The Boston Bruins have been lucky to have Tuukka Rask in net for the last decade, but they may already have his successor waiting in the wings. Here’s why UMaine’s Jeremy Swayman is the netminder of the future.
Some may still doubt his “big game” resume, however he has often selflessly done what was best for the club, including accepting decreased starts in recent seasons to better manage his workload come spring.
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Never the less, Rask is getting up there in age, and has recently hinted at hanging up the skates in the near future. So who could replace the B’s tender from Finland?
Enter Jeremy Swayman; an Alaskan-born prospect who just wrapped up a stellar career with the University of Maine Black Bears.
In case you’re not a follower of college hockey, Swayman had an impressive past season in particular.
Along with a strong group of seniors, he led UMaine to an inevitable conference tournament appearance and a nearly perfect record in their own barn.
Though the season was cut short due to COVID-19, in all Swayman boasted a 2.07 GAA and a .939 save percentage over 34 GP.
This was certainly enough to earn Swayman some hardware. Since season’s end, Swayman has been named both the conference player and goaltender of the year and an ACHA All-American.
In addition, he was named the Mike Richter Award winner for the nation’s best goalie and the Walter Brown Award winner for the player in the nation who exhibits the best sportsmanship, skill, and team spirit.
Last but not least, he’s been named a Hobey Baker finalist. For those who may not be familiar with the award, it is essentially the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in college football.
No UMaine hockey player has won the Hobey Baker award since Paul Kariya in 1993. Similarly, no goaltender has won the award since fellow American-born player Ryan Miller in 2001.
Earlier this past March, Swayman signed his contract with the Boston Bruins and finally became a pro. He had originally been drafted by the Bruins 111th overall in 2017.
While he has an impressive resume, Swayman likely needs a couple seasons of pro hockey under his belt before we even think about him taking over the reins.
Rask is under contract through the 2021 season before he becomes a UFA. It remains to be seen what his plans are or what the Bruins plan on doing before then. Beyond that, the specific future of the NHL calendar is still unknown too due to the virus outbreak.
But if the Boston Bruins are indeed grooming Rask’s inevitable replacement, it’s clear they have a viable and strong candidate in Swayman. The goaltender of the future? Yeah, he’s here.