The Boston Bruins fans have spoken and it’s pretty clear who they want in night opening night.
In a recent Twitter poll conducted by Causeway Crowd where fans were asked if they wanted to see Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark as the opening night starter, nearly 81% of the 78 voters that participated voted for Swayman. Pretty decisive outcome.
Is it a surprise? Not really. Swayman came onto the scene last season due to injuries in the net and immediately became a fan favorite. In 10 starts he compiled a 7-3-0 record, 1.50 GAA and a .945 SV%. He followed the end of the last year with an exceptional preseason, seeing time in three games, finishing with a 1-0-1 record, 1.99 GAA and .932 SV%.
Ullmark, on the other hand, has not pleased many fans. After signing a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason, Ullmark struggled in his preseason appearances. In three games, he finished with a 0-0-2 record, a 3.90 GAA and a .839 SV%. His highlight was the OT blunder against the New York Rnagers where he turned the puck over right to Alexis Lafrenière who promptly put it in the back of the net, so it’s fair to say he hasn’t left a great first impression on Bruins fans.
Are the Bruins fans right in wanting Swayman for opening night?
Of course, it’s just the preseason. Also, it’s just the fans, let alone Bruins fans. It’s the same fans that were calling for Tuuka Rask’s head for years despite being one of the best goaltenders in hockey, so everything should be taken with a grain of salt.
However, there’s no denying the preseason numbers. Ullmark did not look like the best goalie in Boston through training camp and the preseason. It was clear that Swayman outplayed him and you would think he gets the nod opening night.
This was going to be one of the main story lines for the Bruins heading into the season — just how would coach Bruce Cassidy handle the two goaltenders? On one hand, he has a proven NHL goaltender who actually had pretty good numbers with one of the worst defenses in front of him last season. On the other, you have a young, budding goaltender who was looked excellent so far, but only has 10 NHL games of experience.
To be honest, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Cassidy go either way. I do agree with the fans that Swayman should be the starter. But Ullmark was brought in to be the No. 1 goalie and have Swayman compliment him.
It’s not only a matter of time before we find out the answer, with less than a week until the season opener.