The Boston Bruins trade forward Craig Smith, 2023 first-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, and 2024 third-round pick to the Washington Capitals for defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway, Thursday. The Minnesota Wild gained a 2023 fifth-round pick from the Bruins in exchange for salary retention.
The Bruins are having a historic season, and have been looking to improve their depth ahead of a highly-anticipated final stretch of the season. Craig Smith was a guy that the Bruins had been trying to move on from since pre-season. He was placed on waivers in December, in hopes a team would claim him salary. He cleared waivers and the Bruins front office knew they needed to move on from him to acquire more pieces.
Bruins lineup changes
Boston has a problem other teams dream of having. They’ve got seven defensemen all capable of seeing significant minutes in big games. Orlov projects to slot into the second line, bumping Hampus Lindholm back up to the first line with Charlie McAvoy. This leaves Derek Forbort, Matt Grzelcyk, and Connor Clifton competing for the third pairing.
Hathaway could be a great addition to the fourth-line, giving the Bruins arguably the best depth in the league. Boston is in the driver’s seat for the President’s trophy, and will likely have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Their biggest target heading towards the trade deadline was a depth defenseman, and they easily succeeded in doing that. Garnet Hathaway also provides a potential small upgrade over Craig Smith as a bottom six forward.
This Bruins trade feels similar to last year’s trade for Lindholm. At last year’s deadline, the Bruin traded a first-round pick and multiple second-rounders for the Swedish defenseman. Boston under general manager Don Sweeney have not had a tremendous amount of success drafting in the first-round. While they are consistently mortgaging the future, it might be the right move for this team going forward. This year, it’s championship or bust for Boston.
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