Boston Bruins

In Boston, Hampus Lindholm is no rental.

The Bruins have not only acquired the former Ducks defenseman for a major haul ahead of the 2022 NHL trade deadline, but locked him up as a top-4 left-shot defenseman for the long-term. Boston officially announced an extension for Lindholm on Sunday, an eight-year deal worth $6.5 million annually.

Lindholm, 28, will be the Bruins’ third-highest-paid player in the 2022-23 season, after Charlie McAvoy ($9.5M) and David Pastrnak ($6.7M). He projects as the Bruins’ top defensive left-shot defenseman, a solid complement to McAvoy if not an excellent second-pairing guy, and one of their leading penalty killers.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney acknowledged in a press conference Sunday that the Bruins made the trade with the knowledge that Lindholm wanted to sign long-term, and that the two sides would quickly land on an agreement.

“I would be hard-pressed to think we were going to give away the assets and trade away the assets we did without the belief that we could enter into an extension,” Sweeney said. “Obviously, the timing is difficult, and you’ve got to have some trust that your group’s gonna find common ground after the fact. But we were confident that, in doing our due diligence, that this would be a place that Hampus would be excited to play in.”

Boston acquired Lindholm and defenseman Kodie Curran from Anaheim on Saturday, in exchange for defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore, their first-round pick in 2022, and second-round picks in 2023 and 2024.

Lindholm expects to arrive in Boston on Monday, while the team is in Montreal to play the Canadiens, and make his Bruins debut on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Keep reading below, or click here, for more coverage of the Boston Bruins ahead of the 2022 NHL trade deadline here at 985TheSportsHub.com.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.


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Unpacking everything about Boston's trade for defenseman Hampus Lindholm

  • UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 25: Urho Vaakanainen #58 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on February 25, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    The price paid to bring Lindholm into the mix

    If you’re looking for a win off the bat: The Bruins addressed their dire need for a high-impact left-shot defenseman under 30 years old without having to part with top prospects Fabian Lysell and/or Mason Lohrei. That was going to downright impossible if the Bruins made a move for the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun. Of course, there’s about a five years age difference between Lindholm and Chychrun, so that obviously plays a factor in the talent leaving the door for the Black and Gold’s organizational ranks, but the B’s already-shallow prospect pool really didn’t lose any water here.

    When it comes to the picks out the door, well, that’s the cost of doing business this deadline. The market first distorted when the Avalanche traded a second-round pick (and a prospect selected with a second-round pick) for the oft-injured Josh Manson, and then entered a true potential nightmare territory when the Panthers parted with a first-round pick for Ben Chiarot. Once that happened, it felt like any non-bandaid option for the Bruins (the B’s always wanted a player they viewed as a potential long-term answer with any addition on the left side of their defense) was going to cost multiple first-round picks. It did not.

    On the roster front, losing Urho Vaakanainen after the 2017 first-round pick finally showed signs of turning around a corner stings a bit. But replacing him with Lindholm is an upgrade for a win-now club like the Bruins, and Vaakanainen’s injury woes didn’t help. I first started to wonder if Vaakanainen was going to be dangled out there as a trade chip when Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy outright said ‘nope’ when asked if Vaakanainen would be thrown right back into the mix for the Bruins when fully healthy. Given the way Vaakanainen was beginning to excel prior to his injury, that felt oddly telling.

    A huge inclusion from the B’s point of view: John Moore. Stuck in a truly awful spot as a player who in theory is an NHL player but makes too much money for his role on his team (Moore was going to make $2.75 million as the B’s eighth defenseman and that was just too rich for the B’s blood this time around), Moore has spent the majority of the year in the AHL as a ‘buried’ contract for the Bruins. Sending him to Anaheim has opened $2.75 million up from the Bruins’ books for 2022-23, or $1.625 million based off Moore’s cap hit when buried to the minors. It’s believed that getting the Ducks to take Moore’s contract off the Bruins’ hands is what earned Anaheim an extra second-round pick from the Bruins.

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 15: Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks pushes Alex Wennberg #21 of the Seattle Kraken in front of the net during the second period of a game at Honda Center. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

    What are the Bruins getting with their newest addition? 

    If there’s one word that comes to mind when I think about Hampus Lindholm, it’s dependable.

    He’s definitely not going to set YouTube on fire with an open-ice hit or finish near the top of the defensive scoring race (though his three-assist night against the B’s earlier this year would tell you otherwise), but you’re going to mostly get what you asked for with his 21 or so minutes per night. And that’s something that this team’s left side could definitely use.

    It’s been almost two calendar years since the Bruins decided to move on from Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. And let’s not get this twisted: They made that decision. Both players wanted to stay with the Bruins, but the B’s wanted to try something new, either with lineup complexions or usage, or with their financials. And until Saturday’s trade, the Bruins landed on Derek Forbort and Mike Reilly as their external replacements for their departures. Both players are perfectly fine in complementary roles, but as direct replacements for 40 minutes of top-four play? Well, that’s a different story.

    Lindholm, meanwhile, has been a legitimate top-four defenseman since the moment he made the NHL leap in 2013.

    In 2021-22, the 28-year-old Lindholm had been asked to be the guiding hand for first-year NHLer Jamie Drysdale, with the duo together for over 900 minutes of five-on-five play this season. Their 918:34 of five-on-five together in 2021-22 is actually the fourth-most among all defensive pairings in the NHL this year, trailing only the Panthers’ MacKenzie Weegar-Aaron Ekblad duo, Calgary’s Noah Hanifin-Rasmus Andersson pairing, and the Rangers’ K’Andre Miller-Jacob Trouba pair.

    It’s a pairing that went through its understandable growing pains, as the Ducks were outshot 474-455 and outscored 38-33 with Lindholm-Drysdale out there. But Lindholm has remained a steady penalty-killing threat for the Ducks, and is one of 70 defensemen to record at least 120 minutes on the kill this season. And Lindholm, who stands at 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds, has been on the ice for fifth-fewest power-play goals against per 60 among that group of 70, at 4.41.

    Lindholm has some slight offensive punch to his game, too, with five goals and 22 points through 61 games this year. Those five goals would tie him with Brandon Carlo for second-most among all Boston blue liners this season (Charlie McAvoy leads all Boston defensemen on that front, with 8), and his 22 points would be second to only McAvoy and his defense-leading 40.

    One potentially interesting stat for Lindholm? His 119 shots on goal. That ranked sixth among all Anaheim shooters this season, and is actually the 35th-most shots among all defensemen this season. The need for more offensive pressure from Boston defenders in 2021-22, especially when it comes to getting shots through traffic and on goal, has been mentioned repeatedly.

  • GLENDALE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 26: Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck ahead of Nick Schmaltz #8 of the Arizona Coyotes during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Where should Lindholm play?

    It’s easy to look at Boston’s depth chart and plug Lindholm next to Charlie McAvoy on Boston’s top pairing. I think it stands to reason that that’s how they’ll line it up out of the gate. The Bruins are just so desperate to find that perfect pairing partner for McAvoy, and Lindholm certainly has the highest ceiling out of all the guys at their disposal. And some of the things that Lindholm does real well — zone-entry defense and puck retrieval, in particular — would allow McAvoy to truly take flight through the neutral zone and into the attacking zone at the rate that both he and the Bruins would prefer.

    But I really wouldn’t sleep on the possibility of Lindholm playing with Brandon Carlo on Boston’s second pairing.

    While the Bruins have searched for that perfect partner for McAvoy for obvious reasons, it’s worth noting that McAvoy really hasn’t let any partner take him underwater this season. Remember back in the day when the Bruins would put just about anybody next to Zdeno Chara and be OK with it? Yeah, McAvoy is basically already that kind of presence with the Bruins, and the numbers confirm that, with almost every pairing partner of his posting positive differentials over an extended stretch.

    It’s Boston’s second pairing that’s been an issue for large chunks of the 2021-22 season. Part of that comes back to what’s been a bad luck season for Brandon Carlo, but just as much comes back to his inability to properly mesh with either Grzelcyk or Reilly to the point where the Bruins stop messing with that pair’s complexion.

    Lindholm has experience playing with someone a bit like Carlo, too, as he played almost exclusively with Josh Manson prior to Drysdale’s full-time jump to the NHL.

    Just something to ponder.

  • Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks checks Pierre-Luc Dubois #80 of the Winnipeg Jets in the third period at Honda Center on October 13, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks checks Pierre-Luc Dubois #80 of the Winnipeg Jets in the third period at Honda Center on October 13, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Roster fallout and the immediate future

    I’m not of the belief that the Bruins are a finished product just yet. I still think there’s another trade or two to be made between Lindholm and Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline. But when it comes to Boston defense, the Bruins now have four left-shot defensemen all deserving of playing time between Lindholm, Derek Forbort, Matt Grzelcyk, and Mike Reilly.

    It seems that all three of the team’s ‘been here’ defendes are polarizing depending on who you ask, but let’s consider the following when it comes to ’em: Grzelcyk is a possession-driver that the Bruins can’t really afford to sit given their lack of offensive firepower on the backend, Reilly has shown signs of progress when with McAvoy, and Forbort is the team’s top penalty-killing defenseman (and for a kill that ranks 10th in the NHL). Again, all three deserve to play even with Lindholm here. For the Bruins, the simplest decision likely involves one of them to their off side. They’ve all done it before at various points (Grzelcyk has the largest sample of doing it under Cassidy), but Forbort may be the easiest fit to plug to the right side given his style of play and what the Bruins are going to ask out of him when out there.

    It’s a problem the Bruins, who routinely go 10 or 11 deep into their defensive bag in the postseason, will happily take.

  • Feb 7, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) waits for the face-off during the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. (Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports)

    The long-term future

    Lindholm is going to be more than a rental for the Bruins. In fact, it took less than 24 hours for the sides to hammer out an eight-year extension north of $50 million, and good for a $6.5 million cap hit.

    That slots Lindholm between Carlo’s $4.1 million cap hit through 2026-27 and McAvoy’s $9.5 million cap hit, which kicks in next year and runs through 2030. That locks the B’s top-three defensive pillars in at $20.1 million per year for the next five seasons.

    The next great challenge for Sweeney: Re-upping David Pastrnak, who is slated to hit unrestricted free agency in 2023.


2022 NHL trade deadline: Will the Bruins splurge for a winger?

  • Mar 2, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Kraken center Colin Blackwell (43) advances the puck during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Climate Pledge Arena. (Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports)

    Colin Blackwell

    Almost every single player involved in Year 1 of the Seattle Kraken has experienced a dip in their offensive production.

    But North Andover, Mass. native Colin Blackwell’s Seattle experience has gone about as well as he could have hoped, all things considered. A versatile forward who’s bounced around the lineup quite a bit, the 5-foot-10 ex-Harvard product has put up eight goals and 16 points through 38 games with Seattle, all while averaging just 12:25 per night. One of 20 Kraken players to play at least 400 minutes of five-on-five ice time in 2021-22, Blackwell ranks fourth in points per 60 (1.75), fifth in individual scoring chances per 60 (7.16), and fourth in individual high-danger chances per 60 (3.21).

    Include his stint with the Rangers last year, and Blackwell, a right-shot forward, has totaled 20 goals and 38 points in his last 85 games. One of 318 NHL forwards to log at least 900 five-on-five minutes since the start of last season, Blackwell’s 1.67 points per 60 at five-on-five are the 160th-most among that group. That 1.67 per 60 is also better than players such as the Sharks’ Logan Couture, Philly’s Kevin Hayes, Carolina’s Teuvo Tervainen, and Devil-turned-Islander Kyle Palmieri.

    Blackwell is in the final year of a contract that pays him $725,000 per year.

  • Jan 21, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser (6) shoots against the Florida Panthers in the second period at Rogers Arena. (Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports)

    Brock Boeser

    The Bruins have had communication with the Canucks ahead of the trade deadline, and that’s no surprise given the names reportedly dangled about by the Canucks. One of those names has been winger Brock Boeser. One of the names forever mentioned by people when discussing the misses in the Bruins’ disastrous first round in 2015 (Boeser went eight picks after Zach Senyshyn), it would only be fitting that the Bruins land Boeser a good seven years later, no?

    In the midst of a campaign that’s come with 17 goals and 35 points through 56 games, Boeser finds himself on the block ahead of a summer that will certainly come with a massive payday.

    That payday feels like a legitimate automatic, honestly, and will certainly be achieved in 2022, whether it’s via his qualifying offer of a staggering $7.5 million or with an extension rewarding him for a career that’s included 115 goals and 245 points through 309 NHL games. That could be a problem for a B’s team that’ll need to hammer out a big-money extension for David Pastrnak next year, and could run the risk of roadblocking 2021 first-round pick Fabian Lysell down the road.

    Another potential issue despite Boeser’s seemingly obvious fit as a 6-foot-1, right-shot right wing? His five-on-five production hasn’t been anything special this year, with 14 five-on-five points through 56 games this year. For the sake of comparison, that would tie Boeser with Trent Frederic for ninth on the Bruins, and with Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar right behind him, with 12 five-on-five points each. That’s a lot of cake — and forget about the trade capital going out the door — for that production.

    The flip side, of course, is that production is almost never an issue when plugging someone next to No. 37 and No. 63.

  • Mar 26, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Anaheim Ducks left wing Max Comtois (53) attempts to deflect a shot as St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) defends the net during the second period at Enterprise Center. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

    Max Comtois

    This may not seem like the natural fit for what the Bruins are trying to accomplish right now, but a player that should interest them: The Ducks’ Max Comtois. Even if the 2021-22 season has been a nightmare for the left-shot left wing.

    In action for 38 games this year, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Comtois has totaled just three goals and 10 points, to go with a minus-8 rating, and has seemingly been in the doghouse from the jump. But make no mistake about it: Comtois is the kind of winger that the Bruins have repeatedly looked for as a middle-six booster, and his 2021 campaign showed that.

    One of 12 Anaheim forwards to log at least 500 five-on-five minutes last year, Comtois led the Ducks in scoring with 16 goals and 33 points, and was tops among Anaheim forwards in points (2.34) and individual high-danger scoring chances for (4.5) per 60. In fact, go beyond Anaheim and that 2.34 points per 60 was the 39th-best among a group of 277 forwards, while his high-danger scoring chances-for rate was 19th-best. Comtois also brought the nasty, with 7.59 hits and 2.84 blocks per 60. 

    This could be a situation where buying low benefits the Bruins in the long run. (Honestly, he just feels like the kind of player Tampa would acquire and the we’d watch in horror as he torments the Bruins for the next four postseasons in a row.)

  • Jan 30, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets center Max Domi (16) plays the puck during the third period at Bell Centre. (David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports)

    Max Domi

    It feels like the Bruins have been linked to Max Domi for a good little while now. I’m not sure if there’s something to that or if he just makes sense in a potential Jake DeBrusk swap should the Bruins decide that a split needs to come at the deadline. But he should indeed be an option on the trade block ahead of Monday’s deadline.

    The 5-foot-10 Domi, who broke into the NHL as a center but has since converted to wing full-time, is certainly having a seller-friendly season for Columbus, with nine goals and 32 points through 52 games. 28 of his 32 points have come at even-strength, too, making him one of the top even-strength scoring threats available on this year’s market.

    Domi is in the final year of a $5.3 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

  • Mar 9, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland (8) shoots against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period at Rogers Arena. Canucks won 5-3. (Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports)

    Conor Garland

    The Bruins were interested in Garland before the Coyotes sent him to Vancouver as part of the Oliver Ekman-Larsson deal, and they remain very interested in the Scituate, Mass. native now.

    Mentioned in trade rumors despite a 2021-22 campaign that’s included 14 goals and 32 points in 57 games, Garland is on the block with another four years at $4.95 million per on deck following this season.

    A player with a definite bit of swagger to his name, Garland feels like a natural fit for the Bruins in so many ways: He has heavy term left on his deal, he’s a right shot, and he is from the area. That’s a trifecta, baby. Oh, and it helps that Garland has scored the 20th-most goals among all NHL right wings over the last two years.

    The Bruins are not alone in their pursuit of Garland, however, with the Kings and Rangers also in the mix.

  • Mar 13, 2022; Hamilton, Ontario, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward Vinnie Hinostroza (29) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period in the 2022 Heritage Classic at Tim Hortons Field. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports)

    Vinnie Hinostroza

    Perhaps a name you haven’t heard much about this deadline, the Sabres’ Vinnie Hinostroza is an interesting option if you’re looking for some under-the-radar help. (I say as every team’s front office screams at me to shut the hell up.)

    Seventh among Buffalo forwards in points (21), all but one of Hinostroza’s 21 points this year have come at even strength. That equates out to 2.11 points per 60 of even-strength play in 2021-22, which ranks 113th among a field of 328 forwards with at least 500 even-strength minutes this year. The 5-foot-10 winger’s 0.95 goals per 60 of even-strength play in 2021-22 ranks 110th, while his 0.84 primary assists per 60 at even strength is good for 86th among that field of 328. Not too shabby at all.

    Hinostroza, who has played with Chicago, Arizona, and Florida in addition to the Sabres, has compiled 48 goals and 133 points in 314 total NHL games since 2015-16. He’s also making $1.05 million this year and is a pending unrestricted free agent.

    And another stat of note: Hinostroza has six goals and an assist in six total games against the top three teams in the Atlantic Division this year. Not the worst thing to add to your mix as a Boston squad chasing after ’em.

  • Feb 19, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Seattle Kraken left wing Marcus Johansson (90) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

    Marcus Johansson

    The Bruins really don’t want to break up the Trent Frederic-Charlie Coyle-Craig Smith line. They really think they have something there, and it’s easy to see why. But if push comes to shove and the Bruins decide that putting Smith back up with Bergeron and Marchand makes ’em a greater post-deadline threat — and I gotta admit, this hypothetical operates with the idea that DeBrusk gets his deadline wish — would a reunion with Marcus Johansson be the next-best bet for Charlie Coyle?

    The Bruins’ third-line one-two punch on the way to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, it’s fair to assume that the 31-year-old Johansson will be on the move again this deadline with the Kraken completely focused on the future.

    Johansson has shown that he’s still offensively capable, too, with six goals and 23 points in 50 games this season.

  • Mar 12, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Arizona Coyotes right wing Phil Kessel (81) shoots the puck in the first period during a game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (David Berding/USA TODAY Sports)

    Phil Kessel

    Hey, speaking of reunions, how about Phil Kessel returning to where it all started for him 16 years ago. (16 years ago?! 16?!)

    In the final year of his deal with the Coyotes, Kessel is likely on the outs in Arizona with the Coyotes looking to acquire every single draft pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and is in the midst of a season that’s included six goals and 31 helpers. Kessel’s season has sort of been a flip from his career norms, really, as the 31 assists are his most since he picked up 55 apples in his final season in Pittsburgh, while his 4.9 shooting percentage this season is a career-worst for No. 81.

    But if you’re a right wing-needy team like the Bruins, Kessel is an intriguing option. Especially when considering his playoff success no matter his sweater, with 34 goals and 81 points in 96 career playoff games since 2008.

    A report last month indicated that the Coyotes were having a tough time finding a potential Kessel trade partner, too, and even noted that Kessel could be had for a third-round pick and with the Coyotes willing to eat money. If that’s the price, that might be right up the Black and Gold’s alley around 2:55 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

  • Nov 26, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks left wing Rickard Rakell (67) moves the puck ahead of Ottawa Senators defenseman Lassi Thomson (60) during the third period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

    Rickard Rakell

    I think the ultimate home run play for the Bruins would be a mega-package to acquire both defenseman Hampus Lindholm and winger Rickard Rakell from the Ducks ahead of Monday’s deadline. (Edit: They got halfway there with Saturday’s pickup of Lindholm.) Would it cost a ton? Of course. But it’s just a gigantic two-birds, one-stone kind of play for the Bruins, and Rakell has honestly been a B’s target for what feels like half a decade now.

    A right shot capable of playing both left and right wing (and even with a little bit of center play to his name a few years back), the 28-year-old Rakell has put up 16 goals and 28 points in 51 games this year, and is averaging 18:21 of action this year.

    And Rakell’s status as a player who loves to shoot the puck (he’s averaging almost nine shots per 60 minutes of action this season), would make him a seemingly natural fit with Bergeron and Marchand. A 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward, Rakell has also shown an ability to get to the high-danger areas that have poised problems for the Bruins throughout their playoff shortcomings, with a heat map full of scorching temperatures from the slot.

    Rakell has scored the 61st-most goals (145) and 80th-most points (304) since 2015.

  • Nov 9, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Ottawa Senators left wing Zach Sanford (13) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    Zach Sanford

    It’s so hard to ignore these local guys whenever they’re available. Fair or unfair, it just seems to be a trend here. And when it’s a 6-foot-4 Massachusetts native who plays both the left and right side, it’s almost impossible to ignore. Or, in this case, the Senators’ Zach Sanford is almost impossible to ignore if the Bruins are looking for some bottom-six punch.

    On the board with nine goals and 17 points through 61 games with Ottawa, Sanford has also checked in with 129 hits and 55 blocked shots, and was part of that Blues team that beat the Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

  • Jan 17, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) during a face off in the first period at T-Mobile Arena. (Lucas Peltier/USA TODAY Sports)

    Reilly Smith

    The Golden Knights’ plans to perhaps ‘Kucherov’ their way to the postseason without Mark Stone is blowing up in their face.

    With losses (and injuries) mounting for Vegas, it’s entirely possible that the Golden Knights will not be good enough to finish the regular season without their best winger and team captain available and still qualify for the 2022 playoffs. But if Stone is to make a comeback before the postseason, the Knights will likely have to shed salary somewhere.

    Oh, hello, Reilly Smith.

    Another ex-Bruin, the 30-year-old Smith is a pending unrestricted free agent and has been mentioned in trade rumors with the Knights weighing the pros and cons of potentially losing him for nothing this summer. Smith has certainly remained effective for Vegas, with 16 goals and 38 points in 56 games this year, and has actually scored the 13th-most goals (138) and 16th-most points (317) among all NHL right wings since the Bruins traded him to Florida in 2015.

    And while a reunion may seem unlikely — you’d almost have to assume that Vegas would find a lesser player to trade or work some more cap magic to activate Stone, if possible — the idea of a Smith return is incredibly appealing given his past experience riding with Bergeron and Marchand on the Black and Gold’s top line.

    Together for over 1,200 minutes from 2013 through 2015, the Marchand-Bergeron-Smith line outscored opponents 69-41.


2022 NHL trade deadline: Looking at the Bruins' options down the middle

  • ST PAUL, MN – OCTOBER 19: Andrew Copp #9 of the Winnipeg Jets during the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on October 19, 2021 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Harrison Barden/Getty Images)

    Andrew Copp

    An under-the-radar option ahead of the 2022 trade deadline: Jets center Andrew Copp.

    A do-it-all threat for Winnipeg, the 27-year-old Copp is on the market in the midst of a season that’s included a career-high 20:05 per night, which ranks as the third-most among all Jet forwards, and makes Copp one of just 23 NHL forwards averaging at least 20 minutes per night in 2021-22. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound center has certainly made use of that ice time, too, with 13 goals and 32 points through 53 games, which has him paced for what would be a career-high 19 goals and 50 points. (Not tooooo shabby when you consider his previous career-high marks on both fronts, with 15 goals and 39 points last season.)

    It’s likely that a good chunk of the Bruins’ interest in Copp, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, comes back to his status as a relatively complete player. Copp enters the weekend with the 24th-best faceoff percentage in the league (minimum 500 faceoffs), and has logged the sixth-most penalty kill time on ice among all forwards this season. With those numbers and that potential usage in mind for the Black and Gold, the Bruins would absolutely welcome Copp and his 54.4 defensive-zone faceoff percentage, which is the 16th-best in hockey.

  • Jan 31, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) celebrates his goal with his teammates during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    Claude Giroux

    If you’re asking me who I believe in as the perfect rental for the Bruins, it’s Claude Giroux. (Disclaimer: I’m an OG Giroux Fanboy and wish this guy spent his entire career in Boston, so there’s that.) But even at 34 years old, this is still a highly productive player, with 17 goals and 41 points through 54 games. And the type of all-zone threat that makes him the perfect replacement for David Krejci and perfect complement to Patrice Bergeron as Boston’s one-two punch down the middle.

    An offensive threat throughout his career, Giroux has proven that he can still create and finish at an acceptable rate. He’d be asked to do both as the driver of Boston’s second line with David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall.

    But Giroux would also provide the Bruins with yet another downright dominant faceoff option.

    While Bergeron ranks atop the NHL with a 62.2 faceoff percentage, Giroux sits right behind him, at 61.4 percent. Giroux has dominated draws in the defensive zone, too, at a league-best 64.2 percentage (Bergeron is right behind him there, at 61.5 percent), and is also top five in offensive-zone faceoff percentage and power-play faceoff percentage among qualifying threats. The ability to roll back-to-back lines with dominant faceoff options (equating to puck possession) and a grinding third line could be simply devastating in the playoffs.

    Giroux would also come to town with significant playoff performance, with 85 career postseason appearances, and with his 73 playoff points the 23rd-most among all active NHLers.

    Now, Giroux does possess a full no-movement clause, so the ball is entirely in his court. It’s been tough for many to forecast where Giroux will go (if he goes at all between now and Mar. 21 deadline), and the Bruins have not been mentioned at the same rate as teams like the Avalanche and Panthers. That’s understandable given their dominance this year, as well as the fact that Giroux would only leave Philly for a legitimate chance at a Stanley Cup given how much being a Flyer has meant to him.

    But honestly, plugging Giroux between Hall and Pastrnak may be enough to make the B’s legit as the rest.

  • SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 07: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks reacts after he scored he second goal of the game against the Calgary Flames in the second period at SAP Center on December 07, 2021. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    Tomas Hertl

    This is perhaps the most interesting situation to watch between now and the deadline.

    The word around the league is that the Sharks want to keep pending unrestricted free agent Tomas Hertl in San Jose. That’s no surprise. Emerging as one of the better all-around centers in the league, Hertl has put up 23 goals and 44 points through 57 games this year, and has been a constant bright spot in a Sharks season that’s short on ’em.

    But if the sides can’t pull a Chris Kreider-Rangers circa 2020 and come to terms on an extension before the deadline, the 28-year-old Hertl would be the top prize of the trade deadline, and the Bruins would be first in line. Because, boy, would Hertl solve a lot of their problems and in the future as a potential long-term to the impending doom that is the future of the center position once the 36-year-old Patrice Bergeron calls it quits.

    Like Giroux, Hertl would immediately slot into the middle of the Black and Gold’s second line with Hall and Pastrnak with absolutely no questions asked, and represent a clear upgrade over Haula given his takeover abilities.

    The big question with acquiring a player like Hertl would be the price going out the door. This isn’t a player the Bruins would be able to acquire for pennies on the dollar. This would be a top-dollar acquisition (and that’s before you even hammer out an extension that could pay the Czech pivot as much as $8 million a year), and would likely test the Bruins’ limits when it comes to parting with prospects they consider untouchable (Fabian Lysell and Mason Lohrei) as well as a future first-round pick.

  • Mar 9, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (9) celebrates his goal against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period at Rogers Arena. Canucks won 5-3. (Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports)

    J.T. Miller

    The Canucks are in a real weird spot this deadline.

    Since making the switch from Travis Green to Bruce Boudreau behind the bench in early December, the Canucks are a sizzlin’ 21-8-5, and only five teams have posted a better point percentage (the Bruins are one of them, in case you’re wondering). But even with that surge, the Canucks sit three points out third place in the Pacific Division and two points out of the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Moneypuck’s playoff probability model gives them a 25.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, and that’s certainly understandable when looking at the teams in front of Vancouver. But when you’ve been that hot for 34 games, it’s awfully hard to suddenly reverse course and decide that you wanna sell, no?

    Now, let’s throw in the J.T. Miller situation and make things real weird.

    A gritty-but-talented center seemingly made for playoff play, the 28-year-old center signed through 2022-23 at a manageable $5.25 million cap hit has been brought up in trade rumors from the moment the Canucks struggled out of the gate this year, and is considered to have a potentially robust market. Miller’s success — the 29-year-old’s 69 points are the ninth-most in the NHL this year, while his 30 power-play points trail only Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid for the most in the NHL — would create an obvious bidding war this deadline, and the Bruins would be stupid not to get involved.

    That said, Miller himself doesn’t believe that he’s going to be traded.

    “I don’t think I’m getting traded,” Miller said earlier this week. “I never thought I was getting traded. Everybody is speculating, so I never even looked into that [the Canucks] were trying to trade me to begin with.”

    Reading between the lines here, getting the Canucks, who are facing a slight cap crunch of sorts up ahead, to bite on a Miller trade would require a good ol’ fashioned hockey trade.

    Those have been rare under this leadership in Boston.

  • COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 23: Jack Roslovic #96 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide Arena on February 23, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

    Jack Roslovic

    Not a sexy pick by any stretch, it’s fair to wonder if Jack Roslovic would be considered an option for the Bruins if they’re priced out of, well, just about everybody else this deadline.

    A 25-year-old right-shot center, Roslovic hasn’t exactly thrived with his move from Winnipeg to his hometown Blue Jackets, with 22 goals and 60 points in 106 games with Columbus.The 2021-22 season has been an especially trying one for Roslovic, as Roslovic has averaged his lowest nightly time on ice (12:24) since 2018-19, and has struggled to find his fit under new Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen.

    But for the Bruins, Roslovic, who is a pending restricted free agent making a hair over $1.8 million this year, may be a potentially perfect return if they want to go with a change of scenery for change of scenery swap involving Jake DeBrusk by the deadline.

    It’s unlikely that Roslovic is a long-term answer at center, of course, but he would give the Bruins another right-handed faceoff option, with Charlie Coyle and Curtis Lazar currently the only two on the roster right now. And his ability to also play right wing (arguably where he played his best hockey in Columbus) only adds value to a potential Boston fit.

  • Mar 8, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Dylan Strome (17) celebrates his third goal of the game against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at United Center. (David Banks/USA TODAY Sports)

    Dylan Strome

    This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about Dylan Strome. When word of Jake DeBrusk’s trade request went public, and with the Blackhawks among those mentioned as potentially interested in DeBrusk, a potential Strome-for-DeBrusk swap just seemed to make sense for both sides, especially with Strome’s name also in the rumor mill around that time. But Strome has since found his footing this season, and has tallied 12 goals and 24 points in 26 games since the start of January. Strome’s contract and his obvious fit between Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane, two players that certainly figure in the Blackhawks’ future plans even with the Hawks approaching an obvious rebuild, only further complicates Strome’s status.

    The No. 3 overall pick 2015 NHL Draft (a.k.a the first player taken after the Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel one-two), the 6-foot-3 Strome has tallied 60 goals and 153 points in 250 career games between the Coyotes and Blackhawks since 2016.

    Similar to a guy like Roslovic (and maybe Copp to a lesser degree), perhaps the Bruins circle to Chicago and inquire on Strome should the asking price for the top-tier targets prove to be a little too high for ’em this deadline.


2022 NHL trade deadline: A look at Don Sweeney's trade deadline history

  • 2016

    BOSTON, MA – MARCH 03: Lee Stempniak #20 of the Boston Bruins warms up before the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on March 3, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Lee Stempniak from Devils in exchange for 2016 fourth-round pick and 2017 second-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 34-23-6 (third in Atlantic Division, seven points above ninth place).

    Sweeney’s first crack at addressing the Black and Gold’s constant need for help on the wings, Stempniak was brought to the Bruins in the midst of a Jersey run that included 16 goals and 41 points in 63 games. In Boston, Stempniak put up three goals and 10 points over 19 games, as the Bruins went 8-8-3 to finish the year and finished a tiebreaker short of the postseason.

  • BOSTON, MA – MARCH 01: John-Michael Liles #26 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden on March 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire defenseman John-Michael Liles from Hurricanes in exchange for forward Anthony Camara, 2016 third-round pick, and 2017 fifth-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 34-23-6 (third in Atlantic Division, seven points above ninth place).

    A depth defenseman pickup, Liles put up six assists in 17 games with the Bruins to round out the 2016 stretch run, and re-upped with the B’s on a one-year deal for the 2016-17 season.

  • 2017

    BOSTON, MA – APRIL 4: Drew Stafford #19 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on April 4, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Drew Stafford from Jets in exchange for conditional sixth-round pick in 2018.

    Bruins record when acquired: 33-24-6 (second in Atlantic Division, four points above ninth place).

    Another attempt at addressing the team’s middle-six scoring woes, Stafford was a worthwhile addition for the Bruins, with four goals and eight points in 18 games with the Bruins. That sixth-round pick turned to a fifth-round pick sent to Winnipeg (and later landing in Nashville) when the Bruins clinched a playoff spot. Stafford would score two goals in six playoff games with the Bruins, and spent the final two years of his NHL career with the Devils. He’s also the only Bruins player to appear in an Every Time I Die music video, though that came during his Buffalo tenure.

  • 2018

    TORONTO, ON – APRIL 16: Nick Holden #44 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images) 

    Trade: Bruins acquire defenseman Nick Holden from Rangers in exchange for defenseman Rob O’Gara and 2018 third-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 36-13-8 (second place in Atlantic Division, one point out of first place).

    The first move of what has been Sweeney’s busiest deadline of his general managing career, the Bruins brought Nick Holden to town as a third-pairing stabilizer. A 6-foot-4 left-shot defenseman, Holden tallied one goal and five points in 18 games with the B’s, and appeared in two postseason games with the team. Holden has since bounced between Vegas and Ottawa.

  • DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 06: Frank Vatrano #72 of the Boston Bruins heads up ice in the first period while playing the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on February 6, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins trade winger Frank Vatrano to Panthers for 2018 third-round pick

    Bruins record when traded: 37-13-8 (second place in Atlantic Division, one point out of first place).

    A space-making move for the Bruins, Sweeney recouped the third-round pick he lost in the Holden deal by sending Frank Vatrano to the Panthers. Vatrano has stuck with the Panthers, too, and tallied 71 goals and 124 points in 269 games with Florida over the last five seasons. The Bruins later used that third-round pick to draft Jakub Lauko.

  • TORONTO, ON – APRIL 16: Rick Nash #61 of the Boston Bruins waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Rick Nash from Rangers in exchange for forward Ryan Spooner, winger Matt Beleskey, defenseman Ryan Lindgren, 2018 first-round pick, and 2019 seventh-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 37-14-8 (third place in Atlantic Division, five points out of first place).

    Sweeney’s first try at a big home run swing, the Bruins sent out five pieces in exchange for Nash, and No. 61 finished with three goals and six points in 11 regular-season appearances, and added three goals and five points in 12 playoff games. A concussion suffered on a high hit from the Lighting’s Cedric Paquette interrupted and derailed Nash’s Boston run, and ultimately forced Nash to retire at the end of the season. The trade will always be one of the biggest ‘what if’ scenarios involving this core, as both Nash and the B’s were interested in a potential long-term partnership.

  • BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 27: Tommy Wingels #57 of the Boston Bruins skates on the ice before a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden on February 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Tommy Wingels from Blackhawks in exchange for conditional fifth-round pick in 2019.

    Bruins record when acquired: 37-15-8 (third place in Atlantic Division, five points out of first place).

    A depth move at the deadline, Wingels scored two goals and five points in 18 games with the B’s, and appeared in four postseason games. The conditional fifth-round pick the B’s sent to Chicago in that deal ultimately became a fourth when the Bruins advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Wingels had a direct hand in that, too, as he absorbed the hit that got the Leafs’ Nazem Kadri suspended for three games in the middle of the first round.

  • 2019

    BOSTON, MA – APRIL 25: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins reacts after scoring a goal in the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game One during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire center Charlie Coyle from Wild in exchange for winger Ryan Donato and 2019 fifth-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 35-17-8 (second place in Atlantic Division, 18 points out of first place).

    Certainly the most impactful trade of the Sweeney era in terms of its direct impact on a long playoff run, the Bruins made out like bandits when they acquired Coyle from the Wild in exchange for Ryan Donato and a late-round pick. Slotted behind Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on the B’s center depth chart, Coyle excelled as a puck-possession pivot, and racked up nine goals and 16 points in 24 playoff games for the Bruins on the way to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. His nine goals were tied for the most on the team, while his 16 points were the fifth-most among all B’s.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 23: Marcus Johansson #90 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period Game Seven during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Marcus Johansson from Devils in exchange for 2019 second-round pick and 2020 fourth-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 36-17-9 (second place in Atlantic Division, 17 points out of first place).

    Originally acquired to skate to the right of David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on Boston’s second line, Johansson’s best fit ultimately came on the B’s third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen. The Swedish wing put up one goal and three points in 10 regular season games with the Bruins, and added four goals and 11 points in 22 playoff games.

    Johansson has played for the Sabres, Wild, and Kraken since leaving the Bruins as a free agent in 2019, and could very well be on the move again this deadline with the Kraken out of contention.

  • 2020

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – FEBRUARY 27: Ondrej Kase #28 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against the Dallas Stars during his first game with the Bruins at TD Garden on February 27, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Ondrej Kase from Ducks in exchange for forward David Backes, defenseman Axel Andersson, and 2020 first-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 38-11-12 (first place in Atlantic Division, three points above second place).

    The Bruins tried to make their best out of a garbage situation when they had to attach a first-round pick to rid themselves of the David Backes contract. Rather than just dumping him with the pick and moving on in the name of cap space after Backes’ role entered an uncomfortable territory for the Bruins and led to the veteran landing on waivers, the Bruins ditched Backes but took a chance on the oft-injured Ondrej Kase in the process.

    But after Kase had a stop-and-start jump into life with the Bruins in a COVID-interrupted 2020 campaign, the Czech wing’s concussion woes return and limited Kase to just three games during the 2021 season.

    The Bruins ultimately decided not to extend a qualifying offer to Kase and let him walk to the Maple Leafs, where he’s battled injuries but been productive when healthy, with 12 goals and 25 points in 47 games this season.

  • TORONTO, ONTARIO – AUGUST 29: Nick Ritchie #21 of the Boston Bruins fights Barclay Goodrow #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period in Game Four during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Nick Ritchie from Ducks in exchange for forward Danton Heinen.

    Bruins record when acquired: 39-12-12 (first place in Atlantic Division, five points above second place).

    A ‘change of scenery’ trade for both Ritchie and Heinen, the Bruins thought that adding the big-bodied Ritchie would help the team score some of the more dirty, high-danger area postseason goals that the team struggled to produce when going up against bigger defenses. And though Ritchie’s 2020 fit with the Bruins proved to be a troubling one, Ritchie bounced back in 2021 with a career-high 15 goals and five power-play goals and 7th Player Award honors.

    But the Bruins ultimately decided not to bring Ritchie back for another round after a disappointing 2021 playoff run, and Ritchie landed with the Maple Leafs on a two-year, $5 million deal. That deal turned out to be a disaster for all involved, really, as Ritchie would fail to fit on the Leafs’ top line and score just two goals in 33 games with Toronto before the team waived him, and ultimately sent him to Arizona in a cap-clearing move.

    Heinen, meanwhile, would score just 10 goals and eight assists in 52 games with the Ducks, but has since rebounded with the Penguins, with 13 goals and 24 points through 54 games this season.

  • 2021

    BOSTON, MA – APRIL 13: Mike Reilly #6 of the Boston Bruins skates during the first period of a game against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on April 13, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire defenseman Mike Reilly from Senators in exchange for 2022 third-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 21-12-6 (fourth in East Division, four point above fifth place).

    When the Bruins’ decision to go with a youth movement and walk away from Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug failed to pan out the way the Bruins envisioned, Sweeney made a call to Ottawa and swung a deadline deal for Mike Reilly. An underrated puck-moving threat, Reilly put up eight assists in 15 games with the Bruins to close out the regular season, and added another four helpers in 11 postseason games.

    The Bruins ultimately kept Reilly around on a three-year, $9 million extension, and are currently playing him next to Charlie McAvoy on the Black and Gold’s top defensive pairing.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 15: Taylor Hall #71 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the New York Islanders at TD Garden on April 15, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Trade: Bruins acquire winger Taylor Hall and forward Curtis Lazar from Sabres in exchange for winger Anders Bjork and 2021 second-round pick.

    Bruins record when acquired: 21-12-6 (fourth in East Division, four point above fifth place).

    Aided greatly by the fact that Taylor Hall had a full no-movement clause and made it clear that he wanted to go to Boston, the Hall-to-Boston trade remains Sweeney’s greatest deadline heist as the B’s general manager. Finally solving the team’s never-ending quest to acquire that high-ceiling second-line wing, Hall was productive and immediately bought in on what the Bruins were selling him, and has since emerged as a core piece for the team.

    The Bruins also acquired valuable fourth-line piece Curtis Lazar in that deal, while Anders Bjork has put up seven goals and 12 points in 66 games with the Sabres.

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