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Grade the Trade: Lindholm makes the Bruins better, but was it worth the price?

A big move to kick things off!

Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

How’s that for a move to kick off deadline weekend?

The Bruins made a big splash on Saturday evening, acquiring defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks.

The Bruins and Ducks are well acquainted in the trade market, and it appears Don Sweeney was willing to go back to the Anaheim well at (at least) one more time in hopes of hitting paydirt.

So...was it a good move?

The trade

Bruins acquire: D Hampus Lindholm, D Kodie Curran

Bruins give up: D Urho Vaakanainen, D John Moore, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick; Ducks retain 50% of Lindholm’s salary

The logic

There’s no denying that the Bruins are a better team now than they were before the trade.

While the Bruins, as a team, were solid defensively before the trade, Lindholm makes them better for two reasons:

  1. He’s a good defenseman in his own right.
  2. He allows the Bruins to push some other guys further down the lineup, where they should be more effective.

Many (particularly in the analytics crowd) have argued that the Bruins were already a great defensive team, so paying this price for an upgrade was silly.

While there’s merit to that, the Bruins were also very thin on the back-end in terms of “next man up.” Few teams could suffer an injury to a top-pairing guy and be fine, but the Bruins were in a particularly precarious position.

With the knowledge of hockey quickly things went south after Brandon Carlo’s injury last playoffs, the B’s made the choice to fortify their blueline, even if the underlying numbers were already solid.

Curran projects to be a bit of depth in Providence, which is never a bad thing.

In addition, the Bruins gained a little bit of flexibility by moving Moore’s contract.

The cost

I’m sad to see Vaakanainen go.

While he had trouble with injuries, he looked a solid defenseman when healthy, and his game continued to grow over the past season.

However, the improved play of Jakub Zboril and the good scouting reports about Mason Lohrei coming out of the NCAA may have led the Bruins to think that they had other LD in the system ready (or almost ready) to replace Vaakanainen.

Trading draft picks is a throw of the dice, but I don’t blame the Bruins for (pardon the dramatics) mortgaging their future for the present.

I won’t pretend to know what he’s thinking, but Don Sweeney probably knows that if his teams don’t make decent postseason runs in the next year or two, he’s not going to be around to make those 2023 or 2024 picks anyways.

The cynics will say that the Bruins have been bad at drafting anyways, and there’s some truth to that too.

I can’t help but wonder if the Bruins may look to recoup one of those seconds in an eventual Jake DeBrusk trade, whenever that may happen.

Moving Moore helps as well, as it gives the B’s a little more room to maneuver as Monday afternoon approaches — per CapFriendly, the B’s currently have $5.8 million in space available.

The verdict

The big question with this acquisition is whether or not Lindholm is a rental, and the answer to that question will drastically influence the grade.

Lindholm is set to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and if he walks, this is a tough pill to swallow for Bruins fans.

However, various reports have indicated that the Bruins and Lindholm were already discussing a new contract; if you keep him in the fold for a couple of years, you make your blue line that much more stout and have a guy you could eventually trade for some pieces of your own.

If Lindholm signs an extension: B+. The Bruins got better, they didn’t give up their top prospects, and they still have room for more.

If Lindholm doesn’t sign an extension: D+. That’s a lot to pay for a rental.

Poll

Grade the trade! For the sake of an even playing field, assume Lindholm signs a reasonable extension.

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    A
    (399 votes)
  • 50%
    B
    (532 votes)
  • 8%
    C
    (87 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (10 votes)
1052 votes total Vote Now