Could Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland be calling Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to see if goalie Linus Ullmark could go back on the NHL trade market?
If you were writing a hockey essay on the Oilers’ goaltending it would be called ‘Tire Fire’ in their season opener as both starting goalie Jack Campbell and then Stuart Skinner each gave up four goals on 16 shots in an 8-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. As expected, Oilers fans and the media that cover the team were in overreaction mode, with the Oilers coming into this season as a Stanley Cup favorite. Thankfully, a veteran NHL GM like Holland isn’t going to panic and make a hasty trade.
However, with this season seeming like the window is wide open for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to finally bring the Cup back to Edmonton, a smart hockey operations guy like Holland isn’t going to wait long if his goaltending is once again an Achilles’ heel.
“I can tell you right now, a few more of those from either goalie, and Kenny is on the horn looking for a goalie,” an NHL executive source told Boston Hockey Now on Thursday night.
Would Holland be looking for one of the rumored goalies available on the NHL trade market, like one of the trio on the Montreal Canadiens roster in Samuel Montenbeault, Jake Allen, and Cayden Primeau? Or is he swinging for the fences and trying to get an established goalie like Linus Ullmark, the 2023 Vezina Trophy finalist?
“If he’s getting a goalie, he’s getting the solution, not a stop-gap,” the same source opined. “I heard they definitely looked in on Ullmark and Swayman over the summer, so if that’s true, Kenny is calling Donny soon, maybe.”
Ullmark made it through an offseason stuck in the NHL trade circuit and made 20 saves in a 3-1 win for the Bruins in their Centennial season opener on Wednesday night. In a recent one-on-one with Boston Hockey Now, Ullmark expressed how happy he and his family are to be still with the Bruins and living in Boston.
“It feels great!” Ullmark exclaimed when asked how it felt to stay with the Bruins. “You don’t want to be that guy that sort of flops around from team to team every year or something like that. It kind of shows that if you are, obviously, you’re good enough to stay in the league, but at the same time, if you’re staying with the same club, you’re a little bit better than if you’re floating around. That’s what I want to do; I want to establish myself.
We feel like Boston’s our home, and I can’t be more grateful to be part of this organization and this long history. 100 years is a big one, and it’s kind of mesmerizing to think about that you’re part of this centennial season, and it’s a very special feeling.”
It’s not known if Edmonton is part of his modified no-trade clause, and would he really be willing just to uplift his family now, even if it meant a likely better shot at the Stanley Cup?
There’s also the question of whether the Edmonton Oilers ($399,157 cap space) and the Bruins ($527,158 cap space) can pull off a trade with Ullmark, who is in the third year of a four-year contract that carries a $5 million cap hit?