Photo credit: Bostonhockeynow.com

Leafs passed on ability to draft goaltender about to eliminate them

Published April 30, 2024 at 11:41

In a tale ripe with irony and what-ifs, the Toronto Maple Leafs' ongoing saga against the Boston Bruins in the playoffs has been dramatically shaped by one player: Jeremy Swayman. The Bruins' goaltender, who has stood like a colossus between the posts, boasts statistics that scream "Vezina-worthy." Over the past two seasons, his performance has been nothing short of a revelation, with a dazzling .956 save percentage, a miserly 1.34 GAA, and a mind-boggling 8.5 goals saved above expected in this series alone.

The twist in the narrative, however, harks back to the 2017 NHL Draft—a moment etched in what-if history. The Leafs, known for their draft day blunders, had a golden opportunity to secure Swayman. They were positioned one pick before Boston in the fourth round and had even expressed significant interest in him.

Swayman himself believed he was destined to wear a Leafs jersey. Yet, in a decision that has become almost lore, Toronto chose another goalie who has since vanished from the professional hockey scene.

This decision looms large now more than ever as the Leafs face Swayman's formidable presence in the playoffs. With the Bruins goalie recording three wins in three games against Toronto this year, the what-ifs are painful.

The narrative of the Leafs' draft missteps isn't new, but missing out on Swayman is a particularly bitter pill to swallow given his current form against them. As the Leafs struggle to capitalize on their chances, one can't help but ponder how different the scenario might be if Swayman were in their crease instead of thwarting them from the opposite end of the ice.

For more insights and reactions to this storyline, visit the detailed discussion here:

April 30   |   211 answers
Leafs passed on ability to draft goaltender about to eliminate them

Are the Leafs doing better in the playoffs without Swayman?

Yes, they desperately need a goalie8640.8 %
No, they'll always find a way to lose12559.2 %
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