What would happen if the Edmonton Oilers came knocking for Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark on the NHL Trade Market?
The NHL betting odds of that happening are increasing rapidly again as the Oilers have officially hit rock bottom, and the way they’re playing right now, they still appear poised to drill a deeper hole than the one they’re in. While it’s not all on them, as my old buddy and longtime Sportsnet Oilers beat reporter Mark Spector wrote following the Oilers’ 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night (their third straight), the Oilers have no chance of turning things around with goalies Stuart Skinner and Jack Campbell.
‘The Jack Campbell contract is an albatross and headed for a buyout, while the trajectory of young Skinner — who could still be a fine netminder one day — does not jibe with the trajectory of this team.
They can’t wait for Skinner to mature. They need a goalie — stat.
This was just another night where the opponent’s netminder held them in long enough for Edmonton’s goalie to fold.‘
Note: On Tuesday afternoon, the Oilers placed Campbell, who is 1-4-0 with a 4.50 GAA and a .873 save percentage, on waivers for the purpose of assignment. They then recalled goalie Calvin Pickard. It’s highly unlikely that Campbell and his $5 million cap hit for the next three seasons would be claimed, and he will be assigned to the Bakersfield Condors (AHL) on Wednesday.
Back to what Spector wrote, though, that still leaves Skinner (1-4-1, 3.99 GAA, .856 save percentage) on the roster, and unless Oilers general manager Ken Holland believes that Pickard is the answer between the pipes, then he’s likely already working the phones to see if he can find the savior or even a stop-gap at this point, on the NHL trade market.
Even before the dismal losses to the Canucks, and 5-2 to the Nashville Predators on Saturday, the blow-it-all-up trade proposals were flying around social media. One of them actually got posted on X (formerly Twitter) by longtime ESPN NHL host, analyst, and play-by-play man John Buccigross this past Friday night:
Ryan, would you trade Draisaitl and Foegele for…last years Vezina winner, DeBrusk, Poitras, Lysell and a 2026 1st rounder? The Central Registry would approved this proposed trade for cap and roster implications. https://t.co/zEIDcAriuZ
— BucciOT.Com (@Buccigross) November 3, 2023
Love Buccigross and all, but whoa!
If I was an NHL betting man, I would not bet on that trade to happen.
There’s so much to dissect there in terms of the effect it would have on the Boston Bruins now but, more importantly, in the future. Is Bruins general manager Don Sweeney ready to just reverse course on what, no matter what Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs wants to call it, is a retool?
Actually, a retool that is off to a solid start with the emergence of at least a future middle-six center in Matt Poitras, a bottom-six center in John Beecher, and potentially a Top 4 defenseman in Mason Lohrei. Sweeney would most definitely listen on Fabian Lysell, who by all accounts is falling out of favor in the organizational depth charts, and DeBrusk, who, via numerous sources, has made no substantial progress on contract talks to extend past this season with the Bruins.
Given the insane 6-0-0, 1.49 GAA, .952 save percentage start to the season by 24-year-old Jeremy Swayman, of course, Sweeney would be willing to include Ullmark, who has one more season with a $5 million cap hit left after this one, in a trade for 2020 Hart Trophy winner and an immediate No. 1 center for the Bruins in Leon Draisaitl who has one more season left with a $8.5 million salary cap hit. That being said, it wouldn’t really depend on if Sweeney and Holland could somehow agree on different surrounding parts of a trade.
Ullmark still has a 16-team no-trade list, and based on conversations with numerous NHL insiders on Tuesday, the Oilers are likely on that list. Factor in the fact that Ullmark, who was parked in NHL trade rumors throughout the summer, was thrilled he remained with the Bruins for this season, and it’s highly unlikely he’s going to waive anything, especially a trade that sends him to the bleep-show that is the Edmonton Oilers.
“Feels like home,” Ullmark told Boston Hockey Now on October 9 when talking about Boston. “That says a lot about it. Everything surrounding hockey, everything off the ice, everything like that, we know what to expect. We said that when we came in last year and this year as well, it just feels like home. It’s a great feeling to have and to have the security, and also for the kids and my wife too, to feel the same too.”
Make no mistake, there was a time during the offseason when Linus Ullmark didn’t know if he’d be able to feel this way heading into his post-Vezina season.
“It’s crossed my mind, yeah. I mean, I’m not going to lie, that’s the business part of it,” Ullmark told the media at the NHL Awards in Nashville on June 26. “That’s what we live in.”
This scribe is betting, though, that if the Oilers are indeed on that no-trade list, even if the chance to play with McDavid was presented to him, he doesn’t want to leave Boston and live in that world.