The Bruins hockey operations hasn’t shuttered completely amidst the regular-season suspension as they’ve signed a couple of college players after their seasons came to premature ends.
The B's haven’t made it official as of yet, but they have still inked University of Maine goaltending prospect Jeremy Swayman and free agent University of Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Nick Wolff to entry-level contracts this week.
The Swayman deal is a three-year entry-level contract with a cap value of $925,000 and the Wolff contract is a one-year deal with a $792,500 cap hit.
Swayman was a 2017 fourth-round pick of the Bruins and became the first University of Maine goalie to win Hockey East Player of the Year honors on Thursday. During the Hockey East regular season, the 21-year-old Swayman led the league in saves (782), save percentage (.932) and tied for the lead in shutouts (3) while his 12 wins in Hockey East tied for second.
The junior’s 782 saves in conference action is the 10th-most of any goaltender in league history and the highest single-season total since 2010-11. He also finished second in the nation with an overall .939 save percentage.
The 23-year-old Wolff is a rugged, hard-hitting defenseman who made an impression over B’s development camps in the last two summers with his assertive, physical style to go along with his 6-foot-4, 217-pound size. Wolff never had more than seven goals or 18 points in a season with Minnesota-Duluth, so clearly the Bruins have him in mind as another big-bodied and rugged shutdown defenseman in the Kevan Miller mold.
As far as Swayman goes, he’s the next great hope for the Bruins as a No. 1 goaltender with Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser already going through the pro hockey ranks with mixed results.
The 21-year-old Keyser played in six games for the Providence Bruins this season with a 3.21 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage, and also spent time in the East Coast League. The 22-year-old Vladar, on the other hand, had a 1.79 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 25 games for the P-Bruins this season and looks like an NHL goaltender in the making.
It’s not inconceivable that the Bruins have a fallback plan for next season that could have the 6-foot-5, 185-pound Vladar vie for the backup role in Boston if Jaroslav Halak doesn’t return as a high-priced understudy for Tuukka Rask.