The Boston Bruins have had two of the best goaltenders in hockey over the last two seasons in Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman.
Despite a platooned effort in the regular season, Ullmark put together one of the most dominant seasons in Bruins goalie history. In his 49 starts, the Swede boasted a 40-6-1 record, a 1.89 goals-against-average, a .938 save percentage, and won the 2022-2023 Vezina Trophy given to the NHL’s top goaltender.
In 2023-24, it looks like it could be Swayman’s turn. The 25-year-old Alaskan has the third-shortest odds to win the award according to FanDuel Sportsbook behind only Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck and Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko. Here are the odds:
2023-24 Vezina Trophy Odds
Connor Hellebuyck -115
Thatcher Demko +340
Jeremy Swayman +650
Jacob Markstrom +2000
Sergei Bobrovsky +2000
Swayman has put up a 16-3-7 record through his 26 starts in 2023-24. His 2.30 goals-against-average is good for third in the NHL and his .924 save percentage is tied for second. He was also named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
“After dealing with what I did this summer with arbitration,” Swayman explained following his All-Star selection. “Hearing things that a player should never hear, it feels pretty special to be in this situation.”
The goalie went to arbitration this past summer following a disagreement with the front office on compensation and was awarded a $3.475 million salary, essentially in the middle of his request for $4.8 million and the Bruins’ offer of $2 million.
Though Boston’s goalie situation, as mentioned above, is clearly one of the better in hockey given the sheer talent in the room, the way head coach Jim Montgomery will play the two into the postseason is often questioned. Following the platoon they put together last regular season (49 starts for Ullmark, 33 for Swayman), they went with Ullmark for the majority of their seven-game series against Florida that they ultimately lost. A decision that Montgomery a) regrets and b) doesn’t see himself moving forward with in 2024:
“For sure,” Boston’s head coach said back in November when asked if he’d be comfortable playing both goalies throughout the postseason.
Montgomery continued (via Boston.com): “I think it’s a comfort zone. I think as long as our lines of communication [are open] like when Goalie Bob and I met with the goalies at the start of this year. [Ullmark and Swayman are] a luxury that allows us to be an elite team. That’s why we, in my opinion, had such a great record last year. It’s surely why we’re having a great regular season this year. And we just tell them upfront that we’re going to be alternating. You guys are both integral parts of why our team can be really good, and it’s bearing out that way. And the fact that they support each other so well, really it’s the best outward example of why our culture is so good.”
“We can’t think about playoffs until we get there,” Swayman said about a potential platoon. “That’s the biggest thing — is just getting to the playoffs right now.”