By: Zach Beauchaine | Follow me on Twitter @OtisTheMango
It’s crystal clear that Boston Bruins net-minder Linus Ullmark is having one convincingly outstanding season. And a historic season at that. Ullmark has been the vertebrae of the Bruins team since the very beginning of this remarkable run that began in October. Ullmark has been standing on his head to make things happen for this Bruins team.
When the Bruins first obtained Ullmark as an unrestricted free agent in July of 2021, they likely had no idea the caliber of goalie they had just brought into their system. Ullmark spent the 2021-2022 NHL season splitting reps directly down the middle with the Bruins other stellar young goalie Jeremy Swayman. Ullmark appeared in 41 games for the Bruins (exactly half of the regular season). In that time, he posted 26 wins over 39 starts in net.
Ullmark posted a reasonably strong .917 save percentage and a 2.45 GAA(goals-against average) to cap his initial season with Boston. This was certainly a good showcase of ability and a telling of potential. However, no one knew about the numbers that Ullmark would post in his second season with the Boston Bruins.
Ullmark’s confidence in the net must have increased tenfold during the off-season. Linus was trending high for all of the right reasons. He also shattered a 90+ year record along the way as the wins began to stack up for the Bruins.
Ullmark will likely be a major key to success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year for the Bruins if they are to make a championship run. Ullmark will also be making a run of his own as he is the obvious favorite to win the NHL’s Vezina trophy. The Vezina is awarded at the end of the season to the best goalie in the league as voted on by the general managers of the NHL.
Numbers do not lie, and Ullmark’s numbers this year have been as phenomenal as they can get. Ullmark is the fastest goalie in the history of the NHL to reach 25 wins in a single season in a mere 28 games played, a new NHL record. In 37 games played total at the time of this writing, Linus Ullmark has an unbelievable 30 wins to boastCurrentlyly, Linus Ullmark has a ridiculous .938 save percentage and an unworldly 1.86 GAA.
Ullmark has also posted two shutouts on the season and has made a combined total of 1,079 saves against the rest of the NHL. In a road clash against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, February 25th Ullmark added another feat of excellence to his already career-level season. With less than one minute left to play in regulation time and the Vancouver net empty, Ullmark seized an opportunity like no other. Ullmark got the puck on his stick and launched it toward the other end of the ice.
The puck saucered into the back of the open net, giving Boston a 3-1 lead with just seconds remaining in the game. Ullmark had scored a goalie goal! The goalie goal was the very first in Boston Bruins team history. The excitement of the goal was utterly immeasurable at the moment. The goal signaled a nail in the Vancouver coffin. The Bruins woe 3-1 after another great game by Ullmark, who added his offense to factor into the win.
With only 23 games remaining for the Bruins in the regular season, Ullmark has dialed in his case as the rightful NHL Vezina trophy winner. If Ullmark’s unbelievable play continues, he will join Tim Thomas (2009, 2011) and Tuukka Rask (2014) as the most recent Bruins Vezina winners who went on elite goalie runs.