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Bruins Trade Talk

Bruins Trade Talk: Could Ullmark Be Back In Play?



Boston Bruins

Could Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark hit the goalie trade market again before the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline?

During the TNT pregame broadcast before the Bruins-Oilers game on Wednesday night, TNT studio analyst and Spittin Chiclets co-host Paul Bissonnette opined that the Bruins still need to improve their center depth when asked if they were finally feeling the void left by former captain Patrice Bergeron and longtime Bruins center David Krejci retiring. Bissonnette’s suggestion to solve that issue up the middle was to potentially trade one of Ullmark or his goaltending-hugging partner, Jeremy Swayman.

“They’re relying heavily on the top-two center role for Charlie Coyle, and he’s been pointless, I believe, in his last six or seven,” Bissonnette pointed out. “So to sustain that top six position, it’s very difficult if that’s not your natural position. I would say on a Stanley Cup team, Charlie Coyle is probably a third line center.

So it definitely, in my opinion, is an area that they have to address. That’s why I keep reiterating that maybe it is time to come off one of their goaltenders to try and go get a piece like that out there. Now, maybe that isn’t available but the organization did also prepare for the absence of those two centermen.”

The timing of Bissonette’s comments was interesting. Yes, we are deep into the silly season of NHL trade rumors with the NHL Trade Deadline two weeks from Friday, but this wasn’t the first time this month this scribe has heard NHL trade chatter on the 2023 Vezina Trophy winner. In fact, when speaking to NHL sources during the Bruins’ recent seven-game homestand, Ullmark’s name came up a few times as being a possible trade chip that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was potentially thinking about using again.

The NHL betting odds that the Bruins would even listen to any NHL trade offers on Linus Ullmark have been low and even lower on Swayman. They are the main reason the Bruins led the Atlantic Division until last Thursday and have hovered atop the Eastern Conference and the NHL standings all season. After making  37 saves in the Bruins’ 6-5 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night, Swayman is 18-6-7 record with a 2.47 GAA and .920 save percentage. Meanwhile, Ullmark will head into tonight’s start against the Flames in Calgary at 16-6-4 with a 2.72 GAA and a .914 save percentage.

So why would NHL general managers ask if Ullmark is available on the NHL trade market right now?

“Because you got multiple teams that thought they were a playoff team suddenly in grave danger of missing the playoffs thanks to questionable goaltending,” a veteran NHL team executive told Boston Hockey Now recently. “The market for Ullmark won’t be this great in the offseason, so I would think, if moving on from Ullmark then was still the plan, maybe that plan gets moved up to now. The Bruins could turn around and use that money ($5M AAV this season and next) to get [Noah] Hanifin or another big piece they think they need to make a run and just ride Swayman into and throughout the playoffs.”

The Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, and Toronto Maple Leafs are all looking for goalies who can come in and be their No. 1 guy between the pipes. It’s highly unlikely if the Bruins did actually consider trading Ullmark before the NHL Trade Deadline, that they would send him to any of the latter three teams, given they could face them in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Ullmark has a modified n0-trade clause this season and next. Are the Oilers, Kings, and Avalanche on his list of teams he won’t be traded to?

The read here is yes because this is what Ullmark had to say to BHN just before this season when discussing how happy he is to be in Boston:

“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, 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.”

Does that sound like a player willing to go play on the other side of the continent and then uproot his family if he doesn’t have to? Also, what about the bromance with Swayman?

If Ullmark gets traded, it will have to be a team not on his modified no-trade clause, but at this point, if you’re an NHL betting man, that’s a risky bet.

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