Bruins Predators Hockey

After winning the 2023 Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender and sharing time again with Jeremy Swayman during the 2023-24 season, Linus Ullmark started just one playoff game for the Bruins this spring. George Walker IV/Associated Press

The Edmonton Oilers and the sublime Connor McDavid may have suddenly injected some life into this Stanley Cup Final, beating the Florida Panthers on Tuesday to extend the series to a Game 6 in Edmonton on Friday.

But nothing slows down the calendar. We are now a week away from the draft (for which the Bruins – currently without picks in the first three rounds – are scheduled to mostly observe) and less than two weeks away from the opening bell of free agency on July 1.

The first shoe in the goalie market dropped on Wednesday, and now there’s one less potential landing spot for Linus Ullmark. The New Jersey Devils, long believed to be coveting Calgary Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom, finally landed their prey for a return that’s fairly decent: big 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Bahl, who has a decent upside as a shutdown defenseman, and a top-10 protected first-round draft pick in 2025. Calgary also has to retain $1.875 million of Markstrom’s $6 million cap hit.

That should at least set the market for Ullmark, though it is still not clear just who is on his 16-team no-trade list, which goes to a 15-team no-trade list on July 1.

The Bruins have said signing Jeremy Swayman to a long-term deal is a priority. They’ve already tried trading Ullmark at the trade deadline and are likely to explore his market again in hopes of getting cap space and player or draft assets. The NHL Draft is June 28.

The 2023 Vezina Trophy winner, Ullmark split duties with Swayman during the regular season, but the Bruins went mostly with the Swayman in the playoffs.

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Swayman is younger (25) and figures to be the team’s No. 1 moving forward.

Ullmark has one year remaining at $5 million.

Though he hasn’t yet won a playoff series, Ullmark is three and a half years younger than Markstrom, has a Vezina on his resume and is a relative bargain for the 2024-25 season. The no-trade list has been a stumbling block – he reportedly nixed a deal to the Kings at the trade deadline (Los Angeles finally picked up a goalie on Wednesday when it sent Pierre-Luc Dubois to Washington for Darcy Kuemper) – but if a team on Ullmark’s  list comes through with a handsome extension, perhaps he’d be willing to change his mind.

OSKAR STEEN’S agent, Joakim Persson, confirmed to Swedish website Hockeynews.se that the free-agent-to-be will be looking for a new team.

“Boston has given us permission to already start talking to other teams to see what interest there is,” Persson said. “So those are the conversations we are in the middle of now, and I’m going over to Vegas for the NHL draft and continue to have conversations and dialogues there.”

Steen was placed on waivers by Boston in February and returned to Providence of the American Hockey League.

In 34 games for the Bruins, he amassed just one point – a goal on Nov. 14 against the Buffalo Sabres. Steen finished the 2023-24 season with Providence, recording 16 points (12 goals, four assists) in 25 games.

After getting eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Florida Panthers, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said he expects to be “aggressive” this summer.

IF JULY 1 COMES and Jake DeBrusk is not re-signed by the Bruins, history has shown us that coveted UFAs are out the door. If DeBrusk walks, Sweeney’s job of getting the Bruins back among the elite will be much more difficult.

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