Entering the trade deadline, the Boston Bruins have multiple needs that needed to be addressed, and Saturday afternoon, general manager Don Sweeney addressed one. The Bruins acquired defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the Bruins 2022 first-round pick, a second-round pick in 2023, a second-round pick in 2024, prospect Urho Vaakanainen and defenseman John Moore. Anaheim is also retaining 50-percent of Lindholm’s salary in the deal, which gives the Bruins some cap relief.
In early February, Pat Verbeek was named general manager in Anaheim, just in time to oversee the 2022 trade deadline. He was faced with some difficult decisions in terms of key players that are scheduled to be free agents following the season and he has decided to move some to get assets some big assets back in return. Sunday, the Bruins announced that they agreed to an eight-year contract extension with Lindholm with an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.
What the Bruins Are Getting
Lindholm is an instant top-pairing defenseman that will fit into the lineup most likely next to Charlie McAvoy and provide depth on the left side and is what the Bruins were looking for. At 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds, he is a shutdown blueliner that can play in all situations and will be matched up against the opposing team’s top line. A top-four of McAvoy, Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk, and Brandon Carlo in front of goalies Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark has the Bruins set up on the backend for the rest of this season and beyond.
In his ninth season in the NHL, the sixth overall pick by Anaheim in the 2012 Entry Draft is one of the lesser know top defensemen in the league playing on the West Coast. He has never been known as a big point producer, but he has a sneaky good offensive game. In 61 games this season, he has five goals and 17 assists, averaging just under 23 minutes of ice time a night. For his career, the 28-year-old Lindholm had a career-high in assists with 27 in 2014-15 and a career-high in goals with 13 in the 2017-18 season. For his career, he is averaging 22:11 of ice time a night and has racked up 57 goals and 165 assists in 222 career games.
Curran is a 32-year-old defenseman that has played in 37 games for the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League (AHL) with one goal and 15 assists this season.
Bruins Lock Up Lindholm After Anaheim Failed to Work Out an Extension
Prior to the trade, Lindholm and the Ducks were trying to work out an extension before his six-year, $31.5 million contract that carries a $5.2 Average Annual Value (AAV) expires following this season, but Verbeek was not ready to hand out a contract that Lindholm will be looking for in the open market this summer. Anaheim knew that if an extension could not be worked out, then moving on from Lindholm was the move to make to get some assets in return. The Bruins were reported to working out an extension with Lindholm Saturday night and announced on Sunday that the deal was official. Given what Sweeney gave up to get Lindholm, it was almost a must that he locked him before free agency this summer.
This is not the only move that Verbeek and the Ducks are making as they have already traded defenseman Josh Manson on March 13 to the Colorado Avalanche for prospect Drew Helleson and a second-round pick in 2023. Forward Rickard Rakell, who the Bruins also have interest in, is another player that is expected to be moved by Monday’s 3 o’clock deadline. Saturday, Anaheim also sent Nicolas Deslauriers to the Minnesota Wild for a third-round draft pick.
As for the Bruins, this is the first in what is expected to be multiple moves at the deadline. They have been one of the best teams in the NHL since Jan. 1, going 24-9-3, after Friday night’s 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. They currently trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by two points in the Atlantic Division standings for third place and are just three behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place. A top-six center and a top-six right wing is something that Sweeney could be looking for in the next two days. As on now, Jake DeBrusk is still on the Bruins roster and could still be moved as a piece to address a top-six forward need.
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Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.