The Bruins bolstered their blue line Saturday when they acquired defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks.
Boston sent three draft picks, including this year’s first-rounder, while also giving up John Moore and Urho Vaakanainen. Anaheim is retaining 50% of Lindholm’s salary while taking all of Moore’s contract.
The Bruins’ defensive top four now will include Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Lindholm. That’s pretty solid, especially for a team that has struggled with defense in the playoffs the last few seasons.
While Boston’s defense has been fine this season, that’s all it’s been. Last-minute goals became a problem for the B’s and Derek Forbort hasn’t exactly been the shutdown defenseman Boston expected him to be. But the addition of Lindholm gives the Black and Gold two strong, legitimate pairings and without a doubt is a win for both sides.
At first glance, giving up three significant draft picks (2022 first round, 2023 second round, 2024 second round) plus two players for a rental seemed hefty. But reports surfaced after the trade became official that the Bruins were working on a contract extension that will keep Lindholm in Boston for eight years.
The term might seem like a lot for someone who turned 28 in January and will be 36 by the end of the deal. It carries risk, sure, just as any long-term contract does, but Lindholm will provide a welcome presence in a number of areas for a number of years.
Lindholm addresses an area the Bruins desperately needed: a big-body defenseman who can eat minutes, use his size and play on the left side. The 28-year-old provides versatility and makes his presence known on the ice by being a good puck mover and always will battle. It’s also worth noting he ranks in the top 25 for blocked passes.
While with the Ducks, Lindholm was paired with Jamie Drysdale, a 19-year-old defenseman who Lindholm was left picking up the slack for at times. You pair Lindholm with McAvoy or Carlo and his game certainly will be elevated.
The Bruins were able to free up some cap space by having the Ducks take on all of Moore’s contract, which comes with a $2.75 million cap hit.
On top of all of that, the Bruins did not give up top prospects Fabian Lysell or Mason Lohrei.
Boston still has some areas of need to address before Monday’s NHL trade deadline, but it’s off to a strong start.
UPDATE (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET): The Bruins announced Sunday that they have agreed to terms with Lindholm on an eight-year contract extension, which includes an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.