By the end of this season, could the 2022 NHL trade deadline move that saw the Boston Bruins acquire defenseman Hampus Lindholm turn out to be the best trade Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has made?
“He’s a complete stud,” Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said of Lindholm’s play thus far after the 28-year-old defenseman logged 24:15 of ice time and scored his second goal of the season in a 4-3 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild Saturday. “He’s been a stud since day one and we’re lucky to have him, and then we’re going to get another stud back in a month so, knock on wood, we stay healthy, and when those two other studs get back in the lineup, I’m excited to see what we’re going to be able to roll out.”
The ‘two other studs’ that Montgomery was referring to, were Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who is slated to play on the right side of the top pairing with Lindholm, and winger Brad Marchand. As of Monday, McAvoy was still targeting an early December return and Marchand is aiming for American Thanksgiving or late November. When the Boston Bruins found out that timetable for McAvoy, they knew they were going to need Lindholm to step up and that’s exactly what the six-foot, 215-pound rearguard has done through six games played this season. After Saturday, Lindholm now has two goals and two assists, is a plus 5, and is averaging 24:25 minutes a game.
Critics can rightfully knock Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney for his draft history (remember though Cam Neely doesn’t want you mentioning 2015), and some big swings and misses in free agency but his trade record hasn’t been too shabby. In the eyes of on NHL pro scout, acquiring Hampus Lindholm and prospect Kodie Curran for defensemen John Moore and Urho Vaakanainen, as well as a first round pick in 2022 and second round picks in 2023 and 2024, could go down as his best trade yet.
“You look at how important he became once they knew McAvoy was going to be out long-term and now how he’s doing what they needed and more, I’d say he may end up being the best trade Donny’s made when all is said and done,” an NHL Pro scout told Boston Hockey Now on Sunday. “The Bruins have really needed a guy like that to compliment McAvoy and he just brings another dynamic to that pairing. You can knock Donny all you want for 2015, and he probably won’t argue with you, but he’s made some solid trades and this one could be the best.”