Bruins

With 9 games left before playoffs, Jeremy Swayman is solidifying himself as Bruins’ backup in net

(Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

Had everything gone according to plan this season, Bruce Cassidy likely wouldn't have had to divert much time to his club's goaltending situation, especially with the playoffs right around the corner.

Ideally, the Bruins would be ready to enter the postseason with their regular tandem in net intact in Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak — while the franchise's pair of young netminders in Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar would continue to earn valuable reps down in Providence.

But, of course, very little has gone according to plan in 2021 — especially in net.

Be it an upper-body injury to Rask that kept him out of action for more than a month or Halak entering COVID-19 protocols for two weeks, the Bruins have had to accelerate their youth movement in net far ahead of projections, with Swayman in particular dropped into a baptism by fire after just nine games of pro experience down in the AHL ranks.

Far from an ideal situation, to say the least. But in a stroke of good fortune, Cassidy might now just have a good problem on his hands.

Sure, the Bruins want to give Halak — limited to just 77 minutes of ice time since the start of April — some reps down the stretch before the postseason gets underway.

But at this point, you'd be hard-pressed to find a viable reason for Swayman to get bumped out of Boston's goalie rotation.