NHL trade grades: Bruins send Linus Ullmark to Senators for 2 players, 1st-round pick

NHL: Boston Bruins at Calgary Flames
Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators completed a significant trade on Monday before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, one that should be good for each side. The Bruins traded former Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Senators in exchange for goalie Joonas Korpisalo, forward Mark Kastelic, and a first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

The trade was a necessary one for the Bruins. Despite the high-end talent of Ullmark, Boston is already equipped with a younger, equally talented goalie in Jeremy Swayman, and it was getting expensive to keep both.

Ottawa was in dire need of a No. 1 goalie, and they get just that in Ullmark. Boston also receives a serviceable backup goalie, a depth forward, and a first-round pick in the draft.

Related: 2024 NHL Mock Draft: First-round picks for all 32 teams

Grading Bruins-Senators trade

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Buffalo Sabres
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

So, who wins this trade? Let’s break down both sides.

Boston Bruins: B-

While this was a necessary move for Boston to make, it splits up one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL over the past several seasons. Ullmark and Swayman helped the Bruins win the Presidents’ Trophy in 2022-23, when Boston set NHL records for most wins (65) and points (135) in a season. They shared the work load and shared the Jennings Trophy after allowing 177 goals, fewest in the NHL. Ullmark, though, was individually awarded the Vezina Trophy for his 1.89 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in 49 games.

They were excellent again this past season (47 wins, tied for fifth with 221 goals allowed) though Boston turned more and more to Swayman, who’s a restricted free agent July 1. Since Ullmark is older (30), makes $5 million annually and can be a UFA at the end of the 2024-25 season, it appeared to be time for the Bruins to move on to Swayman as their unquestioned No. 1 goalie.

Replacing Ullmark will be Korpisalo, who’s coming off a down season with the Senators. He was 21-26-4 with an .890 save percentage and 3.27 goals-against average. He’s been inconsistent throughout his career, but could thrive in a backup role behind Swayman and with a better team in the Bruins. But he’s certainly a downgrade from Ullmark, so the pressure is on Swayman.

Kastelic is a solid depth player for the Bruins. He suited up in 63 games for the Senators last season, when he had five goals and five assists, and accumulated 63 penalty minutes. He will fit in nicely with the gritty play-style of the Bruins.

What saves this trade for Boston is that they get a first-round pick out of the deal. Provided there are no other moves, the Bruins will now have the 25th overall pick in the first round. This is likely the best part of their return, as prior to the trade the Bruins did not have a first-round selection.

Ottawa Senators: A-

NHL: Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens
Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Senators desperately needed a No. 1 goalie, and have been searching for years for one. They finally landed one in this trade, making this trade a big win for them

Ullmark was 22-10-7 with a .915 save percentage and 2.58 GAA this past season, not as dominant as his Vezina Trophy season, but still very good. He won’t have the same veteran team in front of him as he did in Boston, but the Senators are good young squad who appear ready to contend for the Stanley Cup Playoffs now that they have Ullmark in goal.

Ottawa is looking to continue building around their young talent, like Brady Tkachuk, who just watched his brother Matthew hoist the Stanley Cup, as well as Tim Stutzle, Shane Pinto, and Drake Batherson.

Additionally, the Senators have the No. 7 overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, which is probably why they were willing to part ways with the No. 25 selection in exchange for Ullmark. Chances are, they will draft a high-end player who will be able to contribute in the near future.

When all is said and done, the Senators finally addressed their biggest need, and did so with one of the best in the League. Now they need to sign him to a contract extension so that he does not reach UFA status at the end of the season.

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