By Danielle DuBois | Follow me on Twitter @DanielleDuBois
The Boston Bruins defense is remarkable this season. With almost the same roster as last season’s defense, what caused this sudden turnaround? Each week we will be breaking down a player on the Bruins’ defense and discussing why it works. This week we will be looking into Hampus Lindholm’s statistics.
The Boston Bruins received Hampus Lindholm in a loaded trade back in March. The Bruins gave up Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a 2022 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2023 and 2024. The trade seemed like a great idea at first, but as the season continued, Lindholm wasn’t his true self. The 28-year-old defenseman played ten games for the Bruins in the 2021-2022 season. Five of those ten were playoff games.
Lindholm suffered two injuries within his first season with the Bruins. One being shortly after he was traded, in early April, and one taking place in the playoff series against Carolina. Besides being injured, he looked like he had a lot of potential. He had five assists in those ten games and was averaging at least three shots on goal per game. While his statistics were good, his defense didn’t look as physical as it should have been.
The Bruins played defense in what I like to call a “cat and mouse” defense last season. Meaning they chase after their opponents who have the puck as a cat does to a mouse. It’s a very ineffective way of playing defense. They would get beat to the puck and just look slow. Putting a star defenseman like Lindholm into that scheme didn’t allow him to flourish.
The defensive scheme looked lifeless, and the only hope for winning games was relying on the Bruin’s ability to outscore opponents. However, this season things changed. While we are only 28 games into the season, the team’s defense did a complete 180.
With players Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy being out at the beginning of the season, players like Lindholm had to step up. This season Lindholm already has 20 points which consist of four goals and 16 assists. Lindholm has stepped up offensively and defensively, looking better than ever. Now with McAvoy back on the ice, they pair well with each other.
They have learned each other’s cues and know how to help each other in big moments. New Bruins coach, Jim Montgomery, has always been a fan of the defenseman, saying he wanted Lindholm for the St. Louis Blues last season. Lindholm fits in well with the Montgomery system of defense and hopes to keep up this great production.
While there have been tons of benefits with Lindholm finding his own in the system, there are still areas that need improvements. One thing that Lindholm needs to improve on is the penalties. Lindholm currently sits at 22 penalty minutes this season.
Penalties are expected, but most of Lindholm’s penalties that he takes are tripping or high-sticking calls. With a little more stick control and discipline, Lindholm will be able to stay out of the box less and continue to work on his defense. Lindholm will look to keep up his hot streak for the rest of this season.