Bruins' plans for goalie Joonas Korpisalo makes trade return more bizarre

It appears that the Boston Bruins have no plans to buy out or trade Joonas Korpisalo, a piece of the Linus Ullmark trade from the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.
Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers
Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

After months of speculation, the Boston Bruins have finally traded goaltender Linus Ullmark. Following the Black and Gold's second-round elimination at the hands of the eventual 2024 Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers, the 2022-23 Vezina Trophy winner made it clear that he wanted to stay and play out the final season of his contract.

Despite making that plea back in May, even Ullmark had to have known that a trade was going to happen and it did Monday night. He was traded to the Ottawa Senators, but the return was underwhelming, to say the least. Because Ullmark and Ottawa failed to reach an agreement on an extension, the return for Boston GM Don Sweeney was not what he or Bruins fans hoped it would be.

Defenseman Jakob Chychrun was expected to be part of the return for Sweeney, but it never materialized. Instead, the Bruins for their first-round 2024 Entry Draft pick back, which was passed around after it was originally sent to the Detroit Red Wings last season at the trade deadline after acquiring Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings. It made its way to the Senators in a trade for Alex DeBrincat. Boston also got goalie Joonas Korisalo and bottom-six forward Mark Kastelic. Now the question is, what does Boston do with Korpisalo? According to Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, they are going to keep him and try to turn him around.

Bruins reportedly have no intentions to buyout or trade Joonas Korpisalo

It was a strange return, to say the least, and makes you wonder what Sweeney plans to do with Korpisalo, whose numbers from last season don't lie. He went 21-26-4 in 55 games for the Senators with a 3.27 GAA and an .890 SV%. The 55 games in 2023-24 were a career-high for him and the team in front of him was not good, however, Ottawa had visions of buying him out, but instead, Sweeney took him off their hands with the Senators retaining 25% of his salary leaving him with a $3 million cap hit.

Shinzawa reported that the Bruins' plan is to keep Korpisalo at this time with his agent emailing The Athletic and telling him, "Korpi will play for BOS,'' and a team representative told Shinzawa that, “The team has no plans to buy out Korpisalo at this time.'' Great. Of course, plans can change, but the writing on the wall suggests that Sweeney is hoping that Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa can fix the 30-year-old from Finland, but it's certainly a gamble.

If the Bruins buy him out, they are responsible for $8 million of his $10,666,667 payout, spread out over eight years, and trading him, if another team is willing to take him, would require another piece in the deal and Boston retaining some salary. Both ways seem like Sweeney will be on the hook for money on the books, but was trading Ullmark for essentially $2 million in cap space worth it? Why not just run it back one more time if this was the best the Black and Gold's GM could come up with? There has to be another move coming or this trade will be dissected for a long time, especially if Korpisalo can't turn things around in Boston.