By: Dan Anderson | Follow Me On Twitter @DanAnderson5970
The Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks made two trades last season. The first occurred on February 21, 2020, and sent David Backes, Axel Andersson, and the Bruins’ first-round draft choice to Anaheim in exchange for Ondrej Kase. The Bruins also retained a portion of Backes’s salary. In this case, the first-round pick was the incentive that Anaheim needed to take most of Backes’s contract. Kase’s acquisition was a try to resolve the never-ending quest to find a suitable right-wing to play with David Krejci.
The NHL shut down, then a late start for Kase after violating the NHL “bubble” arrangement during the play-in round lead to less than desirable results. Have the Bruins found the correct person for this role? Three days later, the Bruins traded Danton Heinen for Nick Ritchie, February 24, 2020, in an exchange of wings intended to make the Bruins bigger. Ritchie isn’t the player the Bruins hoped he would be, leaving most fans wishing that the trade never happened.
Bob Murray has been the General Manager of the Ducks since 2008. Over the past several years, his team has been dealing with salary cap constraints, going so far as to buy out longtime Duck star Corey Perry. The lack of cap space makes the Backes trade seem like an aggressive one but does give Anaheim two first-round picks in what is a deep draft.
The Bruins are looking for two things this off-season; left defensive help and secondary scoring. The Ducks were twenty-sixth out of thirty-one teams last year in scoring, so acquiring help here is unlikely. The Bruins target on this current Ducks roster should be the best “under the radar” defenseman in the NHL; Hampus Lindholm. Hampus is 26-year-old, and carries a $5.2 million contract, and is a defensive defenseman. The 6′ -3″, 208-pound Sweden native handles the physical aspect of the game very well. The former first-round selection (sixth overall) in 2012 plays left defense in the shadow of Cam Fowler. I would argue Lindholm is better.
So I just rediscovered Hampus Lindholm’s 3-year RAPM chart from 2015-2018 and it’s so sexy I could pass out pic.twitter.com/uO32IA0stp— CJ Woodling (@CJWoodling) September 12, 2020
Both Murray and Don Sweeney, General Manager of the Boston Bruins, played NHL hockey as defensemen; I don’t think this would help the Bruins in trying to acquire Lindholm. Murray is trying to rebuild while Sweeney is trying to win now, but the two trades from earlier in the year might be all. Lindholm’s contract still has two years left on it; if Murray is willing to move him, it has to be for a young offensive upgrade at the same cost or lower, or another defenseman of similar skills.
I see the possibility here similar to the one I saw with a potential trade with Calgary that would return Noah Hanifin. Anaheim has more left defensemen under contract than right. Could a swap of defensemen, potentially with other additional prospects or draft picks, be in the works; Lindholm for Brandon Carlo in some form? I doubt Anaheim would accept a Jake DeBrusk and other assets trade for Lindholm. The Ducks don’t have the cap space to enhance the deal to Lindholm and the Bruins’ first-round pick back for both Carlo and Debrusk as the main pieces in the trade. It’s probably not enough asset return for Anaheim to be interested either. It would make no sense to include the rights to Torey Krug in this trade as Anaheim cannot afford to sign him.
Do you ever just sit back and think about how the Ducks could be running pairings with any combination of Hampus Lindholm, Shea Theodore, Cam Fowler, and Marcus Pettersson?— Jacob @ PTPHockey (@PTPJacob) September 23, 2020
If the Bruins were able to make this trade, all that they would need to do for now to start next season on defense would be to sign Matt Grzelcyk for second-line with Jeremy Lauzon, sign Zdeno Chara for third-line paired with Connor Clifton, and for penalty killing. The focus with the remaining money would be an upgrade at the wing. For the Ducks, this saves $2.3 million against the salary cap immediately and helps to balance their defensive pairings, with Carlo on first-line next to Fowler.