It's not a controversial take to say that the goalie tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman has been the best part of the Bruins this season. With Ullmark sporting a .919 save percentage and 2.52 GAA after winning the Vezina Trophy last year and Swayman owning a .920 save percentage and 2.29 GAA, the pair that won the Jennings Trophy are off to terrific starts again as the Bruins remain one of the best teams in hockey.
On a rotating schedule of starts this season with both goalies playing extremely well, the mettle of Swayman will be tested. In overtime of Tuesday's game against the Arizona Coyotes, Ullmark had to be helped off the ice by Kevin Shattenkirk and Jake DeBrusk after sustaining an injury.
After trying to make a save on a shot from Logan Cooley, Ullmark departed in obvious pain, forcing Swayman into action. He couldn't make the save on the only shot he faced, giving the Coyotes the win in overtime. Jim Montgomery said Ullmark had a lower-body injury but didn't know the extent of the seriousness.
Should Ullmark have to miss an extended period, it's no secret that Swayman would take on a full-time starting role for however long Ullmark would be out. While we hope the injury to Ullmark isn't serious, the question has to be raised of who the next man up is in the aftermath.
Who is the next man up on the Bruins goalie depth chart?
The answer to that question appears to be Brandon Bussi. The same age as Swayman, Bussi has spent the last two seasons with the AHL Providence Bruins after Boston signed him as an undrafted free agent from Western Michigan University.
Bussi was an AHL All-Star last season and is having a solid year in Providence, currently holding a .901 save percentage and 2.94 GAA to go with a 10-6-3 record in 20 games. He was called up a few times at the end of last season and once this year when Swayman had an illness but has not made his NHL debut yet.
There is still a chance that Bussi doesn't make his NHL debut in his latest call up to the big club. The Bruins have six games until a back-to-back scenario on January 24th against the Carolina Hurricanes and January 25th against the Ottawa Senators.
They have at least one day in between each game before that, so it stands to reason that Swayman figures to start those games if Ullmark isn't back by then. However, if the team decides to start him against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, it would set up for a clash of P-Bruins goalies with Jordan Binnington on the other side of the ice. Remember Binnington's one season in Providence?
With Bussi likely making the trip to Vegas to meet the Bruins ahead of Thursday's game, the P-Bruins can open up some time for Kyle Keyser to get some run in goal. Keyser has been buried behind Bussi and Michael DiPietro and hasn't played an AHL game since November. He hadn't played at all until recently when he got in two games with the ECHL Maine Mariners.
In Tuesday's game against the Coyotes, the Bruins also lost a member of the forward group. Matt Poitras, playing in his third game since returning from the World Junior Championships, left the game with an upper-body injury. The seriousness is unclear as of Wednesday afternoon.