NHL Rumors: The Goalie Market – Who’s In, and Who’s Available

Sportsnet: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek on the 32 Thoughts: The Podcast – They Really Did It … episode on if Linus Ullmark will end up in Ottawa with an extension. The Toronto Maple Leafs may be looking at free agency and not as much in the trade market. Will the Detroit Red Wings be looking for a goalie?

** NHLRumors.com transcription

Marek: “Meanwhile, Eliotte, before we get to some of the news from earlier on this week, on Thursday, we had a conversation on the radio about the future of Linus Ullmark and the Boston Bruins.

I think there’s a couple of points here that we should probably sharpen the pencil on as well. The nature of the no-trade, the nature of perhaps an extension coming along with waiving the no-trade to go to certain markets. How do you look at the Linus Ullmark, Boston situation?”

Friedman: “I think the extension you mentioned there is a very big part of this. Like I think the reports of Ottawa and Boston discussing and Ullmark trade are very true. You know, I think it’s taken on added urgency because Markstrom is now off the board. Darcy Kuemper is now off the board. And also a team that was looking for a goalie, the Kings are now out of the picture.

NHL Rumors: What is the Goalie Trade Market Looking Like Now?

So in addition to you know, just the fact that Ottawa was looking for a goalie and I think Boston would like to move Ullmark. The number of dance partners, it’s like last dance at the prom, if you didn’t come with a date, you want to make sure you find somebody to dance with, right? And so we’re at we’re kind of getting to that stage now.

I thought Steve Yzerman in his pre-draft availability, he had it on Friday and he said something very interesting about, like we’d heard that Detroit was in the goalie market, and he confirmed that, but he did make a point of saying, ‘I’m not looking for someone who’s going to be here for two or three years, and then leave.’ I thought that was a very interesting quote.

We know Toronto’s in on the goalie market. But I think that’s more of a (Laurent) Brossoit, Anthony Stolarz type piece now that they, I think they ,I heard they’re offered to Calgary was comparable to New Jersey’s but I think because of all the politics there, I think Toronto was going to have to blow anyone else out of the water to get that player.

I also think Markstrom at the end of the day preferred New Jersey most but you know, he opened it up to teams like Toronto and Ottawa in the Eastern Conference. But I think the Maple Leafs were really going to have to win that deal.

But look, now you’ve got a situation where Boston’s looking and saying oh boy, like how many other places are reasonably going to be looking at goaltenders that we can send Ullmark to? And Ottawa was gonna be looking around and saying okay, what else is available? There’s Ullmark. There’s John Gibson. I don’t even know if that’s possible to work out or how Ottawa feels about that.

Ullmark’s no-trade list dropped from 16 last year to 14 this year. And the thing you really have to talk about Jeff is, the way agents and players shape this. It’s not as simple as saying, take the 14 places I hate the most and put them on the list. It’s also, it’s also strategic in the sense that they’ll go look for it and they’ll say, ‘Well, this team doesn’t need a goalie. We could get traded to this team that needs a goalie. So how do we feel about it? And if we don’t like it, we better make sure that teams on the list.’ Like a lot of these lists are very strategic about who’s going to want you that you may not want to go to.

So you know, Ottawa I believe is on the list. But one of the things I’ve really heard here, Jeff, is that if you’re going to pay the price that Boston is asking, which is a big price, are you going to be comfortable with Ullmark as a rental, or are you going to want to have an extension in place?

And that leads to two problems. Number one, would UIllmark want to extend there and number two, would Ullmark, can you get, can two sides make a deal that both say Ottawa and Ullmark would be happy with? And I from what I’ve heard, that’s going to be a challenge.

Like I do think New Jersey looked at all mark two in addition to Markstrom and I think that was a challenge there as well. Markstrom has two years left so it’s a little less of a concern but I think that was an issue.

And you know, one of the things about last year with LA and whatever happened there. You know, I don’t think Ullmark was crazy about relocating his family during the season. I think he was more open to a fresher scenario now, as opposed to in the middle of the year where his family was not affected. However, I think now the extension becomes as big a concern for everybody involved if the price is high.

Now the other thing that could happen to Jeff because there seem to be less dance partners, I wonder if Boston is going to feel pressure to come down on its price. Like there’s you know, like, like this is Yzerman quote, like if he’s interested in Ullmark that says to me, he wants all mark with an extension.”

Marek: “I wouldn’t be surprised that, that whatsoever from Steve Yzerman. Maybe I would be mildly surprised about trading within the division. Maybe I put more on that than then other people but is it a concern if you’re Don Sweeney?”

Friedman: “Ottawa is the same division.”

Marek: “Ottawa’s in the same.”

Friedman: “So you get, as long as you get your price you make the deal. Like Burky was a big guy like that. He didn’t like the idea of trading a goalie within the division. Brian Murray did it with Ben Bishop. But if you get the price you want, you make the deal.”

Marek: “The only thing, that is the one position I always get a little bit squirmy about. Normally I’m, within the division not, not a big deal, except for goalies. That’s the only one that maybe that’s that bit of like old-school thinking I need to get out of my brain but I still have it’s specifically for goaltenders

Speaking of goaltenders.”

Friedman: “But like if you look, if you look out there now, aside from Ullmark, who’s, who’s, who’s out there? There’s Gibson, you know, Anaheim would move him but they really don’t want to eat money.”

Marek: “I know Don Waddell, that deal, Don Waddell has talked about you know, no one’s taking the contract but Elvis Merzlikins.”

Friedman: “Can I talk about that for a second? You know, I think that is that is a shot from Don Waddell across the bow of Elvis Merzlikins.”

Marek: “Of course it is. Totally. And …”

Friedman: “That was a challenge now and Don Waddell came in cowboy boots up to his neck. He’s like, Elvis. I’m coming right at you.”

Marek: “It’s gonna be a fascinating time for the, for the Columbus Blue Jackets. There’s that. There’s the Patrick Laine situation as well. There’s who’s, there’s who’s going to be the coach if you have a thought on that one. Elliotte?”

Friedman: “Somebody told me really to pump the brakes on Patrick Laine too. Like they just said like there’s a lot of conversations that have to happen here first. Slow, slow down on that one I was told and I obviously I think we’re all very sensitive to what, what he’s going through.

But look like aside from that, like, there are very good like, options available like the Brossoit’s and the Stolarz is of the world. But I think everybody’s kind of wondering, like what’s, like if you’re looking for a number one goalie, we’ve got Ullmark, you’ve got Gibson, who else is available now?

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So you know the, the challenge becomes even greater, especially with Ullmark’s no-trade and potential extension or non-extension playing a role in all of this.”