Ullmark, a new Swedish star goalie?

Ullmark, a new Swedish star goalie?

Ty Dilello05 Aug 2016Ty Dilello»

Ty Dilello has talked with Swedish goalie Linus Ullmark who made his first season with the Buffalo Sabres.


If you were to ask Linus Ullmark at the beginning of this past season if he thought he was going to be a regular player in the National Hockey League with the Buffalo Sabres, he probably would have said no. Thanks in part to some injuries, Ullmark made his NHL debut during the 2015-16 season and ended up playing twenty games with the Sabres, going 8-10-2 with a 2.60 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

A product of Northern Sweden, Ullmark developed as a goaltender with MODO of the Elitserien with their U18, U20, and finally their men's squad. The 6'4' Ullmark was a 6th round (163rd overall) draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He come over to North America for the 2015-16 season and was expecting to play most if not all of the season with the AHL's Rochester Americans. As I said however, injuries took its toll on the Sabres early on in the season and Ullmark was called up. He went on to play brilliantly in the Sabres goal all season while still admitting that he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be a full-time NHL goaltender.

Linus is on the right pace and next season he will once again be looking to continue his development as a goaltender in the Sabres organization, whether it being with the Sabres in the NHL or the Rochester Americans of the AHL is yet to be seen, but Ullmark has already laid out some impressive groundwork that should do wonders for him come training camp in the fall.

EuroHockey.com asked Linus Ullmark some questions.

How did you start playing hockey and at what age? I started out by following my older brother to the rink, and also my dad made a rink at the pre-school right across the road from our house so I spent a lot of hours at those two places. I started playing on my first team when I was five or six years old I think.

Hockey Idols growing up? I had a lot of idols growing up but the one standing out the most was Peter Forsberg and Patrick Roy. Later on I started watching more and more when Dominik Hasek played so I got a lot of inspiration from him.

How did you become a goalie? I combined being a player and a goalie until I was around fifteen years old. But I started out when I was young and our goalie at the time wanted to try being a forward, so the coaches asked us if anyone wanted to be a goalie for the practice and I said yes right away.

Describe your playing style? My playing style is a very calm but also unorthodox style. Everything can happen but there is always a thought behind it. I'm not just trying to be a show off, I'm just saving the puck with what I think is the best way or the easier way.

What are your goals in hockey? Like everyone else I want to be the best goalie in the world. If I ever make it, we'll see, but I will give myself the chance to pursue that dream by battling like a maniac in all practices and games.

What have been some of the best games in your career/Best moments? Best moments would be my first NHL game and my first NHL win. To win my first NHL game was such an unreal feeling. I mean, you start to think about when you were a kid and played NHL 2000 with your friends and started dreaming about playing in the NHL. Also, when we secured our spot in the SHL with MODO is also gonna be one of my favorite games. There was so much relief, joy, happiness, and so on that it made it just so much more sweeter.

Did you know at a young age that you were talented at this sport? I didn't know I had the talent for a long time, maybe when I was sixteen years old I thought to myself that I could hopefully make myself a living by playing hockey full time.

How was it like playing in the MODO system for so long? I loved every second of playing in MODO. I grew up idolizing the players and cheering for them every game they played, so I always wanted to put on that jersey. I learnt a lot from my time there with all of my coaches and goalie coaches. Mostly I learned what it took to be a pro in this sport and I can't thank the club enough.

Talk about your first season in North America, getting adjusted to the smaller ice surface, and making your NHL debut? My first season was a very bumpy ride I must say. I'm happy how it all turned out, but I'm far from satisfied with how I played. But still, I came back from a double hip-surgery so I'm happy anyways. My first game was also a very surreal experience but also a very intense and joyful moment. I was nervous going in to the game and I was a little frustrated that I couldn't perform at my highest level because of the speed of the game. But after a couple of games I felt I got the hang of it yet I still have a lot to learn.

Talk about the Sabres and how your first season with them was like and where do you see yourself in the lineup for next season? Same here, I'm happy with how I performed but I'm not satisfied with it. I'm glad that I could show the fans that I could win games in the NHL, but if I want to be a successful goalie in the NHL, I need to be more consistent and not have so many up and downs. I'm looking forward to next season but I have no clue where I see myself. Hope for the best, expect the worst, and take what is given to you.

A comment on Andrey Makarov's situation? He claims he was treated pretty unfairly by the Sabres organization. I'm choosing not to comment on that matter. That is Andrey's situation, not mine.

Explain your love for minions? I mean what's not to love about minions?

NHL Team: Growing up, Colorado Avalanche
Childhood Idol: Peter Forsberg
Video Game: Dota 2
Movie: The Fellowship of the Ring (Trilogy)
TV Show: Supernatural and Suits
Pump-Up Song: Five Finger Death Punch - My Nemesis
Activity Away From the Rink: Playing computer games, watching gaming streams, and enjoying life with my family

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