The Boston Bruins have set their roster for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. Heading into this ever-so-important week, the team has been the hottest in the entire sport, as they have the best record since the start of the new year. Thus, they were expected to be buyers, and when looking at the moves they made, it’s fair to say they were. Although they were low in number, one expects they will carry immense importance not only for this season but for years to come.
It’s always exciting when teams make acquisitions, so now feels like a perfect time to shine a light on the Bruins’ new guys. These two defensemen will give them more options, which is extremely important when remembering how many injuries they sustained during last year’s postseason run. Let’s dive into each player now.
Since the departures of Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara during the 2020 offseason, the Bruins have needed a legitimate top-four defenseman on the left side. Thus, they were linked to several left-handed defensemen before the deadline, including Jakob Chychrun, Mark Giordano, and Ben Chiarot. Yet, they went against that trio and instead brought in Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks. This was a massive trade, as the Bruins sent their 2022 first-round pick, 2023 and 2024 second-round picks, Urho Vaakanainen, and John Moore the other way. It’s important to note that Moore’s bad contract was the reason why an extra second-round pick was added to the deal.
When looking at this package, there was understandably some concern. Following the deal, it seemed like it was too much for a rental. Yet, the 28-year-old has since signed an eight-year, $52 million contract extension, so he will be a part of the Bruins’ top four for a very long time. This certainly makes the price more bearable, as the team has solved one of their biggest issues for now and the future. If Lindholm meshes well with Charlie McAvoy, they could have their top pair set for years to come.
Lindholm will offer the Bruins far more stability on the backend. He has been praised for his very reliable play over the years, and it’s exactly why he is regarded as being a legitimate top-four defenseman. Yet, he also can contribute a bit offensively from the point, too. For example, in 61 games this season, he has five goals, 17 assists, and an even rating. His 22 points on the year currently have him ranked second on the team among all defensemen, too. With all of this, he is very effective on both sides of the ice.
Although nobody should doubt Lindholm’s skill level, it will be interesting to see if he is placed on the team’s top pair from the start. He has immediately become the Bruins’ best left-handed defenseman, but time will tell if head coach Bruce Cassidy will want to place him with McAvoy or Brandon Carlo. No matter what he decides, the Swedish defenseman has made their defensive group significantly better than it was just a week ago.
On deadline day itself, the Bruins ended up being very quiet. It was a bit frustrating, as they were linked to players like Justin Braun, Rickard Rakell, and Andrew Copp, but struck out on all of them. Instead, they each were traded to other Eastern Conference rivals. Yet, the team did make one move, as they acquired Josh Brown and a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Zach Senyshyn and a 2022 fifth-round pick.
This was a very low-risk move for both clubs. The Bruins have added to their depth on the backend by bringing Brown in, which is extremely important once the playoffs roll around. Furthermore, the team has needed another right-handed defenseman, as the quality drops off rapidly after Connor Clifton. Senyshyn, on the other hand, has had his trade request honored and will have the chance to play with his hometown club. Perhaps with the Senators, he will receive more opportunities at the NHL level.
Although the Brown addition wasn’t a blockbuster of any kind, he will provide the Bruins with far more toughness. The team has been criticized regularly for being far too weak to play against. Yet, whenever the 6-foot-5 defenseman is placed in the lineup, he will help change that years-long narrative. In 46 games this season, he has a notable 106 hits to go along with 32 penalty minutes. This aspect of his game is something that the team simply needed desperately.
Brown will not impress many with his offensive game, however. That’s because he would be best classified as being a defensive defenseman. In his 46 games played this campaign, he has just six assists. Yet, he was not brought in to be among the scoring leaders for the team. Instead, he will give them more grit. When looking at the Bruins’ defense group, it seems likely that he will be an extra defenseman for them. Yet, with how frequently injuries occur in this league, don’t be surprised to still see him on the ice often.
Nevertheless, it will be fun to see these two make their debuts for the Bruins soon. Lindholm was the club’s major addition, of course, while Brown finally gives them an old-fashioned and tough defenseman. Although a skilled forward would have made their deadline excellent, these two additions should still make fans happy.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.