Bruins Trade Talk
Murphy: Trade Speculation On Bruins Goaltending Continues
NHL trade speculation on the goaltending situation for the Boston Bruins continues to swirl with just over five weeks until the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
When asked what he was hearing on Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark being available on the NHL trade market, an NHL executive source had this to say to Boston Hockey Now recently:
“I think they are thinking about whether to run with just one of the two guys. That’s my take.”
Obviously that’s speculation but there’s been plenty of it when it comes to Linus Ullmark. If that speculation proves to be accurate with the Boston Bruins team brass is thinking, who are just over three weeks into their 2023 offseason, the consensus amongst numerous NHL scouts, hockey operations, and agent sources is that 24-year-old Jeremy Swayman would be the guy the Bruins would run with in the 2023-24 regular season.
“The Bruins have got some real hard choices right now, and is what it is,” another NHL source told Boston Hockey Now on Tuesday. “Ullmark has to be the guy if they’re dealing a goalie. That would bring cap relief, draft picks they don’t have and maybe more. I’m sure the Oilers, the Leafs, the Devils, the Penguins. …they’d line up for him. His value will never be higher.”
Linus Ullmark is entering the third season of a four-year, $20 million ($5M AAV), contract and has a 16-team no-trade clause. Swayman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and is most certainly in line for a decent pay raise from the $1.05M AAV his contract carried for the last three seasons.
Those observations above fall in line with what a former NHL executive source opined to BHN just two days after the Boston Bruins finished an epic collapse to the Florida Panthers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“Teams called on Ullmark last summer and I can tell you that they at least listened to trade offers on Ullmark because the team I was working for then was one of the teams calling on him,” the source told Boston Hockey Now on May 2. “We figured why not try after he had a shaky playoff series and they had Swayman on the rise with his contract up this offseason. Ullmark is at a doable cap hit for most teams. I could see him moved this offseason.”
With Ullmark (3-3, 3.33 GAA, .896 save percentage in the playoffs), looking nothing like the Vezina Trophy finalist (40-6-1, 1.98 GAA, .938 save percentage), he was in a record-breaking season for the Bruins in the first six games of the seven-game series loss to the Florida Panthers NHL trade buzz began to swirl around Ullmark. The same source believed that Ullmark would still have NHL trade value even after his struggles against the Panthers, and that reports of a ‘debilitating and painful injury’ wouldn’t scare off interested teams.
“That depends if that injury can be corrected with surgery, I would think,” the aforementioned former NHL executive source said. “If his health isn’t an issue, I don’t think teams are going to let the playoff performance completely rule him out as a goalie option. Also, he is the likely reigning Vezina winner, so he will have value. If I’m the Bruins, I definitely explore it, and don’t forget they got the kid in Providence coming too.”
The kid in Providence is 24-year-old Brandon Bussi, who went 22-5-4 with a 2.40 GAA and .924 save percentage with the P-Bruins in the AHL this season.
The Read Here: If the Bruins can find a way to make it work with the salary cap, they should do all they can to keep this 2023 Jennings Trophy-winning tandem together to at least start the season. Having two goalies like Ullmark and Swayman, is something all NHL teams wish for.
Don Sweeney needs to explore trading Ullmark. He is unlikely to duplicate last season and the B’s need to get cap relief as well as draft picks back that Sweeney gave up with all trades he’s made over the past few seasons.