swayman was going to be the man along, then why did Sweeney sign Linus Ullmark to a four-year contract that carries a $5 million cap hit?
“That was a baffling one but I’d rather him than [Dan] Vladar as my backup in the playoffs,” the same source said.
Despite not budging on Swayman, Sweeney was still able to land the top defenseman after Chychrun on the market in Hampus Lindholm, and with a solidified top 4 on the blue line and Swayman playing lights out, the Bruins are a legit Stanley Cup contender.