Arguably the biggest trade of the 2022 deadline season was the Hampus Lindholm trade to the Boston Bruins in exchange for former 1st round pick Urho Vaakanainen, defenseman John Moore, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2022 2nd round pick, and a 2023 2nd round pick. This wasn’t a surprising trade, as Ducks GM Pat Verbeek publicly stated pending UFAs would be dealt if an extension is not reached. Verbeek also mentioned how he is skeptical to give significant terms to players and his willingness to compromise with higher AAV over a shorter period. That isn’t the case here, as Hampus Lindholm will be a Boston Bruin for the next eight years ($6.5 million AAV). As part of this trade, however, Anaheim will also retain 50% of Lindholm’s cap hit.
Hampus Lindholm was our best defenseman available at this trade deadline, and we believe Bruins GM Don Sweeney’s gamble will do wonders for one of the league’s hottest teams. Although the price initially seemed like a massive amount for a rental player, the extension justifies the price in our eyes. When we ran Hampus Lindholm (26.79 Points/AB) through our arbitration analyzer, we determined an appropriate comparable to Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey (26.63 Points/AB). Morrissey is currently in year two of an eight-year, fifty-million dollar contract ($6.25 million AAV), which is only 250k less than what Lindholm just signed for. This is of no surprise to us, as Don Sweeney’s effective money management when it comes to free agency and extensions are a key reason behind our ranking him as the best GM in hockey. Also of no surprise, Hampus Lindholm is a positive career AB player at +1.79 during an eight-year span. Don Sweeny is the only GM in our study to have his top-six free-agent/extension signings in terms of total-value be positive career-AB players, and this fifty-two million dollar deal for Lindholm makes it seven, and the third time Sweeney has given the eight-year number (Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand). At the midseason point, Hampus Lindholm registered the best individual AB score by a Ducks defenseman with a +0.89 and was contributing well offensively with five goals and seventeen assists for twenty-two points in sixty-one games. A change of scenery will be good for Lindholm, as he is coming off three consecutive individually negative AB seasons, which are the only three negative seasons of his career. We expect his number to skyrocket with the Bruins, as he will likely be paired with superstar defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who is also a very positive AB player.
To address Anaheim’s return, Urho Vaakanainen is still only twenty-three years old but has struggled to play any real NHL games (31 games in four years). We don’t have any AB information on him, however, we believe he will get a chance to play in Anaheim with these openings on defense from the Manson and Lindholm deals. Another defenseman vying for these spots is fellow acquisition, John Moore. Moore hasn’t played many games with the Bruins this year (seven games with only one point) and likely will play for the San Diego Gulls in the AHL. He makes $1.625 million until the conclusion of the 2022-23 season where he is set to become an unrestricted free agent. After Anaheim’s series of trades (Manson, Lindholm, Deslauriers), they now have two first-round picks in the upcoming 2022 draft in Montreal, as well as three second-rounders in the 2023 draft. This number could increase if the Ducks decide to move the last of their pending UFA’s in Rickard Rakell, or other rumored players such as Max Comtois. We will definitely be following the Ducks closely as we dip to just below the two hours remaining mark until the 2022 NHL trade deadline. Much more to come.