Oilers reportedly “looked in on” Bruins goaltenders Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman in the off-season
Photo credit:© Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
We’re less than a week into the season and there’s already a goaltending controversy in Edmonton.
The Oilers dropped their first two games of the year to the Vancouver Canucks and the tandem of Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner combined to allow 12 goals on 48 shots.
You should never draw significant conclusions from a two-game sample size and the team’s defence certainly played a role in those 12 goals but goaltending has been a topic of conversation around the Oilers for nearly the entirety of the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl era. Can this duo be good enough for the Oilers to compete for a Stanley Cup?
The Oilers inked Campbell to a five-year, $25 million contract last summer and he struggled to an .888 save percentage across 36 starts in his first season in Edmonton. Skinner compensated with a rookie season that saw him voted as the runner-up for the Calder Trophy but the 24-year-old didn’t have his regular-season results transfer over to the playoffs as he posted an .883 save percentage across 12 games in the spring.
Again, nothing major is going to change after two poor games to start the season, but if goaltending remains an issue for the Oilers after a few months, general manager Ken Holland will have to look for a solution.
Where might he look? According to Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now, Holland inquired with the Bruins about goaltenders Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman during the off-season, so that’s an avenue that might be explored again later on.
“I can tell you right now, a few more of those [goals against] from either [Campbell or Skinner], and Kenny [Holland] is on the horn looking for a goalie,” an NHL executive source told Boston Hockey Now on Thursday night.“If he’s getting a goalie, he’s getting the solution, not a stop-gap. I heard they definitely looked in on Ullmark and Swayman over the summer, so if that’s true, Kenny is calling [Bruins GM Don Sweeney] soon, maybe.”
The Ullmark and Swayman tandem won the William M. Jennings Trophy for the goaltenders with the fewest goals allowed in the NHL during the 2022-23 season and Ullmark won the Vezina Trophy after posting a league-leading .938 save percentage over 48 games. That excellent goaltending helped the Bruins win the Presidents’ Trophy with a 65-12-5 record, though the team was shocked in the first round of the playoffs by the Florida Panthers.
Veteran centres Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired in the off-season and Boston is expected to take a step back from the incredible season they had last year as a result. So far so good, though, as the Bruins are 2-0-0 on the season following wins over the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators, with Ullmark and Swayman stopping 53 of 56 shots combined.
It’s difficult to imagine Boston trading either goalie during a season in which they’re competing for a playoff spot but that could certainly change if things go sideways for them. Ullmark has one more year left on his deal after this one at $5 million, a cap hit that’s identical to Campbell’s, while Swayman carries a $3.475 million cap hit and will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
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