The question Boston Bruins fans have all been pondering all preseason finally has its answer.
Coach Bruce Cassidy announced on Friday that Jeremy Swayman will be the starting goaltender for Saturday’s season opener against the Dallas Stars.
The 22-year-old goaltender bursted onto the scene at the end of last season after excelling in the AHL. He beat out goaltender Linus Ullmark for the starting role, who the Bruins signed this offseason to a four-year deal.
While Swayman gets the nod on opening night, I would imagine rotating a 50-50 split between the two is likely the most logical plan for the Bruins this season.
Starting Swayman is the right decision for the Bruins
It was pretty clear in the preseason who the better goaltender was.
Swayman finished with a 1-0-1 record, 1.99 GAA and .932 SV% in three appearances during the preseason. He was the starter Bruins fans felt deserved it and Cassidy clearly agreed.
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%., including a massive blunder in OT against the New York Rangers where he turned the puck over to Alexis LaFrenière who has an easy empty net to shoot in for the win.
It may not come as a huge shock. Cassidy had hinted at it prior to the official announcement. He mentioned Friday morning on Toucher and Rich of 98.5 The Sports Hub that while he would name a starter then, “Swayman’s a little ahead of Ullmark right now.”
By going with Swayman, Cassidy showed that the team has faith in the young goaltender. Sure, he only started in 10 games in the regular season last year. But he’s passed every eye test thus far and done everything the coaching staff has asked of him. Despite being a rookie, he sure does not look like a first-year in the net.
The way Cassidy handles the two will be something to watch. As mentioned above, a 50-50 split seems likely, as long as the results aren’t drastically different. Ultimately, expect Cassidy to use the split-method to start, but eventually ride whoever is hot.
But to kick off the season, Cassidy went with the only right decision to make.