Bruins Could Buy Out $20 Million Player From Linus Ullmark Trade

Former Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark

Getty Former Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark

The Boston Bruins traded goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Ottawa Senators on June 24 in a three-player deal including forward Mark Kastelic and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo going to Boston.

Just hours after completing the transaction, however, the Bruins could be thinking about buying out Korpisalo’s hefty deal to create some cap space ahead of the offseason, according to Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic.

“If the Bruins do not believe Korpisalo is worth the investment, they could execute a buyout,” Shinzawa wrote after the trade announcement. “This would allow Brandon Bussi to be (Jeremy) Swayman’s No. 2 in 2024–25. Bussi signed a one-year, two-way, $775,000 contract Monday.”

If the Bruins buy Korpisalo out, they would be responsible $8 million of Korpisalo’s $10,666,667 salary. That’s because of the Senators’ salary retention on the trade for Linus Ullmark. The $8 million figure would spread out over eight years.

There is no clarity about whether or not Boston will cut Korpisalo, however, as Shinzawa reported in his story while quoting an anonymous NHL general manager.

“Not sure,” one GM told Shinzawa via text message regarding the potential buyout.

Korpisalo signed a five-year, $20 million contract on July 2023. He is under contract through the end of the 2028 season with an average cap hit of $4 million per year.

Did the Bruins Lose the Linus Ullmark Trade?

Shayna Goldman of The Athletic graded the Ullmark trade shortly after it was official. She handed the Bruins a “C” and the Senators an “A,” making it clear who won and who lost the transaction in her eyes.

“At the end of the day, the 25th pick in the NHL Draft on Friday, Mark Kastelic and Joonas Korpisalo combined don’t equal nearly the value Ullmark brings to a lineup,” Goldman wrote. “And none of these pieces address Boston’s most pressing needs upfront.”

In his own column, Shinzawa also noted how the value of Ullmark was much lower in reality than it was in the rumor mill.

“Either way, the fact the Bruins had to take on Korpisalo’s contract is further confirmation of Ullmark’s market value: not even close to his projected performance in Ottawa,” Shinzawa wrote.

On the other hand, the Senators land a bonafide starting goaltender for next season and beyond if they can agree to an extension with Ullmark.

The former Bruins goalie won the Vezina trophy in 2023 as the NHL’s best goaltender. He didn’t have that great of a year in 2023-24, but he still put up a  22-10-7 record with a .915 save percentage and 2.57 goals against average.

Will Ullmark Stay or Will Ullmark Go?

Ullmark only has one year left in his four-year, $20 million contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2025. According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, however, the Senators and Ullmark are already talking about an extension.

“Ullmark has been traded to Ottawa. Two sides working on an extension #Sens,” Garrioch wrote on X following the trade.

David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported on June 20 that Ullmark had Ottawa on his no-trade list. If that’s the case, he would have had to remove the franchise from the list in order for the trade to be completed.

That, however, leaves the door open for a potential departure in the summer of 2025 if Ottawa doesn’t convince Ullmark to stay put.

As for the Bruins, they will start to work on agreeing to an extension with their new starting goalie for the 2024-25 season, Jeremy Swayman, whose contract expires on July 1.

Following the Ullmark trade, the Bruins added $1.165 million in cap space. Part of that will go toward Swayman’s raise once he signs the new contract.

According to Shinzawa, the Bruins “also need a top-two center, a scoring wing, and a left-shot defenseman,” something they didn’t address by completing the June 24 trade.

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