Should the Bruins goal Jakob Chychrun in a possible Ullmark trade?


Linus Ullmark has a formidable record in his three seasons with the Bruins.

But even with the Vezina Trophy in his pocket, Ullmark's value on the transfer market stays uncertain, largely attributable to the volatility that comes with the goalie position.

During Boston's end-of-season press conference last month, Don Sweeney mentioned that one team (Vancouver Canucks) acquired the ninth overall pick in exchange for a goalie (Cory Schneider, 2013) for instance of the assets that may be traded for a goalie.

“It really comes down to what teams need and what the market will bear, and ultimately it comes down to supply and demand, what a team wants and what you could have, that ultimately dictates the trade market,” Sweeney said. “There aren't many goalies in the trade, so the sample size is small to begin with, but you can argue that they change and what other teams need will dictate the yield.”

If the Bruins discover a suitor for Ullmark this offseason, draft capital appears to be the probably return, apart from the clear salary cap savings that come from eliminating Ullmark's $5 million salary cap hit.

Forwards with a hard and fast contract aren’t a practical option for Boston in any transfer, but when the celebrities align, a top skater like Martin Necas, who’s due an honest raise, could possibly be a worthwhile goal.

But could the Bruins by some means convert a roster luxury like Ullmark right into a player and draft picks?

Senators' Bruce Garrioch recently speculated about such a return in an article, naming Ullmark a top goal for the Senators' offseason roster restructuring.

“After failing to sign goalie Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins at the NHL transfer deadline in March, (Senators GM Steve) Staios and the club's hockey department are expected to make another offer before the draft scheduled for June 28-29 in Las Vegas,” Garrioch wrote.

“The Senators, Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils were among several teams that courted the 30-year-old Ullmark before the deadline. There are indications that Ullmark refused to change his 15-team no-trade list, meaning a potential deal with the Devils fell through.”

It's unclear if Ullmark has Ottawa on his no-trade list, because the Senators are likely removed from the highest of the veteran goaltender's list of preferred destinations given their years of defensive woes and their status as a team that often rotates its roster.

A competitive East Coast team like Carolina or New Jersey are higher options for Ullmark, who could thrive within the No. 1 role and secure an excellent position for a pleasant payday as a free agent next summer.

But if the Senators are willing to make a suggestion just like the one Garrioch has drafted, the Bruins could have to do the whole lot of their power to get Ullmark to waive any trade protections.

“One league executive said Thursday he believes the Senators would likely have to offer defenseman Jakob Chychrun along with a first-round pick and another selection to get Ullmark,” Garrioch wrote. “Even then, he has the hammer because he has the modified no-trade clause.”

This compensation definitely looks like a big overpayment to the Senators, despite the fact that it is evident that they’re primarily depending on goalie positions. Ottawa as a team recorded an unsightly save percentage of 0.884 within the 2023/24 season, which meant thirty first place out of 32 NHL teams.

The Bruins would really like to get a first-round pick back in any Ullmark deal, and Ottawa could keep its own first-round pick (No. 7 overall) this summer, in addition to Boston's 2024 first-round pick (No. 25 overall).

Boston's first-round pick was initially acquired from the Red Wings in March 2023 in a trade for Tyler Bertuzzi, but just 4 months later Detroit traded him to the Senators as a part of the Alex DeBrincat deal.

However, it seems unlikely that the Senators would take a first-round pick. Another draft pick was Chychrun, a top-four defenseman. The 26-year-old player has a contract through the 2024-25 season with a salary cap of an inexpensive $4.6 million.

Chychrun, who has long been considered a transfer goal for Boston, will not be exactly a tricky guy on defense. But the Floridian native would give Boston a powerful trio on the left side of defense with Hampus Lindholm and Mason Lohrei.

The Bruins' top priority this season stays adding more goal scorers on offense, especially at the middle position. But Chychrun would add a further shooting threat to Boston's defense, because the defenseman scored 14 goals and 41 points in 82 games in the course of the 2023-24 season, averaging 22:23 minutes of ice time per game.

The ideal scenario for the Bruins within the event of a Ullmark trade would probably still be to trade him for a top-6 talent on offense like one in all the Necas.

Given the unpredictability of the goalie market, any deal that brings in a minutes-intensive starter like Chychrun might be too good a deal for the Bruins to pass up.

But what will likely be a recurring theme throughout the summer could ultimately come all the way down to Ullmark's no-trade list and the impact he has despite his uncertain future.

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