Could the Bruins land a top-10 pick in a Linus Ullmark trade?




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The New Jersey Devils are reportedly willing to move the No. 10 pick for the right price.

Could the Bruins land a top-10 pick in a Linus Ullmark trade?
Linus Ullmark could be a coveted trade chip this offseason. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

In his last meeting with the media on May 22, Don Sweeney pushed back against the assertion that No. 1 goaltenders dangled out on the trade market tend to be a depressed asset in terms of the return. 

“I’d disagree. I think that goaltenders trade hands,” Sweeney acknowledged. “In [one] draft scenario, I think one went for nine overall one year. So, it’s really what teams needs and what the market will bear, and ultimately it comes down to supply and demand, what a team wants and what you might have, ultimately, that generally shapes the trade market. 

“There isn’t a lot of goaltenders in exchange, so it’s a small sample size to begin with, but arguably, they change and what other teams need will set the return.”

Sweeney was referencing the Vancouver Canucks securing the No. 9 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft from the Devils — acquiring the pick used to draft Bo Horvat in exchange for promising netminder Cory Schneider.

It was a prime example of a team making the most of an abundance of riches at one spot on the depth chart, and acquiring a building block for the future in the process. 

Of course, that Canucks-Devils swap was over a decade ago. But with the Bruins likely weighing options for Linus Ullmark this summer, could the former Vezina Trophy winner also net Boston a blue-chip prospect? 

Given the number of teams in desperate need of reinforcements between the pipes this summer, it could be a viable scenario for the Bruins.

The Senators have already been linked to the Bruins this offseason, with Ottawa’s .884 team save percentage ranking 31st out of 32 NHL teams during the 2023-24 campaign. 

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, citing a league executive, “believes the Senators would likely have to offer defenceman Jakob Chychrun along with a first-round pick and another selection to acquire Ullmark.” 

While acquiring a top-four defenseman like Chychrun on top of draft capital for Ullmark might seem like a steep price to pay for Ottawa, the Senators do have two first-round picks — with the latter (No. 25) originally owned by Boston. 

Boston’s first-round pick was first acquired by the Red Wings in the trade involving Tyler Bertuzzi in March 2023, but Detroit shipped it to the Senators as part of the Alex DeBrincat deal four months later. 

But what about that No. 7 overall pick? 

Speaking at a season-ticket holder event last week, Senators Senior Vice President Dave Poulin acknowledged that Ottawa has had discussions with teams already about that top-10 selection. 

“We had interest in the (No. 7) pick,” Poulin said, per the Ottawa Citizen. “Teams will call you and say, ‘Are you interested in moving the pick?’ and you don’t know what that’s going to look like because you don’t know what’s going to be available there. You have to stay very flexible.”

If the Senators are really willing to play ball with such a lofty draft pick, a Bruins team woefully short on high-end talent in their prospect pipeline would definitely be interested.

Of course, the main hurdle in any deal would involve Ullmark and the no-trade protection that he currently features — with a rebuilding team like Ottawa not exactly a squad that players in high demand are lining up to join.

But what about the New Jersey Devils — an East Coast squad primed to contend, so long as they address a major deficiency in net?

Approving a trade to the Tri-State Area feels far more likely for Ullmark than a move to Ottawa, especially if he can carve out a featured role on a New Jersey team primed for a bounce-back campaign. 

And it just so happens that the Devils are also in possession of the No. 10 pick — and are reportedly willing to listen to offers about it to fix a goalie grouping that ranked 30th in the NHL in save percentage (.885). 

Speaking earlier this month, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald told NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale he’d be willing to move that first-round selection for the proper return. 

“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).”

A 30-year-old goalie with a Vezina Trophy on his resume like Ullmark sure seems like a significant return for the Devils, who have already identified netminding as their top priority this offseason. 

“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?

As tempting as an NHLer like Martin Necas could be as the primary return in a Ullmark deal, a top-10 pick might offer the highest possible return for the Bruins as they try to secure top value for a prime asset.

Not only is Boston not in possession of a first-round pick this year, they didn’t select in the first round of the 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023 drafts.

With talented centers like Cayden Lindstrom, Tij Iginla, and Berkly Catton expected to be within that top-10 range, the Bruins could bolster their most pressing need internally as far as talent down the middle.

Signing a top-six center this offseason like Elias Lindholm would certainly move the needle for Boston in 2024-25. But if the Bruins are realistically trying to add a franchise, 80+-point pivot for the long haul, the most realistic avenue for that is through the draft. 

And if the Bruins are looking to make the most out of moving a top asset like Ullmark, a top-10 selection might be the best haul they’re going to get.





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