Linus Ullmark The Answer for the Sabres Crease


With the trade of Ryan Miller the Buffalo Sabres officially opened up their crease to a new netminder. Miller occupied it for a solid decade as he became one the franchise’s top netminders. After rotating goaltenders since Miller’s departure, this season is time for the Sabres to find a netminder who can permanently stick between the pipes.

In an attempt to find that full-time goaltender the Sabres acquired Robin Lehner this offseason.  However,  it appears they may have a hidden gem already in the system in Linus Ullmark.

With Lehner on the shelf due to injury and Chad Johnson stopping nothing, the Sabres decided it was time to give their future a brief glimpse. After just three games of getting his feet wet with the Rochester Americans in the AHL, the team decided to give him an opportunity to show his stuff and he has not disappointed one bit.

Although his debut resulted in a loss he looked solid stopping 24 of 28 shots on net and he didn’t have to wait long to record his first NHL win as he got the nod again on October 30th against the Philadelphia Flyers. Against the Flyers, he looked even better allowing just one late goal to break up his shutout bid as the team went on to win 3-1. Following that impressive performance, he was once again turned to on November 1st against the Islanders where he once again allowed just one goal in a 2-1 victory. Through his first three games of NHL experience, Ullmark boasts a very respectable record going 2-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .930 save percentage.

Throwing Linus Ullmark into his first game gave many fans their first opportunity to see the young netminder since coming over from Sweden. As one of the Sabres most highly touted goaltending prospects, seeing him find early success since coming over has been a nice surprise for the team.

When Lehner went down with injury many expected an upcoming trade for the blue and gold in order to help solidify their problems. With the rebuild near complete and competitive years ahead for the team, goaltending is something they need to seriously address.

While Ullmark’s North American experience is certainly lacking, he has shown some remarkable things in Sweden. Playing for Sweden’s MODO elite hockey team, Ullmark won Swedish goalie of the year honors during the 2013-2014 season posting a 2.08 GAA and .931 save percentage. While his play trailed off slightly the following year, he has posted some phenomenal numbers during his time in the MODO hockey program.

While three NHL games is nothing to hang your hat on, Ullmark has a resume of success throughout his many years between the pipes. It’ll take some time for him to get used to a North American type of game, but if his brief 6 games of combined AHL and NHL player are any indication, he should shape up to be one heck of a goaltender.

Lehner is still on the shelf for another three weeks roughly, so Ullmark should be given a few more games to continue his impressive play and prove himself ready. However, some more time in the AHL wouldn’t be a bad thing for him to get his feet under him.

Unless he magically falls of the bandwagon, it looks like Linus Ullmark is going to turn into a fine NHL goaltender. The Buffalo Sabres and their fans should be extremely excited about the player of their young goaltending prospect and the future whether it involved Ullmark or Lehner.