Flyers Should Inquire If Bruins Are Selling Linus Ullmark

If Linus Ullmark is truly available, it wouldn't hurt the Flyers to check in with Boston.
If Linus Ullmark is truly available, it wouldn't hurt the Flyers to check in with Boston. / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

This is probably a long shot, however, if you don't ask, the answer is always "No!" The NHL trade deadline will soon be upon us. Rumors are abound about who may or may not be available, what teams may be buying, and which ones might be selling. The Flyers, a team on the rebuild, are in an interesting time. They can load up for a playoff run, try to build for the future, or find a way to do both.

While Philly is not yet a complete team, there is one Achilles heel they have. We all know what it is. It is what has been plaguing them since the mid-1990s. It's their goaltending. Sure, they've had some decent goalies (Brian Boucher, John Vanbiesbrouck, Roman Cechmanek), but nobody who is considered one of the elites.

Right now, their goaltending is in flux. Sam Errson has been steady in net but is still a rookie. Carter Hart is done and Cal Petersen has been a mess. Felix Sandstrom is back up, but he has been less than stellar in the past. No matter what, this team needs to figure out what to do in the net before it can move forward and be one of the top dogs of the Eastern Conference.

However, what if an opportunity presented itself? What if you could take advantage of a longtime rival, score a solid goaltender, and a former Vezina Trophy winner? Would you do it?

The Trade

Bruins Trade

Why Boston Would Do It

Why would the Bruins trade away last year's Vezina winner? And why for just a second-rounder and Walker? The answer is pretty simple.

First, Boston is desperate for cap space. They have just over $61,000 in available space. They do not want to go into the playoffs and be a hilarious first-round out like last year. They want to beef up for the long run. They need to beef up on defense. Taking Ullmark and his entire salary off their hands would free up space.

Plus, they'd be fine with Jeremy Swayman in the net. Ullmark is 30 and Swayman is 25. Boston is a team that has spent a lot of money and draft picks assembling an amazing strong team over the last 10 years. However, they continually fall short during the postseason, so they may need to take semi-drastic steps. After all the Detroit Red Wings had two good goalies, Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood, in the 90s. They eventually had to make a choice and stuck with the younger one.

Secondly, Walker is a prized player right now. Boston needs a lefty blueliner, but Walker has had a great season. Boston can keep or flip him for picks or someone else (Noah Hanafin?) With cap space now available, they could do a sign and trade. If not, at the very least, they have Walker.

Finally, Boston needs draft picks. They have only three picks in this year's draft and their first pick is in the fourth round. Is Ullmark worth more than a second-rounder? You bet, but beggars can't be choosers. Other teams will know Boston needs picks and cap relief and can hold the Bruins hostage. The Flyers can take on that hit and use that as an incentive for the trade. A later-round pick from 2024 or 2025 could be thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Why Philly Would Do It

Allegedly, the Flyers want a first-rounder, or more, for Walker. So why would they trade him, plus a pick, to get Ullmark?

It's not every day a goalie like Ullmark becomes available. This season, he is 16-6-6 with one shutout, a .912 save percentage, and a goals-against average of 2.72. Come on now....we all know Flyers fans would drool for a stat line like that.

He is 30 years old. He is a seasoned vet with a proven track record. He also has one year left on his contract for $5 million, the same salary as Petersen, believe it or not. Daniel Briere could see if he wants an extension on his contract. If he does, great! If not, he could be moved during the offseason or next year's trade deadline for more future assets. Either way, he could serve as a mentor for Ersson. Likewise, if he stays, he could be a short-term stopgap until the Flyers' goalie prospects are ready to make their mark on the NHL.

To make the trade work, the team would probably have to move Ryan Ellis to long-term injured reserve or use Petersen's dead cap money by keeping him at Lehigh Valley for the rest of the year. While the team could probably get more in assets by trading Walker to someone else for prospects and draft picks, getting a goalie like Ullmark could be too much to pass up. Boston may be desperate enough to be forced to do it. If that is the case, Briere should see how far he can press them. It could be worth it.