Grading Bruins' Signings of Lindholm and Zadorov

Monday's NHL free-agent frenzy started off with a bang.
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Elias Lindholm

Lindholm, 29, had been linked to the Bruins at the trade deadline. Boston wasn't able to land him then, but they got their man on Monday, agreeing to a seven-year, $54.25 million ($7.75 million average annual value) with the center.

The Bruins struggled immensely in the face-off dot in the playoffs, finishing 14 out of the 16 playoff teams in face-off win percentage. Lindholm will help address that need after the Swede finished seventh in the NHL last season by winning 56.4 percent of his draws. He's also a workhorse, having only missed nine games over the past four seasons.

The term 200-foot player gets thrown around a lot, but Lindholm has earned that title. The forward has finished in the top 10 of the Selke Trophy voting three times, including a second-place finish in 2021-22. In his media availability on Monday, Lindholm revealed his aspiration to emulate Bruins legend Patrice Bergeron, who won six Selke Trophies and finished in the top three on 12 occasions. Bergeron was also touted for his faceoff and two-way ability.

Lindholm's addition will also allow head coach Jim Montgomery to shuffle Pavel Zacha back from center to his more natural wing position. A wing spot in Boston's top six was left vacant by the departure of Jake DeBrusk, who inked a seven-year, $38.5 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

Lindholm style of play is custom-made for the Bruins, and he made it clear that he wanted to be in Boston, stating:

"When Boston came into the picture, it was kind of an easy decision. I think being a Bruin is a dream -- a lot of history, a lot of great players. I think they're right there. They gave Florida a pretty good matchup there (in the playoffs) and the whole thing was just exciting to join. To be a Bruin felt like the right fit for me and my family. Coming to TD Garden has always been a tough place to play. It was a lot of boxes that were checked, so it was an easy decision."

Elias Lindholm

The $7.75 million AAV does come in a little higher than his projected $6.78 million AAV per AFPAnalytics, but there were questions league-wide about how the market would react to the $4.5 million salary cap increase for the 2024-25 season. Lindholm is far from the only player that benefitted from the boost.

Grade: A