The Anaheim Ducks established themselves as sellers earlier this week by dealing pending UFA defenseman Josh Manson. They continued the process Saturday, trading longtime top-pair blueliner Hampus Lindholm to the Boston Bruins for defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, defenseman John Moore, a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 second-round pick and 2024 second-round pick.
Did Anaheim get a good enough return for its stalwart defenseman? Did the Bruins pay the right price? Here is my analysis of the blockbuster deal.
Anaheim Ducks analysis
The Ducks haven’t left any doubt as to what their intentions are: Sell everything that isn’t nailed down to the floor. After moving defenseman Manson earlier in the week and tough guy Nicolas Deslauriers already on Saturday, the Ducks parted with their biggest deadline prize in the 28-year-old Lindholm. Anaheim has created some massive holes in its lineup, but its messaging has been crystal clear. It’s bowing out of the playoff race and maximizing its return on players it could not, or would not, re-sign. The Ducks have reaped a massive haul for Lindholm. After Ben Chiarot fetched a first- and fourth-rounder plus a prospect, we expected Lindholm’s return to be strong. But a first-rounder, two second-rounders and young defenseman Urho Vaakinainen is simply outstanding. Anaheim will miss Lindholm, but no one says no to this deal. Vaakanainen has yet to break through but, at 23, he is a decent bet to grow into a capable D-man. The Ducks likely weren’t prepared to give Lindholm the term or money he wanted to remain in SoCal. Turning him into three top picks and a prospect that still has promise is first-class work.
Gear’s Grade: A
Boston Bruins analysis
Boston’s defense is much improved with the addition of Lindholm. He is very good, and a big, capable left shot is certainly something the B’s have been missing this year. Boston has been better than I expected this season and has a veteran-laden team that management clearly believes is deserving of one more shot at the Cup. From a roster perspective, the fit is a good one. My concern with the deal is it seems to be too much for a team with an aging core to give up. Boston does not have the deepest prospect pool, and sending away this much draft capital when players like 36-year-old Patrice Bergeron and 33-year-old Brad Marchand are destined to slow down soon is cause for alarm. It’s a concern magnified for me by a thought that Boston doesn’t have the firepower to compete with the heavyweights in the Eastern Conference to begin with.
Hopefully Bruins fans will forgive me (I have been a diehard Pats fan since 1984), but I don’t love this deal for the Bruins as it mortgages too much future for what I view as unrealistic Cup ambitions. If the Bruins can re-sign Lindholm to a reasonable extension, my grade gets upgraded to a B. But I still would have waited for free agency to chase him.
Gear’s Grade: C+