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  • How Don Sweeney envisions the Bruins’ goaltending workload next season

    Tim Rosenthal June 27, 2024

    LAS VEGAS — Linus Ullmark’s tenure in Boston reached its inevitable conclusion with Monday’s trade involving the Ottawa Senators.

    As one half of the now former dynamic goaltending tandem begins adjusting to his new home, GM Don Sweeney and the Bruins’ front office turn their attention toward inking Jeremy Swayman to a long-term contract extension.

    The two sides settled on a $3.475 million deal following arbitration last summer. But with Swayman solidifying his spot in Boston’s net following a stellar postseason, the parties remain keen on putting the final touches on a multi-year deal.

    “It’s a priority for us to continue to have discussions necessary to get Jeremy under contract,” Sweeney said during his pre-Draft press conference on Thursday. “We’ll continue to do that, and we’ve been doing that, and we’ll hopefully find it in due course because that’s the priority.”

    The Bruins hope to bridge Swayman’s new deal — projected in the $7-$8 million range — while adding necessary center and defensive upgrades this off-season. But they received just a mere $1.65 million in cap savings with the Ullmark trade after adding netminder Joonas Korpisalo (with Ottawa retaining 25 percent of his remaining salary over the next three years), bottom-six forward Mark Kastelic and the 25th pick in Friday’s Draft.

    Come training camp; the Bruins hope goalie coach Bob Essenssa can get Korpisalo back to form. During his lone season in Ottawa, Korpisalo posted a 21-26-4 record, an .890 save percentage and ranked among the worst netminders in every other advanced goaltending metric.

    But Korpisalo also showed flashes of solid play in Columbus during his eight seasons with the Blue Jackets. He followed that up with a brief but productive stint in Los Angeles after the Kings acquired him at the 2023 trade deadline.

    Korpisalo arrives as a reclamation project but provides Boston with a veteran backup option to complement Swayman’s projected busier schedule for his first year in an extended role.

    “Jeremy would certainly like to get into the upper echelon of playing 50-some-odd games, and he hasn’t done that. So we have to sort of see where that games as the year goes and how well he plays,” Sweeney said regarding the potential workload between Swayman and Boston’s backup.

    “Jonas has obviously played at a high level and been a starter. So I think that the ability to compliment Jeremy, to be able to push Jeremy and want the net himself is a pretty good competitive atmosphere.”

    Korpisalo will face some competition in the fall, more so from another option in Boston’s goaltending pipeline.

    Hours before the news of dropping their transaction with Ottawa, the Bruins announced they had agreed to a one-year deal with Brandon Bussi.

    Bussi showcased strides in his development in Providence after arriving as an undrafted free agent at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. But Bussi will require waivers if he doesn’t make the big club out of training camp.

    The Bruins undoubtedly put themselves in a conundrum by creating competition for the backup role. On one hand, they could risk losing Bussi for nothing if a team claims him on waivers. On the other hand, the Bruins could bury Korpisalo’s $3 million salary in Providence — creating $1.15 million in cap savings and a dead cap hit of $1.85 million — assuming none of the other 31 squads claim him.

    The dynamic between Korpisalo hoping to revert to form and Bussi proving he can transition to the NHL level will mark one of the top developments to watch when the Bruins report to their Brighton practice facility in September.

    “I don’t want to lose sight of Brandon in the sense that he’s paid his dues, and he wants his opportunity to be in the National Hockey League. If he beats out, in this case, all likelihood Jonas, then we’ll have to give him the opportunity. He requires waivers, so it’s part of the cycle of all the players, and when they start to mature and an opportunity presents, then yeah, we have to make a tough decision.”

    The Ullmark trade may have handcuffed the Bruins to fill their necessary holes entering free agency and also complicated their outlook for the No. 2 spot in net. But it also confirmed Swayman’s status as Boston’s long-term workhorse.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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