The Boston Bruins, who have been connected to most of the NHL’s available left-shot defensemen, have found their man, acquiring Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks, reports ESPN’s Kevin Weekes. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Bruins will send a 2022 first-round draft pick, 2023 and 2024 second-round draft picks, defensemen Urho Vaakanainen, and defenseman John Moore (link). Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff adds that the Ducks will retain 50% of Lindholm’s salary as part of the deal. Minor league defenseman Kodie Curran is also heading to Boston in the trade (link).
Lindholm has been one of the most sought-after targets at this year’s trade deadline. The defenseman had not necessarily been available the last few weeks, as the Ducks were trying to negotiate an extension with him. However, when negotiations did not appear to be leading to an extension, the Ducks stepped up their efforts to trade Lindholm, and found a return of their liking today.
In exchange for Lindholm, Anaheim has received a bevy of draft picks, as well as a talented young defenseman and a veteran defenseman. Vaakanainen was the Bruins’ first-round draft pick in 2017, 18th overall, but has seen limited time with the Bruins since making his NHL debut during the 2018-19 season. Moore, on the other hand, is a veteran of 12 NHL seasons, but has been a victim of the Bruins’ depth and salary cap constraints this season, spending time in the AHL, where he had currently been playing. While Moore could certainly help the Ducks, his inclusion in this trade is almost entirely due to the Bruins’ desire to move his $2.75MM cap hit.
As much as Boston gave up to acquire Lindholm, there is added benefit in Anaheim retaining half of Lindholm’s $5.2MM cap hit, which expires after this season, as well as Moore’s $2.75MM cap hit that runs through next season. Further, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes, the Bruins and Lindholm are working on an extension, which could make Lindholm more than just a rental for Boston (link).
Last but certainly not least, the Bruins managed to acquire a true top-pairing defenseman to bolster their lineup and potentially pair with star defenseman Charlie McAvoy. Adding Lindholm could certainly be a game-changer in a tight Eastern Conference race. As of this writing, Boston holds the first Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference, just one point ahead of the Washington Capitals who are in the second Wild Card spot, but only two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and three points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for third and second place respectively in the Atlantic Division.