The rich got richer Thursday night when the Boston Bruins acquired top-four defenseman Dmitry Orlov and bottom-six forward Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals.
The B's sent right wing Craig Smith, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick to the Capitals, who will also retain 50 percent of Orlov's salary. Boston sent a 2023 fifth-round pick to the Wild for retaining another 25 percent of Orlov's salary, while acquiring the rights to forward Andrei Svetlakov from Minnesota.
How Bruins' trade for Orlov, Hathaway significantly improves their roster
The Bruins already were the league's deepest team before this trade, and now head coach Jim Montgomery has even more options at his disposal when configuring the lines and pairings each game.
Here's a projected lineup for the new-look Bruins after acquiring Orlov and Hathaway.
- Brad Marchand--Patrice Bergeron--Jake DeBrusk
- Pavel Zacha--David Krejci--David Pastrnak
- Tayor Hall--Charlie Coyle--Trent Frederic
- Nick Foligno--Tomas Nosek--Garnet Hathaway
- Extra: A.J. Greer
The addition of Hathaway satisfied a real need for the Bruins before the trade deadline, and that was to upgrade at right wing. He has scored nine goals with seven assists in 59 games despite starting many of his shifts in defensive situations. He's not afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice and pay the price in front of the net to win the battles for loose pucks. He's been a better player than Craig Smith this season, and his versatility in being able to play both left and right wing is valuable.
"Garnet is a hard-nosed guy that’s going to be wired the way that we use our bottom-six and try to create some anxiety on the forecheck," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Thursday on a Zoom call with reporters. "He disrupts, he kills penalties, bigger body and frame and they are both excited to be joining our team."
Updated list of Bruins' future draft picks after trade with Capitals
The best spot for Hathaway is fourth-line right wing. But he could also play fourth-line left wing or third-line right wing.
The rest of the lineup is pretty much set.
Jake DeBrusk, going back to this time last season, has been a tremendous fit on the first line alongside Bergeron and Marchand. DeBrusk was on pace for 30-plus goals before he suffered a fractured fibula during the Winter Classic in January. He returned to the lineup last week and already has scored three goals in three games, including the game-winner in Thursday night's wild 6-5 road win over the Seattle Kraken.
The Czech line has fantastic chemistry, and Pastrnak is on pace to be the Bruins' first 50-goal scorer since Cam Neely in 1993-94. The third line has been used as a checking, shutdown trio and it's been quite effective in that role. The Bruins have outscored teams 11-5 with a plus-33 edge in scoring chances when the Hall-Coyle-Frederic line has been on the ice at 5-on-5.
The Bruins also have A.J. Greer who can provide some scoring in the bottom six. Jakub Lauko was sent to the AHL's Providence Bruins when DeBrusk returned, but he can also play on the fourth line.
The B's have a lot of options up front. They are blessed with a good blend of high-end talent, defensive smarts and physicality.
- Dmitry Orlov--Charlie McAvoy
- Hampus Lindholm--Brandon Carlo
- Matt Grzelcyk--Derek Forbort/Connor Clifton
Another potential combination:
- Hampus Lindholm--Charlie McAvoy
- Dmitry Orlov--Brandon Carlo
- Derek Forbort--Matt Grzelcyk/Connor Clifton
You can never have enough quality defensemen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Injuries are inevitable when you go through three or four rounds of physically and emotionally exhausting postseason action.
The Bruins had one of the best blue lines in the league before this trade, but all it takes is one injury to make this group much less formidable. Depth on the back end is vital, and you could argue this Bruins defensive corps is as good as any they've had in a long time.
Montgomery has a ton of different options when configuring his pairings. He has four left-shot defensemen and three right shots. Orlov is going to play every game. He is a legit top-four defenseman with a physical, two-way skill set and he can contribute to both special teams units. He is an excellent puck mover and has a cannon of a shot.
The most likely scenario is one of Matt Grzelcyk, Derek Forbort or Connor Clifton sitting every night. That would be tough for these guys because every one of them has played fantastic this season. Clifton's 15 points are a career high, and he's made tremendous strides defensively. The Bruins have outscored teams 50-19 at 5-on-5 when Grzelcyk has been on the ice. His 72.46 goals-for percentage is the highest in the league among players with 800 or more 5-on-5 minutes played. Forbort has been an essential part of the league's No. 1 ranked penalty kill. He also provides plenty of toughness and shot blocking.
With seven guys all deserving of meaningful minutes, a little internal competition could benefit the Bruins over the next couple months before the playoffs. This improved depth also gives the Bruins an opportunity to trim some of these players' minutes in an effort to keep them as fresh as possible for the spring.
"I think it’s a healthy position to take that every guy wants to play, but we’re now in a situation where if we wanted to rest a guy if he is dinged up or he is playing through something, which we’ve had several guys do," Sweeney said Thursday.
"Now we’re in the position to be a little more conservative in those situations and just get ready, basically. Find the chemistry where Dmitry fits in best and who he fits in best with, we know this current group and Jakub (Zboril) is included in that group that he goes in and plays tonight, so we’ll get him re-acclimated to playing time. He hasn’t played in an extended period of time and we have other players that have come up like Mike Reilly and (Anton Stralman) and Jack Ahcan and to not leave anybody out, but I think as a group we need to understand that we generally haven’t started the playoffs with the same six guys and finished it that way, so we have to be prepared, and that’s what we tried to do.”
Starter: Linus Ullmark
Backup: Jeremy Swayman
This is an easy one.
Ullmark is the favorite for the Vezina Trophy and leads all goaltenders with a .937 save percentage and a 1.88 GAA. Swayman is the best backup goalie in the league and would start on a bunch of teams.
Boston has a team save percentage of .928, and the next-best team is the Dallas Stars with a .917 save percentage. The Bruins have an embarrassment of riches at this position.