The Buffalo Sabres have announced that they have signed goaltender Linus Ullmark to a one-year, $1.33MM deal today, avoiding the pending arbitrator’s ruling after the two sides met on Friday. The deal will allow Ullmark to become an unrestricted free agent next year.
It’s the second deal the Sabres struck with a player today, as the team signed Jake McCabe earlier today as well. With those two deals now settled, that will give the team a second buyout window for 48 hours that will start in three days with several potential candidates if the Sabres want to cut a player, including Marco Scandella, Zach Bogosian, or Vladimir Sobotka. However, the team did well for themselves with four scheduled arbitration hearings, receiving a favorable decision in the Evan Rodrigues case and below-market deals with Ullmark, McCabe, and Remi Elie.
The 26-year-old Ullmark came in this season as the backup goaltender behind starter Carter Hutton, but didn’t fare as well as many had hoped. He did get quite a few appearances as he played in 37 games, but finished with a .905 save percentage and a 3.11 GAA in that span. This deal will likely become a “prove it” deal for Ullmark, who must prove to Buffalo that he deserves to be an NHL goaltender and maybe even challenge the veteran Hutton for more playing time next season.The question now is whether Ullmark can become a consistent goaltender for the slowly improving Sabres.
Ullmark, a sixth-round pick in 2012, impressed fans in Buffalo back in the 2015-16 season when he appeared in 20 games for the Sabres and performed well with a .913 save percentage when he was a 22-year-old. However, the team opted to keep him in the AHL to give the goaltender more seasoning. The 6-foot-4 netminder looked ready for the challenge after his performance in the 2017-18 season when he was 21-12-4 with the Rochester Americans, putting up a 2.42 GAA and a .922 save percentage. He looked even better in five appearances with the Sabres that year. Ullmark was also selected to the AHL All-Star game twice, in 2016 and 2017.
The question now is whether Ullmark can become a consistent goaltender for the slowly improving Sabres.