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Linus Ullmark reflects on Bruins’ tenure, Jeremy Swayman, being on the trade block and more

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
1 month ago

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Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark joined Nick Alberga and Carter Hutton on Friday’s edition of Leafs Morning Take to discuss a wide range of topics in an exclusive interview. Ullmark is two seasons removed from a Vezina-winning season and though he was usurped by Jeremy Swayman as Boston’s No. 1 during the playoffs, he still commanded a stellar season for the Bruins, remaining among the NHL’s elite goaltenders.
Swayman is due for a massive contract upgrade after outperforming his one-year, $3.475 million deal awarded to him last summer in arbitration. As a result, Ullmark was widely considered to be on the trade block as the Bruins navigate their long-term future, and provided a raw, candid assessment of what it’s like to be the subject of rampant speculation.
“I think that’s one of the things I had to learn by a trial-and-error type of thing and it’s about experience because this was my first time actually being on the trade block,” Ullmark said. “With that comes certain expectations and there’s a lot of feelings. There’s a lot of emotions going into every single game. You know there’s a certain date for when the trading deadline is over and for us, for example, we had a rotation when we played every other game. So I knew coming in that these were going to be my starts going into the final day.
“For me, it was really hard just because I wasn’t prepared for it, I didn’t know what to do with it. Because at the same time, you face the logical side of it and there’s the emotional side of it, the personal one. So you understand why the team are doing it but at the same time it’s like ‘am I not enough?’ that sort of thing. So you kind of make the most out of it. Playing these games, obviously, you want to win and at that point I thought I was playing really well but I couldn’t get the result to back it up. It would be overtime losses or something like that, scrambling to always get that point. If you ended up being traded, you didn’t want that last game being a loss. You wanted to be at the top of your game and leave as a winner.”
Ullmark is entering the final year of his existing contract, carrying a $5 million cap hit and a 15-team no-trade list. He’s quite easily among the NHL’s premier goaltenders and for the upcoming year, his contract is arguably one of the most desirable contracts in the league. He ought to be attractive as a rental at next year’s trade deadline, or could very well be the long-term answer at the scarcest position in the NHL. And yet, his relationship with Swayman remains one of the league’s purest bonds.
“I think it comes down to our personalities as well,” Ullmark said of the Bruins’ tandem. “Our relationship is based out of respect and honesty. We always have these conversations, we talk to each other — not about everything, but we always feel we can do that.
“I’ve said this many times before: we’ve figured out that if the other guy is performing well and the team is performing well, there’s a bigger chance for the other guy to perform well, as well. Those two things go hand-in-hand.”
Despite being keenly aware of the realities of the trade block, Ullmark made it clear that he loves playing for, and wishes to remain with the Bruins.
“I’m so happy I got to play in Boston. I love being a Boston Bruin. It’s been three great years. As much as I want to stay, you always have that feeling this may be the last season or next season might be. You never know! I always try to do my best and always try to be as professional as I can, a good player, a good teammate and most of all, being a good friend and good person.”
The idea of Ullmark joining the Maple Leafs is enough to wander off into space, thinking of a brighter future but for now, the Bruins’ goaltender doesn’t appear to be going anywhere imminently — even if he provided glowing scouting reports about Auston Matthews and Joseph Woll. For now, we got the lighter side of a Bruins’ superstar who has proven to be a major obstacle for the Maple Leafs on the ice.

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