SEATTLE — Amid their torrid pace, the Boston Bruins’ depth just got that much deeper.
General manager Don Sweeney reportedly came close to a deal to acquire Vladislav Gavrikov from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Instead, he opted for a different route to bolster their defensive and bottom-six depth ahead of a potentially deep playoff run.
As part of a three-team deal with the Minnesota Wild, the Bruins added defenseman Dmitry Orlov and fourth-liner grinder Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Craig Smith and a trio of draft picks (a 2023 first-rounder, a 2024 third-round pick and a 2025 second-round selection).
The Bruins and Wild will retain 25 percent of Orlov’s remaining $5.4 million cap hit, with the Caps absorbing 50 percent. Minnesota also sent the Bruins the rights to forward Andrei Svetaklov to Washington and acquired Boston’s fifth-round selection in 2023.
“We’ve clearly been in the marketplace to gauge what types of players would be available in adding to our current group. Inevitably, we did have to make a move with regards to opening up some space and Craig’s situation,” Sweeney said during Thursday’s Zoom call with the media. “But I think we were trying to attack in two different areas. Both Dmitry and Garnet both bring some attributes that will complement our group.”
With Hathaway’s snarl and Orlov’s solid two-way skillset, the Bruins addressed their needs. They didn’t relinquish significant assets in return and got out of Smith’s remaining $3.1 cap hit while keeping their two top prospects in Mason Lohrei and Fabian Lysell.
“We addressed a lot of things in one trade,” Montgomery said.
Between Hathaway, Nick Foligno and Trent Frederic, the Bruins will possess significant toughness on the bottom six.
The Bruins know of Hathaway’s agitation knack. The Maine-born product hardly encountered any issues getting under Boston’s skin whenever they faced Washington. They don’t have to worry about that any longer.
Instead, they have another bottom-six commodity with a decent scoring touch — nine goals and seven assists in 59 games played this season — to compliment his hard-nosed skillset.
“I think he’s one of those players where you don’t like him if he’s on the other team,” Montgomery said of Hathaway. “But we’re going to love him as a Bruin.”
Orlov’s addition provides further flexibility for Jim Montgomery and his up-tempo blue line. He’s played both sides of the blue-line. That versatility provides the coaching staff with a luxury to pair him with any of his new fellow defensive partners in Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton or Derek Forbort.
Finding roles for Orlov and Hathaway on Boston’s already deep roster won’t come easy. But Montgomery and the coaching staff don’t view that full-house situation as a detriment.
“I’d rather play with three aces and two kings than three two’s and two threes,” Montgomery said.
The Bruins would’ve kept their status as Stanley Cup favorites without Orlov and Hathaway. But on Thursday, the battle-tested bunch added the necessary depth to improve their odds even further.
And it will only suit them well in their attempt to navigate through a loaded Eastern Conference.
“Now I just hope we stay healthy,” Sweeney said, “and try and take a run and play our best hockey at the right time.”
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