Newly acquired defenseman Hampus Lindholm taking the ice as a Bruin for the first time, image courtesy of Bob DeChiara

Bruins Make Defensive Splash at Trade Deadline

The Boston Bruins went into NHL Trade Deadline week riding a hot streak, but with the overwhelming feeling of a move needing to happen. All season, the team had suffered from a lack of a quality center replacement for David Krejci, and as good of a defensive pairing as Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk had been, there was still the thought that it could be better. When the trade deadline passed, the Bruins came out with a big move, but not the one that many were expecting.

Despite many thinking that Boston would make a trade for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun to be the pair with McAvoy, they opted for a different player who fills the same role. In a massive deal that included several high-end draft picks, defenseman John Moore, and defensive prospect Urho Vaakanainen, the Bruins acquired defenseman Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks. Immediately after the trade, the Bruins extended him to an 8-year contract worth $52M, coinciding with an equally long extension McAvoy signed at the beginning of the season.

One surprising move the Bruins did was opt not to trade forward Jake DeBrusk. After suffering gradual regression and decreased ice time in recent seasons, DeBrusk requested a trade in November. Amidst a shaky stretch before a COVID stoppage, coach Bruce Cassidy changed up the forward lines, placing DeBrusk on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and immediately it paid off. DeBrusk had a lengthy scoring stretch, including scoring his first-ever hat trick. Many saw this big production and thought that this would make him a more valuable trade asset. However, instead of trading DeBrusk at the deadline for center depth, GM Don Sweeney opted to extend him to a 2 year, $8M contract.

Ever since these moves, the Bruins have remained hot. Lindholm has provided a great compliment to McAvoy on the top pair, improving Boston’s defensive presence. With Grzelcyk moving down to a defensive pair with Brandon Carlo, the Bruins now have one of the most formidable defensive units in the entire NHL. As for DeBrusk, while he’s cooled down as of late, his presence on the top line with Marchand and Bergeron is still warranted, as they’ve combined for electrifying offense as a whole all season. With playoffs coming up, the Bruins are playing the best hockey of their season and are only prime to go further.

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