To say the Boston Bruins were busy Wednesday would be an understatement.
The B’s filled some holes on defense, signed a few left wingers and also brought on Linus Ullmark to fill the goalie need while trading Daniel Vladar to the Calgary Flames. While the uncertainty of Tuukka Rask and David Krejci remains, the Bruins had a productive day.
Rask underwent surgery on a torn labrum and will be sidelined for five to six months. Jaroslav Halak singed with the Vancouver Canucks, and Rask is an unrestricted free agent, which left the Bruins with Jeremy Swayman and Vladar before he was traded.
Swayman certainly impressed last year, but Boston needed someone regardless of Rask’s status, hence the signing of Ullmark.
General manager Don Sweeney is excited to bring in a goaltender “with experience” to begin the season while touching on the Vladar trade and Rask’s future.
“Linus is healthy and excited to be a Boston Bruin. Fortunate to have the opportunity to bring a goaltender at a primary age with experience,” Sweeney said over Zoom. “We just think where we were currently sitting with two young goaltenders, we needed to be prepared and allow Tuukka all the time he needs to get healthy. He just had surgery, spoke to him this morning, doing very well. Just have to go through the process and go from there. I think we’ve always left the door open for Tuukka to return, and I think it just allows Jeremy to continue to progress at a natural rate, but also give him the opportunity to be at the NHL level. As you can see, we gave Daniel an opportunity to go to Calgary and establish some stuff there. They were excited to have him. It was a little bit of a musical chairs shuffle, but for all the right reasons we just felt we’ve had very strong goaltending. We want to continue to have that, and it was a unique opportunity to explore having Linus join our group and we’re excited about that.”
So, what happens if Rask is signed later in the season and is ready to go?
“I see it like having extremely good goaltending at that point in time,” Sweeney said. “Again, Jeremy is in a position where we have flexibility. He could be the best goaltender, and then you feel like not a lot of teams juggle with three, but you have opportunity if you needed to send Jeremy down and get to the playoffs and play the best goaltender. Ultimately, you’d have, in Linus and Tuukka in that case, as you spelled it, that’s hypothetical. But I think we’re prepared in any way to go. What if you have an injury to somebody else? I’m knocking on wood here, obviously, you’re just trying to be prepared. When you’re trying to be a competitive team, you have to have depth. We felt that the last two playoffs, and we came up short. Now we’re trying to make sure that we’ve got the most competitive team we can, and identify if we have some needs going forward that we may have to have some changes as well.”
Ullmark, Rask and Swayman certainly would be a hell of a trio, especially if they all play to what we’ve seen before.
There’s still work to be done and a lot of questions that won’t be answered in the immediate future. But the Bruins seem to be in a good spot thus far.