Linus Ullmark to BOS
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 28, 2021
Linus Ullmark Signed by Bruins
The Sabres have lost their third goaltender this year after shipping Jonas Johansson to the Colorado Avalanche in March. Carter Hutton also just went to the Arizona Coyotes. The difference is that while Johansson was fourth on the team’s depth chart, Ullmark was unquestionably their starter. His .917 save percentage may not look brilliant, but relative to the chances his opponents saw? He’s been all they could hope for. In net for nine of the team’s 10 wins, Linus Ullmark has been a beacon in an otherwise very dark year. Added bonus? He’s been excellent in the shootout.
This is a surprising move, as it was well known that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams wanted to keep Ullmark. But when they couldn’t get an extension done, Adams obviously decided to risk letting Ullmark become a free agent. And what he got was a need to fill the goal at his own end. Now Adams either enters the UFA market or looks specifically for a netminder to be included in a deal for Jack Eichel. Lesser pieces aren’t going to return someone reliable, and that’s desperately needed this season.
What It Means For The Future
For Ullmark, it looks like a case of starting over. He came up through the Sabres system and is now in a fight for the starter’s role once again. Still, he gets his chance to see the playoffs, something that hadn’t yet happened for him and wasn’t going to in Buffalo. He was an unrestricted free agent, unable to close a deal with the team that drafted him in the sixth round in 2012.
For Buffalo, they clearly hope that the untested Ukko-Pekka Luukonen makes his presence felt in the NHL soon. For now, the net belongs to Dustin Tokarski – signed on as an expansion draft qualifier. Next year’s challenge gets no easier.