Beantown Express

Boston Bruins Goalie Jeremy Swayman Is Ready To Stake His Claim Between The Pipes

How an NHL player spends the offseason can vary, depending on how things went during the previous campaign. Some spend an abbreviated offseason celebrating a Stanley Cup victory, while others spend time away from the rink nursing injuries or getting ready for training camp. 

 

Jeremy Swayman has spent this offseason preparing for the opportunity of a lifetime as he enters his sophomore season with a golden opportunity to grab hold of the reins as the Boston Bruins starting goaltender.

 

Swayman made his professional debut last season with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence, R.I., turning heads with an impressive 8-1 record with 1.89 goals against average and .933 save percentage. That was enough to earn him a call up with the Bruins in early April.

 

Getting placed in a locker room full of veteran players that Swayman grew up watching could seem a little intimidating, but the team’s fourth round draft pick in 2017 took it all in stride.

 

“It didn’t really feel like I was the new guy in the [Bruins] locker room,” Swayman said. “I wasn’t nervous, a lot of veterans took me under their wing and accepted me as one of their own. 

 

“There’s such class and character in the locker room that it was fun to go to the rink every day. I would watch how [Brad] Marchand and [Patrice] Bergeron took care of their bodies and carry themselves in the locker room and in practice. I also made good buddies with [Jeremy] Lauzon and [Connor] Clifton, who are younger guys and helped me learn the team and the system a little better.” 

 

Along with players in the organization helping him along the way, the skills the 22-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native developed during his three years at the University of Maine served him well. In his final season with the Black Bears, Swayman posted a 2.07 GAA with a .939 save percentage in 34 games on his way to earning the Mike Richter Award at the top goaltender in college hockey. By all accounts, Swayman appeared ready for the pros.

 

“College hockey is a great transitional place for development not only as a hockey player, but a human as well,” he said. “Personally, I had to manage a tight schedule of going to class and then straight to the rink. Sometimes you would have tests right before a game and you had to keep everything organized. It helped me with time management and organizational skills which helped the transition to the pros that much easier.”

 

After an impressive start in Providence, Swayman didn’t miss a beat with the big club, posting a 7-3 record with two shutouts, for a 1.50 GAA and a .945 save percentage in his 10 starts down the stretch. The successful stint made him eager for more and was enough to get him ecstatic for next season.

 

“It was fun to get my feet wet last season,” he said. “But now I’m addicted and want to do everything I can to help the team out. With a world class organization like the Boston Bruins, with its high-class staff and players, there’s a lot of opportunity to get better as a person and a player and I’m going to do whatever I can to learn and do my part to help the team win games.”

 

With the season approaching, the Bruins goaltending situation seems to be in a limbo after veteran netminder Tuuka Rask underwent surgery and is expected to be out of the lineup until early in 2022. Rask also entered the off season as a free-agent, opening the door for Swayman along with Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark to battle it out for the starting nod.

 

“It’s going to be a great opportunity,” Swayman said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to seize it and do whatever I can do to help the team win and be the best teammate I can be. Everyone’s going to pull the rope to help the team get to the Stanley Cup and whatever I can do to help, that’s what I’m going to do.”

 

Before ramping up for what will likely be a golden opportunity, Swayman took some time to return home to Anchorage to spend part of the office season enjoying the extended daylight hours that are the calling card of Alaskan summers.

 

“The main thing I’m focusing on this offseason is making sure my mental game and my on-ice game is right,” he said. “I’m working on my lateral movement, staying on my feet and trusting my feet and edges. 

 

“But, when I’m not on the ice, I’m outside a ton. Whether it’s hunting, fishing, hiking backpacking or biking, it’s all something I love to do out here. The sun’s out about 22 hours a day so I wake up and go to the rink and gym and then do outdoor stuff.” 

 

Michael Reedy is the 2021-23 Brian Fishman Fellow.

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