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Murphy: Arbitration, While Unlikely, Is An Option For Swayman

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The common belief around the NHL is that the Boston Bruins and goalie Jeremy Swayman will find common ground on a multi-year year extension by the June 28-29 NHL Entry Draft in Las Vegas.

The NHL betting odds that doesn’t happen are pretty low.

One NHL executive source told Boston Hockey Now about a potential long-term deal between the 25-year-old netminder and the Bruins.

“I’d say 6×6,” the source suggested on May 20. “He’s earned it, and he’s arguably the best American goalie and an elite goalie in the NHL now.”

There have been plenty of rumors about what Swayman’s camp is asking out there since then, and there will be plenty more until either pen goes to paper on a new contract for Swayman or, and this seems highly unlikely but possible, Swayman elects to go to arbitration again with the Boston Bruins, as he did last year when he was awarded a one-year, $3.48 million contract.

This puck scribe found it interesting that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney last week, made a point to clarify that it was Swayman, not the team, who decided to elect arbitration last summer. Sweeney also made it clear that the Bruins have been trying to extend Swayman throughout this past regular season.

“Well it’s clearly a priority, and Jeremy [Swayman] knows, I told him, he took us to arbitration just for clarity,” Sweeney said in the team’s end-of-season press conference last Wednesday. “Again, that’s part of it is no different than Trent Frederic and not being able to settle. Sometimes those things happen, of course, and it’s not an indication of whether or not we didn’t believe in Jeremy Swayman or whether or not we don’t think he could have been part of our future. We clearly engaged in conversation during the regular season to define the longer-term extension; we haven’t gotten there yet; it’s a priority now, and it will continue to be a priority until we get that across the finish line.”

He’s a big part of our current team, our record in playoffs, and our future. Our goaltending is arguably one of the best tandems in the National Hockey League, and they proved that during the course of the season. They put us in the situation most nights to have an opportunity to win. The priority will be to find a landing spot with Jeremy.”

This past season, Jeremy Swayman proved that he is ready to assume the Boston Bruins’ No. 1 goalie role. He went 6-6 with a 2.15 GAA and a .933 save percentage in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This followed up a brilliant regular season that saw the 25-year-old, 6-foot-3, 195-pound netminder go 25-10-8 with a 2.53 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Now, Swayman is set to become a restricted free agent with NHL arbitration rights on July 1 and is expected to hit pay dirt.

Rightfully so, and the Bruins better be ready to show him the money. I’ll be honest: I’ve always respected and still respect the way the Bruins maintain their stance in contract negotiations and find a way to lock up their guys long-term to what always ends up being a bargain. Can they do that with Swayman now?

I’m not sure because I think with the cap finally going up and the playoffs once again showing how valuable goalies are, the Bruins are going to have to bend. If they don’t and it gets to July 1, then Swayman’s camp may just say, ‘We can play hardball too. Let’s go to arbitration again!’

There’s no way the reward doesn’t favor Swayman, and now his price goes even higher when that contract’s done. The NHL bettor would likely wager that to be in the area of $9.5 million per season.

 

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