Bruins fans had been spoiled with reliable goaltending for about a decade, as Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask each ensured that the performance between the pipes would rarely, if ever, be the Bruins’ chief concern.
With Rask’s retirement, the B’s entered a brave new world of uncertainty in net. And while the 2021-2022 season had its ups and downs, goaltending was again one of the B’s smallest concerns in 2022-2023.
Linus Ullmark, fresh off a “fine” first season in Boston, is your likely Vezina Trophy winner, and he combined with Jeremy Swayman to win the Jennings Trophy for the B’s.
If your goalies win the Jennings Trophy, your goalies were not the problem.
Ullmark stands out simply for the ridiculous nature of his numbers (40 wins and a 40-6-3 regular season record), but Swayman was no slouch either.
99.9% of the time during the regular season, you had no concerns about goaltending going into a Bruins game, with the main concern being which one of the outstanding goalies needed rest and which should get the start.
Unfortunately, that all came a bit undone during the playoffs.
Like many of their defense and forward counterparts, the Bruins’ goalies slumped in the first-round series against Florida, and average (or below-average) goaltending was part of what doomed the B’s to a surprising exit.
It’s unfortunate, but the lasting memory of the 2022-2023 goalie campaign will likely be whether or not Jim Montgomery waited too long to start Swayman in the Florida series (he did).
Still, we had plenty of highs and plenty of goalie hugs this season - these guys will be two of the easier ones to rate.
(I know we’ll have some contrarians though, that’s what makes it fun!)