Player Report Card: Linus Ullmark
25-year-old Ullmark set to become restricted free agent
Total Season Stats: 37 GP | 15-14-5 | .905 SV% | 3.11 GAA
Contract Status: RFA
Linus Ullmark finally found a solid spot in the National Hockey League this past season with the Buffalo Sabres. After four seasons in which he saw limited time with Buffalo, Ullmark appeared in a season-high 37 games this season, going 15-14-5. He started 34 of those games.
Despite a sometimes less-than-stellar team in front of him, Ullmark generally performed well. He posted the first shutout of his NHL career, then added a second later in the season. A 3.11 GAA may seem high, but given the status of the team as a whole and their struggle, it makes sense. Overall, Ullmark allowed 109 goals on 1,146 shots faced.
🎥 Linus Ullmark after 35-save win: "It's not a one-man show. It's a team that's winning." #Sabres pic.twitter.com/REIkxJyTzo— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 25, 2018
Naturally, having seen the most action of his young NHL career, Ullmark set a new career high for wins in a season, besting his previous record of eight wins. At times, he certainly seemed like he could be the Sabres’ top goaltender, particularly when he made a great save or allowed just one goal. Even on nights where on paper it may have seemed bad, the numbers weren’t always indicative of just how good Ullmark was.
Ullmark will turn 26 before the summer is through, and he’s set to become a restricted free agent this summer. If Ullmark does return to Buffalo, he’s likely to once again be alongside Carter Hutton in competition for the starting job. Hutton has two years left on his contract and will earn $2.75 million next season.
The Sabres organization does have a few other goaltenders in its stock, but not a whole lot in terms of NHL-ready talent. Both Adam Wilcox and Scott Wedgewood, 26 years of age each, are set to become group-6 unrestricted free agents. Jonas Johansson, who’s played largely in the ECHL, has one year left on his deal. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who showcased his skills in the OHL this past season and is only 20, has three years left on his entry-level contract.
Ullmark has been a well-spoken young player in the Sabres organization and has finally had a chance to show what he can do at the NHL level, after several years with the Amerks in Rochester. He’s also connected locally with the Buffalo community, including the SPCA, and seems to genuinely enjoy playing here.
Season Grade: B
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