Goaltender Ullmark not hurrying into long-term commitment with Sens | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
Subscribe

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Current Conditions Clear  25.6°C

Goaltender Ullmark not hurrying into long-term commitment with Sens

The Ottawa Senators believe they’ve solved their goaltending woes by acquiring Linus Ullmark, but unless a contract extension is signed over the summer this coming season will be an extended tryout for both the player and the team. Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark, makes a save against Calgary Flames' Noah Hanifin during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators believe they’ve solved their goaltending woes by acquiring Linus Ullmark, but unless a contract extension is signed over the summer this coming season will be an extended tryout for both the player and the team.

Ullmark, who was acquired Monday from the Boston Bruins in exchange for goalie Joonas Korpisalo, centre Mark Kastelic and the 25th first-round pick in Friday’s NHL entry draft, is in the final year of his four-year, US$20-million contract.

While speaking with media Wednesday the 30-year-old Ullmark didn’t appear overly concerned about his contract status. He said finding a place to live, a school for his kids and getting to know the city and organization are the priorities.

"Steve (Staois) and my agent will deal with (contract extensions) off to the side,” said Ullmark. “I told them that once there’s something that needs to be discussed you can always reach me."

Staios, the Senators general manager, also spoke Wednesday, and from his comments an extension doesn’t seem imminent.

“The priority right now is to have Linus in with our group and have him comfortable and get him to know what the Ottawa Senators are all about moving forward,” said Staios.

He later added that discussions “will happen at the appropriate time.”

Ullmark was more forthcoming when he talked about what he can do for the Senators next season.

“I’m hoping to bring consistency,” he said. “I’m hoping to bring effort and attitude, something that you always can control.”

The father of two spoke about learning from veterans like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and sharing that knowledge to help develop the winning culture the Bruins have maintained.

Ullmark, who has never played more than 49 games in a season, is also excited at the opportunity of being a bona fide starter and carrying the bulk of the workload.

“Winning is very hard in this league and something that shouldn’t be taken for granted,” said Ullmark. “That’s why I always try to have a smile on my face. I try to bring a good attitude, try to bring effort every single day and then, you know, see what happens down the road.”

Staios said bringing in someone like Ullmark, who’s been part of a winning culture, is a big addition to a team with few veterans.

“Typically, you look at adding players like that, that are on forward or defence,” Staios said. “I think Linus brings a unique blend because of that experience in a winning organization, and also being a starting goaltender.”

Another plus to the trade for Staios is finding a way out from under Korpisalo’s five-year, US$20-million contract he inherited from previous general manager Pierre Dorion.

Korpisalo was supposed to be the answer in goal after Dorion’s failed experiments with Matt Murray and Cam Talbot, but he failed to live up to expectations going 21-26-4 with a 3.27 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in 55 regular-season games.

Paired with Anton Forsberg, a friend of Ullmark’s who finished the season with a 15-12-0 record and 3.21 GAA, the Senators duo finished last in the league with an .888 save percentage.

The Senators are counting on Ullmark finding the form that made him a 2023 Vezina Trophy winner, when he posted a 40-6-1 record with a 1.89 goals-against-average and .938 save percentage.

This past season, in tandem with Jeremy Swayman who took over the Bruins net in the playoffs, Ullmark posted a 22-10-7 record with a 2.55 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

With Swayman anointed the Bruins' heir apparent Ullmark understood his time in Boston was likely coming to an end.

“I mean, it’s a part of the job,” said Ullmark. “There’s always a time in your life or in your career when you’re up on the trade market or anything like that and it’s just purely business.”

Ullmark said he would have liked to have won a Stanley Cup in Boston but is now turning that focus to Ottawa where he sees a new opportunity. In the Senators, he sees a promising younger team ready to take that next step.

"We're not playing for fun, we're playing to win,” said Ullmark. “Winning is fun and losing is a lot more boring. I've been on that side of the spectrum and I know how it feels.

"It's so much harder going to work when you're losing. When you win a lot everything is easier, the sun shines a bit brighter and all the situations in your life are a lot easier to handle. Why would I change my philosophy just because I'm switching teams?"

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile