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What will Bruins do in goal?

May 27, 2024, 4:55 PM ET [1 Comments]
Ty Anderson
Boston Bruins Blogger •Bruins Feature Columnist • RSSArchiveCONTACT
What the Bruins plan on doing in goal is anybody’s guess at this point.

If Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has his say, the Bruins will keep the Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark tandem together because it’s been their backbone for the last three years. But with Swayman set for a gigantic raise, with his next contract likely to check in somewhere around $7-8 million per season, that might just be plain impossible for a Bruins roster with a bunch of other needs and an ‘aggressive’ mindset entering an offseason that’s set to come with over $21 million in cap space.

When I asked Sweeney if it was realistic or feasible to commit $12 or $13 million in goaltending (Ullmark is entering the final year of a contract that comes with a $5 million cap hit and a 15-team no-trade list) given their desire to address other needs, Sweeney instead thanked me for negotiating on Swayman’s behalf and complimented (I think?) my reverse engineering of the cap math before answering.

“We’re gonna find a landing spot with Jeremy Swayman, and if we can make the math work, we’re going to have the best tandem,” Sweeney told me. “If we can’t, we’re going to explore, and for Linus, he may come to us and change his mind, that may occur as well. Right now, we’re very happy to have signed Linus, and in a perfect world, we would keep the tandem because I think it’s damn good. But we’re going to explore opportunities.

“My phone’s going to ring, I’m going to make calls. That’s just what the job requires.”

By now, it's no secret that the Bruins have already shopped Ullmark around. It was even believed, and reported by some, that Ullmark nixed a trade to Los Angeles. Talking on break-up day, Ullmark told me he has his reasons for saying no to a trade, and that they extend beyond hockey. Ullmark also sounded like a man who was not going to be waiving that trade protection if a trade required it; Ullmark loves it in Boston. His family loves it in Boston. And this is home to them.

Ullmark, for what it's worth, will not reveal his no-trade list. If the Bruins are able to get him to agree to a trade (if it requires approval), though, the belief is that the Bruins will open their ask with a first-round pick or a notable roster player. Sweeney actually reference the 2013 trade between the Canucks and Devils where Cory Schneider went to New Jersey in exchange for the ninth overall pick when talking about a goalie trade, so it almost feels fair to assume that that's gonna be Boston's opening ask out of the gate.

But, of course, before the Bruins trade Ullmark, they gotta get the 25-year-old Swayman signed. And that has to be the No. 1 priority for this club.

“We clearly engaged in [extension] conversation during regular season to define the longer term extension, we haven’t gotten there yet, it’s a priority now and it will continue to be a priority until we get that across the finish line,” Sweeney revealed. “He’s a big part of our current team and our record in playoffs and our future. Our goaltending is arguably one of the best tandems in the National Hockey League, and they proved that during the course of the season. They put us in the situation most nights to have an opportunity to win.

"The priority will be to find a landing spot with Jeremy.”

Swayman's camp, led by agent Lewis Gross, has the B's right where they want them after what was a slightly contentious arbitration hearing a year ago. Swayman was an All-Star and proved to the Bruins that he could be the guy on an every-other-night basis in the postseason. (The Bruins are likely eliminated in the first round without the play of Swayman.)

The arbitration issue was a bothersome one for Swayman all year long (he mentioned it to media at least three times), and it's one that's become an issue for Sweeney too when it comes to it being a 'storyline' of sorts between the sides.

“Well it’s clearly a priority, and Jeremy [Swayman] knows, I told him, he took us to arbitration, just for clarity,” Sweeney said when discussing a Swayman extension and what happened between the sides last summer. “Again, that’s part of it. It’s no different than Trent Frederic and not being able to settle. Sometimes those things happen, of course, and it’s not an indication of whether or not we didn’t believe in Jeremy Swayman or whether or not we don’t think he could have been part of our future.”
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