By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On X (Formerly Twitter) @adbblue
The Boston Bruins are 10-1-1 through the first 12 games of their Centennial season. Undoubtedly, the most significant factor in their early season success is goaltending. Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman are the defending Jennings Trophy winners, and Ullmark is fresh off winning the Vezina Trophy.
The tandem has picked up right where they left off from last season. Recently, speculation has been floating that the Edmonton Oilers could be interested in trading for Ullmark. GM Don Sweeney should hang up the phone immediately if any team calls inquiring about the 6’5 Swedish goaltender.
Boston arguably has the best goaltending situation in the league. They have the luxury of starting a number one goalie between the pipes every game, something very few teams in the NHL can do. Ullmark and Swayman have been rotating starts, which guarantees a rested goalie in the net every game. That’s an underrated part of the sport that gives a team confidence on a nightly basis.
Through the first twelve games, the two netminders have a combined .939 SV% and a combined 1.92 GAA; both are the best in the league. The two goalies feed so well off each other and have a very close relationship. As undoubtedly all Bruins fans have seen by now, they have their traditional goalie hug following every win.
Furthermore, they have gone as far as getting each other’s families to know one another. During Christmas, Swayman dressed up as Santa Claus for Ullmark’s kids last year. The two have a special bond and unmatchable chemistry as teammates. Breaking something like that up makes no sense, especially when it carries over to their on-ice performances.
Ullmark has a fair annual salary of $5 million, including a no-movement clause. Even if Boston were to receive a home run offer, they still have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner under contract for next season. It wouldn’t make sense to trade him now because they have the option to evaluate it during the off-season. They could also leverage another team into a higher return, including a 2024 first-round pick and a roster player right before the draft. But even doing that should only be considered if Boston receives a Godfather offer.
Another reason not to move Ullmark is that Jeremy Swayman has never played more than 41 games in an NHL season. Although he is off to an outstanding start, leading all goalies in both GAA and SV%, it would be a gamble regarding the team’s goalie situation. Boston would call up Brandon Bussi from AHL Providence, who has been impressive but has yet to appear in an NHL game.
Trading Ullmark would put tremendous pressure on not only Swayman but Bussi as well. It could also affect the locker room’s camaraderie, leaving many players questioning the move. Why change a situation you already know works almost perfectly for your hockey team when you don’t have to? As the old cliche goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.