In some ways, Jeremy Swayman probably got a bit shortchanged in the 2022-2023 season.
By most metrics, he had an outstanding season between the pipes, particularly when you consider it was only his second full season as a professional (excluding his ten-game stint in 2020-2021).
The problem, of course, is that his counterpart had an otherworldly, Vezina-winning season, so Swayman’s looks a little less impressive by comparison.
Still, the facts remain: Swayman was great again for the Bruins last season, giving them a true 1A-1B goalie tandem and easing concerns about the future of the Bruins’ crease after Tuukka Rask’s retirement.
Swayman deserves some credit for Ullmark’s success in a way as well: his strong play made it much easier for Jim Montgomery to feel comfortable rotating his goalies, ultimately easing Ullmark’s workload.
Last season, Swayman improved over the previous campaign in all major goaltending metrics (GAA, save percentage, shutouts, goals saved above average).
At one point in March-April, he won eight consecutive decisions. At another point in December-January, he had points in nine consecutive decisions, winning seven of them.
He also had a run of two consecutive shutouts in March, blanking the Jets and Sabres (both on the road) and making 62 saves in the process.
Swayman’s season wasn’t perfect, of course. He had a couple of stinkers, but that’s to be expected over the course of a season.
Overall, the 24-year-old netminder impressed with another season of stability and another year of growth as a professional (continuing his steady rise since leaving college).
Like Ullmark, Swayman had a disappointing playoffs. You can be excused for wanting to cut him some slack, as it isn’t easy to be tossed the starting role in Game 7.
He wasn’t great in that game, but most will agree that he probably should have appeared prior to the do-or-die contest. We’ll never know if that would have changed things.
Swayman will be back with the B’s next season after getting a one-year, $3.475 million deal through arbitration.
It projects to be another year of “who will take the reins?” between Swayman and Ullmark, which worked out pretty well last season.
Overall, Swayman has performed about as good (if not better) than Bruins fans could have hoped since leaving the University of Maine.
His numbers keep improving, his performances are growing more consistent...the upward trajectory has been impressive, and is one that has given the Bruins one of the league’s best goaltending tandems.