Bruins Free Agency: Breaking down and analyzing every move from Day 1

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Bruins free agent signing goalie Linus Ullmark

Feb 20, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) sticks the puck aside against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins’ moves at goaltender on the first day of 2021 Free Agency.

Going into free agency the B’s were looking to add a veteran goaltender to pair with either Jeremy Swayman or Dan Vladar until Tuukka Rask returned in January or February from hip surgery (if re-signed).

Well, the B’s did more than just bring in a veteran goalie as they brought in a legitimate starting netminder. Sweeney pulled one out of the hat as he signed former-Buffalo Sabres starter Linus Ullmark to a four-year deal with an AAV of $5 million.

Moments later, as I anticipated (but not so quickly), Vladar was moved to the Calgary Flames for a 2022 third-round pick. So, for at least about half of 2021-22, Boston will have a tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman.

Personally, I love this signing. It allows the B’s to keep Swayman in the NHL, where he obviously belonged, but not wear him down by giving him a legitimate tandem partner for the next four years. The only issue I have is that Ullmark has struggled to remain healthy over the previous two seasons.

But the guy had a .917 save percentage (SV%), 2.63 goals-against average (GAA), .550 quality start percentage (QS%), and 5.5 goals saved above average (GSAA) with a horrid Sabres team, so how do you pass up a potential Vezina winner in Boston’s system?

I’m unsure what this means for Rask, but Sweeney said the team has until the 2021-22 trade deadline to sign him before he has to go through waivers to be signed. So both parties have time and it will probably ultimately depend on how Rask’s recovery is going as well as how Swayman is fairing.

Other Bruins goalie news.

Now former-B’s backup goaltender, Jaroslav Halak, signed with the Vancouver Canucks on a one-year, $1.5 million, 35-or-older contract.

Final Thoughts.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the moves the B’s made on the first day of free agency. They rebuilt their bottom-six like they needed to, but they’re still lack a legitimate No. 1 left-side defenseman. Don’t get me wrong, I love Grzelcyk, but he just isn’t it for 1LD — especially in the playoffs. Him and McAvoy are great together, but they need someone bigger and stronger for that spot.

This is where DeBrusk comes in. He still has potential and the B’s need to sell this so they can bring in a legit No. 1 left D. However, this will probably require more assets to get. They might have to include Grzelcyk in the trade and/or some draft picks or prospects.

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