Linus Ullmark has a legit shot at winning the MVP award

The one player on the Bruins that has been going under the radar this season.

Whatever magic Boston Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa has used on Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark it’s working. The Bruins are having a record-breaking season. They have the best record in the NHL and are on pace to have the most wins in an NHL season and the most points. 

Entering this season, the Bruins were at best seen as a fringe playoff team. They fired head coach Bruce Cassidy this offseason hiring Jim Montgomery to replace him. They brought back forwards Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. It just seemed like another attempt to bring back the band together for one last shot at the Stanley Cup. The Bruins have completely bypassed those expectations and are now the favorites to win it all.

When you think of MVP candidates on the Bruins you might think of forwards David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Combined, the two lead the Bruins in points and are the driving force behind the offense. You might consider defenseman Charlie McAvoy or Hampus Lindholm. The Bruins top defensemen have been important in defending their net. Ullmark’s name is definitely not at the top of that list. 

Last season, Bruins fans were not impressed with Ullmark. After signing a $20 million contract for four years with the Bruins, fans expected more from Ullmark with his size in the position. Listed at 6 feet 5 inches, Ullmark had an average first season with the Bruins. It had fans questioning why did they sign him when they have a young, talented goalie in Jeremy Swayman. This season he has fans changing their minds. 

“If people didn’t know how good he was, they’ll watch this tape and know why he’s having such a fantastic year. He’s been the best goalie in the NHL this year.” Coach Montgomery said.

“You know, he gave us a chance to ultimately get a win at the end. … Running out of stuff to say about him. It’s just amazing. I feel very fortunate to play in front of him.” McAvoy said after Ullmark’s performance in Calgary. 

Ullmark’s ability to make game-saving saves when the Bruins need it the most has been recognized. He has a saves percentage of .948 and is giving up 1.56 goals against when the score is tied. Those numbers get even better when the Bruins are down by one. Ullmark puts up a higher saves percentage of .959 and better goals against of 1.13. He completely dominates in the clutch. This helped Ullmark earn a spot in the All-Star game this year.

Ultimately, Ullmark leads the league in every measurable as a goalie. He leads the league in goals against, saves percentage and wins. He has the least amount of losses as well with only five, and leads the league in saves percentage when it’s five on five. With this stat line, Ullmark is the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy, the trophy awarded to the best goalie. However, it wasn’t until these last few games that Ullmark made a case for the MVP.

One goalie goal and setting the Bruins franchise record in saves with 54 against the Calgary Flames have slingshotted Ullmark into the conversation. Last week, Ullmark was +5000, but now Ullmark is +2500 on DraftKings, passing his teammate Pastrnak with the second-best odds to win the MVP. The odds on favorite is Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid who is having a ridiculous year as per usual. McDavid is on pace for over 60 goals and over 150 points this season.

On the other hand, Ullmark makes a good case because of last season’s results in the MVP race. New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin finished third in MVP voting and had two votes for first place. That season Shesterkin finished with the best goals against and saves percentage. The Rangers had the seventh-best record in the NHL and reached the Conference Finals off the back of him. As a consolation, Shesterkin did win the Vezina.

At a minimum, Ullmark should be in the top two if Shesterkin finished third last season. Ullmark certainly has the Vezina wrapped up and potentially has the goalie Triple Crown in the bag for leading the NHL in goals against, save percentage, and wins. The one factor that could get Ullmark more votes is if the Bruins break the record for the most wins and points in a season and a Stanley Cup.

Only six goalies have won the MVP. The last goalie to win the MVP was Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price in 2015. That year, Price won the MVP, the Vezina, and the Triple Crown. Ullmark has a chance to recreate that this year. 

If he keeps up this pace and continues to show his dominance in the playoffs, we could be looking at history in the making. So hop on board the Ullmark Train because it’s chugging along.

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