With Tuukka Rask‘s future cloudy, it’s not shocking that the Bruins looked to the free-agent goalie market. It’s not even surprising that the Bruins reportedly ended up signing Linus Ullmark, formerly of the Sabres.
Linus Ullmark’s free-agent contract with the Bruins, though? That’s surprising. The Bruins signed Ullmark to a four-year contract with a $5M cap hit, according to reporters including Frank Seravalli and Pierre LeBrun.
(Note that the Bruins haven’t officially confirmed those terms.)
Upon hearing Ullmark’s name come up for the Bruins, it seemed sensible enough. In a miserable Sabres situation, Ullmark showed flashes of brilliance.
But a reported four-year, $20M commitment? That’s baffling, even during a 2021 NHL Free Agency day with some surprising goalie contracts.
Linus Ullmark (4x5m, somehow, with Boston) over the past three seasons: -8.8 goals saved over expected. pic.twitter.com/vQ10X7ZJbW
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 28, 2021
For more on 2021 NHL Free Agency, check PHT’s tracker. Trades are a big factor too, so keep track of them here.
Some room for Rask?
TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes that Rask recently underwent hip surgery. With that in mind, it almost certainly takes Rask off of the free-agent market. It doesn’t totally rule out the possibility that Rask might return to the Bruins when he’s healed up — if it all makes sense.
There are a lot of “ifs” there, though.
BOS signed Ullmark because Rask, currently UFA, recently underwent hip surgery and recovery time is five to six months. When healthy, Rask may be interested in returning to BOS, and door may still be open for that, but what if Rask can’t or didn’t want to return? Hence Ullmark.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 28, 2021
Does that change considering the term Linus Ullmark received in this free-agent contract with the Bruins, though?
Bruins’ busy day now includes free-agent goalie Ullmark
For the most part, the Bruins focused on supplementing with free-agent signings. (Unless you count keeping Taylor Hall around, of course.)
Here’s a quick reminder of the Bruins’ busy (but not splashy … until Ullmark) free-agent span:
- Again, that Ullmark deal is the biggest free-agent consideration.
- Right before the market plugged in, the Bruins kept Mike Reilly in the fold.
- At the same ($3M, three years) price as Reilly, the Bruins added Derek Forbort to their defense.
- The Bruins beefed up their forward group with Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, and Tomas Nosek.
Will all of this translate to a deeper, better Bruins team? Can Boston withstand losing Jaroslav Halak and, most likely, Rask after adding Ullmark and promoting from within?
The #NHLBruins have traded goalie Daniel Vladar to Calgary in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick. pic.twitter.com/hthRZOZzhc
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 28, 2021
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.