Linus Ullmark was a deserving winner of the Vezina Trophy last week after a remarkable season, and the Boston Bruins No. 1 was already a favourite at Pro Reads thanks to his openness sharing insights into his decision-making process, so it made sense to go back to him this week.
Ullmark is facing an in-zone play against the New York Rangers, with Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Adam Fox walking in from the blue line with shooting and passing options:
The movement and pace of that forward going to the net is a factor, so watch it at full speed below and ask yourself the same questions, as well as noting how Ullmark plays it:
What stood out to you about the way Ullmark managed that deflection?
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Let’s hear how Ullmark approached this chance, both in terms of Fox and tip option:
“It might be a shot short side or far side — I don’t know — but there has to be awareness of my threats and my threat right now (at the freeze frame) is the guy in the middle,” Ullmark said.
The next key is tracking the likeliest location of the tip, in this case based on the forward’s stick.
“If I have good visual attachment to where the puck is I can read where the shot it going and also where the tip is going to happen,” Ullmark said. “He has the stick towards the middle, so I don’t have to push hard into the shot. I’m looking far side because that’s where the puck goes and then ‘where is his stick?’ His stick is in middle, so after that it’s more about transitioning everything into middle. If I push into it, the puck might hit me and end up on the short side … If I push hard I am going to create openings but because I am transitioning slowly and do a lateral release to the side, everything is covered. If he makes that tip top shelf, kudos to him.”
It’s a quick and simple breakdown but another great example of the thought process of one of the game’s top goalies, and there’s plenty more coming from our video sit down with Ullmark. In the meantime, Premium Annual Members can check out his “recoil” article, as well as Ullmark’s first five Pro Reads, and a Pro Drills with goalie coach Bob Essensa and playing partner Jeremy Swayman in our archives:
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