Linus Ullmark trade has serious ramifications for the Sabres

The Bruins recently traded former Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Ottawa Senators, so what are the ramifications?
Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

In case you didn’t yet receive the memo, former Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark will be playing in a different town in 2024-25. And that town is yet another one in the Atlantic Division, as Ullmark will be suiting up for the Ottawa Senators in 2024-25. 

So what does this mean for the Sabres and the other “non-playoff teams” in the Atlantic? For one, the Blue and Gold’s road to the playoffs just got a lot tougher. They got a Stanley Cup Champion to deal with, a tough team like the Bruins who aren’t going anywhere with a perennial Vezina contender in Jeremy Swayman still in the crease, and also a high-scoring Toronto Maple Leafs team. 

Only the Tampa Bay Lightning, with or without Steven Stamkos in 2024-25, is the only “playoff team” the Sabres can manage beyond a shadow of a doubt. Or at least that was the case this past season when they, predictably, struggled against Boston and Florida, finishing the season 3-5-2 (eight points) against the two teams, plus the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

They did finish with a winning record and secured five of eight points against the Maple Leafs, however. And when you add in their 3-1-0 record against the Lightning, Buffalo finished 6-6-2 against the Atlantic’s top-four opponents last season. Not bad, but if they want to make the playoffs, that record and points total, 14, must improve. 

Linus Ullmark trade made Sabres road to the playoffs tougher

Let’s add how well the Sabres performed against the “non-playoff teams,” and the results are even bleaker, with the Blue and Gold finishing 5-6-1, or 11 points. That included a 2-2-0 record against the Senators, the same record they snagged against them the season before. 

Now, you’re putting a decent goaltender into the mix, beyond decent, really, in Linus Ullmark. This trade just made the Ottawa Senators a whole lot better, and it’s basically turning into a chess game among the Atlantic’s top seven teams. General manager Kevyn Adams must find a way to counter that because you can expect Ullmark, even on a lesser-talented team, to once again look like his usual self. 

It’s time to pull off that trade for an established winger like Pavel Buchnevich or even bring in another capable talent like Trevor Zegras. For the record, I’m not saying that it’s wise to make a trade in response to another team’s trade, but it’s also not like we haven’t been clamoring for Adams to make a move. 

With Lindy Ruff returning to the Sabres and the team falling way short of its playoff expectations last season, a big trade should be inevitable this offseason. Now, with Ullmark in Ottawa, something that will provide even more of a challenge for Buffalo, there should be no question about it - make your big trade, Kevyn Adams, and get this team into contention.