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Countdown to TradeCentre: Ullmark briefly sets rumour mill abuzz


The NHL's March 8 Trade Deadline is approaching, and teams are making decisions on whether to buy or sell, and on which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out today's trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.

Ullmark speculation continues to swirl 

While there has been some talk of the possibility of the Boston Bruins trading reigning Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark, the rumour mill was briefly set abuzz Monday night.

With Jeremy Swayman in net for the Bruins against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a broadcast of the game noted Ullmark was not on the bench, causing a frenzy among Bruins fans.

The goaltender, however, had simply opted to watch the game in the dressing room rather than find a crammed spot on the bench.

“I had a good laugh,” Ullmark said when asked about the situation post-game. “Obviously, it was easy to have a good laugh when we’re winning as well in Toronto. For me, it was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ It was just a surreal thing that happened.

"You just take it with a smile on my face. It’s nothing I can do about it. Everybody can speculate as much as they want.”

Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic writes that "legitimate trade chatter, however, is a real thing. Especially considering the circumstances." TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun wrote in The Athletic Monday that while the market for goalies has largely dried up with the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes no longer looking, the New Jersey Devils could look to acquire Ullmark if they cannot pry Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames.

Ullmark appears to be in the backup role behind Swayman, who is five years younger at 25. Ullmark is signed through next season at a cap hit of $5 million and the Bruins may need cap space this summer to re-sign Swayman in restricted free agency.

“In the off-days, it would be,” Ullmark said when asked if being traded has been on his mind after Monday's 4-1 win. “I think it’s true for everyone that (doesn’t have) no-trade clauses or anything like that. It crosses their minds. But it’s nothing that I worry about. It’s nothing that’s preventing me to perform. I feel great during every practice, every game. Just hoping we can get a little more bounces. The guys played a terrific game tonight. We’ve just got to go do it again tomorrow.”

The 30-year-old Ullmark has a 16-7-6 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average this season. He went 40-6-1 as Boston's starter last season. 

Swayman improved to 20-6-8 this season with a .921 save percentage and a 2.49 GAA after Monday's win. He was awarded a one-year, $3.475 million contract in arbitration last summer. 

Tarasenko Time

The appears to be plenty of interest in Ottawa Senators winger Vladimir Tarasenko, with the pending unrestricted free agent expected to be moved this week.

Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia notes that the Senators are seeking a second-round pick and a prospect in return for Tarasenko, who will have final say on a deal through his no-move clause. He points to the Florida PanthersCarolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers as teams who have shown interest. 

Garrioch adds that the Panthers, who are currently sit atop in the NHL standings, are believed to be high on Tarasenko's list of destinations. 

The 32-year-old winger is currently listed at No. 7 on the TSN Trade Bait board. He has 17 goals and 41 points in 57 games with Ottawa this season while carrying a cap hit of $5 million. 

Tarasenko is no stranger to deadline deals after being moved last year from the St. Louis Blues to the New York Rangers, eventually joining the Senators as an unrestricted free agent. 

Kraken watch

The Seattle Kraken held centre Alex Wennberg out of Monday's win over the Calgary Flames in preparation for a trade this week.

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports the Kraken looked in to re-signing Wennberg but have now decided to move him. TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche are among the teams to show interest in the pending unrestricted free agent.

While Wennberg appears to be on the way out, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports the Kraken want to extend pending unrestricted free agent Jordan Eberle, who he adds also wants to stay.

Eberle has 14 goals and 36 points in 57 games with Seattle this season, his third with the team. The 33-year-old is signed at an expiring cap hit of $5.5 million. 

The 29-year-old Wennberg has nine goals and 25 points in 60 games this season while carrying an expiring cap hit of $4.5 million. The Stockholm, Sweden native had 13 goals and 38 points in 82 games last season, adding two goals and seven points in 14 playoff games with Seattle. 

Selected 14th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2013 draft, Wennberg has 90 goals and 330 points in 693 games with Columbus, the Florida Panthers and Kraken. 

After Monday's 4-2 win, the Kraken sit seven points back of the Nashville Predators for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with one game in hand.