By: Benjamin Aliber | Follow me on Twitter @bpaliber24
Going into the 2022-23 season, Boston had a difficult choice to make. Were they going to start Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark? After only a few games, the choice became clear on who the number one goalie would be, but that does depreciate the value of what the former would bring to the table.
Do not forget, Swayman was sensational last season as he ended with a record of 23-14-3, a stat line of 2.41 GAA, and a .914 save percentage. However, this year has been a bit different, as the youngster has been off to a slow and unimpressive start, unlike his counterpart. Swayman has only appeared in four games this season due to injury (which we will get to in a moment).
In those four games, three of which he has started, Boston has gone 2-1. So with 16 games gone, why so little playing time? On November 1st, in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Patrice Bergeron was chasing down a puck in the defensive zone and lost his edge. He slid straight into Swayman, which flexed his leg and pushed it back against the post in a scary-looking moment we later saw on replay.
He would be taken out of the game due to this injury, a game that NHL fans will not forget for a very long time. The Bruins went into the third down two and would cement a three-goal comeback which started late in the second period. That game went into overtime, where Boston won off a Hampus Lindholm snapshot.
So, how does all this come to par and relate to Jeremy Swayman? Well, Boston played that game for him! Swayman has shown his fight to get back and is ahead of schedule! Something has to be in the water these players are drinking; maybe it’s even the Bio Steel, but McAvoy, Marchand, and now the goalie of the future back ahead of schedule shows just how excellent the training staff is.
Ullmark has been lucky, really lucky, and playing the best hockey of his life; that is not a debate; that is a fact. But sooner or later, Boston will need to give him a break slowly, and that is where Swayman comes back. He can take the edge off and give needed rest days. He has also solidified himself as an NHL player and can be put in stressful games based on what we saw last season.
The Bruins need this return just as much as Jeremy does. They have tremendous depth throughout their lineup, which further bolsters their essence as Stanley Cup contenders.
Though it is not official, he could be in the net as soon as Saturday as the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.