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Looks Like The Bruins Are Bringing Back The Goalie Hug

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Boston Bruins

With the NHL trade and free agent markets saturated with goalies this offseason, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney indicated on Saturday that the Linus Ullmark-Jeremy Swayman goalie hug would return for another season.

This past week, Jimmy Stewart of 98.5 The Sports Hub reported that Swayman wanted to leave the Boston Bruins and be traded to a team closer to his native Alaska due to family reasons. Neither a team nor a trusted NHL source could confirm to Boston Hockey Now that report, and an email to Swayman’s agent Lewis Gross asking to confirm or dent was not returned. That is not to say that Stewart’s report is accurate or inaccurate – because Stewart has nailed some reports lately – but that is what the due diligence here produced.

However, Sweeney’s response on Saturday, when asked whether or not Swayman still wanted to play for the Bruins now and for the foreseeable future, seemed to indicate that not only will Swayman be sticking around, but so will Jennings Trophy partner and 2023 Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark.

“He’s been very consistent about where he wants to play hockey,” Sweeney replied, seemingly stunned that he would even be asked such a question. “I don’t see why he wouldn’t be playing hockey here now and moving forward for a long time. This is a really good young goaltender. We are excited about having him and Linus.

It kind of solidifies, you know, takes away the guesswork of whether or not we have to address another need, that’s for darn sure. We feel very comfortable and want to take another step. We want to see both of them take another step. That’s God’s honest truth. Our hockey club, you know, peace of mind for 82 games was pretty darn consistent. And you know what? We just didn’t do what we wanted to do, and hope to do that in the playoffs. And we have to learn and grow. Jeremy is part of that.”

Despite winning the Vezina and leading the NHL in wins (40), goals-against average (1.89), and save percentage (.938), Linus Ullmark has found himself in the eye of a hurricane of NHL trade rumors. In fact, the rumors started almost immediately after the Boston Bruins were eliminated in the opening of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, back on April 30. These NHL trade rumors had nothing to do with Ullmark’s performance or role on the team but rather with the Bruins’ dire salary cap situation; NHL teams began to inquire about the 29-year-old goalie’s availability.

On Sunday, one NHL executive source opined to BHN that if the NHL trade and free agent markets hadn’t been so saturated with so many good goalies this offseason, Ullmark might have been traded already.

“With so many high-end goalies available by trade or as a free agent, his value went down, and Sweeney likely wasn’t getting what he truly deserved if he was going to trade the reigning Vezina Trophy winner,” the source said to BHN. “I also don’t think Sweeney wanted to trade him, but if it made sense and could free up more space to help now and going forward, he may have had no choice.”

It appears Ullmark’s current NHL trade market value was able to make what would’ve been a difficult decision for Sweeney.

 

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