The Boston Bruins are making a big trade today, acquiring defenseman Hampus Lindholm and his $4.8 million cap hit from the Anaheim Ducks for two first-round draft picks (2019 and 2020) as well as prospect Jake Bean. The deal could prove to be very beneficial for both teams in their future endeavors.
Anaheim Ducks defenders Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran were traded to Boston for defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, defenseman John Moore, a 2022 first-round selection pick, a 2023 second-round draft choice, and a 2024 second-round draft pick on Saturday. Lindholm’s salary was also kept by the Ducks to the tune of 50%.
Lindholm, who is about to become an unrestricted free agent, is getting a lot of value for his money. Let’s give the GMs who made this happen a grade:
GM Pat Verbeek was well aware that Lindholm would not be re-signed by Anaheim this summer. And, as the Ducks have slowly slipped out of the postseason picture, Lindholm has become increasingly disposable.
Lindholm has been a key player for the Ducks’ defense in the past. On a rebuilding team that’s gone through its own ups and downs, the 28-year-influence old’s has waned recently. Anaheim can look to the future with young defenders like Jamie Drysdale. It’s better to use Lindholm right now, which is precisely what Verbeek did.
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A first-round selection and a pair of second-round picks are perfect for a club looking to go forward. The Ducks already have budding talents in Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Sam Steel, in addition to Drysdale; adding additional top draft picks to surround them bodes well for Anaheim’s long-term prospects.
And then there’s Vaakanainen, the 18th overall choice in Boston’s 2017 draft. He hasn’t yet found his stride in the NHL (having played in just 31 games), but defenders may take longer to find their stride, and the Ducks should be able to provide him with that chance.
For a few years, we won’t know the full depth of how great the Lindholm trade is until the selections and players mature into contributors (or don’t!). At this point, it seems like Verbeek made the type of deal that will pave the way for his team’s future success.
We can get this out of the way right now: Lindholm and the Bruins are talking about extending his contract. From Boston’s perspective, this deal would seem to be a superior fit.
But let’s not let it stop us from pronouncing judgment right now!
While the trade’s ramifications on Anaheim will take time to manifest, Lindholm’s presence in Boston should.
Unlike the Ducks, who relied heavily on Lindholm, the Bruins already have a No. 1 defenseman in Charlie McAvoy, as well as supporting top-four players in Mike Reilly and Matt Grzelcyk. Lindholm will be expected to back up what has already been established.
At 6-foot-4, he’s a large guy who can play a lot of minutes (averaging over 22 minutes per game in his career). Being on a competitive club may allow Lindholm to resurrect his game to where it was before to these erratic seasons.
In exchange for cap space, Boston was able to offload the last year of Moore’s contract (with one season left at $2.75 million). Lindholm should be a top-four player on a playoff-bound club if everything goes right.
All in all, Boston gave up a lot in exchange for Lindholm. It’s a bigger triumph if he signs a long-term deal. However, there are a lot of unknown futures going the other way, which might come back to bite the Bruins if this transaction doesn’t pan out.
Patrice Bergeron (36), on the other hand, and Brad Marchand (33), on the other hand, aren’t getting any younger. Would it be more of a regret if GM Don Sweeney had not extended himself and pushed those chips in? Only time will tell whether this is true.