Bruins goalie shares the story of how close he believed he was to becoming a Maple Leaf

Mike Armenti
August 19, 2023  (11:13)

Whether it be in free agency, trade or the draft, most players have experienced a situation where their NHL career narrowly avoids going down a very different path. Boston Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman's "almost" story occurred at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. During a recent appearance on the Empty Netters Podcast, Swayman shared a story about how he was once convinced that he would be a Maple Leaf, and not a Bruin.

Swayman played his junior hockey for the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL. In his draft year, Swayman posted a record of 7-18-3 - nothing to write home about. However, during that year, he also secured a save percentage of .914 and a 2.90 goals against average - both solid offerings on a losing team.
Heading into the draft, Swayman confirmed that he hadn't received much interest, but one team in specific maintained constant contact. That team was the Toronto Maple Leafs. Swayman received no attention on day 1 of the draft, but day 2 of the draft continued on, the Leafs owned pick #110. When that pick arrived and Swayman was still available, he thought his name might be called. The Buds, instead, opted for Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Ian Scott.
"The fourth round came and Toronto was up 110 and they picked a goalie. It was like ‘Alright, maybe not this year,' that kind of thing. Kind of bummed but at the same time hopeful still cause I talked to other teams."

The disappointment wouldn't last more than a few minutes before the Boston Bruins selected him one pick later, at pick 111. Swayman went onto detail the moment he found out he'd been selected.
"I get a text and it's from my buddy actually from Alaska. He was at the draft and he said ‘Congrats Sway' and I'm like ‘What?'

My phone starts blowing up and it's real. Finally, I'm like reloading this thing on and on and on and it shows up. We had a pretty good celebration. It was totally unexpected which is the coolest part, I think. You're so devastated for one second and the next second it's like a new world opens up. That was a pretty cool experience to share with them, and I'm glad it turned out the way it did.

Things have worked out pretty nicely thus far for Swayman, who is one half of the league's best goaltending tandem last season, along with Linus Ullmark, with whom Swayman has formed a tight bond. Swayman had just endured his first run-in with salary arbitration this summer, going through the process in its entirety with the Bruins and being awarded a 1-year, $3.475M contract. Swayman commented shortly thereafter that he is glad that the process is over and that he would not want to go through the process again. Funny enough - current Leafs netminder Ilya Samsonov went through the same process with the Leafs this season and came out of it with a very similar 1-year, $3.55M award.
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Bruins goalie shares the story of how close he believed he was to becoming a Maple Leaf

Who do you think will have the better season this year between Ilya Samsonov and Jeremy Swayman?

Samsonov for sure19469.3 %
Swayman, without a doubt8630.7 %
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