Reader Rating: 8.6
SCoC Rating: 7.7
Jeremy Swayman is, by all accounts, a fantastic goaltender that should probably have seen more recognition than he has. Maybe it’s his Anchorage heritage, maybe it’s playing for UMaine, and maybe being in one of the better USA teams at the World Juniors where he could get lost in the shuffle, but if people wanted a do-over on how people see american goaltenders, it’d be hard right now to not say Jeremy Swayman might be the most interesting not-John Gibson American goaltender in the league at the moment.
If only because he is now probably going to be a name Bruins fans are about to be intimately familiar with, alongside Linus Ullmark, of course.
Swayman came in relief of Jaroslav Halak who tested positive for COVID in April, and he definitely showed why the Black Bears would end up missing him, as in an uncharacteristically shot-heavy night for the Flyers, he would turn away 40 in a 4-2 victory. Not bad for a dude who’s impressive debut got immediately upstaged by the captain getting a hatty!
And for the next nine games he started after that, he absolutely looked like the future of this team; finishing with a record of 7-3-0, distinguishing himself as an actual crazy person for enjoying shootouts, and quickly earning the job of backup, and then eventually starter as it became clear Tuukka Rask would need time away to repair his Labrum tear.
Really, if you could say anything about Swayman’s effort this year, it’s that a sobering fact of him having human limitations; he’s a good goaltender, but also in the butterfly goaltending style. So yeah; shots are gonna occasionally go over his head if he can’t get his body up for it, and even a dude who can be expected to put up incredible numbers like he can can’t hold the gates forever if the Bruins aren’t gonna meet him half-way.
He certainly got a good taste of that during the playoffs.
Really, that’s what makes Swayman’s career so frustrating in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with himself; He’s played on far too many teams as The Good Player™; the only beacon of hope playing with a bunch of guys who can’t live up to the SV%’s he gives them, robbing him of the recognition he deserves. He got his shot with the Providence Bruins and thrived. He got his chance in relief of Halak and thrived. He played with Team USA and thrived (kinda). But never for a championship. Circumstances or the pandemic always robbed him.
Now he gets his shot to thrive at the highest level of the game.
So thankfully, Boston might be the team to finally catapult him into the stardom and success his performances show he is perfectly able to live up to.
Let’s just hope the players in front of him follow their end of the bargain.