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Could the Bruins Move One of Their Goalies for Salary Cap Purposes?

It was a magical run for the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. The goaltending was a huge bright spot for the club. However, with the salary cap being tight, the team could move on from one of them. It will be something to monitor as the summer goes along. 

What Should The Boston Bruins Do Moving Forward With Their Two Goalies

This season, the Boston Bruins goaltending was huge to their success. The Boston Bruins’ early exit shocked many around the hockey world. What could be just as shocking could be the likely Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark on the move. The Bruins currently have ten free agents, heading into the 2023-24 season. The most important player to keep under contract is restricted free agent Jeremy Swayman.

Swayman, who finished last season’s top five in goals-against average and save percentage, is one of the bright young goalies around the league. Swayman will likely command around the four to five-million-dollar range. That would be around the median for starting goalies around the league. Compare that to the other goalies who recently came off their entry-level contracts, and Swayman has arguably outperformed them throughout their time in the NHL.

So looking at Swayman’s impending contract, it will likely be around that area. Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers signed for three years at a 3.97 average annual value in 2021. Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars and Spencer Knight of the Florida Panthers got four million and four and a half, respectively.

Let Jeremy Swayman Move In Free Agency?

What is the right way to address the Boston Bruins goaltending situation? The easy answer could also be letting Swayman walk in restricted free agency and collecting a compensation draft pick in return, but that would be very unlikely as the 24-year-old goalie has already proven he can be a solid option in net, and letting in walk could lead to more problems down the road, but that is an option for the team if they choose to go down that route.

For the sake of argument, spending five million on a starting goalie is phenomenal when you get the production out of them that you had last year, but ten million total is a lot to spend on goaltending. Spending on goaltending may seem like a priority, but looking at the highest-paid goalies around the NHL, only three of the top twenty highest are still playing.

Move on From Linus Ullmark While His Trade Value is High

If not Swayman, the other Boston Bruins goaltending question lies with Ullmark. One would think that trading your likely Vezina-winning goalie would be a move only deemed as crazy, but Don Sweeney could be thinking more about the team’s future regarding the salary cap. Saving five million on the cap would make the team much more profound, especially at the forward position. That five million saved could be allocated to retaining Tyler Bertuzzi and Dmitry Orlov, who were key contributors in the series against the Florida Panthers.

The market for teams looking for a quality goaltender is always high, especially a goalie who is a Vezina winner. Also, looking at the most recent memory of Linus Ullmark, it was not pretty in the playoffs, so that could also be a factor, although Ullmark was clearly dealing with an injury. The Bruins could get some real value in return for Ullmark, as his ceiling has never been higher, so this could be a valuable move for the team moving forward.

Possible Teams Looking For New Goalies

Although this is a thought, and depending on the return, the Bruins would be weaker moving forward, there are three teams to keep an eye on moving forward in the offseason. The Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Edmonton Oilers are three teams, two who were on the outside looking in on the playoff picture this year, and could see Ullmark’s value in a trade.

Pittsburgh is similar to the Bruins as they have an older group of core players who are looking to make one more crack at the cup, while Ottawa is on the other side with a young group who may be a solid goalie away from making the playoffs. Edmonton could be another team to look at moving forward as well.

Ultimately it would be ideal if Swayman takes a deal for a little less for the short term on a bridge deal and cash in on a long-term deal down the road. This would allow the Bruins to make the financial adjustments to keep the key players they want to retain.

By: Kevin Perry | Follow Me on Twitter @Kevperry_

Main Photo: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


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