The Boston Bruins are loading up for the playoffs.
The Bruins kept pace in a raging Atlantic Division arms race ahead of the trade deadline, acquiring defenseman Hampus Lindholm and AHLer Kodie Curran from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a first-round pick in 2023 first-round pick, a 2023 and 2024 second-round pick, and defensemen Urho Vaakaneinan, and John Moore.
As part of the trade, the Ducks have agreed to retain 50 percent of Lindholm’s $5.2 million cap hit.
It’s a massive price to pay, but the Bruins clearly believe Lindholm is their missing piece.
Lindholm is a minute-muncher, averaging upwards of 22 minutes per night throughout his nine-year NHL career. He’s also 28, smack-dab in the middle of his prime, and his style of play should allow him to continue as a solid top-four, top-two-in-a-pinch guy for the next four-to-five years.
A change of scenery could likely help, too. The Bruins are banking on that.
After a stretch of positive results, the Ducks are getting out-scored and out-chanced across the board with Lindholm on the ice this year, winning only 46.67 percent of the expected goals in Lindholm’s even-strength minutes to this point while generating just 48.68 percent and 44.79 percent of the regular and high-danger scoring chances, respectively.
There has to be an explanation for that somewhere.
Perhaps Lindholm’s dip can be attributed to the Ducks strapping him almost exclusively to rookie Jamie Drysdale, who, while being a talented prospect, is still getting accustomed to the NHL pace. It might be hard to flourish when you spend half the game babysitting your talented yet inexperienced little brother. Maybe all Lindholm needs is an established defense partner to regain his stride — which the Bruins certainly intend to give him.
The Ducks, on the other hand, add another massive haul of draft capital to their growing treasure chest, with the 23-year-old Vaakaneinan projecting to be an interesting piece on their now-depleted blueline.
Buckle up, the trades have begun.