All season long, the Washington Capitals have been in the hunt for one of the two Eastern Conference wild card spots, but they have recently fallen on hard times and are now in a fight with five other teams for two spots. They have a number of unrestricted free agents (UFA) this summer and before the trade deadline, they have decided to move some of them to get assets in return in a three-team trade with the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild.
On Feb. 23, Washington held some players out of the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks for trade-related reasons and it didn’t take long for them to get moved. In a three-team trade, Garnet Hathaway and Dmitry Orlov were traded to the Bruins in exchange for Craig Smith, the Bruins’ 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 third-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick, and Washington retains 50% of Orlov’s $5.1 million salary. The Wild are retaining 25% of Orlov’s salary and getting a 2023 fifth-round pick from the Bruins. Minnesota is also sending the rights to Andrei Svetlakov to the Bruins as part of the trade.
Bruins Add Needed Toughness & Grit
With the NHL’s best record at 43-8-5, there were some questions about what Bruins general manager (GM) Don Sweeney would do anything to the roster, but there were clearly needs that they had. In previous postseasons, the Bruins have been beaten up physically, and no need to look any further than last season’s first-round exit at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games. If Hathaway and Orlov are both healthy come playoff time, that should help Boston in that area.
This season, Hathaway, who makes $1.5 million, had nine goals and seven assists in 59 games for Washington, which included the game-winning goal against the Bruins on Feb. 11 at the TD Garden. He played his college hockey at Brown University and in 121 games in four seasons for the Bears, he had 20 goals and 38 assists. Hathaway played his prep hockey at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. with Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers. In 432 career NHL games between the Capitals and Calgary Flames, Hathaway has 54 goals and 62 assists.
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Orlov, a left-shot, is well known to the Bruins after his hit on Kevan Miller in Game 4 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was assessed a double minor for the hit and Boston scored on the power play on their way to a 4-1 win for a 3-1 series lead that they won in five games. This season in 43 games, he has three goals and 16 assists, but it’s playing in the defensive end that the Bruins are hoping to get as they saw in the 2021 playoffs.
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Moving on from Smith is something that the Bruins have been trying to do most of this season. They have placed him on waivers and he went unclaimed and he moved up and down Jim Montgomery’s lineup without any sustained success. He had four goals and six assists in 42 games, but since signing as a free agent in October of 2020, he never turned into the 20-goal scorer that Boston was hoping to get as he did in five of his first nine seasons with the Nashville Predators.
Hathaway & Orlov’s Fit In Boston
Hathaway is going to be a big addition to the Bruins’ fourth line and bring a much-needed physical presence that is lacking there now. Tomas Nosek is getting closer to returning to the lineup after breaking his foot against the New York Rangers in January and slotting him with Nick Foligno on the left will provide Montgomery with a line that is going to be relentless on the forecheck and give them some grinding out shifts.
Orlov is more of a stay-at-home defenseman, but is a solid puck-mover and is added left-shot depth with Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk, and Derek Forbort. Where he is slotted remains to be seen, but you have to think that there is another move coming by Sweeney by the March 3 deadline at 3 o’clock because he’s not giving up his first-round pick for a seventh defenseman to be a scratch. This is the second consecutive trade deadline that Sweeney has acquired a defenseman after getting Hampus Lindholm last March from the Ducks.