Breaking Down the Bruins Blockbuster Trade
Updated: Apr 13
Boston's 2023 First-Round Pick
Boston's 2024 Third-Round Pick
Boston's 2025 Second-Round Pick
50% of Orlov's Cap hit
25% of Orlov's cap hit
Boston's 2023 Fifth-Round Pick
"The rich get richer" best describes the Bruins' recent blockbuster trade with the Washington Capitals. This complex trade has many moving parts, and the Bruins gave up a lot of draft capital but significantly improved their roster down the stretch and into the playoffs while also gaining cap flexibility. This trade shocked many in the hockey world as it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Bruins had a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Vladislav Gavrikov but suddenly went in a different direction sending the NHL into a frenzy. Here is a breakdown of everything that took place.
What happened to Vladislav Gavrikov?
Last week, Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman reported that the Bruins and Blue Jackets have a deal in place for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The reported asking price for Gavrikov was a first and third-round pick. Strangely, the value never took place as Columbus was unwilling to help the Bruins by taking on a contract like Craig Smith's to help facilitate a deal. However, the Blue Jackets felt they had a trade in place with the Bruins or a verbal commitment. Gavrikov has been held out of Columbus's lineup for a week for "trade-related reasons" or "asset protection" to avoid injury. But a deal with Boston never took place. Don Sweeney stalled, continued scouring the trade market, and found a better trade for the Boston Bruins. It is strange that the Blue Jackets believed there was a verbal commitment from the Bruins on this deal. I believed there were holes in the story after a few days without an official trade. If Columbus was not willing to take on a contract like Washington did with Smith, there was no way this trade was happening. This whole ordeal has been a disaster for Columbus and Gavrikov. It's anyone's guess what the future holds for Gavrikov now, but he will not be coming to Boston.
Who is Dmitri Orlov?
The newest Bruins blue-liner Dmitri Orlov is a two-way defender who plays a gritty and physical style of hockey. The 11-year NHL veteran has had a solid career with the Capitals and was a significant part of the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship. Orlov is a versatile defender who can play on both sides of the ice, which will be very useful come playoffs. He has played a lot of minutes in Washington, averaging 22:43 seconds of ice time per game, which would rank second on the Bruins only behind Hampus Lindholm. Orlov is also an outstanding puck mover, which will certainly be on full display in Jim Montgomery's system.
Orlov has some of everything in his game. He can provide plenty of offense with 19 points in only 43 games. He is a very strong defender who can play on both special teams units, block shots, and hits like a truck. Bruins fans will love what he brings to the table.
Comparing Orlov and Gavrikov
Vladislav Gavrikov is a big 6 foot 3 defender who is an excellent Penalty Killer and solid skater. His skating ability helps him defend against the rush, an area the Bruins defense needs help with. As a defensive defenseman on the NHL's worst team, Gavrikov's numbers are far from great. However, there is little doubt those numbers would improve on a better team like the Bruins. Orlov, on the other hand, is a more well-rounded defender due to his solid transition game and tremendous skating ability. Is he the Penalty Killing force that Gavrikov is? No. They are very different players. It is hard to say one is better than the other because they both bring value to their respective team in different ways. However, I believe the edginess Orlov brings to the table makes him a better fit in Boston. Orlov plays a grittier and more physical game than Gavrikov despite being smaller in stature. Orlov has several qualities the Bruins could use more of. They are no longer the "big bad Bruins." The few teams that have been successful against the Bruins could push them around physically. After this trade, I cannot see that being the case.
Another reason why the Bruins went in a different direction is because of Garnet Hathaway. According to Elliotte Friedman's reports, the Blue Jackets sought a first and third-round selection from the Bruins for Gavrikov. But it appears the Bruins only were going to receive Gavrikov in return in that deal. With Washington, they gave up an additional second-rounder in 2025 and received more cap relief than Columbus was offering and an extra player as well. Jackpot.
Who is Garnet Hathaway?
"Garnet Hathaway was born to be a Bruin."- Jack Edwards.
Hathaway was born and raised in Kennebunkport, Maine, and played prep hockey at Phillips Andover and college hockey at Brown. We all know Don Sweeney loves players with local connections. Beyond the local ties, Hathaway plays a perfect style for Boston. He is a relentless forechecker who wins puck battles and plays a physical and nasty style of hockey. Few players in the NHL are more of a pain to play against than Hathaway. On top of that, he is a terrific defensive forward and Penalty Killer. Like Orlov, he brings the grit and physicality the Bruins need come playoff time. In the last few years, the Bruins have been unable to match the physicality of the opponents who have eliminated them in the playoffs, and I was worried this Bruins team could meet a similar fate as its predecessors. The acquisitions of Orlov and Hathaway put those fears at ease.
After being burned by several rental deadline acquisitions, Don Sweeney has tended to avoid rental players at the deadline. In recent years, he signed Charlie Coyle, Taylor Hall, and Hampus Lindholm to extensions upon acquiring them in trades. The last big rental name the Bruins traded for was Rick Nash, who was forced to retire after his brief period with the Bruins due to concussions. There have been no discussions of extending the contracts of Orlov and Hathaway, who are expected to be Unrestricted Free Agents come July 1st. However, Don Sweeney told reporters that he looks forward to discussing extensions for both players once they are acclimated to their new teams. According to TSN's Chris Johnston, "What separates Dmitry Orlov from previous Bruins deadline deals for Hampus Lindholm and Taylor Hall is that he's likely to be a pure rental." Orlov will generate a lot of interest in Free Agency and will likely command a 4-5 million AAV in Free Agency. Unfortunately, given the tight cap situation around the league, extending the recent Bruins additions may take a lot of work, especially with David Pastrnak in line for a huge payday. Washington reportedly tried to extend Orlov, but there was a large gap over the term, with reports that the 31-year-old Russian wants a six-year deal.
Garnet Hathaway is a different case. The Bruins will have to rework their fourth line this offseason with Foligno, Nosek, and Hathaway on expiring deals. The Bruins have AHL options with McLaughlin and Laukko, but the Bruins will likely want to have at least some veteran presence on the fourth line. I can see the Bruins working out an extension for Hathaway given the draft capital they gave up to acquire both him and Orlov. The Bruins do not like rentals, and if Orlov's asking price is too high, Sweeney will do everything possible to keep Hathaway.
You have to imagine that there is not another major move the Bruins could make. Their roster is pretty much full at this point. They have as much depth as anyone in the NHL, their forward group is as good as anyone's, their defense is elite, and they have the best goaltending tandem in the league. Given their historic season, the Bruins do not want to mess with chemistry and trade an important role away. Amazingly, they addressed two major needs without significantly changing their lineup. The only move I see them making is trading Mike Rielly to a team that needs a defenseman and has cap flexibility. Rielly is too good of a player to be buried in the AHL, but his three-million-dollar cap hit is unfriendly to interested teams. However, moving Rielly to a team willing to give him playing time is best for the player and for the Bruins cap situation. Hopefully, a deal can be made to help all parties involved. Maybe the Bruins do more.
It has been a crazy and unpredictable trade season so far. There are eight more days until the deadline. Buckle up.