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Report: Devils still interested in Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark

Report: Devils still interested in Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins need to figure out their goalie situation in the coming months.

Jeremy Swayman established himself as the franchise's clear-cut No. 1 goalie with a fantastic performance during the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is due for a huge raise as a restricted free agent this summer. Working out a long-term extension with Swayman should be the team's top offseason priority.

The real conundrum is what to do with Linus Ullmark. The 2023 Vezina Trophy winner has one more year left on his contract with a $5 million salary cap hit. If we assume Swayman gets at least $5 million per year on his next deal, then the Bruins would be devoting, at minimum, $10 million in salary cap space to goalies in 2024-25. That's too high of a number for a team like the B's that has other roster weaknesses to address, specifically a lack of high-end talent in the top-six forward group.

Trading Ullmark makes the most sense, but it's not the simplest move to pull off. For starters, Ullmark has a 16-team no-trade list in his contract, which gives him some control over the process.

If the Bruins try to trade him, one team to keep an eye on is the New Jersey Devils.

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday that the Devils still have interest in Ullmark, along with Calgary Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom.

"League sources said (Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald) continues to show interest in Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames, whom he tried hard to acquire before the March 8 trade deadline, as well as Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins," LeBrun wrote. "There are other possibilities, too, but those two names would top New Jersey’s list."

Back in October, the Devils were a trendy pick to reach the Stanley Cup Final. They looked like a team on the rise. But a horrible 2023-24 regular season caused the team to miss the playoffs. Goaltending was a huge reason for those struggles as New Jersey ranked 30th out of 32 teams with a .885 save percentage.

The Devils have the No. 10 pick in the draft and general manager Tom Fitzgerald told NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale earlier this week that he's willing to trade it.

"If we feel it helps us now and in the foreseeable future, then, yes, I'm listening," Fitzgerald said. "I haven't gotten anything yet but the more I talk to teams, I say 'Listen, I'm open to moving No. 10, but it's going to have to be something (significant).'"

Fitzgerald also told Morreale that he's looking for a goalie.

"I'm in the goalie market talking to teams, but there's a 'but' and the 'but' is how do we want to build our team?" Fitzgerald said. "We'd like to add up front, we'd like to add on the back end, so what are those pieces going to cost us. With the goaltending, what's that going to cost us?

"Does the No. 10 pick get you that type of player that you can add to the group. It's easy to say, 'Go get so-and-so and then you build from there.' But there are some guys who have different contracts so how are those players going to reprice at. There's a lot to it, but, yes, the focus is on finding that goaltender."

The Bruins don't have a first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. They also didn't make a first-round pick in 2023, 2022, 2020 and 2018. The No. 10 pick wouldn't really help a win-now team like the Bruins unless they could flip it for a player who could contribute immediately.

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The Devils have $18 million in salary cap space, per CapFriendly, so they could absorb all of Ullmark's salary cap hit. Clearing $5 million in space would be a huge win for the Bruins.

It's going to be an interesting few weeks leading up to the NHL Draft on June 26. Several teams could use a goalie upgrade. The Bruins need to take advantage of this situation and find a deal for Ullmark.