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We have signed goaltender Linus Ullmark to a one-year contract worth $2.6 million.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 26, 2020
Buffalo Signs Linus Ullmark
A sixth-round draft selection in 2012, Ullmark is yet another example of a successful goaltender drafted late. Scandinavia has a history of producing talented netminders drafted in the final rounds. Two such examples include Henrik Lundqvist and Pekka Rinne. Both were drafted late and have developed into the faces of their respective franchises. While Ullmark has a ways to go before he could be considered elite on their level, he is nothing to scoff at.
Making his NHL debut at 22 years old, Ullmark played in 20 games that season. In that span, he posted a .913 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 2.60. Those are respectable numbers for a first time NHL player. When you consider that he was playing for Buffalo, it only makes his feats more impressive. While he only played in six total games over the next two seasons, his resurgence came in 2018. He would take over as the backup to Carter Hutton, and eventually usurp the starting role.
What it Means for the Future
Ullmark is definitely deserving of a place in the starting lineup. He has developed into a solid fringe starter. He might not be the best choice if you are looking for a starter over 50 games. But given rest, Ullmark can be a solid half of a tandem. With Buffalo he proved such, posting outstanding numbers after splitting the year with Carter Hutton. While injuries hampered his ability to see the ice, he stood tall in the net when he could. Ullmark is a very capable goaltender. If there is a position where late bloomers happen more often, the goalie would be the spot. The 27-year-old is already a solid player and could become even better. Ullmark could very well find himself in the starting role and a new face of the franchise.