(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

By: Mike Sullivan | Follow me on Twitter @_MikeSullivan

Jeremy Swayman has had a lackluster performance at the beginning of the season, to say the least. His numbers have been below average, the confidence we had all gotten accustomed to seeing last season, and his ability to close up any open space between the pipes seemed to vanish early on in the season.

Since coming into the league in the 2020-2021 season, the Alaskan native seemed to feel right at home in the blue paint until this year. His first full season in the National Hockey League came last year, 2021-2022, where he played so well that his name was thrown into consideration for the Calder Trophy, which, for those who don’t know, is the NHL’s equivalent to the Rookie Of The Year award.

Splitting the 82-game schedule evenly with counterpart goaltender Linus Ullmark, Swayman posted highly respectable numbers of a .914 save percentage and a 2.41 goals-against-average while touting a record of 23-14-3. For any goaltender, those numbers are highly sought after. For a rookie playing at the highest level attainable, they’re stupendous. It’s safe to say fans’ expectations were through the roof.

With Linus Ullmark playing at a Vezina-caliber level, Jeremy Swayman has seen his playing time slow to a pace of a backup. Coming into the year, many fans, including myself, expected a 50/50 split yet again between him and Ullmark. Due to Ullmark’s play, that was rightfully shut down.

As I write this, the Boston Bruins are 25-4-2, leading the NHL in a multitude of statistical categories. Ullmark has started in 20 of the teams’ 31 games, while Swayman has seen 11 starts. So it’s safe to speculate that a potential reason for Jeremy Swayman’s early season struggles could come from a lack of playing time. Not allowing him to find his groove and coming into games with loose legs.

In his 11 starts, Jeremy Swayman has a .895 save percentage, a 2.72 goals-against-average, and a record of 6-3-1. This is remarkable, considering your team is still 25-4-2, head manning the NHL. Thanks, Ullmark.

The fanbase’s frustration came collapsing in last week’s game against Arizona, where Jeremy Swayman allowed four goals on 16 shots, including the first shot of the game. Fans called for him to be traded and sent down to the AHL. Please, relax.

With any player in the National Hockey League, patience is needed in terms of development. It’s his second full season in the league, for crying out loud. Time, experience, and adversity are required when developing a future number-one starter in the league. Swayman has the potential to be a future number-one goalie for this team, and people want to see him shipped off because of a slow start. It’s ludicrous. Be patient.

On a positive note, Jeremy Swayman is 6-0-1 at home with a .932 save percentage and a 1.74 goals-against-average. At home, he seems to be at peace, in tranquility. Unfortunately, the opposite can be said when he starts on the road. He has undoubtedly struggled to begin the year but let’s not look at the sample size of 11 games and throw him to the wolves. Instead, be patient with his development and understand that there will absolutely be bumps in the road.