Linus Ullmark is the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy, and he deserves to be when you consider the Boston Bruins' No. 1 goalie leads the NHL in save percentage, goals against average and several other statistics.
Ullmark's transformation from a very good to elite goalie is perhaps the primary reason why the Bruins entered Friday with a league-leading 41-8-5 record -- seven points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Swedish netminder has been fantastic, but don't let it overshadow how well Jeremy Swayman has played for the Bruins over the last two months.
In fact, from a statistical standpoint, Swayman has been the league's top goalie since mid-December.
Swayman's latest stellar performance came Thursday night in Nashville when the Bruins beat the Predators 5-0. The 24-year-old goalie made 28 saves for his second shutout of the season.
"We gave up a lot of odd-man rushes tonight," Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters after the win. "I didn't think we were on top of our game. I think that if our goaltender wasn't as good as he was, it would've been a tight game. We had some fortunate bounces that went in the net. Two went off of them into their own net.
"Our best player was Swayman because they had a lot of good things and he was patient on his feet and made a lot of good shoulder saves, gloves saves, and he didn't give up any rebounds."
Swayman's excellent play of late proves why even the idea of moving him at the trade deadline is absolutely ridiculous.
For starters, Swayman is under team control as a restricted free agent this summer. If he agrees to something like the three-year, $12 million deal that Jake Oettinger signed as an RFA before the season, then the Bruins would have Ullmark and Swayman -- two of the best goalies in the league right now -- signed to a combined salary cap hit of about $8-9 million for the next two years. That would be a great foundation in net.
If the Bruins traded Swayman before the deadline, and then Ullmark suffered an injury or his performance dipped dramatically, who would the Bruins put in net in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Keith Kinkaid from the Providence Bruins? No thanks.
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Ullmark likely would have a long leash in the playoffs given how well he's played this season, but it's comforting for a coaching staff to know that a goalie with Swayman's poise and talent is available if needed. And we've already seen from last season's first-round series versus the Carolina Hurricanes that Swayman is capable of performing at an impressive level under the pressure of the playoffs.
You also don't see young goalies as skilled as Swayman dealt at the trade deadline, especially for an impact forward or defenseman. It's extremely rare, and there's a reason for it -- teams don't want to sacrifice depth/talent at the most important position in the sport.
If the Bruins found themselves in a huge salary cap crunch over the summer and they needed to trade a goalie, so be it. But it makes absolutely zero sense to make a goalie trade before the end of this season.
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The Bruins are in the super fortunate position to have two of the best goaltenders in the sport right now, and they should ride that luxury as long into the future as they can.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney does need to upgrade the roster before the trade deadline -- a defenseman and a bottom-six forward are two of the biggest needs -- but he shouldn't use any important pieces from his NHL roster to make those moves. Picks and prospects should be enough to acquire the right players to fortify the team's depth for the playoffs.