Boston Bruins: Did Don Sweeney make a mistake and overpay Linus Ullmark?

The puck will drop on the Boston Bruins 2021-22 season on Saturday night from the TD Garden. The Bruins will play host to the Dallas Stars to kick off the new NHL season. Boston will debut a newer roster of players specifically a new goaltender. Linus Ullmark was one of the Bruins top free agent acquisitions in the offseason. The 28-year-old signed with Boston, defecting from the lowly Buffalo Sabres. General Manager Don Sweeney inked Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract. 

Tuukka Rask a distraction for Linus Ullmark?

Heading into Saturday night’s home opener, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy hasn’t announced a starter between the pipes. Jeremy Swayman has had a great preseason for the Bruins while Ullmark struggled. It is incredibly too early to say whether Sweeney made a mistake signing Ullmark. 

There has been a negative narrative surrounding Ullmark leading up to the beginning of the season. Boston fans have been critical of Ullmark for various reasons. His $5 million AVV is one reason, there’s a portion of the fanbase that wanted Swayman to be the starter and there’s a portion who will compare Ullmark to Tuukka Rask. 

With Rask currently a free agent and attempting to comeback from hip surgery, the potential for his return looms over the goaltenders. Until it’s time for the Bruins to potentially cross that bridge and bring back Rask, the question remains, who is the number one goalie? 

Boston Bruins biggest question mark heading into the season?

The Bruins goaltending situation for me is their biggest question mark followed by their depth at the blue line. Ullmark was brought into the equation and paid as a No.1 goalie. However, this should be Swayman’s job until he proves he can not handle the workload. 

The addition of Ullmark isn’t a terrible move by Sweeney, the money he paid to acquire the player was. The Bruins have some question marks heading into the regular season including not having a replacement for David Krejci. Charlie Coyle will fill his spot as the second line center but could the Bruins have used some of Ullmark’s salary to bring back Krejci or possibly upgrade the No. 2 line center? 

I understand that these are what if’s but the window for the Bruins is closing and Sweeney hasn’t managed many of his assets properly in recent years. 

Please do not write off Linus Ullmark, yet

No one should write off Ullmark, that would incredibly unfair to the player and the team. It is fair to question and criticize Sweeney if Ullmark struggles based off the capital invested in the goaltender. 

Cassidy needs to start Swayman on Saturday night. The TD Garden will be rocking and the fans will be carrying over the momentum they had from Fenway Park earlier in the week for the game. Prediction, Bruins win the home opener 4-2, Swayman is a brick wall and leads the team to the win. This season should be fun, but the goaltending situation needs to be monitored closely. 

– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)

Feature image courtesy of the Boston Globe

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