By: Mike Sullivan | Follow me on Twitter @_MikeSullivan
In the Bruins’ 2021-2022 campaign, Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark split the season evenly, playing 41 games a piece. Ullmark posted a record 0f 26-10-2 with a GAA 0f 2.45 and a save percentage of .917. Jeremy Swayman, on the other hand, posted a record of 24-13-3 with a GAA of 2.41 and a save percentage of .914. Swayman had three shutouts; Ullmark had one.
It’s difficult to accurately predict any goaltender’s upcoming season, but it’s always fun to give it a shot. We can estimate realistically based on their play of the previous season. I also like to consider the players’ demeanor on and off the ice to gauge their mental state.
The former University of Maine goaltender constantly emits a calm and relaxed demeanor in the net. Even when the pressure is mounting, it never seems to own any space in his head. That’s huge for any goalie, especially a young 23-year-old like himself. The vast majority of Bruins fans love Swayman, and the support around him is very loud. I personally would favor Swayman over former Buffalo Sabre Linus Ullmark. Now that is not me saying Ullmark stinks and get rid of him, but I believe if you have a 1A and 1B situation in net, Swayman is the A, and Ullmark is the B.
This upcoming season I believe Swayman sees the majority of starts. I’m going to put that number at 50, with Ullmark starting in 32. With the extra workload, Swaymans’ GAA may go up slightly, but his save percentage will rise. I would be astonished if, at season’s end, Swayman has a GAA above 2.50. Now for his save percentage. Seeing more time on the ice will result in him facing far more shots against. That alone should allow him to see a rise in save percentage unless he thoroughly wets his pants. I would like to see a save percentage of .918 or higher. Anything higher than .922 would be him going above and beyond.
Now to explain my take on Ullmark. He’s a sturdy goalie with experience. There’s not much about his game to complain about. He gave you good numbers last year and a chance to win every game he started, with the exception of a few. I trust he’d be more than alright, giving Swayman the majority of starts while still playing in plenty of games himself. With that goalie tandem of Swayman and Ullmark, the potential is there that the Bruins will have one of the most lethal goaltending setups in the league. If Swayman slumps, you can easily rely on Ullmark to step in and be ready to go.
In my honest opinion, I believe Jeremy Swayman has the potential to become a top ten, maybe top five goalies in the league. He’s calm, he’s agile, and he’s shifty between the pipes. The one criticism I have against him would be his rebound control. Learn how to combat that, and his ceiling will continue to rise higher and higher.
I mean, he does wear number one for a reason.