What the Goaltending Shakeup Means For Jeremy Swayman

( Photo Credit: USA Today )

By: Sam Minton | Follow me @sam_minton22

The Boston Bruins announced a flurry of moves as free agency opened up on Wednesday. One of the positions with the greatest impact is in between the pipes. The biggest move seems to be the acquisition of Linus Ullmark. The 27-year-old goaltender signed a 4-year-deal with Boston with an average annual cap hit of $5 million.

B’s fans will be very familiar with Ullmark, seeing that he spent his entire career up to this point with the Buffalo Sabres. In his six-year career, he boasts a record of 50-47-13 with a save percentage of .912 along with a goals-against-average of 2.78. While those numbers might not seem great, he did play for one of the worst teams in the entire NHL.

Ullmark wasn’t the only goaltender that Boston brought in. The Bruins also signed goalie Troy Grosenick to a one-year, two-way contract with an NHL cap hit of $750,000. Last season he started two games for the LA Kings and had a 1-1-0 record with a .922 save percentage.

Boston also decided to part ways with Daniel Vladar. The Bruins sent the young goaltender to the Calgary Flames for a 2022 third-round pick. While this move stings because it was great cheering on Vladar, but the fact that Boston was able to get a third-round pick is quite impressive.

Bruins fans also got an update on Tuukka Rask courtesy of Don Sweeney. Boston’s GM said that they need to allow Rask time and that the door is always open. Sweeney also said that he spoke to Rask on Wednesday.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie also reported that Rask recently underwent hip surgery and that he is expected to be out for five to six months. At that timeframe, Rask won’t be ready until the end of the year or early 2022.

What all this means for Jeremy Swayman

With the amount of money Boston spent on Ullmark, it seems like he will be the starting goaltender moving forward. You do not commit to a contract with a cap hit of $5 million for four years for a backup goaltender. Ullmark has a decent amount of NHL experience and is still rather young. He could continue to help Swayman grow as a professional as Boston prepares to likely hand him the starting goaltending position in the relatively near future. When Rask is healthy enough to return, he and Ullmark will be competing heading into the playoffs.

With Vladar gone, there is no doubt that Swayman is the backup goaltender. After his performance in 2021, he left the Bruins no choice. In 10 games, he had a record of 7-3-0 with a .945 save percentage and 1.50 goals against average. Swayman came into the NHL and didn’t flinch. It seems as though his days in the AHL are over. In the upcoming season, it’s hard to think that Swayman will all of a sudden wither in between the pipes. Ullmark is basically a fail-safe in case Swayman hits some road bumps.

Depending on how many games Swayman plays and his performance, it seems like Boston is a season or two away from making the 22-year-old the starter. Hopefully, Boston will then be able to restructure Ullmark’s contract or ship him off for a cheaper option. So Jeremy Swayman isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it looks like he will be a major part of Boston’s roster in the upcoming season.

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