Player: Jeremy Swayman
Last Season: University of Maine
Stats: 18-11-5 | .939 SV% | 2.07 GAA
Acquired: 2017 Draft – 4th round, 111th overall
While the Bruins appear to be set in net right now, Swayman could very well be the heir-apparent to Tuukka Rask. And if his three years and 100 games at Maine are any indication, he’s the type of goaltender that can win some big games in high-intensity atmospheres.
Swayman was taken in the fourth round of a goaltender-heavy draft back in 2017. While he may not have had the junior pedigree of Jake Oettinger or Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Swayman consistently improved over the past three years at the collegiate level.
In his last NCAA season, Swayman won the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s best college goalie and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
While there’s no doubt he was ready to turn pro, Swayman never got to make his debut, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down minor league hockey for the year just as he was preparing to make the jump.
Regardless, it won’t be long before Swayman gets his shot at the AHL level.
One major question mark for the 2020-21 season will be his playing time. The Bruins also have Kyle Keyser in their organization and have Dan Vladar as a restricted free agent; he’ll likely sign back with Boston.
With Jaroslav Halak re-signing in Boston, there’s no space for Vladar to move up a level and create more ice time for Swayman/Keyser.
That log jam may be troublesome for the young goaltender, but it could also prove vital to help him raise his game.
Despite the pause in play, Swayman is staying in shape and doing so in a unique fashion: the Alaska native has been running in the mountains of his home state every day. In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, Swayman talked about the training he’s been doing:
“Then I eat lunch, and then I get up into the mountains,” he said. “It’s basically been a mountain a day. Mountain running’s great. You can really isolate yourself, it’s great cardio, of course, and it’s a mental break.”
Also in that same story, Red Gendron, who spoke at a recent webinar for USA Hockey, talked about how far Swayman has come along during his three years in Orono.
“We got a tip about Jeremy,” he said, “and the first time any of us went out to see him play, it was clear he has extraordinary athleticism. You could see he had the mobility and puck-tracking skills we have been accustomed to seeing from someone like Jonathan Quick.”
While it’s tough to expect a lot from a player in his first year as a pro, Swayman has the mentality to make it at the next level and should hopefully begin to shape into a starting-caliber goaltender in a short amount of time.
Projection for next year: A full season in Providence, earning the starting job by year’s end.