Should Bruins target Jakob Chychrun in a potential Ullmark trade? 


Jakob Chychrun could be on the move already in Ottawa.

Jakob Chychrun could be on the move after just one full season in Ottawa. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Linus Ullmark has built an impressive resume over his three seasons with the Bruins.

But even with a Vezina Trophy under his belt, Ullmark’s value on the trade market remains murky, in large part due to the volatility that comes with the goaltender position.

Speaking during Boston’s end-of-season press conference last month, Don Sweeney mentioned that one team (Vancouver Canucks) secured a No. 9 overall pick in a trade for a goaltender (Cory Schneider, 2013) as an example of the assets that could be pried away in a swap for a netminder. 

“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,” Sweeney said. “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.”  

If the Bruins do find a trade suitor for Ullmark this offseason, draft capital seems like the most likely return, beyond the clear cap savings that come with taking Ullmark’s $5 million cap hit off the books. 

Forwards with term may not be a realistic option for Boston in any trade, but a high-end skater due for a sizable pay raise like Martin Necas could be a viable target if the stars align. 

But could the Bruins somehow parlay a roster luxury like Ullmark into both a player — and draft picks? 

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun speculated over such a return in a recent piece that tabbed Ullmark as a top offseason target for a retooling Senators roster. 

“After failing in a bid to acquire goaltender Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins at the NHL trade deadline in March, (Senators GM Steve) Staios and the club’s hockey operations department are expected to make another pitch before the draft set for June 28-29 in Las Vegas,” Garrioch wrote.

“The Senators, Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils were among several teams that made a push for the 30-year-old Ullmark before the deadline. The indications are Ullmark refused to change his 15-team no trade list, which meant a possible deal to the Devils was scuttled.”

It’s unclear if Ullmark has Ottawa on his no-trade list, with the Senators’ defensive woes over the years and status as a team routinely churning over its roster likely putting them far from the top of the veteran goalie’s list of preferred destinations.

A contending team on the East Coast like Carolina or New Jersey stand as stronger options for Ullmark, who could thrive in a No. 1 role and put himself in a position for a nice pay day as a free agent next summer. 

But if the Senators are willing to put together the type of offer that Garrioch mapped out, the Bruins might have to do everything in their power to try and get Ullmark to waive any sort of trade protection. 

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

That return sure feels like a serious overpay on the part of the Senators, even if it’s clear that goaltending looms large as their most pressing need. Ottawa posted an unsightly .884 save percentage as a team in 2023-24, which ranked 31st out of 32 NHL teams. 

The Bruins would welcome a scenario where they recoup a first-round pick in any Ullmark deal, with Ottawa holding onto its own first-rounder (No. 7 overall) this summer as well as Boston’s 2024 first (No. 25 overall). 

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

But it seems unlikely that the Senators would include a first-round pick, another draft selection and a top-four blueliner in Chychrun, who is still just 26 years old and is under contract through the 2024-25 season at a reasonable $4.6 million cap hit. 

A long-time rumored trade target for Boston, Chychrun isn’t exactly a bruiser on the blue line. But the Florida native would give Boston a strong trio to anchor on the left side of its defense between him, Hampus Lindholm, and Mason Lohrei. 

The Bruins’ top priority this offseason remains more scoring talent up front, especially at the center position. But Chychrun would add an additional shooting threat on Boston’s D corps, with the defenseman scoring 14 goals and 41 points over 82 games in 2023-24 while averaging 22:23 of ice time per contest. 

The ideal scenario for the Bruins when it comes to an Ullmark trade still likely involves moving him for a top-six talent up front like a Necas. 

Given how unpredictable the goalie market is, any deal that nets a minutes-eating regular like Chychrun is likely a transaction too good to pass up for the Bruins.

But in what will be a recurring theme throughout the summer, it might all come down to Ullmark’s no-trade list and the leverage that he holds despite his uncertain future. 

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